Cherry Bell (Sonic, 1978)

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Quickie Version

 Quickie Version:  Shoot the center saucers until one awards you triple bonus, then UTAD.  Shoot the collect bonus saucer if you’re willing to risk losing your multiplied bonus and build it back up, or if doing so would give you enough to win your game.
 Go-To Flipper:  Balanced until 3X lit, then Right.  If Collect Bonus is lit, Left.

Full Detail

This game is mostly about the bonus and a bit with the center three saucers. The skill shot is the center lane up top, which lights double bonus - - make sure you get this - - and also scores 5000. You advance your bonus by one notch of 10K with the top right lane, the two star rollovers, the left orbit to the top, the left return lane and the right outlane. The bonus collect saucer on the upper right side is your friend - - fill up your bonus to 100K, collect it, refill it. That’s your primary strategy on this machine.

The center saucers give you things, but only one, triple bonus, is really useful. Other awards are lighting the yellow standups for 10K instead of 1000 [don’t bother to ever shoot at those targets], raising the right side post, an extra ball [worth it if enabled] and lighting the two special targets [worthless, never shoot these either unless they’ve been altered to award big points]. The center saucers have safe kickouts, so don’t be afraid to shoot them until you get that triple bonus lit. Note that the ball won’t necessarily go in the saucer you shoot at - - it usually rattles around in the cove there a bit before falling into a saucer. As for the ball-protecting post on the right, it is NOT foolproof - - the ball can creep around the edge of it and still drain out the right side. Treat is as an aid but not a sure thing.

The left top lane, also worth 500, lights the bumpers for 1000. Unlike most machines where the bumpers stay on once lit, either for the entire game or at least the remainder of the ball in play, on Cherry Bell, the bumpers are turned off whenever the ball hits either of the two small green standup targets right and left of the bumpers. That happens fairly often, so the bumpers rarely stay lit long.

The bonus collect saucer is NOT multiplied by either the double bonus or triple bonus feature. This is strategically important if you’re on your last ball. If you have the doubler or tripler on, have the bonus maxed at 100K, and then collect it, you just gave up 100,000 or 200,000 points unless you can refill some of all of your bonus before your ball drains. This means that you need to pay close attention to your score versus that of your opponents. If you’re last to play and behind by less than your multiplied bonus, don’t shoot the collect bonus, just play on gently [don’t tilt!] until you drain and win! If you’re close to catching up, same advice. But if you’re behind by a lot, take the collect shot and try to refill the bonus to forge ahead. If you’re player one or two and you’re ahead by a good margin, you could consider not taking the collect as well and just going UTAD until you drain. If you’re way behind, though, as any player number, you’re pretty much forced to take the collect bonus whenever it’s high [say 80K or more] and then try to refill and multiply it if you haven’t already done so. That’s the only realistic way to make up a gap of several hundred thousand points on this game.

Key feeds: the kick outs from the center saucers and the bonus collect hole - - can you get the ball back to a cradle, or do you need to flip away?

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