Nitro Ground Shaker (Bally, 1980)

From Bob Matthews EM Encyclopedia 2018
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Quickie Version

 UTAD:  through the spinner on the right and to the upper left saucer.
 Go-To Flipper:  Left while building bonus, then Right to collect it.

Full Detail

Nitro is a game that someone will eventually blow up, but it can generate lots of low scores easily, too. The key is getting the ball into the two saucers.

First, the top center saucer. You want three different awards: left arrow, right arrow and green light. The arrows light the far upper left saucer for collect bonus for their respective sides. The green light indicates activating double bonus. You can get both an arrow and double bonus at the same time; the saucer cycles on 10-point with hits between left, right, double, left double, and right double. Shoot the spinner to get the ball to the top for more tries at dropping it into the saucer with one of those useful awards lit. Once you have both arrows, the center saucer stays lit for 3K instead. The double bonus still toggles on and off until you get it. The saucer also lights the spinner for 1K per spin.

Now, the left saucer. You should shoot the left saucer whenever you can to build up its value, even if you’re not yet collecting that value yet. The catch here is two-fold: how often do such shots go in the saucer vs. rimming out, and where does the kickout from a successful saucer shot go? If shots tend to rim out or be rejected from being too hard, you need to “half-miss” your shot: have it graze the edge of the chute leading to the left saucer to slow the ball down, rather than have it go up cleanly with a pure shot. You can also try to time or flutter your flip to take some energy off of the shot.

Key feed: the return from the left saucer, both on shots made and on shots missed. This is probably the most important kickout relative to game scores I can think of. If you can consistently find a way to get the ball cradled back on the right flipper after a saucer kickout so that you can repeat the shot, that’s when you blow this game up - - assuming most of your shots to the saucer go in rather than rim out. If the shot rims out, the return will likely be faster than from a made-shot saucer kickout and go further to the right on the machine. Either way, you need to note if either version tends to center drain and prepare to nudge to avoid that and prepare for your ball control tactic from each type of feed.

Collecting all six letters via the two top lanes, two top standup targets, and two return lanes activates a separate bonus feature for 20K [first completion] or 30K [second]. This is preserved from ball to ball, as is progress towards it. This is only awarded as end-of-ball bonus, not top left saucer collects.

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