Mystic (Bally, 1980)

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Quickie version

 Shoot drops to build base bonus, shoot spinners when lit, shoot the captive ball for bonus X once your base bonus is significant.
 Go-To Flipper:  Balanced.

Full Detail

Skill Shot – make the top saucer, which lights your spinners [1K per spin vs. just 10 points, so a big deal], plus it spots you a star. The spinner lights toggle on and off with bumper hits even after you activate them, so they’re not always lit; pay attention when you have the ball cradled.

Getting one of the two top star lanes on the Skill Shot is another possibility, but less useful. It’s possible to get nothing out of your Skill Shot since the ball can easily slip past the center saucer; make sure you nudge if you need to! You can also still get the saucer after the ball slips by with a good bounce off one of the bumpers just below, so try to do that, too.

Bonus is huge here and can be 2/3 or more of your total score. It is advanced via the three banks of three drop targets each on the main playfield. Observe how each target scores a particular tic-tac-toe square, marked on the playfield by the target. You’ll get either a pyramid or an eye in the corresponding square, depending on which symbol was lit when you hit the target. Each drop target bank has a pair of these symbols near it to tell you which the target will score when hit. 10-point switch hits, e.g. the slingshots, toggle which symbol is lit.

Getting three squares in a row [up, down, or diagonal] of matching pyramid or eye type advances you one bonus circle of 9000, indicated by the values just above the flippers. Filling all nine squares with the same symbol would be eight lines - - three vertical, three horizontal, two diagonal - - getting you a base bonus of 72K. Each square symbol is also worth 3K in end of ball bonus, whether or not it’s part of a completed line. Bonus squares from incomplete sets and any circled values are held for the whole game, so it’s important to build them early; go for drop targets on ball one. Each target bank resets when it is completed. The squares all reset once you have hit all nine drop targets.

For a target that already has been scored and has a symbol, if you hit it again with the opposite symbol lit on that target bank, nothing changes; you need to finish all nine blocks in the grid to reset it for another chance to finish lines. If you’ve finished all of your lines and also have eight of the nine symbols lit from a second time through, that’s 96,000 in base bonus.

For shooting at the drop targets, I find they’re not that drainy if you focus on the two side banks and allow rebounds or kicks off of the slingshots to do some of the work on the center bank for you. Save the center bank for last, it’s the highest risk of the three. You also can sometimes get a captive ball hit with a bank shot off of the right side target bank.

Once your bonus is high, it’s worth shooting for the captive ball. The first hit scores 5K, the next three hits give you your 2X, 3X and 4X bonus multipliers. Your maximum bonus is 384,000. After that, the captive ball scores a special next [may or may not be worth anything], then 25K per hit thereafter. You can usually get the captive ball with either flipper - - backhands from a cradle on the right should work.

Completing the four star lanes [500 points each], the two at the top and the two return lanes, scores 10K. Two completions lights EB, which may be on or worth points. After that, additional completions award a special, again may or may not be worth points. A lit star is one you need, not one you’ve collected.

Key feeds: the ball exiting the bumpers and partial spinner shots [through it but not all the way to the top]. While some people treat this as a UTAD game and just keep shooting spinners, you may lose more balls from nasty bumper area exits after top shots than from drop target rebounds. Drop targets and the captive ball is a perfectly good strategy.

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