Meteor (Stern, 1979)

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Quickie Version

 Knock down the M, R and all but one of the E-T-E-O Meteor letter targets, then shoot the spinner all day. 
 Go-To Flipper:  Left.

Full Detail

This is one of the more spinner-heavy games you’ll ever find. The spinner is worth 200 points plus 200 per letter target down in Meteor for the letters E-T-E-O and 600 extra for the M and the R. If you have M-E-T-O-R, for instance, you get 200+600+200+200+200+600 or 2,000 per spin! Finishing all six letters resets the Meteor letter drop target bank and reduces the spinner value back to 200.

Each time you complete Meteor, you also raise your bonus X by one up to a max of 7X. Bonus is built from the numbered target banks, 1, 2 and 3, 1000 for each target up to 7 total. Completing a numbered target bank also awards the current value of that bank, i.e. how high your bonus for that number is (unmultiplied). Maximum end of ball bonus is 147K (1000*7*3*7), but whenever your ending bonus multiplier is 6X or 7X, it resets to single bonus for the next ball. For 1X to 5X, the multiplier is held. Meteor targets downed during a ball are remembered, while the 1-2-3 banks all reset each ball.

My general strategy is UTAD, not worrying about accidentally completing the Meteor letters if I have the right five lit, since it’s pretty easy to knock them down again. The lit return lanes spot a letter, too, so you’ll often finish the set by accident when the ball goes through there. These lanes do present an opportunity for strategic shatzing: if you have 3 or 4 letters and the ball cradled on the right flipper, you can try shatzing the ball to the left flipper. This will both set up a spinner shot and potentially collect another letter or two, increasing your spinner value if your alley pass goes up far enough to trip the return lane switch. Just don’t shatz too hard, you can get an up-the-inlane, down-the-outlane drain.

As for the 1,2,3 banks, I ignore them most of the time, since you’ll collect some by accident making saves or via slingshot bounces. The one exception is that if I want more Meteor letters and the ball is on the right flipper, or coming down the right return lane too slowly to pass it to the left flipper, I’ll shoot for the number 2 bank at the upper left to both add bonus and get the ball up near the Meteor letters. If I have the ball cradled on the right and the letters I need up top are the middle ones, I’ll often shoot to thread the ball between the bumper and the upper flipper. That shot is riskier, though, since a miss can hit either the bumper or the post below the flipper and rebound downwards toward draining. Observe that the gap to the left of the bumper is much wider than to the right, making that the easier shot to the top from the right flipper.

Meteor is a great game for practicing ball transfer techniques, since it’s so important to get the ball on the left flipper. And the sound of a good spinner rip is really satisfying.

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