Attack From Mars


Rules to Bally's "Attack From Mars"
By Brian Dominy
Last Modified October 21, 1997


This is yet another rules sheet for Attack from Mars, a Bally/Williams pinball machine released in late winter 1996. I originally wrote it for my own use, but decided that maybe others would be interested in it as well. Your comments and suggestions for improvements are most certainly welcome.

Attack From Mars was released immediately after Whodunnit, and early versions of the software support the novice mode feature. This has since been removed. AFM continues to support player-enabled tournament mode. Hold down a flipper for several seconds, wait for the message about tournament mode, and then start the game to enable tournament mode settings. The software supports the Extra Ball buy-in, even though the Buy-in button has been removed. (If you find a machine with an Extra Ball buy-in button, it is one of the early prototypes!)


Design: Brian Eddy, who formerly created The Shadow, has most recently given us Medieval Madness, and worked with Mark Ritchie before his departure on Indiana Jones.

Software: Lyman Sheats, former world champion and former Sega employee.

Playfield Layout

Click here for a large picture of the playfield. (Courtesy of the Williams pinball homepage)

  • Left Outlane: Standard. This and the other inlanes/outlane each has a yellow lamp with no text; completing all four lights Stroke of Luck.
  • Left Inlane: Standard. Balls can roll up the inlane beyond the switch and find the outlane.
  • Left Slingshot: Standard. Scores a whopping 3,570 points.
  • M-A-R Targets: A three-bank of standups with those fat green plastic covers, located along the lower left side of the playfield. A martian figure stands above this and every other martian target bank; during Martian Attack, these martians bounce like the "Boogie Men" from Elvira.
  • Left Loop: Also called the Capture Loop. This is a TA shot, and has three yellow lamps to indicate your progress towards completing it. It is also a jackpot/Super jackpot shot, and a Combo shot. It is a single rollover switch. The ball leads over the Bonus X lanes, where it may be stopped or it may continue on out the right loop if the right gate is open.
  • Left Ramp: Also called the Big-O-Beam ramp. Has lamps for the same features as the left loop, except the lamps are orange instead of yellow. It has an entry gate at the bottom, and a made switch at the top. It returns the ball to the left flipper. This is the easier ramp of the two.
  • Lock Ramp/Hole: Normally this is a ramp shot which feeds the right habitrail and returns the ball to the right flipper. When Lock is lit, a diverter opens and catches shots, sending them into the Lock hole. The Lock hole is just a popper that kicks balls out onto the left ramp habitrail, returning the ball to the left flipper. This shot can be lit for lock 1, lock 2, lock 3, Light Lock, a Combo, or a Jackpot/Super Jackpot. The ramp entrance is narrow and steep, and requires a solid shot to make it all the way. The ramp has a gate, and shares its made switch with the right ramp.
  • T Target: Like the other martian standups, this one is between the lock ramp and the saucer. A martian figure stands above it.
  • Forcefield/Saucer: There is a motorized 3-bank of standups, like in "Whodunnit", that can raise and lower. When lowered, it reveals behind it a drop target in front of a hole, and two standups on either side of it. The saucer targets are used during Attack Waves. The Forcefield targets are also used during Strobe Multiball.
  • I Target: On the right side of the forcefield, just to the left of the Stroke of Luck scoop, with another martian figure above it.
  • Stroke of Luck Scoop: A narrow scoop, at an angle similar to that of Final Draw in World Cup Soccer, but much farther back. It can be shot from the front directly, or balls may fall in here from the back when exiting the jet bumpers. The game sometimes discriminates between front and back shots; it is a back shot if a jet bumper or bonus X lane was last touched, and a front shot otherwise. (This can be fooled by airborne balls.) The shot can be lit for a pseudorandom Stroke of Luck award (yellow light), an Extra Ball (orange light), Martian Attack (white light), and Rule the Universe (blue light).
  • Jet Bumpers: The usual three in formation similar to those on World Cup Soccer, lit by GI and not controlled lamps. These are used during the Super Jets feature. Balls can exit below into the Stroke of Luck scoop, or between the two rightmost bumpers into the right loop. Also, balls very likely will enter back into the Bonus X Lanes a few times while balls are a-popping.
  • Bonus X Lanes: Two rollovers directly above the jets, that can be fed by either loop. These advance the bonus multiplier, advance the scoring of the jet bumpers, and award the regular Skill Shot.
  • Right Ramp: Also called the Tractor Beam. Has lamps for the same features as the left ramp. It dumps the ball onto the right habitrail and sends the ball back to the right flipper. This is the smallest ramp, and reminds me of the right ramp from Johnny Mnemonic. It has a gate switch, and shares its made switch with the lock ramp.
  • Right Loop: Also called the Atomic Blaster loop. Has lamps for the same features as the left loop. It sends the ball over the Bonus X lanes, and if the left gate is open, the ball should whiz out the other side; otherwise, the ball will land in the lanes/jet bumpers.
  • A-N Targets: Two more standups along the lower right side of the playfield, with a martian figure above them.
  • Right Slingshot: Standard.
  • Right Inlane: Standard.
  • Right Outlane: Standard.
  • Plunger Lane: Autoplunger only. Sends balls into the top of the right loop, towards the bonus X lanes.
  • Launch Button: Obviously, it launches the ball, but it can also be lit for a Martian Bomb, and will flash when it is available. It is also used during the Video Mode, but does not flash then.


The main objective of AFM is to Rule the Universe. In order to begin this feature, you must complete 6 objectives: (1) Collect at least one Super Jackpot. (2) Start Total Annihilation at least once. (3) Start Martian Attack Multiball at least once. (4) Conquer Mars by completing all 6 Attack Waves. (5) Start Super Jets, by completing a certain number of jet bumpers. (6) Complete at least one 5-Way Combo.

Your progress towards completion of these six features is denoted by six blue lights just above the flippers. When the sixth feature is completed, Rule the Universe is lit at the Stroke of Luck hole. If any multiball is in progress, Rule the Universe will not be lit until multiball finishes. Shoot the SoL hole to start. See the section on Rule the Universe for details on that feature.

Skill Shots

There are two skill shots available at the start of each ball, and immediately after Ruling the Universe. Pressing the launch button without pressing the left flipper button will launch the ball into the Bonus X Lanes, and one of the two lanes will be flashing. Use the flippers to switch the flashing lane. Passing the ball through the flashing lane scores a normal Skill Shot, worth 10M points and +5X to your bonus multiplier. Each successive Skill Shot is worth 10M more points than the previous.

Holding the left flipper button down while pressing the launch button qualifies you for a Super Skill Shot. The left loop gate will raise and allow the ball to whiz pass the Bonus X lanes and exit down the left loop. Shooting any ramp or loop will award 50M points and spot all 3 Total Annihilation lamps for that shot. Shooting any Forcefield target will score 50M and lower the Forcefield. Shooting the saucer hole, the Stroke of Luck hole, or the lock ramp/hole awards nothing for the skill shot. The value of the Super Skill Shot is fixed and does not increase. It can be scored on a shot even if all 3 TA shots have already been completed. The Hurry-Up associated with completing the third TA shot is not awarded when it is completed by the Super Skill Shot.

There is a brief ball saver available at the beginning of each ball. Scoring a Super Skill Shot, or making a shot which does not award Super Skill Shot, turns off the ball saver immediately. When going for the normal Skill Shot, the ball saver remains active as long as the ball is in the jets/bonus X lanes and remains on a little longer after the SoL kickout. The display will read "Ball Saved / Return To Battle" and the quote "Return to battle, soldier" will signify that a ball is being returned into play.

A jet lane will be flashing even if Super Skill Shot is selected. If Super Skill Shot is selected but the ball does not make it all the way around and lands in that flashing jet lane, a normal Skill Shot will be awarded. If the autoplunger is really weak and the ball doesn't even make it over the bumper area at all, then the Skill Shot will remain lit for about 5 seconds and you can collect it during that time by shooting either of the loops to get to the lit lane.

When any Skill Shot is awarded by traversing the flashing lane, that lane is also lit towards advancement of the Bonus X on the same shot.

Total Annihilation

Four shots, the two ramps and the two loops, each have 3 lights in front of them. The left loop shots are labelled "Capture". The left ramp shots are labelled "Big-O-Beam". The right ramp shots are labelled "Tractor Beam". The right loop shots are labelled "Atomic Blaster".

At the beginning of the game and immediately after Total Annihilation, all 12 of these lamps will be turned off, and the next lamp to be awarded will flash. Making a shot lights the flashing lamp and flashes the next lamp in sequence. The first shot is worth 20M; the second is worth 25M; and the third is worth 30M. These awards are available during regular, non-multiball play, except that they are available during Martian Multiball.

Cow Video Mode can be started by watching the animations on the Big-O-Beam and Tractor Beam; see "Cows" for more details.

Making the third lamp on any given shot starts a Hurry-Up sequence. The saucer/forcefield is lit for 100M for a brief time, and then rapidly starts to count down, to a minimum of 25M. Shoot the saucer or forcefield (depending on whether or not the forcefield is up or down) to collect the Hurry-Up value.

The third shot to either loop will open the controlled gate to allow shots to that loop to exit out the other gate. This starts as soon as the third shot is made, and remains in effect until Total Annihilation is started, or Super Jets is started. The choice of skill shot is the only other overriding effect on this behavior.

After a shot has been completed three times, until Total Annihilation begins, shooting that shot again scores a "Fleeing Bonus" of 10M.

Starting another Hurry-Up while Hurry-Up is already in progress increases the value of the Hurry-Up to 300M; starting a third increases it to 500M; and starting all four simultaneously awards 1B immediately and also starts Total Annihilation. In general, when the last of the four TA shots is completed, the Hurry-Up is automatically awarded without having to shoot the saucer or forcefield, and Total Annihilation Multiball begins. The Hurry-Up does not count down any faster if more than one is lit, so when two or three are running concurrently, you have plenty of time to collect it.

During Total Annihilation, the four shots are all lit for jackpots throughout the round. The jackpot value begins at 50M and increases by 5M each time a jackpot is collected. In addition, an Annihilation Jackpot is lit at the lock ramp whose value increases each time a jackpot is collected. After collected, the Annihilation Jackpot returns to its base value. If no jackpots have been added into the Annihilation Jackpot, then shooting the lock ramp awards a regular Jackpot like the other four shots.

Each successive start of Total Annihilation starts with a base value of 25M more than before. For example, the second Total Annihilation starts at 75M per shot.

Total Annihilation is a four-ball multiball. Play continues until down to one ball. The forcefield cannot be lowered during TA. Regular multiball cannot be started during TA. Combos cannot be scored either. Also, the controlled gates remain closed so that all loop shots are kept in the bumper area during Total Annihilation. The maximum Annihilation Award is 200M.

When TA ends, the 12 TA lamps all reset, and you can begin progress towards another Total Annihilation.

Saucer Attack Waves

There are five countries under attack: the U.S., Italy, Germany, France, and England. You must first defend these five countries against the Martians; then in the final attack wave, you Conquer Mars yourself. When an Attack Wave is not in progress, pressing either flipper button will change the next country to be saved, which will be flashing.

The artifacts under attack are:

At the beginning of the game, or immediately after an Attack Wave is completed, the Forcefield will be raised. Shoot the three Forcefield targets to lower it and reveal the Saucer behind it. The Forcefield can also be lowered by a Super Skill Shot or a Stroke of Luck award. On normal difficulty settings, shooting the center Forcefield target when it is already lit will spot one of the other two targets.

When the saucer is revealed, shooting the drop target or the two side standup targets scores hits on the flying saucer. (If the drop target is broken, shooting the hole behind the target will score hits instead.) After a certain number of hits, the drop target will remain down, and you can shoot the hole to destroy the saucer. Destroying the saucer saves the country and light that country's lamp permanently.

You can score multiple hits on a single shot; the display will show the number of hits and the total number of damage points scored.

For the first Attack Wave, it takes 4 hits at 50M each to open the saucer, and destroying the saucer scores 200M. On each successive Attack Wave, the number of hits goes up by 4, the value of each hit goes up by 10M, and the bonus for destroying the saucer goes up by 100M. For the fifth Attack Wave, that means 90M per hit, and 20 hits to destroy the saucer for 600M.

An Extra Ball is lit when the second Saucer is defeated. Shoot the Stroke of Luck hole to collect.

Shooting either of the two standups when the saucer is open scores 5M.

If you are in a multi-player game, and you had the saucer hole revealed on your last ball, and on the next ball, the player before you drains with the drop target up, it will remain up for you as well. Hitting it will score 5M like the side targets and reveal the hole (again).

After completing the first five Attack Waves, Conquer Mars is next. Open the Forcefield as before. This time, the drop target will remain down, and you must shoot the hole 10 times to Conquer Mars. Each shot is worth 100M (consistent with the scoring as before), and the final shot conquers Mars and scores 2.5B.

You can only Conquer Mars once per game. For the rest of the game, the drop target will remain up, and hits on the drop target (and not the side standups) will score 100M. The Forcefield will remain down for the rest of the game unless Strobe Multiball is started. The blue Conquer Mars lamp remains lit after Rule the Universe is finished, so you only need to collect the other five awards to start Rule the Universe a second time.


To start regular multiball, you must lock three balls at the lock hole. Depending on the difficulty level of the machine, it will take a certain number of lock ramp shots to open the lock hole. These rules will describe default settings first.

For the first multiball, shoot the lock ramp once to light locks one, two, and three at the hole; the next three shots will go to the hole, with the third starting multiball. After multiball #1, you must shoot the lock ramp once per lock. The Stroke of Luck award "Light Lock" will do whatever would have happened if you had actually shot the lock ramp.

Balls aren't actually locked; the same ball is immediately returned to the player and merely a count is made of the number of locks. It isn't possible to steal or lose locked balls.

When ball three is locked, multiball begins. The ball is popped from the lock hole and two more balls are launched into play automatically. Five shots, the four TA shots and the lock ramp, are all lit for jackpots, and each can be collected only once. The first jackpot is worth 60M; the value increases by 10M per jackpot.

As balls are autolaunched, some legitimate shots to the right loop may not score jackpots.

When all five shots have been made, a Super Jackpot is lit at the left loop. Shooting the Super Jackpot scores 250M points and relights all five jackpots again. However, the Super Jackpot moves about every 5 seconds, sweeping across the five shots from left to right, then right to left, etc. Every time it moves you will hear a distinctive "blip" sound. Once collected, the five Jackpots relight, and it all starts over again. The jackpot value continues to increase by 10M per shot (so after the first Super Jackpot, it is worth 110M) until it maxes at 200M. Play continues in this fashion until down to one ball. The second Super Jackpot per game scores 500M; the third is worth 750M; and then it maxes out at 1B. On some versions of the software, it maxes at 750M and then returns to 250M for the next Super Jackpot.

If Super Jackpot is lit when multiball ends, it will continue to be lit as a "Last Chance" for another 10 seconds and continue to move as well. There is a short grace period at the end of the 10 seconds during which the Super Jackpot can still be collected.

Also, there is a very brief period before and after the Super moves that either of the two shots will score the Super Jackpot. In other words, if you shoot the next shot just before it moves, or you shoot the previous shot just after it moves, you will still get the Super Jackpot.

Even more, there is a short grace period at the end of multiball in which you can still collect one, or even two regular jackpots. If you manage to collect your fifth jackpot this way, you still get the "Last Chance" 10 seconds for a chance at the Super Jackpot.

On default 5-ball play, you must shoot the Lock Ramp to light each Lock separately for each Lock, like the second multiball on 3-ball settings.

You can continue to collect damage points on the Saucer during this and all other multiballs, except Strobe Multiball. After destroying the saucer, however, the Forcefield will raise, and you cannot begin the next Attack Wave until the multiball ends. On newer software revisions, there is a trick to be tried here: it is possible for a second ball to get stuck behind the Forcefield as it is raising. You can attempt this to park a ball out of the way during the multiball. When all other balls drain, a ball search will occur in about fifteen seconds and lower the Forcefield, returning the ball into play. Be careful, though, as it has a tendency to go straight down the middle.

Even better, while the ball is trapped behind the Forcefield, the Saucer drop target remains down (it is reset only when the next Attack Wave is started). If you manage to newton the ball into the saucer hole, by hitting the Forcefield with a second ball, the game will automatically spot the next Attack Wave. I have never done this personally, so I do not know if this works during any multiball, what points it awards, and if it spots Conquer Mars.

Jet Bumpers

At the beginning of each ball, jet bumpers score 1M each. Each time the bonus multiplier is increased, the jet value increases by 50K for the duration of the ball. +5X bonus increases the value by 250K. I am not sure if the jet value is held between balls when the bonus multiplier is held.

After 100 jet hits, Super Jets is awarded. The jets will score 3M each for the rest of the ball. At the beginning of the next ball, Super Jets will go unlit, and it take 125 hits to get Super Jets again. The third time will take 150, etc.

Super Jets tends to happen naturally over the course of a good game, especially when there are lots of multiballs.

Once Super Jets is active, left and right loops are always held in the Bonus X lanes, and never loop all the way around. This makes it harder to collect Combos, but it does allow you to score lots of points off the jets.

After finishing Rule the Universe, the blue Super Jets lamp will remain lit (on latest ROM levels) if Super Jets is still active, to allow you to start Rule the Universe again on the same ball. In that case, at the end of the ball in which Rule the Universe was started, the Super Jets lamp will be turned off. If Super Jets was started on a different ball, then the lamp is turned off as soon as Rule the Universe ends, and you can start Super Jets again on that same ball.


Consecutive ramp/loop shots during single-ball play are counted as Combos. Combos can be scored on any of the ramps, loops, or the lock hole. A 2-Way combo scores 25M, a 3-Way scores 30M, and so on. There is no known maximum. Continuous shots to the same loop are especially satisfying.

If a loop shot stops in the Bonus X lanes, the Combo sequence is stopped. The Combo sequence continues on loop shots only when all 3 TA lamps are complete (the third shot counts, too) and the controlled gate is open to allow the ball to exit the other side of the loop, and when Super Jets is not running.

The combo shots remain lit for a fixed time interval regardless of any other shots made in the interim.

Combos are not available during any multiball unless Martian Multiball is the only multiball running.

Stroke of Luck

The scoop is lit to award "Stroke of Luck" at the beginning of the game, and remains lit across balls. Stroke of Luck can be relit by completing the four rollover lights in the inlanes and outlanes. Use the flipper buttons to move the lights left and right (each button moves the lights in a different direction), so that balls will roll in an unlit lane, which will then light up. When all four are lit, they all go unlit and Stroke of Luck becomes lit. If Stroke of Luck is already lit, nothing happens; the award is not stackable.

The number of times the rollovers are completed is counted across the game (regardless of how many times you actually collect the Stroke of Luck at the scoop). At 10, an Extra Ball is lit at the scoop. The animation and sound effect for this are easy to miss.

On 5-ball games, the Stroke of Luck EB is lit at 14 instead of 10.

The Stroke of Luck is a pseudo-random award. Possibilities are:

  • 25,000,000 points. Awarded immediately.
  • 50,000,000 points. Ditto.
  • Light Extra Ball. Shoot Stroke of Luck again to collect.
  • Light Lock. For the first multiball, this will light all three locks. After that, it will light one additional lock, regardless if lock is already lit or not.
  • Award Lock. If Lock is already lit, then that lock is awarded and no lock will be lit. Otherwise the next unlit lock is awarded.
  • Multiball. Forget the locks, just start multiball.
  • Lite Martian Attack. Shoot Stroke of Luck again to collect.
  • +5 Bonus X. Same award as regular skill shot.
  • Hold Bonus X. Bonus X will not reset to 1X at the end of this ball.
  • Strobe Multiball. Starts immediately. See below for more details.
  • Video Mode. Starts immediately. See below for more details.
  • Sneak Attack. One of the four martians will begin jumping. Shoot immediately to score 150M; the value counts down quickly. Hitting the martian also awards 2 additional Martian Bombs and lights Martian Attack if it isn't already lit.
  • 1 Martian Bomb. Added to any you already have.

The award is pseudorandom, because sometimes it can be predicted. The third Stroke of Luck award will normally be Strobe Multiball. Stroke of Luck will award Video Mode the first time it is hit after Super Jets has been completed, even if it is the third time. Strobe Multiball will then be the next Stroke of Luck award given.

Stroke of Luck will normally award (regular) Multiball on the last ball of the game if multiball has not yet been started.

Stroke of Luck will normally award 1 Martian Bomb if it is collected during Martian Attack, before Martian Multiball.

Stroke of Luck is not available during any multiball. The award can only be collected from the front entrance to the scoop.

If tournament mode is enabled, then Stroke of Luck always awards 50M and nothing else, in order to de-randomize the games.

Martian Attack

At the beginning of the game, the seven M-A-R-T-I-A-N targets are all flashing. Completing all seven targets lights the SoL scoop for Martian Attack. The award can be collected from the front or back of the scoop the first time, but then must be collected from the front every other time.

During Martian Attack, all four martians begin jumping up and down, and you must shoot each of the four martians to start Martian Multiball. You can shoot any of the M-A-R targets to kill the lower left martian, and likewise either of the A-N targets to kill the lower right one. You have 30 seconds to kill all four.

Each killed martian is worth 20M, and killing all four starts Martian Multiball. Another ball is launched into play, and the four shots remain lit throughout the multiball for 20M each.

The number of martians killed is counted throughout game. The martians killed during the Attack phase count as well. The game displays the name of the person who has killed the most martians in attract mode.

Everytime the seven targets are completed during regular play, the value of each Martian increases, to 30M, 40M, and finally a max of 50M per Martian. If the targets are completed while Martian Attack is already lit (but not started), then a Martian Bomb is also awarded.

Martian Bombs can also be awarded via Stroke of Luck and Sneak Attack. These are used during the Attack phase only (i.e. not during martian multiball, and they are NOT used during Video Mode either). The launch button will flash when you have at least one martian bomb. Pressing the launch button will then kill one of the remaining flashing martians for you, to help you to complete all four of them. You can do this safely after the ball has gone down an outlane, but not after the ball has landed in the trough. If your fourth martian is killed this way, then Martian Multiball is still started, and two balls are launched back into play.

Martian Bombs are stackable and carry across Martian Attacks. Save bombs that you don't need or that won't help you complete all four for the next Attack. There is no known maximum to the number of Martian Bombs you can collect. The number of total Bombs is displayed each time Martian Bombs are awarded, and it is also available in the Status Report. Unless used, Martian Bombs saved are not worth anything.

If one of the Martian targets is known to be bad, the game will spot that target for you automatically in all circumstances. The "T" and "I" targets are likely to go bad at some point, since they take quite a beating.

Total Annihilation shots can be made both during Martian Attack and during Martian Multiball itself. If all 12 TA shots are completed while Martian Multiball is running, Total Annihilation begins as well, so that both multiballs are running.

Strobe Multiball

Strobe Multiball is only available as an award from the Stroke of Luck. The Forcefield will raise if it is lowered, all playfield lamps will be turned off, the strobe lamp will begin to flash along with the three Forcefield targets, and two more balls are sent into play. The objective is to hit the Forcefield as many times as possible, until back to one ball.

Each shot scores 50M. On the 10th hit, an Extra Ball is lit. Collecting the Extra Ball will temporarily illuminate the playfield for the Extra Ball lamp effect. On the 20th hit, a 250M bonus is awarded, but without any fanfare or additional lighting. Bonus is also awarded at 30. The display will always tell you the number of total hits, and the next award to be given.

If Martian Attack or Martian Multiball is running during Strobe Multiball, then the Martian targets will be flashing. If a Hurry-Up is active at the start of Strobe Multiball, then the Hurry-Up arrow will flash. These are the only other situations in which other playfield lights can be flashing.

The inlane/outlane rollovers and Bonus X lanes remain active during the round, even though you can't see which ones are lit. You will be able to tell briefly which ones are lit when the playfield is lit for the Extra Ball animation.

There is a lengthy ball saver at the beginning of Strobe Multiball, and a brief ball saver after it ends. If no balls are in play when the game recognizes the end of Strobe Multiball, another ball is launched into play. Basically, your ball cannot end because of Strobe Multiball.

Video Mode

Video Mode is only available as an award from the Stroke of Luck, and it is only given out once per game, per player. The objective is to shoot as many saucers as possible. Your shooter is positioned in the center and fires automatically. Use the left and right buttons to control the direction of the shots. Each saucer hit is worth 3M.

Once, and only once, you may press the launch button to fire a "Smart Bomb", which will destroy all the saucers on the screen. This has absolutely nothing to do with Martian bombs.

At 30 saucers, a percentaged Extra Ball will descend; shoot it to collect an Extra Ball immediately. If the game has been awarding too many extra balls recently, then it may not appear at all.

At 40 or 50 saucers, the Mothership will approach. The regular saucers stop landing, and the big Mothership starts descending. You must shoot the Mothership before it lands. It is a rather large ship, which zigs and zags quickly to make it more difficult to hit. It takes 80 hits to destroy it; the lower right corner of the display will tell you how many remaining hits are needed. Completing video mode in its entirety is worth a total of 635M points, and displays the message "You Have Won; The World Is Safe".

You can use the Smart Bomb to kill the Mothership as well.

This same video mode is available in the game "Junkyard", including the Smart Bomb and Mothership features.


At the end of the ball, bonus is awarded. Your bonus consists of some random point value based on how many shots you hit during play, with a base value of 5M, plus 250K for each Martian you've destroyed. This is all then multiplied by your bonus multiplier. It is possible to have very big bonuses, in the billions. The bonus multiplier maxes out at 250X; at that level, each Martian you hit is worth 62.5M.

Rule the Universe

After completing all 6 major objectives, shoot the SoL scoop to start Rule the Universe. When Rule the Universe becomes lit, Martian Attack and Stroke of Luck become unlit if they were previously lit. Rule the Universe is a 5-ball multiball with about a 30 second ball saver in which nearly all playfield features are lit. Total Annihilation runs, with the base value of each jackpot worth 100M. The saucer drop target scores 100M. The roaming Super Jackpot is lit and scores the same as it does during regular multiball, for an unlimited number of times. Martian Multiball is active at 50M per martian. The Annihilation Jackpot is lit at the lock ramp.

If you score 5 billion points, the playfield will go dark, the flippers will be disabled, and the round will end. You just ruled the universe! An extra 5 billion points is awarded, and your initials and the time of election will be displayed in attract mode later on. After a brief animation, a ball will be returned to the plunger lane and you can continue play. You can also go for one of the Skill Shots at this point, too. (The regular ballsaver is also active.)

Plus, for the rest of the ball after Ruling the Universe, you can collect Victory Laps by shooting any of the five combo shots. The Combo arrows will be solidly lit. Shooting any arrow unlights that arrow and awards a Victory Lap (complete with whooshing sound effect), initially worth 100M. Shooting the saucer drop target relights all five Victory Lap shots (if any are unlit) and increases the value of the shots by 10M each. The saucer target itself scores 100M per hit for the rest of the game. This is an excellent time to start a multiball, especially Total Annihilation.

The Victory Lap value can increase up to 500M. Maximizing Laps is the key to getting a really high score.

If you lose all balls before scoring 5 billion, then nothing else really happens and normal play resumes. This is very depressing.

After RTU multiball, the Conquer Mars lamp remains lit. The Super Jets lamp remains lit for the remainder of the current ball if Super Jets is still active. This allows you to Rule the Universe again on the same ball. With early ROMs, the Super Jets lamp was cleared after RTU which made this impossible, since Super Jets continued to be active on that ball, and couldn't be restarted until the next ball.

If a player rules the universe when he/she is already ruler, then the display will show "Re-Election #1", and so on until someone else rules the universe, during Attract Mode. (It can't know this until the end of a game, when you enter your initials, unless you happen to RTU twice in the same game, in which case it will display "Re-Election".

If multiple players Rule the Universe in the same game, then only the last player to Rule will get to enter initials. In no way does any scoring affect whether or not you become the new Ruler.

Concurrent Multiballs

Attack From Mars supports concurrent multiballs to some extent. This is a feature I can't recall any other game having ever since, dare I say it, Dr*c*l*. There are four different multiballs in this game: regular multiball, Martian Multiball, Total Annihilation, and Strobe Multiball (plus Rule the Universe, but that's a totally different beast). Here's how it all fits together:

Regular multiball, Total Annihilation, and Strobe Multiball are all mutually exclusive; only one of these can run at a time. Martian Multiball can run concurrently with any one of them, as long as the two are started in the right order.

In the case of regular multiball or Strobe Multiball, you must start Martian Attack first, and then start the OTHER multiball. (Once the other multiball is started, you cannot start Martian Attack.) Martian Attack continues to run with the same timer, and completing the martians will add Martian Multiball to your current multiball. That means a ball saver will be active for a while. No additional balls are added into play; you must have two for Martian MB, but if you have fewer than two, then you wouldn't be playing another multiball, would you? If your other multiball ends, and you didn't start Martian Multiball, Martian Attack will continue to run as it did before multiball.

In the case of Total Annihilation, you can either start TA first like in the above case, or you can start Martian Multiball first and then start TA, as Total Annihilation shots are awarded during Martian Multiball. In that case, two more balls are added into play to make it a 4-ball multiball, along the normal TA ballsaver.

Concurrent multiballs are lucrative, because with 3 or 4 balls in play, you are likely to hit a lot of the Martian targets without really trying. You will always get more points, though, by concentrating on the major multiball instead. (Unless you have a high bonus multiplier, since each martian is worth something in bonus.)

Extra Balls

There are five ways to get an Extra Ball in AFM:

  1. Complete the second Attack Wave. On five-ball games, this defaults to the third Attack Wave instead.
  2. Complete the inlane/outlane lamps 10 times. For 5-ball, it takes 14 completions of the rollovers.
  3. Shoot the EB in Video Mode.
  4. Hit the Forcefield 10 times in Strobe Multiball.
  5. Via a Stroke of Luck, literally.

Extra balls are all lit at the Stroke of Luck hole, except for the Video Mode EB which is awarded immediately. Each of these can only be collected once per game.

Extra balls are the only awards that can be collected at the scoop even during any multiball. Normally only front shots to the scoop will award the EB, but during multiball, you can collect it from the front or back, since the game can't always tell which direction you shot it from with absolute certainty. So it just gives it to you either way. This works with any legitimate multiball but not when you have two balls in normal play because of a missing pinball suddenly appearing on the playfield. In that case, you may get cheated out of an extra ball shot from the front legitimately.

The game seems to detect back shots into Stroke of Luck based on jet bumper hits and rollovers. All other shots are considered front shots. Thus, it is possible for a ball to "air" over the hole, not touch a jet bumper, fall into the back of the hole, and award a front Stroke of Luck shot.

Attack from Mars also supports the Buy-In feature at the end of the game. Unlike many previous games, there is no separate Buy-In button; the Start button will buy an extra ball for 1 credit. So don't press Start to abort the 7 sec. buy-in countdown -- use the flippers or launch button (or off switch) instead. Depending on the settings of your machine, buy-in may be disabled completely, or there may be a fixed or unlimited number of times you can buy-in. Buy-in can also be enabled for 1/2 credit. There is an extra long ballsaver at the beginning of every ball bought-in, but once used, it is gone. There is nothing else special about the buy-in ball.

Replays and High Scores

The replay value will fluctuate widely among different machines, but it is most definitely going to be in the several billion range, at least. After collecting a replay, the replay value will grow by 50% of its original, base value, until more coins are inserted (not counting buy-ins).

There are two high score lists, one for no buyins and one for buyins. The Grand Champion is also maintained, which is the highest score attained regardless of buyins. The game also keeps track of the person who destroyed the most martians, and the last person to Rule the Universe.

I've heard that the software will support scores up to 1 trillion, but I have NO way of knowing whether or not this is true.

Software Compensation

There is no compensation for a broken loop or ramp switch. This is most frustrating, as you won't be able to start Total Annihilation, collect a Super Jackpot, and of course, Rule the Universe.

If you try for a Super Skill Shot but the ball falls into the lit Bonus X lane, you will be awarded the Super Skill Shot of 50M and the Saucer will open, as if you had hit the Forcefield.

If the drop target becomes stuck down, you will not be able to score Saucer hits for a while. (You can still score hits from the two side standups.) After so many shots to the saucer hole, the game will flag the drop target as bad, and the hole will spot 1 drop target hit. Once the drop target is hit again, though, the compensation is turned off, so an intermittent target is worse than a totally hosed target.

A bad Stroke of Luck kicker is bad news. If only the SoL switch is stuck open or closed (but not intermittent), then there is some compensation for balls that fall in from the back. If a ball trips one of the Bonus X lanes, and no jet bumpers or the right loop switch isn't triggered in about 3 seconds, the game assumes the ball fell into the SoL hole, and since there is no way to detect front shots, it awards a front SoL shot, then kicks out the ball.

If the right ramp entrance gate switch and the lock ramp gate switch are bad, then shooting the Lock ramp will count as both a Lock ramp and a right ramp shot. (The game cannot tell the difference between the two, so it awards both.)


Occasionally after shooting the Big-O-Beam or Tractor Beam, you will see and/or hear a reference to a cow. When this happens, hit the launch button repeatedly to hear lots of mooing sounds. If you do this for both of the ramps, you are qualified to play Cow Video Mode. You must still start Video Mode in the regular way, by completing Super Jets and then shooting Stroke of Luck. But instead of saucers landing, it will be big mooing cows! There are no special points for playing with cows instead of saucers, but because they are larger than the saucers, the cows are much easier to hit.

Really High Scores

Scores rollover at 100B; that score is then displayed as 00,000,000,000. The game remembers that you surpassed 100B, though, and will put the score in the right place in the high score list (assuming 100B is enough for a high score!)

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