Paragon (Bally, 1979)

From Bob Matthews EM Encyclopedia 2018
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Quickie Version

 UTAD, via the left side inline drop targets from the right flipper and either off of the right side target 3-bank or through the gate above them from the left flipper.  Option to just use the left flipper to transfer to the right and do left drops only if you’re good at tap passing.
 Go-To Flipper:  Right.

Full Detail

Paragon is one of the most popular solid state game ever made. It’s somewhat bonus-heavy, but there are a lot of points to be had other ways, too. Bonus maxes at 5X and 49K for 245,000; if you get the bonus all the way up to 49, listen for the special high-pitched tone as the game finishes scoring your bonus.

EBs and Specials can be important. If set for points, EBs are 25K, specials 50K. EBs come only from the saucer behind the left side inlines; the first shot to it gets your 5X multiplier, the second gives you EB. There are several ways to score a special: finish the PARAGON letters [worth 25K plus a special]; finish the upper right side drop target bank 4 times on one ball; finish those same drops 5 times during the course of the whole game and then score a waterfall shot behind them.

Key Feeds: the rebounds from the left inline drops and the exit from the right side waterfall lane. I’d also pay attention to the kickouts from both top saucers, with the intent of finding a way to nudge a bit to keep the ball up there and maybe hit that center standup target for a few bonus advances, or have the ball pop back up into either saucer again.

Skill Shot: plunge for the left saucer [“Golden Cliffs”]. Value starts at 2K, goes up 2K per shot until reaching 20K, stays there. Value holds across balls for entire game.

Drop catches, bounce passes, etc. all can be used to try to get the ball under control. The double right flipper means the ball can only be cradled on the right side on the upper flipper. If the ball is on or coming to the right flipper, you have two options: shoot the in-line drop targets or the spinner just right of them. The best strategy depends several things: how juicy is the spinner? How consistently does the ball continue through the spinner and onward safely into the right side waterfall lane afterwards? How likely are shots to the inline targets to drain? An what is your current bonus situation, including how close you are to reaching the 20K “super bonus” [or 30K or 40K]? For juicy spinners and safe follow-throughs, shoot the spinner until the bonus reaches 20,000, at which point that value is held for the rest of the game. If you’re close to 20K, shoot the spinner even if it’s not juiced just to get to 20. Otherwise, shoot the drop targets to increase your bonus X and, eventually, score an extra ball or alternative points in lieu of one. Then get the base bonus to 20K or more later.

Key feeds: first, from the waterfall on the right. Does it land on a flipper? Which one? Does it graze the slingshot above the right flippers? Wherever it goes, can you get it cradled somehow, or must you shoot on the fly? I’ve seen many variations: on-the-fly-only with the right flipper, dead bounce from left flipper to right, tip from right flipper to left, and ones where you must wing it each time depending upon how it hits the slingshot. Second and third key feeds are those from each of the two top saucers, which kick the ball in the vicinity of the top bumpers: can you nudge [or not] to get the ball to go back into either saucer a second time? Can you at least get the rebound off of the bumper to hit the top center “advance bonus” pad?

The “Beast Lair” [lower left]: you’ll lose a fair amount of balls here; many can be saved but learning the nudging here is among the most advanced there is on any game. It’s hard to describe how to do it, it just takes a lot of practice.

Don’t be shy about using the upper left miniflipper! While you can drain out the right side if you miss-time a flip with it, it’s very useful for keeping the ball up top and away from the Beast Lair. Aim your shots with it between the left and center bumpers.

Sometimes after you clear the four inline drops, your shot towards the 5X bonus / Extra Ball saucer behind them will be rejected. Don’t let that get to you; just try again. If it happens a lot, try adjusting the speed of your shots a bit, e.g. slower.

One final caution: another way I see an unusually high percentage of balls drain is by the ball bouncing from the top right bumper to the mini-rubber just right of the Paragon saucer, then ricocheting down the center. Watch out for this.

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