Scorpion (Williams, 1980)

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Quickie Version

 Plunge to the left side, then shoot the six drop targets and the 1-2-3 standup targets as many times as possible before having the ball fall between the upper flippers to the lower [main] playfield.  Once down below, lock both balls in the two side saucers to start multiball, then do UTAD with both of them when able, complete the main 5 drop target center bank when not.
 Go-To Flipper:  Balanced.

Full Details

More complex than many other games of its era, so both the quickie version and this main version will be longer than for most games.

Scorpion is all about multiball and the upper playfield. You want to get off to some early points and plunging the ball to the left is a good way to start. The ball will come to the upper left flipper, from which you want to start nailing the two upper three-drop-target banks. Completing them scores 10K, 20K, 30K, 50K, then special [which we hope is set to be worth points!]. The completion value is held from ball to ball. The 1-2-3 standup targets advance your bottom saucer bonuses, with the “1” advancing the right saucer, “3” the left and “2” both of them. You can fill up both bonuses to maximum value and get 100K plus from the drop target banks before the ball ever reaches the main playfield.

Once the ball is down below, it’s all about getting multiball. Scorpion’s multiball is set to award points based on how long you keep multiball running, in addition to whatever regular points you score during it. You can’t just cradle the balls to earn time, though, the count-up timer pauses if you do. You get 1000 points for each second of time at the end of your ball, plus a chance to score level bonuses. At 15 seconds, the right orbit lights for 50K; for 30 seconds, EB, and for 50 seconds, Special. They stay lit until collected, and you can collect all of them with one shot if all three are lit.

To start multiball, simply lock a ball in each saucer. You’ll get a collect bonus [one side only] for each shot. When multiball starts, you get a bonus multiplier advance and the center target bank resets. Finishing that bank now will

Building your bonus multiplier by completing the center drop target 5-bank, which advances it one step to 2X, 3X and 5X, is not the way to go here. Shots at those targets are dangerous, often rebounding out the right side drain. They’re best avoided until multiball, when you get one multiplier step advance automatically and then will probably hit some of the targets by accident during multiball. In that case, if you’re close to finishing the bank, go ahead and shoot the last target or two. Bonus multiplier is held from ball to ball unless you have 5X, in which case it drops back to 1X.

One other item about multiball: if you finish that center bank during it, the side outlanes will light for “double timer bonus.” Drains out either side will then give you twice your earned end-of-ball timer bonus. The timer maxes out at 99 seconds. Your maximum overall end-of-ball bonus is then 10K base times 5X max multiplier times 2 saucer bonuses for 100K, plus 99 seconds times 1K per second times 2 for double timer bonus making 198K in time bonus for 298,000 in total.

Bonus is collected during play each time you shoot the ball into a saucer, both to lock a ball and during multiball, when it will be kicked back out after scoring your bonus. If you have a large bonus and a good multiplier, shooting a lock during multiball can give you a valuable pause in the action that does not stop your count-up bonus timer. Good chance to refocus your play, too.

Other shots: Finishing 4-5-6 lights a bumper each time. The two standup bullseye targets on the left side advance bonus, but if you miss either and hit one of the posts to their sides, you may drain; avoid them. Each pair of return lanes advances bonus, too.

Finishing 1 through 6 twice lights the spinner at the upper left for 1000 per spin. This can provide a notable scoring opportunity if you lock one ball after lighting the spinner. You get a free plunge of the other ball, and a hard-plunge will go through that upper spinner, potentially giving you tens of thousands of points. If you do the hard plunge, though, you may want to raise or hold up the upper left flipper to prevent the ball from rocketing down the center drain.

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