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Thread: MARS Table Trophy Guide

  1. #1
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    Jul 2009

    Default MARS Table Trophy Guide

    MARS Table Trophy Guide

    Ramps and Orbits:
    This table has 3 ramps, one vertical up-kicker, two orbits, one mini-orbit, and a lift(sink) hole:
    • The left ramp - This ramp is on the left side of the table with a large entrance. It is the ramp with a holographic space ship floating above it. This is the easiest ramp to hit and the only one that usually lets the ball drop slow enough to catch.

    • The middle ramp - This ramp is to the right of the left ramp (literally touching it) and can only be reached using the upper right flipper. It is the ramp with a holographic pyramid floating above it. You can reach the upper right flipper either by hitting the left orbit or the mini-orbit. Also, using a ball save will shoot the ball around the left orbit and using a left kickback will shoot the ball up just above the top right flipper so take advantage of these shots when you can!

    • The right ramp - This ramp is on the right side of the table with a small entrance. It is the ramp with the holographic space spider floating above it. This ramp can be tough to hit. Often, missed shots at this ramp can result in the ball dropping down the right outlane so be careful!

    • The vertical up-kicker - This is just to the left of the right ramp and is proabably the hardest shot on the table. It is the only up-kicker on the table and it has a holographic satellite floating above it. You can hit this from a semi late position on the left flipper (be careful because this will miss more often than not and can lead to the ball bouncing into the right outlane), or from an early position on the right flipper. Using the right flipper is a much safer shot, but can sometimes result in the ball deflecting toward the center hole.

    • The mini-orbit - This is the orbit just to the left of the vertical up-kicker. It can be hit from a middle position off the left flipper or an early position on the right flipper. Once again, be careful with this shot because it can result in the ball draining down the right outlane.

    • The orbits - The orbits are on the far left or right of the table and circle around the top of the table as usual. Both can be hit with late flipper shots relatively easily. The right orbit is a little tougher to hit than the left.

    • The lift hole - This is the hole in the center of the table. When this hole is hit, it will lift the ball sending it left center lane or right center lane, alternating each time.

    Table notes:
    There are two major notes for this table that are worth mentioning:
    1. There is only one "generally" reliable shot that will end up with a caught ball, the left ramp (but only if hit from the right flipper). Almost every ramp on this table will result in the ball coming down the lane too fast to stop on the corresponding flipper. The general strategy here is to recognize this and simply nudge the ball to the other flipper. I can't tell you how easy it is to hold a flipper up hoping the ball will stop only to have it suddenly tip over the edge of the flipper. This of course leads to either a ball drain or a very late flipper shot to try to keep the ball in play. Knowing when the ball has at least a chance to rest will save you a lot of headache! Almost all of the time if you hit the left ramp from the right flipper it will end up caught on the left flipper. Of course there ARE times when this is not the case, so you definitely have to pay attention. If it looks like it might go over the edge, hit it again. It's not worth chancing it because there's no big harm in hitting the ball again to stay safe. I can't emphasize enough, DON'T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE to decide to hit the ball (or your controller could end up in your tv, lol)!!! Having said this, there ARE other times when the ball WILL stay on the flipper, but few and far between after it has come down a ramp, so be careful! This is one of the things that makes this table particularly challenging when compared to some of the others.
    2. The other important note is that this table only allows TWO nudges before it will TILT. This is particularly devious due to the first note. They really wanted to make this table tough! The first nudge will display the word "DANGER" all in CAPS and the second nudge will display the word "danger" in bigger font, but all in You will also hear a voice saying "Watch Out!" the second time. Fortunately, as with the other tables there appears to be a nudge counter which will reset after some amount of time. In other words, after you nudge the table twice, you can nudge it again safely after a bit of time. I don't know the exact amount of time, but I'd give it at least 30 seconds.

    Kickbacks and Ball Save:
    The kickbacks on this table are critical to achieving the silver trophy. The kickbacks are activated by lighting all 3 of the lane lights on the left or right side of the table. The left lane lights activate the left kickback and the right lane lights activate the right kickback. You can rotate the lights left or right by using the left and right flippers respectively. My general strategy after activating a kickback is to keep two of the lights lit at all times so that if I ever used that kickback it was easy to reactivate it. This is especially important for the right kickback because it is a little tougher to hit the right ramp. Quite often when you are trying to hit the right ramp, you will instead hit a target and it will deflect down to the right outlane. Due to this, if the right kickback was not already active, I would set up the lights so that after hitting the ball with the left flipper, the missing light would be over the outlane. This would allow the kickback to be activated as the ball was going down the outlane. If instead you make the right ramp shot, then simply hit the left flipper again to move the unlit light to the center right lane so that you can activate the kickback normally. Likewise, if the kickback is already lit when the ball is dropping down one of the lanes, I would always make sure I rotated the lights so that I never lit the third light (thus essentially wasting a kickback). The goal is to always keep both kickbacks activated and 2 lane lights lit on each side of the table. Make sense? This may sound complicated, but it will save you over and over again and it will become natural as you practice it.

    The Ball Save is not nearly as important on this table and is too risky in my opinion. You will activate the ball save by accident many times trying to hit ramps (you'll end up hitting the targets surrounding the ramp openings a lot). The problem with going for this intentionally is that you may end up using kickbacks as hitting targets frequently sends the ball toward the outlanes. I've never been a huge fan of ball save simply because it's only temporary. You can't accomplish much in the time that it stays lit, and it takes effort to enable it. At any rate, the ball save for this table is enabled by hitting all 5 targets that surround the left ramp, vertical up-kicker, and the right ramp.
    Last edited by skippycue; 09-19-2010 at 02:36 AM.

  2. #2
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    Jul 2009


    Table Interruptions:
    One of the frustrating things about this table is there are constant events that interrupt normal gameplay. I will detail those events below explaining how to handle them when you are going for the silver trophy. There is NO PENALTY for not completing any of these missions, but some of them have to be completed to continue with the game…sigh.
    • Special Events:
      During your game, the dot-matrix display will show a 300 second countdown. When it reaches 0, one of the special events will commence. Unlike on the Earth Defense table, the countdown continues to go down during missions and after losing your ball and there is no way to prevent the special events from starting. This really has no effect on gameplay other than adding an annoying delay every 5 minutes.

      The game will loop between two missions, always starting with Frozen Ship.

      • Frozen Ship - You will be playing this mission with a blue ball. Hit either the left ramp or the right ramp to start a 45 second countdown, during which you’ll have to spin the spinners and hit the bumpers. One clean shot is usually enough and then you can repeat this with the other ramp. My strategy here is to hit the left ramp and then let the ball rest there until the timer ends and the mission fails.

      • Oxygen - A 45 second timer will start automatically, there is no need to hit a ramp first. Simply hit the orbits to spin the spinners and hit the bumpers. Once again, my strategy here is to catch the ball on one of the flippers and wait for the timer to end and the mission fails.

    • Zero Gravity:
      This event is really unavoidable because it starts after hitting the flipper bumpers a total of 20 times (counter only increments during normal gameplay, not during events). You are thrown into a multiball where you can score jackpots for a bit and then the gravity decreases. This ends up floating the balls above the table for a short while and then they drop. My personal goal here is to get this over with ASAP. You have no control over the balls when they are floating, so they can waste kickbacks or even drain down the center when they drop. In order to end this mode, try to keep one ball caught on a flipper and let the other ones drain as fast as possible. The mode does not end until you are down to one ball and you can't lose any balls when there is no gravity.

    • Space Station
      It's hard to avoid starting this mission. It's a result of hitting the two targets surrounding the entrance to the left ramp and then hitting the left ramp. In this mission, you have 20 seconds to install 4 components to a space station. The timer gets reset after each component you install. You install components by hitting the left and right orbits, the inner-orbit, and the right ramp. It's easier just to let this timeout instead of wasting time.

    • Recharge
      This is activated by hitting the mini orbit 4 times. During this mission you have 30 seconds to recharge the ship's batteries. The ship's batteries are charged by hitting the spinners at the orbit entrances or the bumpers at the top of the table. It usually only takes one or 2 hits to recharge the batteries, but you can also simply wait 30 seconds for the mission to end while the ball is resting safely on a flipper.

    • System Failure
      This is activated by hitting the mini-orbit 4 times after you have completed the Recharge mission. The whole system fails and to restart it you have to hit the left ramp, right ramp, mini-orbit, middle ramp, and then the lift hole. There is no timer here so you have no choice but to complete it. In general unless I'm collecting an extra ball or I'm already in a mission, I avoid hitting the mini-orbit at all costs (it's a tough shot to hit intentionally, but surprisingly easy to hit when you get careless with the ball)!

    • Portals
      This mission will start upon lighting all 4 MARS targets on the left. The goal is to shoot the ball through 10 portals before the timer runs out. I wouldn't recommend trying to complete this one as it is very unpredictable and the ball seems to fly around the table at warp speed.

    • Already enabled/completed missions
      I find this to be particularly annoying and uncharacteristic of other ZEN tables. Once you have enabled or completed a mission, the mini-missions required to activate that main mission become available again. When you are trying to go for the silver trophy, this is simply annoying. If you are going for points, then it's great! In fact, all of these events are great if you are just going for points! Some of the mini-missions have a timer and will just time out if you ignore them, but others you HAVE to complete because there is no timer…sigh yet again. All these missions will be explained in detail in the Lost Civilization section below.

    Note - All these interruptions are annoying, but can lead to some EXTRA BALLS!
    In the very back center of the table, where the ball drops from the orbits to the bumpers, you will see 3 red lights that look like bullseyes. There are actually 3 small lanes between the orbit and the bumpers, represented by those lights. They work exactly like the kickback lights and can be swapped around with the flippers. Light up all 3 and your multiplier will increase. If you manage to reach a x10 multiplier, the extra ball light in front of the mini-orbit will light up. Hit it to claim the extra ball. Special events, the pyramid mini-missions and the recharge mission all have a blocked orbit. This will always send the ball down the middle lane. Since you’re stuck with them, you might as well use them to score that extra ball. One thing to note is that for the Frozen Ship special event, the orbit is only blocked when the orbits are lit! If the ramps are lit, the orbit is not blocked!

    Skilled Pilot (B)
    Using the Spaceship magnetic drain collect five space samples!

    This trophy is achieved after completing the first mini-mission in the Sunstorm mission set, Sample.
    Please refer to Lost civilization for more info.

    Explorer (B)
    Neutralize the defense system of the Pyramid.

    This trophy is achieved after completing the Pyramid Main Mission.
    Please refer to Lost Civilization for more info.

    New Galaxy (B)
    Discover and analyze a new galaxy!

    This trophy is achieved after completing the first mini-mission in the Satellite Mission set, Scan.
    Please refer to Lost Civilization for more info.

    Lost Civilization (S)
    Discover the Lost Civilization by completing the final mission!

    This may well be the toughest silver trophy in the game! In order the start the Final Mission, you will have to enable and complete all 4 of the main missions. These are the ones that are displayed in the center of the table. As with all the other silver trophies in ZEN Pinball, the best advice is to be patient and take the time to activate the kickbacks!

    Each mission needs to be enabled by first completing several mini-missions. After you've completed all the required mini-missions for a given main mission, that mission will become lit up on the table. In addition to that, the lift hole will be surrounded by red "MISSION STARTER" light. Send the ball into the lift hole to start the mission. When you have completed a mission, the light for that mission will turn green.

    Note - You can enable multiple main missions at once without having to complete others you've enabled first. If you’re at a point where you have multiple main missions enabled, hitting lift hole will start a 20 second timer. At this point, you can change the mission you want to play by hitting the spinners at the orbit entrances. When you hit a spinner, the highlighted mission(indicated by a flashing mission light) will rotate through all the enabled (not completed) missions until the spinner stops. Start the highlighted mission by hitting the lift hole a second time. The bad news here is that it's a little annoying to have to try to select the mission you want to play. The good news is that once you choose a mission, it will become the default every time until you complete it or you change it. I personally try to avoid enabling multiple missions at one time because it's easier just to hit the lift hole once and know it's going to start a mission.
    Last edited by skippycue; 10-05-2010 at 05:26 PM.

  3. #3
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    Jul 2009

    Default gwomer 126

    Main Missions
    • Sunstorm:
      • Sample:
        Shoot the left ramp twice to start this mode. A magnetic arm will appear on one of 5 set locations on the table. You have 15 seconds to hit the ball to the magnetic arm so it can be collected. After each successful shot to the magnetic arm, you get another 15 seconds for the next shot. You have to do this 5 times to end the mode. Don’t worry if you run out of time, hit the left ramp again and you will continue where you left off. When you complete this mission for the first time, you will earn the “Skilled Pilot” trophy.

        Note - Be careful the first time you hit the left ramp. It will activate the space ship causing it to fly over the table, blocking your view and shaking the table violently. It's easy to lose your ball if you're not careful!
      • Ignition:
        After completing the Sample mode above, hit the left ramp 2 more times to start this mode. When you start this mode the lift hole will light up. Hit the lift hole and then you'll need to hit the left ramp, the right ramp and the mini-orbit to complete the mode.

        Note - Once again you need to be careful when completing this mode because the space ship will take off. This will block your view and shake the table violently just like when it arrived.

      Main Mission
      The idea of this mission is to guide the space ship in the indicated directions to avoid being struck by the sunstorm. There are two sets of targets (left and right) that alternate every 10 seconds as shown below. The goal is to hit at least one target for each wave until the counter goes down to 1 which is the final wave.

      On the left you have:
      • MARS targets - Targets on the left side of the table.
      • Left Orbit
      • Left Ramp
      • Middle Ramp

      And on the right:
      • Galaxy targets - Targets under the upper flipper.
      • Right Orbit
      • Right Ramp
      • Vertical up-kicker
      • Mini-orbit

      I recommend you use the left ramp (as that one can be easily hit from both flippers), and the right orbit (this should be an easy shot and if you hit your ball too late, it will probably slam into the targets under the top flipper and still count). I also recommend taking one shot per wave so that you can focus on catching the ball again before the next wave starts. It's often easy to get in two shots per wave, especially when it's the left targets, but it then can become hard to get the ball caught and ready to hit a target on the right when the wave changes.

    • Pyramid:
      Mini-mission: Leveling
      To start this mode the first time, you have to hit the middle ramp two times on the same ball. After that, you only have to hit the ramp once to start it a second time, and again to start it the third and final time (unless you lose your ball, in which case you have to hit it twice again no matter what level your pyramid is at). You have to complete this mode 3 times to completely build the pyramid. To beat the mode, simply score 10 bumper hits by hiting the orbits (that's the easiest method). The orbits are blocked, making it pretty easy.

      Main Mission:
      This 3-ball multiball challenge will probably put a lot of you close to, or even over the edge, as it is extremely difficult to complete. I've never been one to attribute luck to gaming because I pride myself on practicing and developing my skills, but a little luck here will go a long way! The object here is to hit 6 randomly lit ramps in addition to hitting all 6 side targets (MARS and Galaxy) when they are flashing without losing more than 1 of the 3 balls in play.

      First, your main concern should be keeping all 3 balls in play as long as possible. Do not look up at the table to spot targets unless you are absolutely sure you have the time for it. I can’t tell you how many times that split second of looking up to see if a hit registered cost me a ball. Take a lot of risks when you have the ball save activated, especially the free and longer lasting one you get at the beginning. Don’t worry about the 6 ramps/orbits as you will definitely hit all of them before the targets just by keeping your balls in play. The more you can get accomplished with the 3 ball chaos, the better! When you’re down to 2 balls, it’s time to change tactics a bit. Catch both balls and assess your progress. Again, if you have any ramps or orbits left, leave them be for now. Focus on the targets. Try to keep one ball as far away from the flippers as possible and make very late aimed shots at the targets with the other. Hit the left orbit often and keep your top flipper elevated, as this will send the ball in the direction of the MARS targets. You can hit the top right target directly with a semi-late left flipper shot. If you hit it too late on the flipper you'll end up hitting the bumper instead. Remember that you have to hit the targets when they are flashing which makes this mode even MORE difficult than it already is! If you have a ball save activated, don’t hesitate to take risks.

      When you finally manage to complete all 12 shots, the “lock is lit” light in front of the middle ramp will light up. The final part of this mission requires you to lock all your balls in the pyramid. If you're still on 3 balls, you're allowed to drain one of them. Remember not to look up unless you are absolutely sure you have the time to do so. Failing at this point is not good for you, trust me. After locking your first ball (or 2 balls in case you decided not to drain one), the multiball will end. Lock your remaining ball by hitting the middle ramp one last time to complete this beast of a challenge.

      If/when you complete this mission for the first time, you will earn the well deserved “Explorer” trophy.

    • Satellite:
      • Scan:
        Shoot the vertical up-kicker twice on the same ball to start this mode. I personally find this to be the hardest consistent shot in the game, and missing it can frequently send the ball toward the right outlane. It's easiest to hit this slightly late on the left flipper, but you can also hit it early from the right flipper. Warning! - Do NOT attempt this shot without the right kickback activated or you are asking for trouble! You will have to hit the left ramp, the right ramp, and the mini-orbit one time each. After hitting all 3, the satellite will project a blue light to the right side of the table and the 2 orbits will light up. Hit both of them to complete this mode.

        When you complete this mode for the first time, you will earn the “New Galaxy” trophy.
      • Recharge:
        After you have completed the Scan mode above, hit the vertical up-kicker two more times to start this mode. The left ramp, the right ramp, the middle ramp and the vertical up-kicker will light up. They all represent one of the possible switches you need to activate to recharge the satellite’s power. To complete the mode you will have to find the correct switch 3 times. Shoot the wrong one and you’ll get the “wrong switch” message displayed on the dot-matrix. Shoot the correct one and a voice will say “awesome” and you’ll advance to the next switch. After hiting the correct switch, it will be taken out of the random rotation. Although it will still light up, it won’t return as the correct switch during the same mission attempt. So your first switch is a 1 in 4 chance, your second a 1 in 3 and your last a 1 in 2 chance.
      • Dock:
        After you have completed Recharge, hit the satellite upkicker two more times to start this mode. You have 20 seconds to hit the vertical up-kicker again after starting the mode. This will lock your ball in the satellite. You have to start the Dock mode three times and lock 3 balls in the satellite to enable the Satellite main mission. After starting this mode once, you only need to hit the vertical up-kicker one time to start it for the second and third balls (unless you lose your ball, then you have to hit it twice again).

      Main Mission:
      This is a 4-ball multiball challenge. All seven ramps and orbits will light up. In order to travel the required 600 ?lightyears?, simply hit 6 of those 7 ramps/orbits. Just trying to keep your balls in play should be enough to complete this mission with ease. Every time you hear “jackpot”, you hit one. Certain shots will also increase the jackpot allowing you to reach your goal even faster. You'll know you've completed this mission when the satellite light turns green. At this point it's up to you what to do, but I usually just catch a ball and let the others drain. When you're down to 1 remaining orbit/ramp, they will all light up again giving you the opportunity to score more points. But by this time, the mission is already completed.
    Last edited by skippycue; 09-19-2010 at 02:45 AM.

  4. #4
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    Jul 2009

    Default bagatanc I927)

    • Refuel:
      Mini-mission - Analysis:
      To start this mission, all you have to do is hit the right ramp twice. That cute little space spider hanging out on the bumpers will hit a beam of light uncovering one of the 5 symbols. You have 15 seconds to shoot through it so your ball can be "scanned". Once you shoot through a symbol, you'll have 15 seconds to hit the next one until you hit all five symbols. Like the Sample mission in the Sunstorm series, your progress is saved if you happen to run out of time.

      Main Mission:
      Every 8 seconds, 2 or 3 random ramps/orbits will light up. Hit one of them in the given time and the lift hole will light up. Hit the lift hole to fill the first tank with fuel. Repeat these two steps 2 more times to complete the mission. This is by far the easiest mission to set up and complete! That's probably the reason there is no trophy for completing this one! ;-)

    • Final Mission:
      If/once you have completed all 4 main missions, the final mission will automatically start. This is another multiball challenge during which you will hunt for artifacts. These are the greenish glowing things that will appear on random locations on the table. Shoot a ball through it and a countdown from 10 million points (approx 10 seconds) will appear on the dot-matrix display. Hit the lift hole before the countdown runs out to advance to the next artifact. In order to complete this mission, you will need to do this for all 6 of the artifacts. The multiball will not start until after you hit the first artifact and get the ball into the lift hole. Hitting each of the first 3 will add a ball to the game, so you end up in a 4-ball multiball to complete the last 3.

      Failing to hit the lift hole in time, or being reduced to a single ball will end the mission. This is NOT what you want to happen because you don't get a second chance! Failing this mission means you have to enable and complete all 4 main missions again!!! The only advice I can give you is make sure you are confident at hitting the lift hole and never panic.

      Upon hitting the lift hole the sixth and final time, you will be awarded with the trophy and, in addition to the millions you’ve already earned on each Lift Hole hit, you will get a whopping 60 million points and with it a solid place on the leaderboards. Congratulations!!!

    Special Thanks to steviej for starting this guide!
    Last edited by skippycue; 09-19-2010 at 02:35 AM.

  5. #5


    I have some advice here.

    1) don't even bother trying to trap balls off the ramps. you always have a useful shot you can take without needing to do it.
    2) The rightmost mechanical arm position will prove to be the most troublesome on most versions of this table. You will need to worry about this again in final mission, but hopefully you will have multiball going then, and can flail around a bit and get it.
    3) Pyramid levelling is your friend. it helps you get bonus multipliers, and stops you from starting anything else until it's done.
    4) always play out all missions/events that make you shoot the spinner, because they are free chances to get bonus. Trap the ball, change the lanes, then shoot.
    5) scanner is another safe mission, and easy to finish.
    6) take advantage of no time out missions to relight kickbacks. Again, pyramid levelling is a good choice for this.
    7) the pyramid ramp is your friend. you can get TWO left lane hits out of it, and it starts pyramid levelling which helps you get extra balls. hit it as often as possible outside of modes!
    8) the main mission start hole alternates between right and left inlane feeds. It is vitally important to know which side it will send the ball to if you are gonna hit it during sandstorm. if it picks the wrong side, you have already lost!
    9) keep calm. and don't get pissed off by sunstorm or pyramid defense mode, they are very hard missions, and you can expect to fail them many times. simply try again, you usually will NOT drain when you fail them.

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