Phantom of the Opera (Data East, 1990) VP8 by Cristof

VP8 Data East SS Recreation Phantom of the Opera (Data East, 1990) VP8 by Cristof v2.0 2020-01-28

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Phantom of the Opera (Data East, 1990) VP8 v2.0
by Cristof, Shockman, Pafick77, others
IPD No. 1777

Rules:
Dave's Guide to
The Phantom of the Opera
Version Date: June 12, 1995

Author: Dave Hollinsworth


Overview
The Phantom of the Opera is a 1987 Data East game, based on the 1911 Gaston Leroux novel of the same name (and NOT based on the famous Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, although it was coincidentally released at about the same time....) Although the most common complaint about the game is that there isn't much to do on the playfield, I think that this makes it a good game for beginners and intermediates to practice hitting shots consistently on.

Basic Playfield Features


Flippers
just the usual lower two. There is a LOT of space between them, and no center post. Fun.
Left Outlane
has a kickback and an "Extra Ball" light. It's the typical "Data East Scoop" design...watch out for it.
Left Inlane
lights the spinner for a "Mystery Score".
Grasshoppers
a 3-bank of contact targets. See "Grasshoppers and Scorpions" below for more information.
Ramp
called the "Catwalk", it is a red plastic ramp that feeds around the back of the game and to the right inlane. Each shot adds a letter to "PHANTOM" and scores 20K + 5K, and completing the word lights the ramp for unlimited 1 million point shots. A bonus of some sort (it never displays exactly what) is available by making the ramp after the right inlane, and a Special is also available here. On the last ball of the game, shoot this ramp twice in a row to double your score. Whenever the ramp is lit for something important, the game will say "Shoot the Catwalk".
Top Lanes
these are the standard three rollover lanes. Each has a light with a musical note on it. Completing them starts a 20-second "Jackpot Build" round where every switch adds 1K to the jackpot; completing them again during this time will reset the clock for a "Jackpot Build x2" round, and so on. Completing them also lights the spinner for 5K per spin the next time it is hit. At the start of each physical ball (i.e. Ball 1, but not any extra balls earned on Ball 1), one of the lanes will be flashing. Plunge the ball and get it to drop in this lane (non-steerable) for the Skill Shot, which awards 100K x ball in play and opens the Organ.
Bumpers
three in the standard triangle below the rollovers. 1K per pop, and nothing more remarkable.
Magic Mirror
a sinkhole located dead center, below the lowermost pop bumper and hittable from either of the lower flippers. Shooting it will advance the bonus multiplier by one up to 5x. The fifth shot of each ball (i.e. the one that would have advanced to 6x bonus, if such a thing existed here) will light the Extra Ball at the outlanes, and the sixth shot will Hold Bonus. After the sixth shot, the mirror does nothing except award token points. Balls shot here are ejected out the Trap Door.
Organ
this is the main focus of the game. It is a wide incline (not really a ramp) with three contact targets at the top. Hitting all three, or making a skill shot, will open the organ, raising the incline to reveal a wide sinkhole. Shoot this for multiball; see "Multiball" below. Balls shot here go to a VUK on the left side of the playfield, and are ejected from here into the left inlane.
Spinner
this is the entrance to a half-orbit that ends up at the rollover lanes. The spinner is worth 1K per spin, or 5K if the rollover lanes are completed. After the left inlane is hit, the spinner scores a "Mystery Score" (although like the ramp, the game never displays exactly what you get).
Trap Door
a small, hard-to-hit sinkhole below the spinner. There are three lights here: Extra Ball, Light Laser Kick, and Instant Lock; I've never seen the last one lit and don't know how you get it. Shooting here will Light the Laser Kick if it has been used, and will award one of several random awards, given below. All of the awards are pretty decent, so if you can get this shot down it can be quite rewarding. The awards are:
Points (75K, 100K, 200K)
Special
Extra Ball
Open the Organ - same as hitting the three targets, this will light the 2-ball lock
5x Multiplier - if you get this, try to hit the Mirror as soon as possible, as it will light the Extra Ball
Double Jackpot - doubles the current value of the jackpot, maxing at 2M.
5000 Box Lit - lights the spinner for 5K per spin
Phantom Shot Lit - immediately lights the ramp for million shots
[did I miss any?]
Note that if the Extra Ball light given above is lit, the game cheats a little; the ball is awarded by having the Trap Door award an Extra Ball, not by awarding it and then a normal Trap Door award.
Scorpions
a 3-bank of contact targets. See "Grasshoppers and Scorpions" below for more information.
Right Inlane
has a "Catwalk Mystery Score" light. Rolling over this inlane lights the ramp for a mystery award.
Right Outlane
has an "Extra Ball" light.
Grasshoppers and Scorpions
The two 3-banks of contact targets each have four awards associated with them: 100K, Hold Bonus & 50K, Light Extra Ball, & Light Special. At the beginning of each ball, the game will pick one of the awards; the only way to change it is to collect it or drain the ball. Completing both banks will award the selected value, and select another one. All except the 100K award will only be available once per ball. The Light Extra Ball award lights at the Trap Door, not the outlanes.

Note that the game seems to think that these awards are very important...the available award is displayed in no fewer than THREE places on the playfield: in front of each bank, and just above the flippers.

Multiball
Multiball in Phantom of the Opera has three "stages" to it. First, you must open the Organ, either by making the skill shot or by completing the three contact targets at its top. Once the Organ is open, shoot it (it's big, trust me, you can't miss) to lock the ball. The game will display "Ready for 2 Ball Play", and a second ball will be served to the plunger. Hitting any switch except the top rollovers (no skill shot for this ball) will immediately open the organ and eject the locked ball into play.

During 2 ball play, all you gotta do is lock both balls within 10 seconds of each other. Lock the first one, and the game will show you how much time remains until that ball is put back into play. Warning: in order to count, the second ball must actually be in the lock area before the time expires, not just heading there. If you're just a little bit to slow, not only will the game kick out the first locked ball, but then the second ball will arrive, the game will think its kickout failed, and it'll kick that one out too!

Once both balls are locked, "Ready for 3 Ball Play" is displayed, and the Organ will close. A third ball is served, same as above. This time, however, the Organ does not open for free. While more than one ball remains in play, a single hit of one of the Organ targets will open it for 5 seconds. During this time, put a ball inside it for the Jackpot. Once a Jackpot has been collected, the Organ closes, and you get to bat the remaining balls around aimlessly until you lose all but one. It's also worth noting that there is a small grace period on the Jackpot: if you lose all but one ball while the Organ is open, the game will display "Back to 1 Ball Play", and then start to close the Organ. Shooting a ball into the Organ under the closing door will still award the Jackpot...great for impressing the onlookers.

Other Stuff
Well...there's pretty much nothing else to do on this game. I told you it was a simple game. :-)

Tips, Tricks, Strategies, and such
The two biggest sources of points on this game are Multiball and the ramp millions. Multiball is by far the easiest to get, so concentrate on it first. Just make the skill shot and you've got one free Multiball each ball.

During Multiball, after you've gotten the Jackpot, I usually try to herd the balls toward the Magic Mirror. On the machine I play, the Trap Door kickout is amazingly flaky (I've seen it spit balls into ALL THREE possible drain sites), and so the two or three balls in play give you a little insurance against automatic drains. Once I've collected everything the Mirror has to offer, I'll either start on the ramp letters (yes, you can get the Million shot during Multiball), or flail balls toward the Grasshoppers or Scorpions.

You CAN start the "Double your Score" during Multiball...avoid that ramp at all costs unless you've got another ball waiting on the flippers for a clear shot.
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