Legacy of the G.O.A.T. (Mastering Elwin’s Rookie Release: Stern’s Iron Maiden Pinball)

Legacy of the G.O.A.T. (Mastering Elwin’s Rookie Release: Stern’s Iron Maiden Pinball)
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Legacy of the G.O.A.T. (Mastering Elwin’s Rookie Release: Stern’s Iron Maiden Pinball)
Published on
October 30, 2023
Updated on
October 30, 2023
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Keith Elwin started his pinball career as one of the most decorated competitors out there, winning numerous Pinburghs and PAPA World Championships without breaking much of a sweat. In 2018, his debut design was released by Stern: a reworking and re-theming of his custom-made Archer machine, which established him as one of the most celebrated designers active today.

james says stern iron maiden tutorial

I'd argue that Iron Maiden (subtitled "Legacy of the Beast") is his best game, although that's pretty subjective, as Godzilla and Jurassic Park are both pretty spectacular (sorry, Infinity Quest). Iron Maiden was the first design by Stern to have more than two flippers on the Pro model since Star Trek in 2012, establishing a trend towards horizontal gameplay, which has stuck around at their design studio since.

About Iron Maiden Pinball

Eddie, Iron Maiden's mascot, must take on alternate versions of himself and steal their soul shards before taking on the Beast.

This Iron Maiden pinball tutorial covers everything you need to get started with the game and to travel through the game's many modes and features.

Iron Maiden Playfield Overview

two most important shots iron maiden legacy of the beast

Like every other Stern game released nowadays, Iron Maiden features two models: a Pro and a Premium/LE. These models are borderline identical - there are a couple of differences, which we'll cover as we go, but they're extremely minor and do not have very much impact on gameplay. Everything mentioned applies to both models of the game unless otherwise specified.

As mentioned above, Iron Maiden has four flippers: two in the usual spot, one in the middle right, and a tiny one in the upper left, but first, let's focus on what you can hit from the bottom. The most important shot is the jump ramp straight up the middle, and the orbit immediately to the left is the next most important shot (I’ll call this the center orbit from here on out).

Aside from these being great bailout shots (i.e., shots you can hit on the fly when you lose control of the ball), they're both frequent targets by modes and multiballs. The interesting thing about Maiden's design is that it de-emphasizes the ramps. There are two, one between the bumpers on the left and one on the right, and neither is trivial to hit. You're unlikely to hit one accidentally, so you might find yourself relying on the loops much more for consistent shots. I recommend figuring out how to shoot the ramps, though, since many modes will pay off big time if you can hit them on command. This is especially true if you’re playing the Premium, as the left ramp becomes paramount to many important features.

The upper right flipper is mainly used for shooting the side loop, which comes around and feeds that right flipper again. You can put up a solid score if you get into a groove on just repeatedly looping this shot, but beware! The side loop is extremely dangerous on a missed shot. Balls that come dribbling out of that loop are sent straight toward the right outlane - it’s pretty much the most dangerous feed on the table. A safer shot, which may not be very obvious, is to shoot the ball back up toward that center orbit. It’s a very early shot, but the game is super forgiving and it’s much easier than it looks.

upper flipper option iron maiden pinball tutorial

The upper left flipper has a plethora of shots to make. The obvious one is the upper side loop, which is the hardest shot in the game. Like the lower side loop, it feeds the upper left flipper repeatedly and is also worth an absurd amount of points if you can loop it enough, but good luck trying that. There's also the "Super Jackpot" dead-end target, which is a critical shot for the main Trooper Multiball, as well as lighting playfield multipliers. Those are the only two “shots,” but there’s other stuff you can do with this flipper! First off, you can shoot the M-U-M-M-Y captive ball, which advances towards a multiball. If you make this shot extremely early (basically so you hit the left side of the captive ball), the ball will roll back up the center orbit, oftentimes lining itself up on the upper flipper to make another shot. If you get into a rhythm, you can get 4-5 hits on the captive ball quickly this way!

The other major use of this flipper is just to hold it up as a ball comes out of this orbit. If you do that, the ball will bounce off of the upper flipper and into the three-bank of drops opposite it, which can even clear the entire bank. Be careful doing this, though, since it can line the ball right up for a center drain. Speaking of the drop targets, you should get comfortable with sweeping them from the lower left flipper, ideally on a combo, into the center jump ramp. These drops light locks and advance bonus X, so get used to where they are so you can clear them quickly. The only other major shots you should familiarize yourself with are the lower spinner in the bottom left corner, which gradually spells R-E-V-I-V-E to light outlane saves, and the "Orb" target in front of the bumpers. (On the Pro, this is a standup target. On the Premium/LE, it's a pinball screwed into the table.) Aside from being an add-a-ball during some multiballs, it awards the highly lucrative Power Jackpot.

I'd say that 250,000,000 is a pretty great score on Maiden, although multipliers can build up very quickly for huge scores well over a billion.

Abridged Iron Maiden Tutorial

abridged tutorial stern iron maiden pinball

There are dozens of ways to put up great points, so don’t drain trying to set up a golden stack. The reward rarely outweighs the risk when being greedy.

Shooting white arrows spells out E-D-D-I-E, which lights a mode at the center shot when complete. Modes are worth solid value and have pretty straightforward rules. Aces High and Rime of the Ancient Mariner are multiballs, and the others are conventional shotmaking modes.

Completing the bank of drop targets three times lights locks at the orbits for Trooper Multiball:

  • During Trooper, shoot all major shots for jackpots. Clear the bank of drops again to light a “cannon shot” at the jump ramp, which scores 1-3 jackpots AND adds a ball the first time you do it.

Spelling M-U-M-M-Y by hitting the captive ball lights lock for Mummy Multiball, spelling it again starts the multiball:

  • During Mummy, hitting enough switches lights a jackpot at the captive ball. Shoot yellow lights to collect “scepter awards,” and collect all yellow lights to add a ball into play.

The “Orb” shot, located below the pop bumpers, will not add-a-ball during Mummy or Trooper. (It will do so during Aces High or Rime.)

Hitting all orange X targets around the playfield will light a 2X Playfield X, started by rolling over a lit inlane. Completing the X targets when 2X is lit will light 3X playfield. During Playfield X, the orange targets will now add time to your multiplier. Save your Playfield X for a good mode or multiball.

Be sure to capitalize on Power Features:

  • Getting enough of the various playfield features - Ramps, Orbits, Spinners, Pops, Targets - will begin a Power Feature, which will add to the Power Jackpot that can be collected at the Orb.
  • Completing a Power Feature adds +1X to the Power Jackpot. The Power Jackpot is available whenever it’s worth 1,000,000 or more.
  • Don’t collect Power Jackpots just because they’re lit. They can skyrocket in value if you complete lots of power features all at once. But don’t get too greedy - if you drain, you lose the entire value.
  • Completing all power features lights a very lucrative multiball, so if you’re closing in on finishing them, make that a priority.

Getting Started with Iron Maiden Pinball

At the game's outset, you can choose a song, as you can in many other rock-themed pinball machines. Unlike some games like AC/DC or Aerosmith, the song you pick doesn't do anything, it's just whatever Maiden song you're feeling like jamming to. There are also about a thousand skill shots which the game keeps a secret. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Plunge into the Skill Shot target
  • Hold up left flipper and hard plunge, then one-time into the Super Jackpot from the upper left flipper (unbelievably hard to do)
  • Plunge into the left inlane
  • Plunge into the left outlane
  • Soft plunge to flippers and shoot the center jump ramp

I feel like every time I play, I’m finding more secret skill shots. There are a ton of them worth varying values, and I find the difficulty usually corresponds to how valuable they are. The game is very finicky with deciding what counts as a skill shot, too. The skill shot target, for instance, only counts if you don’t flip and don’t hit any other switches, so you can’t shoot the target and have it count.

But, I digress. When I write these guides, I focus on the most important concepts first, working my way down until we get to the super obtuse, unnecessary, or difficult parts. Iron Maiden is unique in that nearly every strategy is a viable one. There are tons of points available all over the place, so you can really take up whatever strategy you see fit! This guide is written in the order of things that I like to go for, but that's extremely subjective and doesn't really correlate to a definitive "best" strategy. You can go for whatever you want! Everything I'm going over is worth solid value whenever you get it going. The exceptions to this are Power Jackpots, Playfield Multipliers, and Revives, as these are going to matter regardless of what you're focusing on. So, excluding the first three sections, follow the advice in whatever order you like.

Playfield Multipliers

stern iron maiden legacy of the beast tutorial playfield multipliers

Let's start out with playfield multipliers, as these are pretty straightforward. Iron Maiden has numerous "X" targets scattered around the playfield. Hitting one of these targets will light it. Collecting all of the targets will light an inlane (which you can change with the flipper) to start 2X Playfield for 30 seconds. If you collect all the X's again, without starting 2X playfield, the inlane will start 3X Playfield. (You'll know which one is lit by the solidly lit 2X or 3X inserts in the center of the table.) You can extend a running Playfield X timer by hitting flashing X's while the playfield X is running.

Given that you get to control when the Playfield X gets started, try to avoid starting it unless you have a particularly valuable scoring opportunity available, namely a multiball or a mode. The biggest challenge to lighting Playfield X is that top-right target, which is extremely difficult to shoot on command, and will usually be the sole target you're missing. Now, while they're valuable, I don't recommend holding off on starting a valuable mode because you don't have a multiplier to run alongside it. Like I said, there's a ton of points available all over - so play those modes, even if you don't have multipliers. Similarly, I advise against holding off on starting 2X playfield just so you can light a 3X playfield. Double scoring is valuable enough - don't give up good points to get great points! Plus, you can get those X targets at any time - so nothing's really stifling you anyway.

Power Jackpots

These are interesting because they have the potential to be worth an insane amount of points, yet like many aspects of Iron Maiden, are not necessarily crucial for those billion-point scores. But, you're going to be building the Power Jackpot regardless of what else you're trying for, so it’s worth knowing how to make it count.

stern iron maiden pinball tutorial power jackpots

First off, you need to start your Power Features. On the left side of the display, you'll see how many shots you need to a certain feature in order to start its "Power" variant. Let's take Power Ramps as an example - you need to make as many ramp shots as indicated on the display to start Power Ramps. You do not need to shoot any specific ramps, nor do you need to change it up with each shot - any ramp will do. The same idea applies to the other power features: Orbits, Spinners, Targets, and Pops. (Note that the side loops do not count as orbits, despite what you might otherwise think.) When a Power Feature is running, the display will change to indicate how many shots remain for that feature. 

stern iron maiden pinball tutorial screen grab

For example:

  • 16 Spinners left
  • 8 Power Ramps remaining
  • 14 Pops needed to start Power Pops
  • Power Targets complete (will turn into a check after collecting power jackpot)

When you complete a power feature, the power jackpot will light at the Orb in the lower left corner of the table, ideally hit by a backhand from the lower left flipper. If you cash in a power jackpot this way, expect it to be worth 1-5,000,000, which is not very much. But, each time you complete a Power Feature while the Power Jackpot is already lit, you'll instead add +1X to the Power Jackpot's multiplier. So, if you complete all five power features without collecting a power jackpot, you're going to have a value around 5X 15-20,000,000 (for about 75-100,000,000 points), which is pretty huge. There are two caveats: first, the power jackpot clears out at the end of the ball, and second, you're very likely to score a power jackpot by accident since it's in a regularly trafficked area. There are other ways you can increase the Power Jackpot that we'll go over later - but for now, just know there are ways to add 10,000,000 or so to the Power Jackpot that don't involve power features.

The general idea with the Power Jackpot is to try and keep the multiplier value high. You want to ensure you complete those Power Features as close to one another as possible, which is not very easy to do - I usually finish Power Spinners very quickly and Power Ramps very slowly. Pay attention to what you have running - flashing Power inserts indicate the power feature is running, and pulsing Power inserts indicate they're finished and ready for a jackpot. If you have one or two finished, and the rest of them are running, see how many you can finish before cashing it in. This is best done during a multiball since you're gonna be hitting everything like crazy, but doing so also makes it more likely you'll accidentally cash in a low-value Power Jackpot.

My feeling on this is pretty similar to the Playfield X - don't give up a good power jackpot just because you want to score a great one - but I think a little more risk is warranted. Also, power jackpots are multiplied by Playfield X as well as the standard Power Jackpot X (e.g., a 5X Power Jackpot with 3X playfield will be worth 15X), so consider collecting it when a playfield multiplier is active. But collecting it before it's worth anything will considerably reduce the (realistic) cap on its value. If you can score a Power Jackpot worth 40,000,000 or more, well done, but I've seen Power Jackpots worth several hundred million scored in competition when there's a lot of things going at once.


iron maiden pinball rules guide revives

The lower spinner advances towards letters in R-E-V-I-V-E, completing which lights an outlane ball save. Outlane saves are available on both outlanes on Maiden, which is really nice as they’re extremely common. Now, the lower spinner is probably the third-highest shot on the table (behind the super jackpot target and upper loop), so it’s tough to figure out. It’s also a dangerous shot since aiming for it from the right flipper is potentially putting it into the left outlane. That said, figuring out where it is turns out to be incredibly valuable: spelling REVIVE can save you an entire ball, often multiple times!

The difficulty of the revives can vary wildly. On easier difficulties, spelling REVIVE once will light both outlane saves, which go off separately. So, if you drain down the left outlane, you’ll still have a save available on the right. The game can also be set to only award one outlane save per REVIVE completion, or it can be set to clear both outlanes when one is used up. In any case, even having a single outlane save can be very much worth it. Get dialed in on that spinner quickly, and it’ll pay off big time in the long run. On top of that, if both revives are already lit, the lower spinner’s value skyrockets. It’s not so valuable that it eclipses multiballs or anything, but it’s still pretty sweet.

I often see people ignoring this altogether. If you have a trap on the right flipper, consider aiming for the left spinner, even if you’re just trying to figure out where it is. It doesn’t require as many spins as you’d think, and moreover, it’ll make later modes much more valuable.


iron maiden pinball tutorial battles

One of the first things I like to do is to go after Battles. These are pretty much always available during single-ball play and are Iron Maiden's modes. Around the playfield, you'll see numerous white arrows lit. Shooting any of them will add letters to E-D-D-I-E (on the display), the completion of which will light a battle up the center jump ramp. (On the Premium/LE, the center ramp will pop up to reveal a scoop underneath it, which is where you start battles.) With each mode you play, the shots which count for EDDIE letters become much more strict. The game is incredibly clever about this - it'll disable whatever shots you've been most successful with first (e.g., if you've been thrashing the ramps all game, it'll stop awarding EDDIE letters on the ramps). While one could argue this means you should pick up the earlier modes on the hardest shots, you're still making the hardest shots. So don't overthink it - shoot white arrows.

mode lights iron maiden pinball

The mode you'll play is indicated by the flashing inserts in the center of the table. If the mode start isn’t already lit, then spinning the left spinner will change it. I don’t think there’s any reason to do that, as all of the modes are pretty lucrative. The modes are as follows:

  • Aces High is a two-ball multiball which consists of three phases. First, you're shooting at fighters, which requires you to hit four jackpots available everywhere. In the second phase, you fight bombers, which require a ramp shot to “lock on” and then a center jump shot for a jackpot, which is multiplied by up to 3X depending on how close to the bulls-eye you hit (which is a common rule throughout the game). Hitting two bombers advances you to the Ace, which is just like the bombers, except the lock-on is a roving shot, and the jackpot expires rather quickly. Beating the Ace “finishes” the mode (you still play it out, but you get the completion bonus afterward) and sends you back to the fighters. You can get one add-a-ball by hitting the Orb (Power Jackpot) when lit - light it by clearing the three-bank.
  • Fear of the Dark is a spinner round, during which you shoot any flashing purple shot to light a spinner and then rip either spinner for huge value. The lower spinner is worth double, which is fair as it's significantly harder to hit. Also, once you've lit a spinner, you can shoot the right ramp to double the spinner value again (so 2X upper spinner, 4x lower spinner), which I highly recommend doing unless you’re running out of time. Repeat three times to finish the mode.
  • Rime of the Ancient Mariner starts out with a shot to the jump ramp (Prem/LE: scoop) for a hurry-up, which starts at a million and establishes the jackpot value for a two-ball multiball. (You might recognize this multiball start from Spider-Man, Kiss, or Stern’s Star Trek.) This is an interesting round: three shots on the left are lit for jackpots. Hitting any of them will move the jackpots more toward the center, but they’ll gradually drift back to the left. A jackpot at the jump ramp/scoop is worth a super and will start the process again at the opposite side. Like Aces High, an add-a-ball is available at the orb. Scoring two supers “finishes” the multiball in the same fashion as Aces High, i.e., you get to keep playing, but you get the completion bonus.
  • Hallowed Be Thy Name is a sequence of shots. There's a bunch of lit orange arrows at first. Hit any one of them to advance. From there, it's captive ball -> orange arrow -> clear the 3-bank -> orange arrow -> jump ramp to finish. Each orange arrow you hit will turn it off for the next orange arrow shot, so you're gonna need to traverse the playfield a little bit.
  • Flight of Icarus requires you to alternate the ramps for 2,000,000 +150,000 per successful ramp shot. Each shot made as a combo is multiplied by +1X, however. So the second ramp in succession is worth double, the third triple, and so on. Scoring 20,000,000 points lights the jump ramp for an “escape,” which finishes the mode. If you time out without hitting the escape, you won’t get credit for finishing it.

Battles are all worth a lot of points, with decent rounds being worth 20,000,000 or more, and (if they aren't a multiball themselves) will run alongside other multiballs pretty well. Completing a mode will light a Soul Shard - a major scoring feature - which can be collected at the jump ramp once the mode is over. Soul Shards are worth a hurry-up value and are multiplied by the bullseye value. They’re worth decent points immediately but are most important for late-game scoring and for reaching the final wizard mode.

soul shards iron maiden

Unless you’re really trying to reach the endgame, don’t beat yourself up too much for missing Soul Shards. Modes can be incredibly lucrative, even if you don’t finish them. Now, you might think that the multiballs are the best modes, but that is not the case. The multiball modes have very complex scoring schemes that are much more difficult to capitalize on than the single-ball modes are. Personally, I’d argue that scoring 100,000,000 in Fear of the Dark is much easier than scoring 50,000,000 in Aces High. That’s not to say the multiball modes aren’t valuable - they’re multiballs, after all, so progressing towards power features and the like is easier to do. Plus, you can take what I’m saying with a grain of salt. I typically struggle during multiballs, so if you feel better about your multiball control, you’ll probably have a better time.

Trooper Multiball

trooper multiball stern iron maiden pinball

This is pretty much Iron Maiden's "main" multiball, but that’s a pretty loose definition, as all multiballs (including Aces and Rime) can be just as valuable. This is lit after locking three balls. Locks are lit by clearing the three-bank of drops when Light Lock is lit. (If Light Lock isn't lit, clear the bank a few times to light it.) Locks are collected at either the center orbit or right orbit, with later multiballs requiring locks to be lit multiple times and collected at specific loops. Locking three balls begins multiball, which starts by putting all three balls around the loop up to the back of the table and then dumping all of them out all at once. Soft plunge the balls before the autoplunger kicks them up - that way, you can play the multiball early, and you get more ball save time!

During Trooper, all shots are lit for a jackpot each. Clearing the three-bank will light the jump ramp for a "cannon shot," which will spot 1, 2, or 3 jackpots depending on the bullseye value and will also add-a-ball the first time you collect this each multiball. Collecting enough jackpots lights a super at the Super Jackpot target. Collecting a super will relight all collected jackpots at +1X value, but jackpots you hadn’t collected will keep their multiplier. All jackpots will also relight at +1X value if you collect all of them. You can tell what the multiplier of a jackpot is based on the “warmth” of the light: blue = 1X, green = 2X, yellow = 3X, etc.

three bank iron maiden pinball tutorial

The super brings a lot of value with it. For starters, it adds an "Eddie Card," which is one of four blue rectangular inserts, collecting all four of which lights a major wizard mode. But each Eddie Card you collect also increases the Power Jackpot value by 15,000,000 points, which is pretty sweet if you are sitting on a handful of multipliers there already. It’s also worth a crazy amount of points, especially if you have a playfield X running, but moreover, it relights all of the jackpots. Trooper can flame out pretty quickly if you don’t have any easy jackpots lit, so make sure you’re collecting every jackpot possible to keep your options open.

Multiballs never stack in Iron Maiden, so you cannot start or progress to Trooper when another multiball is already running, nor can you progress to any multiball (or mode, for that matter) while Trooper is running. You can, however, bring a mode into Trooper if you already had one running. Personally, I don’t like doing this since the three single-ball modes don't really benefit very much from having extra balls rolling around. Again, my multiball play is pretty weak, so feel free to disagree if you prefer multiballs. I just don't find it to be as necessary as it is in something like AC/DC or Kiss, since the single-ball modes usually only have one or two active mode shots at a time anyway.

One last thing: Your progress in Trooper will carry over from multiball to multiball, so your multiplier values will be there the next time you play it.

Mummy Multiball

mummy multiball stern pinball tutorial

This is the other major multiball at the table. Mummy has its lock lit by spelling M-U-M-M-Y at the captive ball, with each hit adding a letter and the lock being collected at the jump ramp. After you've collected the lock, spell M-U-M-M-Y again to light the multiball, and hit the captive ball again to start it. Mummy is a simple two-ball multiball. You need to get switch hits to light the jackpot at the captive ball, with each jackpot requiring more switch hits than the last. (On the Premium/LE, this is a bit different. Lock is collected at the left ramp instead, which will then drop the ball behind the captive ball. To actually start the multiball, you have to hit the captive ball hard enough to knock the locked ball out the back.

During Mummy, some shots will be lit with yellow arrows, which award a handful of points, and collecting all of them will add another ball into play. Unlike many multiballs, this add-a-ball can be repeated three times, which is really cool. You definitely want to focus on these shots rather than spinners or pops since a two-ball multiball will flame out pretty quickly. I'd prioritize scoring the jackpots above hitting the yellow arrows, though - multiballs are about jackpots, and you stop scoring switch points and lighting jackpots while one is lit. So, shoot the arrows if a jackpot isn't lit. Shoot the captive ball if it is. Easy!

Each jackpot you collect will add a letter to M-U-M-M-Y, which is independent of the MUMMY you spell to start the multiball. Finishing MUMMY here lights a super at the jump ramp, multiplied by the bulls-eye, and like Trooper, awards an Eddie card (good for power jackpots!). Subsequent supers increase the difficulty by strobing the MUMMY letter, which is spotted by a jackpot, meaning you have to time the shot in order for it to count. Also, like Trooper, you can't get an add-a-ball via the orb; your progress carries over from multiball to multiball, and you can bring a mode into it but can't start one while it's running. It's worth solid value, and though I think Trooper is a bit more lucrative, that's extremely subjective. Mummy is hard to get through, and many players will argue that the Mummy super jackpot is the hardest of the Eddie cards to reach.

On the Premium/LE, there’s an additional rule involving the Sarcophagus. Collecting a jackpot lights the left ramp to hold one ball in place for a brief period of time (think Metallica, Kiss, Aerosmith, or GOTG), during which all switch hits are doubled. This doesn’t double scoring, but it effectively cuts the work needed for the next jackpot in half and doubles the value of the next jackpot. Plus, it keeps a ball out of play. Pick off that right ramp when you get the chance.

When advancing to Mummy, remember that you can get repeated captive ball hits with the upper left flipper if you're clever enough. Hitting the captive ball enough to the left will keep the ball in the center orbit, so you can often hit the ball with the upper flipper, and the ball will return either to the upper flipper or go just a teeny bit up the center orbit and come back to the flipper. I can usually get 3-4 letters when the ball ends up here, so get comfy doing that.

Cyborg Multiball

cyborg multiball stern pinball tutorial

This multiball is a bit trickier to reach and is lit at the jump ramp (Premium/LE: scoop) once all five power features have been completed, which requires you to score a power jackpot (or drain) in order to collect missing power features. Lighting Cyborg Multiball awards an Eddie card (more power jackpot points!). Cyborg is extremely similar to Battle Royale from Spider-Man: the goal is to hit one of each of the Power features (so a bumper, ramp, target bank, orbit, and some spinners) to light a super jackpot at the orb. Each super increases the value of all subsequent supers by +1X, so it gets more valuable the longer you play. The first two supers also add another ball into play, which can help keep things going longer. Otherwise, it's not that complicated.

If you can keep it going long enough, Cyborg is worth an insane number of points. The trickiest part is the ramps since you need one of them at every phase, and they're the toughest shots at the table. But, if you can keep control, you'll find a rhythm. Personally, I feel Cyborg is the most underappreciated scoring feature in Maiden - not because it's valuable, but because many players don't focus on it. That said, since you can score Power Features at all times, you shouldn't be focusing on beating all of them at the game's outset without first going towards a Trooper, a Mummy, or a few modes. But pay attention to what you still need to complete!

I usually find the biggest hurdle to be those Power Ramps. As I mentioned above, I usually finish the other four with relative ease, often without even starting Power Ramps. To compensate, I usually focus on ramps for lighting my EDDIE letters instead, which makes Cyborg much easier to reach. Go after the ramps however you want, but don't forget that they're there just because there are easier shots!

One thing to be aware of with Cyborg is that it locks you out of hitting the X targets for playfield multipliers and also locks you out of starting a playfield multiplier during the multiball. If you wanna play a multiplied Cyborg, you need to bring the playfield X in with you. Granted, it’s worth a ton whether or not it’s multiplied, so don’t break your neck trying to get that 2X Cyborg Multiball.

Loop Jackpots

loop jackpots stern pinball tutorial

Iron Maiden has two loops - a side loop accessible from the upper right flipper and a super-tight tiny loop accessible from the upper left flipper. Shooting a loop will advance you towards Loop Jackpots, which can be worth an absurd amount of points.

Shooting either loop enough times will eventually start Loop Jackpots, indicated by the red inserts pointing at each loop. Loop Jackpots can be collected infinitely within a time limit; the timer doesn’t start until you collect your first loop jackpot. The value builds up very, very fast, as rapid loops in succession will multiply the value (a la Flight of Icarus), so if you can keep looping repeatedly, you're likely to pick up a massive pile of points very quickly. Each loop returns to the same flipper used to shoot it, so you can get into a groove pretty quickly.

If you're a savvy player, you might've noticed that the upper left flipper blocks the lower loop a teeny bit, and that you can give yourself an easier shot at the loop by holding the flipper up. While this is true, it also decreases the value of the loop. Making a shot with the flipper up is worth 1X; if the flipper is down, it’ll be worth 2X. That said, making the upper loop from the upper left flipper will be worth 3X, but the upper loop is significantly harder than the lower loop is. I'd say you should use your best judgment here - if you feel you can make the shot with the flipper down, do that. But if comfort is more important, scoring a bunch of 1X loop jackpots is still worth a lot.

The biggest flaw of the loops is how deadly they are. Introducing horizontal motion is dangerous in general, but if you fail to completely make the lower loop, the ball is basically guaranteed to roll straight into the right outlane. While Loop Jackpots are extremely lucrative, I'd advise against pursuing them aggressively if you're not able to loop the ramp until the game stops you. Plus, you can get Loops and Loop Jackpots at any time, so you shouldn't make them a priority over getting to modes and multiballs.

Tomb Treasures, Part I: Can I Play with Madness

These are bonuses that are lit after completing different playfield objectives and are collected at the right orbit (Premium/LE: left ramp). You can stack multiple treasures but can only collect one at each ramp shot. They also don’t go away at the end of the ball, so you’re not really in any rush to pick them off.

The easiest Tomb Treasures are lit by collecting a loop jackpot, by a trooper super jackpot, and (maybe) by a six-way combo. You also light them by collecting Soul Shards. In a decent game, you can expect to get one or two Treasures just in passing. Each award is fixed: they’re not random values; they’re consistently the same awards every time. The first award, for instance, is 15,000,000 points, and the second award is “Super Slings,” which makes the slingshots worth a quarter million for the rest of the ball, which is very nice if you’re about to get a multiball going. 

The third will (usually) start a mode called “Can I Play With Madness,” which is completely insane: it’s a multiball where a shot will be lit for a jackpot, indicated by a red arrow. The flippers, however, move where the jackpot shot is. Hitting a jackpot changes the insert to green, and hitting a green shot will turn it back to red. Getting all lights green scores a super jackpot sets all lights back to red, and adds another ball into play. You can also hit the orb to freeze all the red lights so they stop moving around.

So, shoot red shots, don’t shoot green shots, and line up the shots by flipping correctly. Obviously, the challenge stems from how you have to keep balls in play with the same flippers that are moving the jackpots around, but try to play in control as best as you can and use super quick flips to avoid losing your traps. You can also try and put the red shots one before the shot you’re about to make - if you’re going to make a shot with the right flipper, shoot at a shot that’s one to the right of a current red light. It’s also worth noting that this mode isn’t available on all machines - on Pro machines without Insider Connected (where you can scan your phone to log in), the third treasure will add 15 million to the power jackpot instead. It can also be disabled by the operator, which is a likely scenario in high-caliber tournaments to keep the game moving along.

In case I’m being a little vague, that’s because the first few are relatively easy to collect when compared to the rest of them. Tomb Treasures are home to the game’s final wizard mode, so we’ll save that for last.

Other Small Things

We've covered most of the major objectives you should shoot for right away. There are a few endgame objectives, but we’ll cover those in just a minute.

The drop targets are very crucial for scoring high. As mentioned above, during Trooper, it lights the Cannon shot to add-a-ball and spot jackpots, but during single-ball play, it cycles through advancing bonus X, lighting Mystery awards, and lighting locks for Trooper. Bonus X is pretty valuable, as a bonus can become worth a considerable number of points if your ball goes on for long enough. Mystery awards are great, too - they're worth good value on their own, though the most significant awards are add-a-balls during multiballs (again, other than Mummy and Trooper). They work kind of like Metallica's mystery awards: if you light a mystery award when one's already lit, the "mystery level" will increase, improving the value of the award. Try to figure out how to clear the entire bank in one shot or “sweep” the drops. Aside from being a great way of clearing the entire bank in one shot, sweeping the bank will count as though you've cleared the bank twice. It's a great way to collect lots of awards quickly!

Combos are also available, and they’re a little different than most games in that they don’t time out if you’re not making the shots in rapid succession. They do end, however, if you repeat a shot or if you hit something that’s not related to a combo, such as a standup or bumper. You can also end your combo for big value: you might notice from time to time that you get awarded a “Deathblow,” which is typically gonna be worth 500,000 points. This is awarded by ending your combo into a few different shots, such as the extra ball target or super jackpot target. These are usually not very valuable, but if you focus on them hard, you can pick up good points. 

The center bullseye, super jackpot target, and lower spinner all count as Super Deathblows which are worth triple value. A six-way combo ending with a super deathblow is worth a whopping 60,000,000 points, which is good value, but tough to pull off. The fourth Tomb Treasure quintuples the value of all combos and deathblows for the rest of the ball and, when combined with triple playfield, makes a six-way combo into a Super Deathblow worth 900,000,000 points. Good luck cashing that in!

2 Minutes to Midnight

2 minutes to midnight iron maiden pinball

This is, more or less, the sixth battle and is the first of several wizard modes that the game has to offer. After you’ve played the other five modes, you light and start this just like any other battle by spelling EDDIE and hitting the center shot. 2 Minutes to Midnight is not a multiball, but it does give you a ball saver to start things out. This mode runs on a timer, which can be extended by shooting the X targets. Contrary to what the name of the mode implies, you only have one minute.

During this mode, each of the major playfield shots (the two ramps, the two orbits, and the lower spinner) are lit for a jackpot a piece. Each jackpot corresponds to a mode - the color of each shot indicates which mode it's corresponding to - and the value of the jackpot is determined by how well you did in the mode, as well as the value of that mode's Soul Shard if you collected it. For example, the lower spinner corresponds to Fear of the Dark. The insert will be illuminated with a purple light - the same color used to indicate shots for the mode - and the better you did in Fear of the Dark, the more valuable that jackpot will be.

Once you collect all five jackpots, a super will light at the tricky Super jackpot target. The value of the super is the sum of all jackpots you've scored since the last super. Similar to how Trooper works, you can continue to collect jackpots without collecting a super - if you collect all five jackpots again while the super remains lit, you'll add +1X to the super's multiplier. The super jackpot here can be ridiculously huge, so definitely collect it when you can - but even just collecting jackpots is likely to be worth a huge number of points.

There's not really much else to it - pick off jackpots, then go for the super. It's basically Trooper, except it's a one-ball mode. Aside from that, starting 2 Minutes to Midnight awards an Eddie card, which, again, increases the Power Jackpot, just bear in mind that you can't score, light, or increase the Power Jackpot during 2 Minutes so you'll have to survive the entire mode in order to collect that value.

Number of the Beast

number of the beast iron maiden pinball

You've probably figured out by now that the Eddie Cards which I've been talking about serve some other purpose. Collecting all four Eddie cards lights this wizard mode where you get to fight the Beast himself! To recap, the four cards are:

  • Trooper: Score a Super in Trooper Multiball
  • Mummy: Score a Super in Mummy Multiball
  • Cyborg: Complete all Power Features
  • Soldier: Start 2 Minutes to Midnight

Like 2 Minutes, this is not a multiball but rather is a single-ball mode, which gives you a ball saver at the start. Unlike 2 Minutes, this mode does not run on a timer and will just go until you either beat the Beast or you drain. The Beast has an amount of health that requires you to make attack shots to deal damage to him. This is done in a relatively straightforward sequence, which essentially just boils down to "shoot the flashing lights," but to be comprehensive:

  • Shoot a red shot to parry the Beast's attack
  • Shoot up the jump ramp to counterattack and stagger the Beast
  • While he's staggered, shoot as many flashing shots as possible to attack him and keep him staggered
  • After not making a shot for a few seconds, the Beast will recover and attack again (i.e., you go back to the first phase)

There's no penalty for getting attacked by the Beast, but you have to deal damage to him to beat him. Defeating the Beast is worth 100,000,000 points and re-scores the value of any Soul Shards you've already collected, but even without any shards, 100,000,000 is a pretty huge pile of points. If you fail to defeat the beast, you'll have to challenge him to a rematch by re-collecting Eddie cards again. That is if you haven't locked them in by advancing them to Level 2.

The Eddie cards mentioned above are each the Level 1 versions. You can advance them to Level 2 - indicated by a pulsing insert, as opposed to a flashing one - by accomplishing a more difficult objective than what's listed above. The Level 2 cards all correspond to the same features as their Level 1 counterparts and are collected by doing the following:

  • Trooper: Score a 5X Jackpot during Trooper OR Advance all Jackpots to be worth 3X
  • Mummy: Score a second super in Mummy Multiball
  • Cyborg: Score a 5X Super during Cyborg Multiball
  • Soldier: Score a 2X Super during 2 Minutes to Midnight

Aside from increasing the Power Jackpot by another 15,000,000 points when collected, a Level 2 Eddie card is not lost on failing to beat the Beast. You'll still have to recollect all the Level 1 cards you were missing, but if you lose to the Beast with all four cards at Level 2, you can immediately rematch him since you'll still have all your cards left over. If you manage to beat the Beast, you won't be able to challenge him again - even if you have all four L2 cards - until you first beat the final wizard mode. 

What, did you think that beating the Beast himself is where this game ends? Of course not!

Tomb Treasures, Part II: Run To The Hills

tomb treasures iron maiden pinball

Let's get further into Tomb Treasures now. While the first two or three treasures aren’t too hard to collect, later treasures become absurdly difficult and require lots of planning and careful execution. You light a Tomb Treasure the first time you do each of the following:

  • Score a Loop Jackpot
  • Make a 6-way combo
  • Score a Mummy Super
  • Score a Trooper Super
  • Collect a Soul Shard you haven't already collected
  • Defeat the Beast
  • Collect all four L2 Eddie cards

The ten Tomb Treasures are as follows:

  1. 15,000,000 points
  2. Super Slings (250k +1k/hit slings for the rest of the ball)
  3. Can I Play With Madness or +15,000,000 Power Jackpot
  4. Super Combos: Combos/deathblows worth 5X
  5. Light Extra Ball
  6. Light Revive (if not already lit)
  7. Collect 2X Bonus
  8. +5X Power Jackpot
  9. 50,000,000 + random L2 Eddie Card
  10. Run to the Hills

Again, Tomb Treasures are collected at the right orbit (Premium/LE: left ramp). You can stack multiple lit Tomb Treasures, but you only collect one on each shot. They also don't go away when you drain, so you're not really in any rush to score them.

All of the Tomb Treasures are valuable, so you should collect them if you have the chance. The final award, Run to the Hills, is the game's super-mega final wizard mode, which is the most difficult objective to reach as it requires you to complete everything else before reaching it. I've never even gotten close, though from what I understand, it's a typical wizard mode multiball where everything's worth a gazillion points.

Obviously, the key challenge to reaching Run to the Hills is completing ten of the eleven possible Treasure qualifiers. While you get to skip one of them, you’re going to need four Soul Shards minimum, all of which have to come from different modes. If you fail to collect a shard, you’ll have to play all of the modes over again to get another shot. You do have one saving grace: the first Level 3 Mystery award after 2 Minutes to Midnight will spot you an uncollected soul shard. Be sure to capitalize on this!

The two most skippable objectives are the L2 Eddies and the fifth soul shard. The rest of them are comparably trivial or required for other objectives. If you are planning on reaching Run to the Hills, you need to focus on Soul Shards since you’ll need at least four anyway. But really, pretend that you need all eleven objectives, and don’t plan on skipping any of them in particular. Plus, just going after the objectives are worth points anyway, and besides, it’s not like the last treasure is the only valuable one.

Of course, getting to any of this game’s wizard modes is a pretty commendable feat. Set your own goals, challenge yourself, and have fun! Games with this many possible strategies are a rare treat, so dive in and explore. Best of luck!