Alien Star (Gottlieb, 1984)

From Bob Matthews EM Encyclopedia 2018
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Quickie Version

 Complete the right side A-L-I-E-N standup targets to light the left side lock.  Shoot the lock, preferably when lit for 5X [shooting the spinner changes the lock saucer playfield multiplier].  During multiball, shoot the spinner immediately after a ball triggers the right return lane switch.
 Go-To Flipper:  Left until lock lit, then Right.

Full Detail

Alien Star has a fairly simple rule set, yet it’s fun and challenging to rack up a big score on it. Your first priority is to finish the Alien targets on the right side. These do two things: they activate the ball lock on the left, and they add an award lamp for the top lanes, which rotates between the four. Hitting a specific target that you need is harder than it looks, judging by what I’ve seen in tournament play. Dead bouncing the ball off of the right flipper to get it to the left flipper for a target shot is a very good idea.

Once you’ve got your lock lit, you want to lock the ball, but not necessarily immediately! Multiball scoring applies a playfield multiplier, but that can be 2X, 3X or 5X. Which multiplier you get cycles with spinner flips on the left. If it’s already on 5X when you activate the lock, lock the ball right away. If it’s on 2X or 3X, shoot the ball up top through the left spinner until it stops with 5X lit, and lock the ball at that point.

Once in multiball, the huge points come from nailing a spinner shot immediately after a ball triggers the right return lane switch. The spinner is lit for 10X value for a few seconds after that switch is hit; getting the ball through the lane and then directly through the spinner can be worth up to 50X base value per spin, i.e. 50,000 points instead of 1000. One precise maximal spinner shot can give you over a million points!

The right return lane always lights the 10X spinner value timer, so whenever the ball goes through there, you want to shoot the spinner unless you’re about to lock the ball. Shatzing from the left flipper to the right flipper can set you up for a spinner rip, too, if the shatz goes all the way up to trigger the lane switch but not so far than you get an inlane-outlane drain.

The top lanes, once your rotating light is lit, give four awards, none of great value unless extra balls are on: hold bonus, collect bonus, advance bonus X and extra ball. Each completion of Alien adds another award to the rotation. Shots through the right spinner above the Alien targets also advance your bonus X. But since your maximum bonus is 5X and 29K, both the right spinner and those top lane awards pale in comparison to even a good single-ball lit spinner shot.

If you have the ball cradled on the right flipper without the lock lit, use a post pass or alley pass to transfer to the left, then shoot an Alien letter.

If you’re playing last and just need a few hundred thousand to win, get the ball to the left flipper, shatz it up the right return lane, then shoot the spinner.

Key Feed: how the ball comes out of the lock saucer; you may need to nudge the machine to avoid having it clip the top of the left slingshot and then rattle into the left outlane.

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