Type tiltowait to enable the "Special" menu.
Press [Command] + I multiple times while the game loads.
Ignore the score. This is a difficult layout, and it will probably take several
dozen games to start to get the hang of it. Concentrate on keeping the ball in
A good goal at this stage is to start MultiBattle; you can light the lock either
by hitting the three targets to the right of the bumpers or by shooting the
right ramp enough times.
Read the manual. Concentrate on the section dealing with flipper technique;
there's good advice in there. The natural tendency of beginning pinball players
is to hit both flippers at once; do not give in to this temptation- it seems
easier at first, but it will hamper your progress later on.
Don't be afraid not to flip. When a ball comes to either flipper moving at any
real speed, just letting it bounce off the lowered flipper will often send it on
a nice slow bounce to the other flipper, where you can often trap it (by holding
that flipper up) and set up your shot. Yes, the occasional ball will bounce down
the drain, but you'll lose many more balls if you flail away with the flippers
and let the ball get out of control.
Pull the plunger all the way back on ball plunges. This is the same strength the
machine uses when it plunges the ball in during AutoBattle, so using this
strength yourself will make it easier to learn to handle the plunge
consistently. The ball will almost always come to the left flipper; try to flip
it up the left ramp. It takes practice, but it's worth it.
Don't be afraid of the nudge key; you can rack up as many tilt warnings as you
want (just don't try this on a real pinball machine- it will tilt after one or
two of these warnings.) As long as you don't nudge more than once more in the
second after you see the warning, you will never tilt; and at this stage,
learning when to use the nudge is more important than the occasional tilt
At first, the outlanes will seem to gobble up everything in sight. This is
normal; the slingshots are angled to send the ball towards the outlanes. This is
the first place where you need to use the nudge. It's usually a good idea to hit
the nudge key once as the ball strikes a slingshot; this will cause the ball to
bounce higher than it otherwise would have, and will often send the ball into
the side target banks. (Of course, a nudge can also send what would have been a
safe ball into the outlane; with practice you will learn to recognize the angles
that bring this about, usually bounces off the bottom half of the slingshots.)
The Merlin saucer can be frustrating as well; it can give you very good awards
(including two extra balls,) but it's just about impossible to hit with a direct
shot, and balls kicking out of it often bounce off the slingshot and down the
left outlane. You'll find that the best way to hit the saucer is by nudging the
ball as it bounces off the slingshots; with practice you can send it this high.
When the ball kicks out, my advice is not to nudge at all; the ball will
probably bounce off the left side, then back off the right slingshot. At this
point, nudge when the ball is halfway across the playfield, and the ball will
usually deflect away from the outlane.
Remember that shooting the ramps will relight the inlanes, which in turn will
relight the Shields when they're used up. The left outlane is quite a bit more
ball-hungry than the right, due to the shape of the wall above it; so whenever
the left Shield is turned off, concentrate on hitting the right ramp to light
the left inlane, then the left ramp to relight the Shield.
At this stage, you should be starting MultiBattle in a good number of your
games. You should be starting to develop a feel for when to use the nudge to
save the ball from the outlanes; you should also be getting the hang of shooting
the ramps. You'll start routinely getting eight-digit scores in this stage, and
you'll get your first 50M+ score (but don't send in your high score yet; you'll
want to start with a 100M shirt anyway.)
A good goal at this stage is to try to light all twelve Knights (though starting
Holy Grail may take a bit more practice.) You should still be starting
MultiBattle in most games.
Remember when I told you never to use both flippers at once? Well, I lied. When
the ball looks like it's going straight down the drain, a very useful technique
is to flip first with the nearer flipper, then a tenth of a second or so later
with the opposite flipper. If your timing is right, the ball will bounce off the
tips of both flippers and back up into play. (This works on real pinball
Every ball starts with a few seconds of AutoBattle. For the beginner, this gives
a brief period of safety; for the intermediate player, it also gives a chance at
free Knights. When you plunge the ball, you should still be trying to shoot it
from the left flipper straight up the left ramp; as always, making this shot
lights the "Accolade Knight" light on the right ramp. However, don't shoot for
the ramp when the ball comes back to the left flipper; instead, just let it
drain. AutoBattle will kick it back into play, and score the Knight for you
automatically. The danger, of course, is that if the ball takes too long to
drain, AutoBattle will turn off first and you will lose the ball. As a rule, if
the ball has already dropped into the inlane by the time the AutoBattle light
starts flashing, there is time enough to let it drain safely. Hit the nudge key
just before the ball gets back to the left flipper; this will cause it to hop
over the flipper and drain much faster than it would if it had rolled across it.
Likewise, the 40-second AutoBattle round awarded by the left ramp is a great
opportunity to pick up Knights in this way. For this reason, it's a good idea to
not lock any balls during this AutoBattle; if you do, the short AutoBattle you
get for launching the new ball replaces the rest of your 40 seconds.
When you get all twelve Knights, concentrate on making the Holy Grail combo (the
left ramp, then the right ramp)- remember that you have to do this on the same
ball you get the twelfth Knight, or you lose all twelve and have to start over.
(Don't be upset if this happens, though; it's a quite difficult combo, and
you're getting 10M points just by getting this far. When you start making this
combo with any regularity, you'll have become an expert, and we'll talk later
about what to do then...)
If you're getting the hang of shooting the left ramp, you should be picking up
quite a few ramp awards each game at this point. One of the most valuable ramp
awards isn't shown by the lights; an extra ball is lit at each outlane when you
collect the first four awards from that side. This makes going for ramp awards
In MultiBattle, shoot for the bumpers. Not only do they drive up the Jackpot,
but the Devil Dragon targets to the right of the bumpers relight the Jackpot and
light the extra ball at the top Lock saucer. As long as you can keep all three
balls on the playfield, you can keep on lighting and collecting extra balls in
this way. It's much more difficult than it looks- without AutoBattle, keeping
all three balls in play is tough, and the lock saucer is not an easy shot- but
it's worth going for. The left Shield will often score the Jackpot for you when
it fires, so concentrate on keeping it lit by making ramp shots as necessary.
As with a real pinball machine, nudging when the ball is in the bumpers can keep
the ball in there longer and rack up more points; this is particularly useful
during MultiBattle, where this drives up the Jackpot, and might very well bounce
the ball up into the Lock saucer to collect the extra ball. Just be careful not
to get carried away; it's easy to get a little overexcited, nudge just a little
bit too often, and tilt a MultiBattle away.
At this stage, you should be regularly getting multiple Jackpots in a game,
getting extra balls from the ramp awards, and starting the occasional Holy
Grail. You'll start getting 100M+ scores (now is when you start sending your
high scores in to StarPlay; don't forget that there's now a T-shirt available
for 250M as well.)
A good goal at this stage is to get Holy Grail with some regularity, and
maximize your points when you do get it.
Learning to make the Holy Grail combo is the most important factor here, and all
it takes is practice- play a few games in which you shoot exclusively for the
ramps, and try to make that combo wherever possible.
It's important to remember that every scoring shot is multiplied by 15 during
the first 30 seconds of Holy Grail, and that includes the Jackpot. For that
reason, if you get a MultiBattle just before Holy Grail, it can be very
worthwhile to drive the Jackpot as high as possible, but not collect it-
uncollected Jackpots carry over to the next MultiBattle (which includes Holy
Grail), and that 5M Jackpot becomes 75M in Holy Grail!
You're much more likely to be able to start Holy Grail if your Shields are lit,
and MultiBattles have a nasty habit of using up both of them. So you may want to
avoid starting MultiBattle at all when you already have nine or more Knights
lit. If you do have a MultiBattle going with all twelve Knights lit, and you
manage to relight the Shields, strongly consider letting all but one ball drain
right away; you can't collect the Grail during MultiBattle, and the Grail is
worth more than that MultiBattle ever will be.
Another key shot during the start of Holy Grail is Dragon Cave; as long as you
keep shooting it every few seconds, it's worth 15M per shot- with practice, you
can easily get another 60M or 75M this way.
Don't give up on the left ramp either; when Magic Shield or Magic Spear are
running, if you hit all three targets on that side and then hit the left ramp,
the Magic Shield/Magic Spear timer is reset. This can be particularly valuable
during Holy Grail, since it can keep the 15x period going much longer- and with
all those balls bouncing around the playfield, you'll probably be lighting the
left ramp anyway.
Finally, don't stop at just one Holy Grail per game; once you finish the ball on
which you started Holy Grail, the Knights reset, and you can start over. Get two
high-scoring Holy Grails in one game, or three mediocre ones, and you'll be in a
position to take over the all-time high score.