Ali (Stern, 1980)

From Bob Matthews EM Encyclopedia 2018
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Quickie Version

 Shoot the upper left 3-bank for bonus X until at 5X, then shoot the right saucer all day for bonus collects.
 Go-To Flipper:  Right initially, Left once shooting collect bonus.

Full Detail

This game is largely about completing the upper left 3-bank to advance your bonus multiplier, which carries over from ball to ball(!), so it’s important to raise it to the maximum of 5X a.s.a.p., on ball 1 if you can. The right side saucer is your bonus collect, which includes any multiplier. Most big games come from getting your bonus up to 5X early and then collecting it a lot.

There are also good points to be had from the left side 3-bank once you have lots of letters in “Greatest.” Finishing this bank is worth the current star value of 4K-10K, plus one more star value for each “Greatest” letter; if you’ve finished Greatest and have this at 10K, a completed bank is worth 90k, not too shabby even compared to the bonus collect saucer. That left 3-bank is even more worth shooting at if you find that hits to it rebound into the top multiplier bank, giving you at least two worthwhile drop targets for a single shot. A nice scraping-the-face shot can often get all three targets on the left, plus some of the top ones. The top 3-bank is somewhat backhandable, too, so if the saucer value is low and you have the ball cradled on the left, try a backhand.

The top left horseshoe at 2K per spin is good if the spinner is juicy but watch out for fast shots to it looping out the drain. So, how good are you at the saucer shot and how is the return feed from it? If you can reliably nail it and somehow get the kickout feed back to the left flipper to repeat the shot, then once your bonus is high, you’re going to crush it making sequential saucer shots. Even if you can’t catch the kickout, any way you can consistently find that gets the feed to the left flipper will work - holding up the right flipper to a cradle to set up a post pass, holding up the right flipper for to tip the ball to the left flipper, or just letting it come out and dead bounce from right to left, whatever works.

As for building up your bonus, your drop target shots and other shots will go over some star rollovers to advance bonus. Random hits during a long ball will build up your bonus without you having to deliberately try to do so.

As an FYI, the top 3-bank is worth 20K per set once you’re at 5X.

If you have your bonus maxed but find it difficult to transfer, for whatever reason, shoot at the left 3-bank.

Tilt does not reset the carried-over bonus X.

Key feeds: kickout from the right collect bonus saucer, return from the top horseshoe, and the feed from the left “Greatest” lane behind the target bank. Also be wary when the ball comes out of the top bumpers on the far right side, it often drains out the right outlane from there.

This page is one of many in the The Players Guide to Classic Pinball by written by Bob Matthews