Current Version: 18.2.27
Playfield Design, Mechanics: Joe Balcer
Engineering: Jim Thornton
Rules, Programming, Animation: Josh Kugler
Artwork, Animations: Jeff Busch
Music, Sound: Matt Kern
Sculptures: Matt Riesterer (Back Alley)
Animation: Ish Raneses
Rules compiled from the following sources: This Week in Pinball, Josh Kugler, SDTM, Konjurer, et al.
The goal of Houdini is to become the Master Magician and make it to the Master Magician wizard mode. You to the Master Magician Mode by spelling H-O-U-D-I-N-I. Each of the 7 letters of Houdini correspond to the 7 major areas of the game.
Becoming a Master Magician is very difficult due to the depth of the ruleset. You have to complete 20 modes, 5 combos, collect 8 awards, collect jackpots from 2 multiballs, and complete 3 mini-wizards modes. Simple, right?
The difficulty of getting to the end of the game can be adjusted in the settings so that Houdini letters are easier to achieve.
Progress towards the Master Master mode can be seen on a cool dashboard display by pressing both flippers before plunging. You can also see progress and by the chain link inserts on the playfield. Each major area of the game is represented by a different color as noted later in this document. Progress towards the end goal impacts your end-of-ball bonus.
Skill shot – shoot moving red target for skill shot, shoot moving green target for super skill shot
10 Stage Modes
Chinese Water Torture
Indian Needle Trick
Walk through Walls
Bullet Catch Multiball (video mode using the upper catapult)
Straight Jacket Multiball (reverse/inverted flipper mode)
Card King (video mode)
Mini Wizard Modes
Movie Binge - complete all 5 Movie Modes
Great Jail Escape - complete all 5 Jail Escape Hurry-Up Modes
Ultimate Secret Mission - complete all Secret Mission Combos
Master Magician Mode
For the Master Magician (Wizard) Mode, you must collect all the HOUDINI letters by:
Complete all 10 Stage modes
Complete all 5 Movie Modes
Collect eight items from the Magic Shop
Complete all 5 Jail Escape Hurry-Up Modes
Complete all Secret Mission Combos
Earn a super jackpot during Trunk Multiball
Earn a certain number of jackpots during Seance Multiball
There are two modes that are set up at the outlanes that can revive your ball.
Return from Beyond
Color Code: Red
The stage modes are started in two ways. Bashing the theater curtain 3 times or by going through the Back Stage Alley shot hitting the red target at the back of the pops.
Vanishing Elephant — Three ramp shots move elephant into the crate, then stage to show crate empty.
Ramp 3 times
Chinese Water Torture — KeyLane to lower into tank, either orbit to close curtain, stage to open curtain and set Houdini free.
Indian Needle Trick — All switches score X, magic and red standup targets increase value. Houdini pulls needles out of his mouth as shots are made.
Red Standups to increase values
Walk through Walls — To move Houdini through the wall, shoot one of the left shots, then one of center shots, then right shots.
Handcuff King — Shoot the pops, every X hits results in a handcuff or chain being thrown out, hit it enough time to totally free Houdini. The number of handcuffs on Houdini and the number of pops needed to shed a handcuff is adjustable in the Feature Settings.
Hit 3 Pops to shed a handcuff
Shed 5 handcuffs
Milkcan Escape — Three shots through the lower left loop will lower him into milkman, rollout the screen and then show him free. This can be the most lucrative of the stage modes.
Milkcan Loop 3 times
Metamorphosis — Shoot trunk to lower Houdini into the trunk, then orbit to close curtain, then stage or trunk to open curtain to set Houdini free, and Bess then in the trunk.
King of Cards — A video mode where you are throwing cards (known as scaling) through moving hoops. The longer you hold the flipper in before throwing, the higher it will go, so you need to time it both for when you start and release your press. As you make shots, the hoops move faster, making three of the smaller hoop, will then light the smaller hoop for extra ball. It is possible to make both hoops with a single throw, which will double their value.
The length of time in this mode is adjustable in the Feature Settings
Straight Jacket Multiball — You have the option of ‘reversed flippers’ (left flipper button controls right flipper, right controls left) or ‘reversed and inverted flippers’, where flippers are reversed as described, but they are inverted, which means they are the up position and then drop when flipper button is pressed, so they become ‘release to flip’. Jackpots are doubled when inverted. A feature will soon be added that if you are ‘chimping’ the flippers (e.g. just hitting both at the same time) during this mode will result in a reprimand and the jackpot value will be reduced.
Hint: cross your arms so that your right hand is on the left flipper button and left hand is on the right flipper button. Your brain will work as intended and you should be fine.
Hint: Once you feel comfortable with the reversed flippers, try the “reversed and inverted” a few times. It is worth big points and it’s actually not that difficult.
Bullet Catch — Shoot trunk to lock a ball in upper catapult, then shoot moving target to lock in the site (and jackpot value which is decreasing while you try to hit the moving shot). Locking the site fires the gun, to get into a two ball MB. Then continue to hit the trunk shot (right inner loop) to lock and fire the gun again to score jackpots.
The Magic Standup Targets help you in different ways depending on the current state of the game. Hitting a magic target can add escape letters, séance letters, or film letters. Hitting a target can also advance you a step during a Stage Mode or Movie Mode. The magic targets also engage the magnets.
Color Code: Blue
There are five modes based on Houdini’s movies. These modes are presented in black and white with an old film look and have a piano accompaniment. Failing to complete results in the film ‘burning’. One is a type of add-a-ball Multiball. Complete all five for Houdini letter. Completing all five will also start the Mini-Magician Mode called Movie Binge. You don’t have to complete each movie mode but how well you did at each mode will impact your scoring potential in Movie Binge.
Terror Island (Scoop, ramp, scoop, ramp) — Free the woman from the safe that was thrown in the ocean, then go back for the treasure.
Haldane of Secret Service (all about the spinner) — Escape the waterwheel. Each shot makes it spin faster until it breaks free
Master Mystery — Features Q The Automaton, the first ever movie robot, stop him from getting the woman or getting to the weapon — left orbit, right orbit, left orbit, right orbit. You only have X seconds to complete the next shot in the sequence, making it resets the clock (but less time that previous shot).
Grim Game — Move Houdini from plane to plane to rescue the woman (orbit, ramp, orbit)
Man From Beyond — This is a add-a-ball kind of mode. First bash the stage to free Houdini from the Ice (where he was frozen for 100 years), this will then put a second ball in play. Then shoot orbits X times to free him from his restraints in the insane asylum, another ball is put into play, then all the GI and Inserts turn off, except for three shots (and a moving ‘spotlight’ running through inserts). Only one of the three lit shots will pay off, you can figure out which by sneaking a peek at the display and spotting Houdini when the spotlight is on him. Shooting the correct shot scores a jackpot, and then Houdini will randomly move between the three shots.
NOTE: For most of the stage and movie modes, you can also hit one of the two ‘magic stand-ups’ targets, which are located on either side of the lower playfield to advance a step through the mode. When not in a mode, these targets will assist you in other ways, based on current state, typically adding ESCAPE, SEANCE or FILM letters. They will also trigger the magnets under the hands which will then twirl and throw the ball. There is an optional ball saver (controlled via settings), when the magnets are triggered via the targets (and when not in seance mulitball). Also, for most stage and movie modes, once the timer gets to 10 seconds or less, you can shoot the spinner to add time to the timer. You can up to 10 seconds to the timer.
JAIL ESCAPE HURRY-UPS
Color Code: Green
Spell E-S-C-A-P-E via stand-up targets begin a Jail Escape Hurry Up. Complete all five to earn a Houdini letter. Complete all five for the Great Jail Escape mini-magician mode.
E-S-C stand-up targets are shootable but the A-P-E letters are not. Use the pop bumpers and indirect shots to hit the A-P-E stand-ups. Complete X to earn Return From Beyond, also possible to earn Extra Ball if enabled in settings. Can be random or easy to hard based on settings. Complete all five for mini-magician mode.
SECRET MISSION COMBOS
Color Code: Pink
Houdini was rumored to be a spy for the US government - hence the secret missions! Each secret mission is a combo. Each combo gets progressively harder to complete. There are five different combos to complete. The secret missions are considered to be the hardest objective in the game to complete.
Secret Missions start at the scoop. Only one secret mission is active at a time. Complete it and you can then start the next. Complete all five for a mini-magician mode and a Houdini letter. The next shot in the sequence will be identified with a flashing purple arrow. If the sequence is broken, it will go back to the first shot of the sequence. They get harder as you go.
Combo Mission 1: chain together the ramp and scoop shots for 25,000
Combo Mission 2: chain together the right orbit and scoop shots for 50,000
Combo Mission 3: chain together the ramp, right orbit, and scoop for 75,000 and lits extra ball at the scoop
Combo Mission 4: chain together the right ramp, right orbit, lock shoot and scoop for 100,000
Combo Mission 5: chain together the milkcan, ramp, right orbit and scoop for 250,000
OUTLANE DRAIN MODES
Complete the task, continue your ball, fail and ball ends. The modes are:
Return From Beyond
You get 30 flips to spell seance (via mini stand-up targets). Earned by scoring X jackpots during seance multiball.
You get 30 seconds to spell ESCAPE (via stand-up targets). Escape Death is the harder of the two to complete. Earned by completing X jail escape hurry-ups.
You can also earn/light the outlane drain modes at Magic Shop. If earned there it will bounce from side to side with flippers. If earned via Seance or Escapes, it will not move. If you have earned one plus magic shop version, then both outlines are lit. You can only earn each once per game.
MAGIC SHOP “MYSTERY AWARD”
Color Code: Yellow
The Magic Shop is the place to get mystery awards. You’ll need to collect 8 items from the shop to get to the Master Magician Mode.
The magic shop is opened by the spinner. Once the Magic Shop is open for business you can get something from the shop by entering the “gobble hole” under the ramp. The direct shot to the gobble hole is through the Stage Alley lane through the pops. You can also bank it in off the theater curtain or use the pop bumpers to bounce it into the hole.
There are also Easter eggs at the Magic Shop that poke fun at some of American Pinball’s friends and competitors.
Magic Shop Awards:
Virtual Ball Lock
Extra Ball Lit
20 second Ball Save
Milkcan Multiplier Advance
Return from Beyond Lit
Escape Death Lit
Big Points (various amounts)
Bonus Multipliers (various award)
There are settings to also you to earn a HOUDINI letter more easily or even multiple letters.
You can stack multiballs on both stage and movie modes as well as other multiballs. You do have to start the modes first. Stage modes and movie modes can not be stacked with each other. Once a multiball is running, you can not start a movie or stage mode. Jail Escapes, starting of Secret Missions and Magic shop visits can occur if a mode is running, but not if multiball is running.
Color Code: Turquoise
By default the lock is lit at the start of the game. Stage Alley shot will lit the lock on subsequent locks. Shoot the right inner loop to catapult a ball into the trunk for each locked ball. Lock three balls in the trunk to start the Trunk Multiball. Three shots are lit for jackpots, complete those then shoot trunk (via inner loop) to score super jackpot and re-light jackpots. Super Jackpot will earn Houdini letter.
Seance Multiball - 3 ball
Color Code: Teal
Spell S-E-A-N-C-E to light at the scoop. The magnets will engage in this multiball. Spell seance to score jackpots, spell in order for super jackpot (very hard). Gets harder to light each time. Two jackpots during Seance Multiball will earn you a Houdini letter.
You can stack multiballs on both stage and movie modes as well as other multiballs. Stage modes and movie modes can not be stacked with each other. Once a multiball is running, you can not start a movie or stage mode. Jail Escapes, starting of Secret Missions and Magic shop visits can occur if a mode is running, but not if multiball is running.
MILKCAN PLAYFIELD MULTIPLIERS
The Milkcan loop (lower left loop) is a difficult shot that feeds the left inlane. Shooting the milkman loop feeds immediately followed by the ramp will increase the playfield multiplier for X seconds. Each time this 2 shot combo is hit advances the multiple from 2X to 3X to 4X. Starting a mode via Stage Alley with a max milkcan multiplier gives 8X scoring.