I've been working on a custom ROM for Stern's Dracula for a bit now. This was originally prompted by wanting to remove its 5x bonus rule. In the original ROM, there was no way to earn 5x. You could earn 2x bonus, but 5x could only be gained by random luck on the last ball, when it would alternate between 2x and 5x (once 2x was earned) when the slingshots were hit. This made it very bad for competition play, as a 5x bonus collect could often eclipse whole game scores.
After removing that rule, I decided to make the 5x earnable by the player, and then made some other tweaks to try to rebalance the game now that 5x was in play:
- 5x alternation removed
- 5x achieved by earning 2x bonus again after 2x bonus is already lit (eg, by completing the left 3-bank of drops twice and shooting the loop three times)
- to make this a bit harder (since getting 5x should be harder than getting 2x twice), once you earn 2x bonus via either method, the other method resets (loop resets to first star, or 'light double bonus' light at left 3-bank turns off if it's on)
- made the extra ball worth 25k points, and made it collectable multiple times per ball
- lowered the special score from 100k to 70k (still playing around with this value to try to keep it balanced with the 5x bonus)
- X-Y-Z target progress carry over from ball to ball (per player). Once special is lit, on the next ball you need to hit the Y target again to relight it.
- free play
- sped up 5x bonus collect
If anyone would like to test this or has any further suggestions, send me an email