Phoenix (Williams, 1978)

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Quickie Version

 Up Top to advance bonus base and Phoenix letters.  Next, get the drop target banks [four sets] to increase your bonus multiplier to 5X.  Last, shoot for the bullseye target.  For a quick 10K, shoot the A or B drop targets.
 Go-To Flipper:  Balanced.

Full Details

Skill Shot: on ball one, plunge for the 1; it’s the one lane you can only get at the top. After that, go for whatever you need. This is a game that pretty much requires you to take risky shots to get a good score. There’s a typical bonus set-up for games of the era: 29K max base, 5X max multiplier for 145,000 total possible. Base bonus is built up with lanes and targets. Bonus multiplier is advanced by completing either 4-bank of drop targets, hence the risk factor.

The two center drop targets, “A” and “B,” are the most valuable, each scoring 10,000 and a bonus advance. Once hit, though, they stay down until you trip one of the designated lanes to relight them. Good points, but you need to go up top to re-enable them unless you get a return lane feed. [Top lane #2 and the left return lane relight “A”, top #4 and the right return lane relight “B”.”]

Shots to A and B can rebound to the sides, where the ball might also take out a multiplier bank target. If that works on your machine, use it. If you can clear a good portion of the side drops this way, consider a strategy of A; B; up top until both are relit; repeat, hoping to also complete some target banks for bonus X in the process.

The Phoenix bullseye target is worth 3K plus a bonus advance until you have completed the 1 through 5 lanes. Besides the top five lanes, you can get the 2 and 4 from the return lanes and the 3 and 5 from the top standup targets. After that, it’s worth the value shown by how many letters you have in P-H-O-E-N-I-X; each 1-5 completion adds a letter. This shot can be drainy, though, so try to find out in practice or by watching others if it’s worth shooting.

Observe that the return from bullseye shots will differ depending on whether or not you’ve cleared the uppermost left drop target; if it’s still standing, it may deflect the ball rebounding off of the bullseye. If either situation yields consistently safer returns than the other, try to get that top target first, or last, as appropriate.

The spinner is lit when your base bonus is between 10K and 20K; odd bit of programming there.

Phoenix can be very drainy and have super-short games, so keep that in mind if you have a choice of games with Phoenix in the bank.

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