Build bonus around the playfield and bonus multiplier with the top drop target 3-bank, then collect bonus up the long left side lane.
Balanced with exceptions
Shots to Master:
That narrow left collect bonus orbit.
A high-force plunge (fist bump or thumb-plunge) sometimes takes out one or more of the top drop target bank. Even if you don’t get any directly, the ball will then fall into the bumpers; you want it to fall onto the center of the right bumper which can then kick it up to knock down a multiplier target or two. The right edge of the top bumper can also do this, about the 1 o’clock position on that bumper.
There are two slightly different strategies on Cheetah. Which applies depends on the collect bonus setting: can you collect repeatedly or just once per ball? First, let’s go over the basics. You’ll want to complete the numbered drop target 5-bank on the mid-upper left first. You need to get the numbered targets in order; if you get any out of order, you need to finish the whole bank to get it to reset for another chance. Lit targets (the next one you need) are worth 5K, unlit ones only 500 points. Getting the ball into the chute on the mid-right spots the next number. Completing the numbers lights the collect bonus corridor along the long left side; we’ll get to this shortly. It also activates the same target bank to add bonus, scores 20K and raises the value of the next bank to 30K; later banks are 40K and 50K. Bonus: advance 10K by hitting one of the right 3-bank drop targets or either outer return lane. Side drains give three advances (30K). Once you’ve completed the #1-5 drop targets, getting them a second time advances the bonus to its maximum of 100K. For bonus multipliers, complete the top target 3-bank. After you get the side 3-bank at least once, additional completions of it also spot a multiplier and go up in value. Since the top bank is hard to get at, many players prefer to shoot at the right 3-bank repeatedly instead of trying to go all the way up top. Now comes the split. If the game is set to allow repeated bonus collection, once you have a decent bonus base and multiplier, go for that bonus collect lane all day. If you can only collect once per ball, you need to preserve that shot for when you have a really big bonus and make other shots to keep building it up first. Miscellaneous other values; there are a lot of these. The top multiplier target banks also score increasing values each time completed: 10K, 15K, 20K, 25K. The top right drop target 3-bank with the stars lights the spinners when you get three stars: 3 blue lights the left spinner, 3 yellow lights the right one. You get more points for having more color-matching stars when you finish the bank: 20K for 2, 40K for 3. The spinners are not as big a deal as on most games, since a lit spinner is only worth 3 times the unlit value - - 3K vs. 1K. The inner return lanes score an extra ball or 100K when lit; good value, but you can only nudge for it, not shoot at it. Balls coming back down the left corridor after a collect bonus shot falls short may drop into this lane. The horseshoe shot behind the upper right target bank is also an extra ball or 100K when lit. If it’s lit and bonus collect repeat is off or you’ve already used it, this is your best scoring opportunity. The right chute also gives 25K besides spotting a number target. While the upper left flipper is best at shooting for the star targets, the horseshoe behind them and the right spinner, you can also use it to hit the 5-bank. A well-timed shot will skim across the front of the targets and can knock down several of them at once. Similarly, you can often get more than one target in the right 3-bank with a grazing hit. Ball control: see if when you let the ball roll off the upper flipper it comes down and bounces off the lower right flipper and across to the lower left flipper such that you can then cradle-trap it. If it works, it’s better to do that than to flip with the upper flipper unless you really need an upper flipper shot right then. You can then shoot the 3-bank with the lower left flipper. You also might be able to catch the ball on the right flipper after letting it roll off the upper left one; that’s useful when you want to shoot that far left lane.