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Rules & Strategies

NOTE: The following is based on my particular game with all adjustments set to factory defaults. Results may vary.

Cyclone has a simplistic rules set. There is no progressive game strategy to speak of. The third ball strategy is about the same as the first.

Ride the Shuttle: The Shuttle train takes you to the park entrance and is the game's skill shot. The Shuttle consists of an elevated ramp over the normal shooter lane location. The Shuttle ramp has five holes that score 10k, 25k, 100k, 25k and 5k points respectively. The object is to shoot the 100k hole. If the ball undershoots the 10k hole it rolls back to the plunger for another try. Hard plunger shots will pass over all the holes and launch the ball directly into play. When the ball drops through one of the five holes it falls down to what would be the normal location of a shooter lane and is automatically shot into play by a kicker located under the ramp. Each successive ball (including extra balls) increases the skill shot multiplier up to a maximum of 5x. Here's where extra balls can really pay off. Scoring 500k points on that fifth ball goes a long way toward a reply.

Park Entrance: From the Shuttle train shooter lane the ball is launched to the three top rollover lanes that form the park entrance gates. The usual lane change is available from the flipper buttons. Each pass through a rollover scores 1k points. Each pass through a rollover lane also adds 5k points to the Gate Jackpot. Completing the three rollover lanes starts a 20 second double scoring mode. All scores are doubled including the Comet's 1M shot, but not the Cyclone's Gate Jackpot. The double scoring mode time is cumulative such that completing the rollover lanes during double scoring adds an additional 20 seconds to the mode. From the lower playfield, the rollovers can be accessed by a right orbit shot up between the jet bumpers and Cyclone ramp.

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Click for a larger image of the top rollover lanes and Jet Bumpers (upper ramps removed for clarity).

Jet Bumpers: A trio of Jet Bumpers is located beneath the rollovers. The center rollover lane is the rollover most likely to benefit from a bumper ricochet so it's a good idea to keep that lane unlit when the ball is in the bumpers. Each bumper hit scores 1k points. Bumper hits also add 3k points to the Ferris Wheel bonus.

Ride the Ferris Wheel: The Ferris Wheel is located in the upper left corner of the playfield and is accessed from a left orbit shot between the Ball Toss targets and the Comet ramp. The Ferris Wheel elevates the ball to a left-side ramp that delivers the ball to the left inlane. The Ferris Wheel is lit for 15 seconds via the right inlane. Shoot for the Comet ramp or Cyclone ramp to get the ball to the right inlane and set up for a lit Ferris Wheel shot. Shooting the lit Ferris Wheel scores the Ferris Wheel bonus that is accumulated from the Jet Bumpers and equal to a 50k point minimum plus 3k points per bumper hit. Unlit Ferris Wheel shots score 25k points. Uncollected Ferris Wheel bonus points are carried over to the player's next ball. The Ferris Wheel bonus often builds to 100k points or more. That can be a lucrative shot if one activates a double scoring mode before collecting the bonus.

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Click for a larger image of the Ferris Wheel.

Ride the Comet: The Comet is the center ramp shot. The Comet ramp has two exit holes. The first hole collects weak shots. The ball is dumped between the jet bumpers and no Comet points are scored. Strong shots propel the ball all the way around the ramp to the second hole. The second hole drops the ball onto the lower half of the Cyclone ramp which returns the ball to the right inlane. The Comet ramp can be shot from either flipper, but the right flipper is the best bet. The Comet ramp is lit at the beginning of each game and has an initial value of 40k points. Consecutive Comet shots must made at no more than 20 second intervals. With each consecutive shot, the Comet score increases from 40k to 60k to 80k to 100k. The fifth consecutive shot is the One Million shot, but must be made no more than 10 seconds after the fourth shot. If the 60k shot is missed, the ramp remains lit and the shot value returns to 40k. If any of the other time intervals are exceeded, the Comet value returns to 40k and the ramp must be relit by shooting the three cat targets at the Ball Toss. If the One Million shot is successfully completed the ramp must be relit via the cat targets and the Comet value returns to 20k such that six consecutive Comet shots are required for subsequent One Million point scores. Unlit Comet ramp shots score 10k points.

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Click for a larger image of the Comet ramp and Spook House.

Spook House/Mystery Wheel: The Spook House is a cellar hole that is protected by a single drop target located immediately to the right of the Comet ramp. Hitting the drop target scores 5k points and reveals the Spook House, but any Spook House shot must be made within 15 seconds before the drop target pops back up. The drop target is best hit from a ricochet. A direct shot on the drop target is likely to go SDTM or become airborne and go right over the flippers. Hitting the Spook House awards a spin of the Mystery Wheel located on the backglass. The Mystery Wheel awards prizes from 5k to 200k points or an extra ball, special or "zilch". Following the Mystery Wheel award the ball is kicked back into play from the Boomerang, a scoop located above the left sling shot. Balls ejected from the Boomerang generally head toward the left flipper.

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Click for a larger image of the Mystery Wheel.

Ride the Cyclone: The Cyclone is the right ramp shot and empties to the right inlane. The Cyclone ramp is lit at the beginning of each game and has an initial value of 50k points. After the 50k points are scored, a consecutive Cyclone shot must made within 15 seconds to score 100k points. A third consecutive Cyclone shot must be made within 15 seconds to score the Gate Jackpot. If the 100k shot is missed, the ramp remains lit and the shot value returns to 50k. If the Gate Jackpot shot is missed or if it's collected, the ramp must be relit via the duck targets at the Shooting Gallery and the Cyclone value returns to 50k. The Gate Jackpot has minimum and maximum values of 500k and 4M points and carries over from one game to the next. If the current Gate Jackpot is between 500k and 1M, an additional 1M points are added to the Jackpot after all earned credits have been exhausted. Thus each new player will have a starting Gate Jackpot value of at least around 1.5M points. The Gate Jackpot's value is displayed in lights on the left side of the backglass and is increased by 5k points with each pass through one of the three top rollover lanes. Scoring the Jackpot requires passing the ball from the right flipper to the left flipper to set up another Cyclone shot. Or shoot the lit Ferris Wheel to get the ball back to the left flipper. The Gate Jackpot feature would be most lucrative at a public location where many unskilled players build up the Jackpot before hand. Still, the potential 1.5M Jackpot value is well worth the effort. A Gate Jackpot award causes the left most digit of that player's score to blink, indicating a Jackpot award. Unlit Cyclone ramp shots score 25k points.

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Click for a larger image of the Cyclone ramp and Gate Jackpot display.

Ball Toss: The Ball Toss comprises three stationary cat targets on the middle left side of the playfield above the Boomerang and below the Ferris Wheel orbit. Completing the three cat targets relights the Comet ramp. Unlit cat targets score 5k points. Lit cat targets score 1k points. Completing the three cat targets scores 30k points and lights the "Hold" half of "Hold Bonus". The "Bonus" half is lit by completing the duck targets. An additional target located on the right side of the Spook House spots a cat target. A direct flipper shot on the additional target would be tough. Ricochet hits are more likely.

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Click for a larger image of the Ball Toss.

Shooting Gallery: The Shooting Gallery comprises three stationary duck targets on the middle right side of the playfield. Every duck target hit scores 1k points. Completing the three duck targets relights the Cyclone ramp. Completing the three duck targets also scores 25k points and lights the "Bonus" half of "Hold Bonus". The "Hold" half is lit by completing the three cat targets. Completing the three duck targets a second time with the same ball scores 50k points. Completing the three duck targets a third time with the same ball lights extra ball. The extra ball is toggled between the left and right outlanes. Toggling is by way of the slingshots and flipper buttons. So use the flipper buttons to light whichever lane the ball is headed toward.

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Click for a larger image of the Shooting Gallery.

Ride the Boomerang: The Boomerang is a scoop located above the left slingshot and increases the end of ball bonus multiplier from 2x to 7x. The boomerang is lit at the beginning of each game and is relit via either inlane. Lit and unlit Boomerang shots score 50k and 10k points, respectively. Balls ejected from the Boomerang generally head toward the left flipper. Multiplier progress is recorded on playfield lights located in the lower center of the playfield. If the blinking multiplier value is achieved, a special is awarded. The multiplier required for a special is automatically adjusted according to the skill of the average player in much the same way as the reply score is adjusted. The Boomerang is the most difficult shot on the game. It looks like a clean shot from the right flipper, but the ball just never seems to want to get in there.

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Click for a larger image of the Boomerang.

Slingshots: The slingshots are of the usual shape and location and score 10 points per hit. The slingshots also toggle a lit extra ball between the left and right outlanes.

Inlanes: The right inlane lights the Ferris Wheel. Both inlanes light the Boomerang and score 5k points.

Outlanes: The outlanes score 10k points and award an extra ball when lit.

Flippers: There are two flippers in the usual location. There's also a fixed center post. Balls headed SDTM should just be left to bounce back into play on their own.

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Click for a larger image of the lower playfield.

Multiball: None.

Extra Balls: An extra ball can be awarded via the Mystery Wheel or the Shooting Gallery as described above. Extra ball is also lit if the first and second balls are lost in less than 67 seconds. This is meant as a potential consolation for unskilled or unlucky players. The extra ball toggles between the left and right outlanes and is awarded as described above under Shooting Gallery. Once lit, extra ball remains lit until collected or the game ends. It is possible to light both outlanes at once by a combination of the consolation extra ball and/or multiple completion of triple sets of duck targets. Such offers the potential of two extra balls. If one extra ball is collected the remaining light remains lit for another try.

End of Ball Bonus: The end of ball bonus increases by 1k points for each of the following: start of ball, each rollover, each stationary target and each inlane. Outlanes are worth 3k points. The end of ball bonus is multiplied via the Boomerang as described above. The end of ball bonus is held by completing the three cat targets (lights "Hold") and by completing the three duck targets (lights "Bonus"). There is no bonus ladder display feature on the playfield. Prior to losing a ball, the bonus value can viewed by holding a flipper button for a status report (called Outhole Bonus). In my experience, the bonus multiplying Boomerang shot is so difficult that the End of Ball Bonus rarely has a significant effect on the outcome of a game.

Specials: Specials are awarded via the Mystery Wheel or the Boomerang as described above.

Cyclone Vocabulary:
"Hurry, hurry, step right up" - start of game
"We have a winner" - 100k point skill shot
"We have a winner" - Mystery Wheel award of at least 50k points
"Ride the Ferris Wheel" - Ferris Wheel lit
"Ride the Comet" - Comet relit
"Ride the Cyclone" - Cyclone relit
"Welcome to my house" - Spook House lit
"Won't you come in?" - Spook House lit
"Round and round she goes..." - Mystery Wheel spin
"You pay your money you take your chances" - Mystery Wheel: zilch
"Million... Million... Million..." - one million shot lit
"Winner" - match
"Hey you" - random attract
"Hey you with the face" - random attract
"Hurry, hurry" - random attract
"Hurry, hurry, step right up" - random attract
"You sir and you madam, step right up" - random attract