Flash Gordon (Bally, 1981)

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Quickie Version

 Not really, but here’s one path.  Shoot the right side in-line drop targets for 2X and 3X [and extra ball, if enabled].  Next, complete the top playfield drop target bank for 4X.  Then it’s back down below to the left-side drop target bank for 5X.  Finally, UTAD.  Not optimal, but as simple as you’ll get here. 
 
 Go-To Flipper:  Balanced.


Full Detail

Skill Shot is to hit the lit target in the top 3-bank; the light cycles continuously when plunging, so it requires both accuracy and timing. Flash Gordon “feels small,” yet it’s a deceptively fun game. Because the playfield is divided into two small sections, rebounds from any shot will be confined to a small space, making quick-thinking nudges mandatory to reduce drain risk. It’s also a good game for practicing your dead bounce, tap pass, post pass and alley pass skills. The rule set is highly advanced for its time, with several separate bonuses and multipliers to achieve. The game has four bonuses: up to 19K regular bonus for both top and bottom playfields [advanced by shots in each]; an extra 50K upper playfield bonus if you complete the drop target three-bank when flashing; and a multi-goal 100K bonus on the lower playfield if you complete the lower target bank when it’s flashing and have also collected both return lanes and both lower standup targets on the right. The extra 50K and 100K bonuses are not multiplied by the bonus multiplier.


As mentioned in the quickie version, your bonus multiplier progression is the second and third inline targets on the right for 2X and 3X, the upper playfield target bank for 4X, and the lower left target bank for 5X. Get them all.


Knocking down the single drop target above the upper flipper lets you shoot the ball back up and around into the plunger lane for collect bonus. There’s also a collect bonus target at the very top center of the upper playfield which lights once you finish the flashing upper targets. Save these for when your bonus is high.


The target bank on the bottom left lights the spinners: the left spinner for the first set, the right spinner for the second set. You want both lit eventually.


The center saucer kickout alternates bottom-top-bottom-top; the blinking light sequence under it will alert you in case you’ve forgotten which direction is next.


There are two levels of 15-second playfield multipliers available. Finishing the upper lit targets enables 2X, the lower targets enables 3X. Start the playfield multiplier scoring by getting the ball in the center saucer. The game will generate a light and sound show to let you know while it’s active. When running, go for drop target banks and spinners.


Ball control: lots of gentle nudging and passing. You can usually backhand the right spinner; try it. When the ball is rebounding off of the upper targets, you might bump the machine forward gently as the ball is about to hit the rubber below the targets to get it to bounce across / over the center saucer feed to the rubber right of that and then up to where you can reach it with the upper flipper.



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