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Combination Lock (1996)

Producer: John Ricci, Jr.
Host: Ross King
Taping Info: February 9, 1996, Wales
Made it to Air: Nope
Other Pilots: A different pilot hosted by Ty Treadway with radically different game play was shopped around for the 2007 syndication season by Sony to no avail.

About every trivia variation on a game show has been done to death, even by 1996. Two ways to get around that. First, ask the questions in a unique style. Second is to add some element of luck, so that the better player wins the majority of the time, but not always. Combination Lock tries both of those, succeeds on the first and passes with concern on the second. Scotsman Ross King, who now is a local Los Angeles entertainment correspondent, is your host.

Two players are first given a choice of three possible answers and then read a question in the form of x is to y as z is to ___. If a player answers a question, they receive £20 and then choose from one of eight possible numbers. Two of the numbers are "moneybags", which in the first round are worth £25, two of the numbers are worthless, one is a burglar which takes away your bank, while the remaining three are parts of the combination, which in this round simply serve the role of giving you £25 for the first one found, £50 for the second and £75; for the third. Players had the choice to either take a number or pass it.

Once the three parts of the combination are found, play now turns to trying to find the combination in "correct order". Of course, there really is no "correct order" here, players are just trying to pick whichever of the six possible combinations were predetermined by the producer. Players earned the chance to guess the combination by answering questions, and kept their round money if they found it, while the other player lost it.

The second round is pretty much the same as the first, with the exception of a second burglar replacing a worthless number, and the moneybag spaces now doubling to £50.

The third round was a race to open a combination, with some advantages. The players were awarded one number for each round won, plus the player in the lead received an additional number. The first player to pick up six numbers had their score doubled and augmented by the loser's score plus and additional 25 pounds. There was also a home game element based on the six numbers that were involved in this combination.

In the "Super Lock" round, the winner picked one of three possible categories. The player was then asked 8 true or false questions in that category, and received 10 seconds if they were right, no seconds if they chose to pass or lost 10 seconds if they were wrong. Using that time, the player then had to physically (by pressing buttons) figure out the combination. If he got one of the numbers correctly (whether in order or not), it remain lit as a guide that it was part of the combination. A successful deduction of the combination netted the player an extra £1,000.

Two flaws here from an otherwise very good game. First is luck plays too much a part, evening out the money values of the combinations would probably help here as well as an advantage in the questions where order is determined. Second, the bonus game just isn't that good. Watching somebody try to guess combinations by pressing levers and buttons is just not compelling television. The questions concept was unique and the third round is a proper level of weighting to the advantaged player. With some tweaking, it could be a keeper.

Can you unlock this safe?

Host Ross King.

The set.

The answers to the question.

The not-so-good bonus game.

This pilot has been viewed 9141 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 22, 2009 21:49 ET
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