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The Shadow

mwong168

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Nov 14, 2012
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Adam analyzes...

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The Shadow... now here is another example of a great game with a terrible theme. The Shadow has to be one of the most unique layouts around with the player controlled ramp diverters, The Battlefield and unique physical ball lock really help sell this game. It’s also a great example of a tournament game as while there are some really large points to be had, there is no singular strategy that is more powerful then the other. Some may argue there is but I’m of the mind that the most common overpowering strategy while lucrative can be just as viable as other items on the playfield.

First let’s talk about the modes, the game has some pretty decent modes. I watched the movie after acquiring the game and they fit well within the movie theme. There are 6 modes and the mode you are on can actually be changed by shooting the ramps. If you have the diverters directing the ball left, the mode will move to the next mode on the left and if the diverter is on the right it will move the mode lit to the right.

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Mode start is on a tight shot on the right hand side beside the right loop. It’s a tough shot but can be backhanded on some Shadow’s so make sure you give that a try as it makes the shot much easier.

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You can also start a mode on the left saucer which is the same saucer as the Khan multiball start. Personally if I actually get it in that side saucer and don’t start a multiball I’m pretty pissed.

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Anyway the modes are:

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Escape Hotel Monolith
This is a two ball multiball where you have to shoot balls into the wall lock. 3 shots drops the wall to enter the hotel and then all shots are lit to defeat the mongols. Not a very point heavy mode since the lock shot when not being grabbed by the magnet there is a death shot. I’ve never actually made it all the way through since it’s only a 2 ball MB it usually ends pretty quick on Shadow.

Escape Underwater Doom
This is a great mode to get a ton of points. It’s got some really nice flow if you know the shots as it starts with a 30 million hurry up countdown with the left and right ramp lit. So what you really want to do is shoot the left ramp with the diverter feeding the left flipper, then shoot the right ramp with the diverter feeding the right flipper, then the left loop will light, shoot that, and then the inner loop and then back to the ramps. Each shot you make will give you the current value of the hurry up so it’s pretty easy to pickup 100 mil in the mode.

The Beryllium Sphere
Simple mode with some decent points and all shots are lit. The first shot is worth 10 million, second is 12 million, third is 14 million and you get the idea.

Duel of Wills
This is a pretty cool video mode where Phurba daggers will be speeding toward you and you need to pickup the million point values that are across the screen by moving left and right. What a lot of people don’t realize is there is a smart bomb so by pulling the trigger on the gun you destroy all the phurbas on the screen and give yourself a bit of a delay before they start up again. But once they do look out as they are going to come fast and furious.

Farley Claymore
This is an important mode again worth a ton of points because all shots are lit and you have to hit and beat Farley. Now the most important thing about this mode is you want to be up on the Battlefield. Every hit on the battlefield is a hit to Farley in this mode making it really easy to complete if you just stay up on the Battlefield for a while, and it can be worth an easy 100million if you finish it.

Punish The Guilty
By far the weakest mode in the game, not worth a lot of points and really just kind of crappy. There are 3 shots lit, hit all 3 shots and you get 30 million.

So that is it for the modes and the most important thing to remember about them is that all the value you gain is only award in bonus, so if you TILT bye bye hard work.

Let’s talk about the major toy in this game which is The Battlefield. It is like a actual game of Arkanoid or Breakout and one of the most unique toys in all of pinball IMO.

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Basically to get to the Battlefield there is a drop target sitting in front of a VUK to the left on the main Sanctum lock. Hit the drop target down to light the Battlefield and then shoot it in to get up there.

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The goal of the Battlefield is to complete the necessary number of hits to break through the back of the battlefield to get an award. I think with extra balls on, you light or get an extra ball but with no extra balls you get a default value of 50 million. You can raise the value of the Battlefield by completing all the lights on the battlefield. If you can get the ball to hit every drop target and standup target to make all the lights solid it will add an extra 20 million onto the value. The first time you try and break through the battlefield you need to get 30 hits, second time 50 hits, and I’ve never made it to the third time but I assume it’s going to be like 70 – 80 hits.

Very cool little toy and some tournament players actually use that as their exclusive way to play. Doing nothing but Battlefield if you are really good at it I can see it as a viable strategy. The ball is at no risk of draining on the Battlefield and there are some good points up there but still there is so much to this game I don’t think one singular thing is more important the anything else. Now let's move onto the multiballs in the game as there are two.

Khan Multiball
It is very simple to light but much harder to start. In order to start Khan multiball you just need to spell K-H-A-N via the inlanes/outlanes.

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But to start it you need to hit the side saucer just above the left ramp and you can really only hit it directly via the upper right flipper but sometimes you get lucky and get a bounce in. Khan is a great multiball because all shots are lit for a 20 million jackpot. But if you can lock balls in either the mode start or side hole you can 2x or 3x your jackpot value. Nice little add on for when it happens but I don’t bother spending any time trying to do it except for the Super Jackpot.

This is what I wish Stern Transformers had done with their IHMPF. Once you collect all of the Jackpots on the playfield. The Super Jackpot is now lit on the Battlefield. There is a roaming light on the Battlefield and you need to hit that light and you are awarded the 100million Super Jackpot. Now what's even cooler is if you can lock a ball in either of the saucers or if you still have all 3 balls in play and can lock both balls in the saucers (good luck with that ;) ) you can 2x and 3x the Super Jackpot!

Sanctum Multiball
The other multiball in this game is the Sanctum multiball. This one is much more dangerous to go after because you need to lock 3 balls straight up the center in the sanctum. The problem is to light lock you need to nail the wall and then the ball usually likes to come screaming down the middle!

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I didn’t mention this earlier but I guess it’s relevant now. There are skill shots available on the left ramp on the plunge.

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Depending on which way you divert the ramp, when you make the ramp shot you get a skill shot award. Sometimes after you lock the first ball, light lock shows up on the skill shot so it saves you one of the dangerous shots to the wall to light lock. The lock animation is one of the coolest physical locks in pinball. There is a magnet that grabs onto the pinball, the wall then drops and the magnet lets go of the ball for a quick second as the ball starts to drop the magnet pulses and throws the ball into the lock. Once you lock 3 balls, multiball begins and Jackpot is lit on the inner loop. 4 jackpots lights the Super Jackpot on the side saucer and as with Khan multiball jackpots can be multiplied if you lock balls in the saucers.

Let’s move on to Vengeance. This is a great and very lucrative mode and to start it you need to collect the 4 rings on the ramps. To collect the rings you just need to make the left and right side of each ramp shot. Once you make the shot the ring above the shot will light solid letting you know which shots you’ve made.

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Once you have made all 4 shots, vengeance starts, and you need to shoot all of the same shots again on a timer, with each shot being worth, I think somewhere around 5 mil each, plus a 50 mil payoff if you make all 4 shots within the timer. You can really get a nice flow going with the divertor. Also if you can make all 4 shots in a combo, you get Super Vengeance! Which is a 100 mil payoff, and I think all the shots are worth 10 mil now, or something like that. Super Vengeance can also be started right away if you make all 4 of the ring shots in a combo as well.

There are stand ups around the machine that spell Mongol

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There is also a single standup just to the left of the lock that will spot a letter in Mongol. Spelling Mongol also starts a 30 million hurry up that can be collected on the loops and if for some reason you can’t make a shot at the loops before the hurry up times out you can pull the gun trigger to shoot the mongol and get a free 3 million. It's better than nothing if you are not going to make the shot because the hurry up timer stops at 10 million.

Now let’s talk about one of the main strategies that tournament players use for this game and that is combos. There is a potential 7 way combo is this game which is more of a cool accomplishment then an actual real scoring opportunity. It can be made by shooting the following:

Right loop, loop pass to right flipper
Left ramp divert to right flipper
Left ramp divert to left flipper
Right Ramp divert to left flipper
Right ramp divert to right flipper
Left loop
Inner loop

But anyway, my point of this was that combos, the value of each bombs raises by 2 million every time you make it. Infinitely throughout the entire game so what you end up seeing a lot of players do is left loop to inner loop and then make the inner loop as many times as possible and then start over again. The first 2 way combo is only worth 10 million but make enough of them and then the shot starts becoming worth 20, 30, 40, 50 million a shot which can be really lucrative. Also take into account that the left loop to inner loop combo, chances are you are going to miss and hit the side saucer and start modes or multiball so you are getting points on shadow loops and you are also building towards super loops which ends up just being a ton of points. So combos are one of the biggest strategies in Shadow but personally I like to use a mix of everything. I try to play the entire machine using everything is has to offer such as Vengeance, multiballs, modes and combos. That way you don’t get stuck in an all or nothing situation.

Now as an added bonus there is a secret mode in the this game and it’s called laugh mode. To get it, each time you end up in one of the saucers (mode start, left saucer or Battlefield saucer) if you pull the trigger on the gun you will hear a quacking duck and the quote “anyone for peaking duck”.

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If you pull the trigger in each of the 3 holes, your next mode start will start laughing mode, which is a switch frenzy mode where the characters in the game are just laughing.

So now onto the Wizard mode which is the Final battle, you will need to:

Start Khan multiball
Start Sanctum multiball
Start Each of the Modes
Complete the Battlefield

That will then light Final Battle on the mode start, pretty cool wizard mode where you have to make pretty much every shot on the playfield. It’s a 5 ball multiball with a 30 second ball saver. The mode continues for as long as you have 2 balls in play and if you can complete all the shots you get a billion points!

At the end of the day The Shadow is a great tournament game with tons of strategy and just a ton of things to do. All of which is very accessible and all very fun. This game's downfall has always been its theme because if it had a better theme I’d bet you would see it in the same price range as games like AFM and MM as the game is just that good. It is way better playing game then MM but not as fun as AFM IMO.

So hopefully that helps make a little more sense of Shadow and god this was a long write up and I think I’ll do a much simpler game next time :p