Xenon (Bally, 1980)

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Quickie Version

 UTAD via the left orbit from the right flipper, ramp from the left flipper.
 Go-To Flipper:  Right unless the left saucer kickout is safe, in which case Left, especially during multiball.

Full Detail

Skill Shot: make sure the ball falls into the top saucer, and try to nudge the kickout so it bounces off the top bumper and goes back in. Try to go over as many of the upper rollover buttons as you can before the ball falls into the saucer; each rollover button hit knocks down one of the drop targets below. Getting the saucer is more important than maxing the number of rollovers, though, so plunge and nudge accordingly.

One source of points here is left saucer shots. The saucer, shot via the ramp on the right, starts out worth 5K and goes up in 5K increments through 90K. [When you’re above 50K, two of the circle value lights will be illuminated to indicate the saucer’s value, e.g. the 15 and 50 lights for a 65K value.] Run the entire sequence and you’ll be close to a million, and it’s then 90K a shot thereafter. ‘Nuff said.

To start multiball, first get the top saucer three times to light the lock. Lock the ball via the ramp, which feeds the left-side saucer. Get the top saucer three more times to start multiball.

During multiball, the same strategy applies: shoot the ramp from the left, up top from the right. Cradle a ball on the right if you can and just do ramp all day from the left flipper if possible. While getting the top “X” saucer three times lights the spinner for 1K per spin and the outlanes for 50K [assuming specials are set to that value rather than a free game], you’ll get more value per shot out of the ramp if the saucer kickout is safe. The drop target bank increases your bonus multiplier: one set gives you 2X, the second set 4X. After that, they award 25K, then Extra Ball and Special, so don’t bother with them once you have 4X - - they’re not worth the effort compared to the ramp. Besides, you get targets from those top rollovers - - that’s safer than shooting the drop targets directly. Xenon has “super bonus” where once you get to 20K or more, 20K in bonus is kept for future balls, and likewise at 40K.

Key feed: that kickout from the left saucer. If you can control it, the ramp is the way to go. If you can’t, e.g. if the kickout throws the ball into the right slingshot from which it then goes who knows where, you’ll need wait until you’re in multiball to shoot the ramp. Usually, you can’t control it, so you’ll be focusing on getting the ball to the right flipper to go up top to start multiball.

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