Rules & Strategies

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

Ball Launch: The shooter lane comprises a habitrail ramp that delivers the ball to the upper right flipper. There is no skill shot, but it's best to launch the ball as gently as possible so as to setup a good first shot from the upper right flipper.

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Launched balls travel up the habitrail then drop to the playfield and roll under the B ramp toward the upper right flipper. Here's a look at the upper shooter lane area with the B ramp removed.

Flash Targets: The Flash Targets are a bank of four drop targets located at the top of the upper playfield beneath the lizard head. There's a line of five inserts in front of the target bank that indicate scores of 20,000 40,000 60,000 80,000 and 100,000 points. The inserts sequentially flash from left to right. Hitting any of the four targets freezes the sequence. The lit value may then be collected by completing the target bank within a preset time frame (just a few seconds). If the target bank is not completed within the preset time, all four targets reset and the inserts continue flashing in sequence. During the preset time limit, the lit value may be advanced by looping though the cave (behind the 3-Bank Drop Targets). But cave shots consume precious time. Each target scores 1,000 points. Completing the bank also scores two bonus advances. Sweeping the targets doubles the completion score and scores four bonus advances. That would be 200,000 points if the 100,000 point flash insert is lit or 600,000 points if the feat is accomplished during 3-ball multiball. But given the angle of the target bank and flippers, I don't see how a sweep is even possible. I suppose it's possible to make four quick shots taking each target in turn, but that would require an enormous amount of skill (or luck).

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The flash target area with ramps and lizard head removed.

3-Bank Drop Targets and Cave: The 3-Bank Drop Targets are located in the top left corner of the upper playfield. The Cave is a short loop around the back of the targets. Shooting the cave scores 3,000 points. However, successive completions of the drop target bank advance the cave value from 3,000 to 10,000, 20,000 and 40,000 points. A fourth completion lites extra ball. A timed fifth completion collects the extra ball and lites the special. If the extra ball is not collected within the allotted time, the targets reset, but the extra ball remains lit for another try. If not collected, the extra ball remains lit from ball to ball. A timed sixth completion awards the special. If the special is not collected within the allotted time, the targets reset, but the special remains lit for another try. If not collected, the special does not remain lit from ball to ball. After the special is awarded, the whole cave sequence resets back to its initial value of 3,000 points, so multiple consecutive specials are not possible. At the beginning of each ball, the cave feature also resets back to its initial value of 3,000 points. Each of the first two targets hit scores 1,000 points. Dropping the final target scores 25,000 points. Each bank completion scores two bonus advances. A pass through the cave also briefly lites the upper right standup target for 50,000 points (Speed50).

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The 3-bank drop targets and cave loop with ramps removed.

Top Right Stationary Target and Speed50: There's a stationary target located in the top right corner of the upper playfield next to the shooter lane exit. Shooting the cave briefly lites the target for 50,000 points (Speed50). The target always scores 5,000 points and two bonus advances and releases any balls accumulated for multiball.

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Top right stationary target with ramps removed.

Spinner: The spinner is located between the two upper flippers and scores 100 points or 2,000 points when lit. The spinner is lit by completing L–I–Z–A–R–D on the six stationary targets by the left ramp entrance. The spinner is unlit at the beginning of each ball.

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The spinner.

Right Playfield Passage: There's a playfield-level passage that connects the right sides of the upper and lower playfield areas. The right passage always scores 5,000 points. As explained below, the first completion of A/B lites the right passage for Bonus Holdover.

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The right playfield passage.

Lizard Head and Ramps: Grand Lizard's prominent feature is the molded lizard head at the top of the playfield, which is fed by left and right (or A and B) ramps. Balls shot up the ramps enter the lizard's head, roll down the forked tongue and drop to the upper playfield. Shooting the ball through the left or A ramp lites A and scores 10,000 points and a bonus advance. Shooting the ball through the right or B ramp lites B and scores 10,000 points and a bonus advance. Hitting the roll-under switch at the bottom of each ramp scores 10 points and causes the respective A/B lite to momentarily flash*. Completing L–I–Z–A–R–D on the six stationary targets by the left ramp entrance also spots an A or B. The first completion of A/B lites the right passage for Bonus Holdover. The second completion of A/B lites the outlanes for 50,000 points and a chance for full bonus**. The third completion of A/B lites the bottom right stationary target for extra ball. The fourth completion of A/B lites the bottom right stationary target for special. Subsequent completions of A/B score 50,000 points. If not collected, lit awards remain lit from ball to ball. The A/B sequence also carries from ball to ball, but the nature of the carry over is kind of complicated. At the beginning of a subsequent ball, an A/B completion re-lites any lower-valued awards that have already been collected. For example, let's say ball 1 lit the bonus holdover, lit the outlanes, lit the extra ball and collected the bonus holdover, but not the outlane award and not the extra ball. At the beginning of ball 2, the bonus holdover would not be lit, but the outlanes and extra ball would remain lit from ball 1. The first completion of A/B would re-lite the bonus holdover. The second completion of A/B would lite the special because the outlanes and extra ball are already lit.

* There is one switch at the ramp exit which is hidden under the lizard head and is common to both A/B ramp sides. The exit switch is responsible for liting A or B, scoring the 10,000 points and advancing the bonus. However, the exit switch is inactive unless the A/B lites are caused to flash via their respective roll-under entrance switches. I suppose it's possible for a poorly shot ball to travel so slowly around the top of the ramp that the lites would stop flashing before the ball exited the lizard head. In that case, all you'd get for your shot are the 10 points from the roll-under entrance switches.

** According to the game manual, the second completion of A/B lites the outlanes for 50,000 points and a chance for full bonus. I'm not sure what "chance for full bonus" exactly means as I have not noticed this ever happening.

A ball passing through an inlane lites the opposing A/B ramp for a mystery award. The mystery award remains lit for only a short preset period. The award ranges from 30,000 to 99,000 points.

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The A/B ramps.

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A look at the ramp exit switch with lizard head removed.

Multiball: The ball lock mechanism is a horseshoe-shaped passage that wraps around the left ramp entrance. Balls are shot into the right side of the passage and are ejected from the left side. A backhand shot from the left flipper is the easiest way to lock a ball. There is no prerequisite for locking balls. A ball may be locked at any time (except during multiball). 2-ball and 3-ball multiball are possible. 2-ball multiball is commenced by locking one ball and shooting the second ball to the top right stationary target. All scores double during 2-ball multiball. 3-ball multiball is commenced by locking two ball and shooting the third ball to the top right stationary target or by shooting the third ball into the lock passage. All scores triple during 3-ball multiball. Each ball shot into the lock passage scores 30,000 points and two bonus advances. Any balls shot into the lock passage during multiball are immediately ejected. Any balls shot into the lock passage during multiball score 30,000 points times the number of balls in play (i.e. 60,000 or 90,000 points). Opponents may "steal" each other's locked balls.

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The ball lock area.

L-I-Z-A-R-D Stationary Targets: Six L–I–Z–A–R–D targets surround the left ramp entrance and lock passage. Each lit or unlit target scores 1,000 points and 1 bonus advance. Shooting the sixth and final unlit target scores 50,000 points. Lit targets remain lit from ball to ball. Completing L–I–Z adds one time unit to the left magna-save. Completing A–R–D adds one time unit to the right magna-save. Completing all six targets spots an A or B, lites the spinner and advances the bonus multiplier up through 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x and finally to a maximum of 10x (that's a lot of targets!). The bonus multiplier resets at the beginning of each ball.

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The L–I–Z–A–R–D targets.

Bottom Right Stationary Target: The bottom right stationary target is a difficult shot from the tip of the left flipper (or a lucky ricochet). The target always scores 10,000 points. The target is lit for extra ball and special by multiple completions of the A/B ramps as noted above. If the target is lit for both extra ball and special, both are collected. The extra ball and special remain lit from ball to ball until collected.

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The bottom right stationary target.

Magna-save: A magna-save is located above each inlane and can save a ball from the outlanes. Each magna-save is activated by a respective magna-save button located forward of each flipper button. Each magna-save has three associated inserts indicating three time units. Each magna-save may be activated until its respective three time units are exhausted. Spent time units may be replenished via the L–I–Z–A–R–D targets as noted above. I hopelessly suck at magna-save. Usually I forget it's there. When I do remember I usually miss the ball. When I do catch the ball I often exhaust my time units before the ball settles enough to drop down the inlane. But going for the inlane is probably the wrong strategy. The way to conserve time units is to momentarily press the magna-save button so as to reverse the direction of the ball and fling it back to the middle of the playfield in one smooth motion. I doubt I will ever master such a skill.

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The right magna-save area.

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Left-side magna-save and flipper buttons.

Slingshots: The slingshots are of the usual shape and location and score 10 points. There are no other rebound switches.

Inlanes: The inlanes are of the usual configuration, score 3,000 points, score a bonus advance and lite the opposing mystery award.

Outlanes: The outlanes are of the usual configuration, score 5,000 points, two bonus advances and 50,000 points when lit.

Flippers: There are four flippers. Much like a split-level game, there are a pair of conventionally arranged flippers at the bottom of the upper playfield area and a pair of conventionally arranged flippers at the bottom of the lower playfield area. A center post is located between the lower pair of flippers. There are also four side-cabinet buttons. The pair of buttons closest to the player operates the left and right pairs of flippers in a conventional manner. The other pair of buttons activates the left and right Magna-save feature. High score initials are entered via the Magna-save buttons.

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The lower playfield area.

Extra Balls: Extra Balls are awarded by way of the 3-bank drop targets and the A/B ramps as noted above. Collecting an extra ball awards a ring of the bell.

Specials: Specials are awarded by way of the 3-bank drop targets and the A/B ramps as noted above. Collecting a special awards a longer ring of the bell.

End-of-Ball Bonus: The bonus is displayed by a circular arrangement of inserts in the center of the lower playfield. Bonus multipliers are displayed by a circular arrangement of inserts between the bottom flippers. The maximum bonus is 39,000 points which can be multiplied up to 10x by way of the L–I–Z–A–R–D targets as noted above. The bonus can be carried over to the next ball by a Bonus Holdover. Bonus Holdover is lit by way of the A/B ramp feature and the right passage as noted above. Multipliers are not held. The bonus is forfeited by a tilt.

Jet Bumpers: None.

Lane Change: None.

Grand Lizard Vocabulary: None.

Game Over Game Play: I've found an odd scenario where Grand Lizard can be played after a game has ended. If you earn a top-four score, two things happen during the enter initials sequence: (1) the flippers remain enabled and (2) the game ejects any balls remaining in the lock passage. Note that high score initials are selected via the magna-save buttons so flipping has no effect on the enter initials sequence. Instead of entering your initials you can continue playing your leftover locked ball (or balls). Of course all the playfield switches are dead so this extra playtime is only interesting as an odd bit of trivia. After a minute or so, the game times out and moves on to the match sequence. At that point the flippers die and you're done for good.