I decided to TweetyInstaFaceyTumblegram my way through learning the new software for Star Trek pinball by Stern. This newest update is fantastic! It makes the game many times better than it was before. Congratulations to Stern Pinball for this new version of an already great game.
I love it when a new version of something is released because the learning process must begin anew. My senses are heightened as I am trying to pay attention to as many things happening on the game as I can while I make each shot. I am trying to learn what each sound or voice cue means, what is stackable and what isn’t. I’m also trying to figure out what points I am not seeing on the scoreboard that are being scored in the background.
Plus, I am trying to steal glances at the scoreboard while all this is going on to see what shot does what.
Here is what happened in snapshot form with my tweets in the captions. This all occurred at Eight on the Break Arcade.
I’m ready. I’ve prepared myself. Let’s put the money in the dollar bill acceptor and fire this thing up!
Before this, my only knowledge of the rule changes was based on Stern’s update post on Facebook. I played this game as if I was playing the previous version. However, I quickly started to adjust my thinking as I went along. I was pleased with my first effort. But, I wondered if the scores are going to be higher due to the software.
This was the first time I saw what the Galactic Away Team shot does during a mode. After shooting three mode shots in Prime Directive, the “Away Team” flashed under the right flipper. After I shot that, the top lanes all lit for more scoring while the normal Prime Directive shots turned off. I then noticed that all shots to the top, stopped at the lanes instead of looping around, and those lanes were worth more points.
At first I thought that’s what all the Galactic away team features did. However, I was not done learning.
Woohoo! A GC score! Lots of thing happened to get this including a completion of the Kobayashi Maru Multiball. Incidentally completing Kobayashi Maru does the same thing it did before. It ends the mode and put you back in normal play, but with multiple balls. It’s like having a Warp Ball.
In the former version, I was used to being careful with the Vengeance target. The reason being if there is only one shot left to start a Vengeance mode, the mission start gets locked out. (Did this happen the the previous version? I am not sure now…)
Regardless, now you can get vengeance ready and the mission light stays on. Even the lock stays on if you have it ready. You can even start a mission after starting Vengeance Scoring or Vengeance Battle, but not after starting Vengeance Multiball.
Before, you had to get the final shot and then hit the center channel to start Kobayashi. Now, if you have the center open at the time, that shot can count as the final shot and start Kobayashi Maru. The first time I did this, it felt like a taking a convenient shortcut.
After getting Warp 9.1, I saw Double Scoring for 40 seconds show up on the scoreboard. Knowing about the Warp 9.9 Double Scoring + Add-A-Ball feature, I furiously started trying to get more Warp Ramps to see if the two doubles stack.
Apparently they don’t, but you get your 40 seconds of double scoring back which is still nice. Immediately, I thought that next time I would try getting to Warp 8 or 9 first. Then, wait on starting Warp 9.1 double scoring until after I had started Super Ramps, to prime up some 8X Super Ramps! See, I’m making connections! ^_^
I had to make sure the the two “3-in-a-rows” at once move still works. Of course it does. Why wouldn’t it? I’m silly.
I had hoped that Stern implemented a clock stoppage if no switches are hit in a period of time. Sort of like in Addams Family how the mode clock stops if you are trying to time-out a dangerous mode like Seance. That way you would have to put yourself at risk at least a couple of times during each mode.
But no, Level One mode time-outs can still be done. However, I don’t think you want to in this new version. So many potential points are lost by not playing the modes and missing out on the Galactic away team. Plus, you would have not nearly as many points available in Kobayashi Maru Multiball after your time-out fest.
Level Three modes used to have a timer that would force you to restart the mode if you didn’t finish in time. When you restarted, you would have to start the Level 3 mode all over again. It turns out that this method was a bit exploitable for big points. You could start a high scoring mode like Save the Enterprise III and make a few shots in a combo to score five to eight million points. Then purposefully not finish it, forgoing the shot doubler, and start it all over again.
Now there is no timer on Level Three, making the completion of those Level Three modes much easier. I was able to see there was no timer on two separate level three modes. This removes the exploit and makes it easier to get 2X scoring on a shot.
Here are the new dots for 3-in-a-row deep, or “3-in-a-column.” Getting this makes a shot 2X for the rest of the game, not just the ball like in the previous version. I like the new dots here, because it looks like you are betting all your chips on one shot.
Those dangerous shots you have to make during “Vengeance Scoring” just became more worthwhile. Now, if you finish all five shots, you get an extra ball immediately after making the last shot. Even in tournament play that’s still pretty nice since it would be worth an extra 3 Million points to you.
On this new version, you can collect a Super Jackpot shot after taking down any 6 Klingon shots and then another higher value Super after taking down all 12 shots. After that, the round goes to the roving Double Jackpot shot like before (except now there are 2 Double Jackpot shots to collect). Finally, an even higher value Super Jackpot lights again at the Warp Ramp.
At this point, I had learned that the Galactic Away Team, available after making 3 mode shots, actually activates different objectives depending on the mode you are playing.
Galactic (top) Lanes are available with Prime Directive. Galactic Targets are available with Nero, Galactic Ramps are available with Klingon Battle. There are three others that go with the other three modes, All offer high scoring replacement objectives instead of the normal mode shots should you want to activate them. You also get a bonus of 20 seconds added to the mode timer when you start a Galactic Away Team feature.
I finally cashed in an 8X Super Ramp opportunity! I went from a mediocre score to a replay in four shots. Seeing 7,200,000 show up as a super ramp score took me aback for a fraction of a second before I hit two other 8X super ramps in a row.
The path to 8X super ramps: Get to Warp 8 or 9, or close enough to Warp 9.1. Then, start Super Ramps. The Warp Ramp is already worth a 2X Super Ramp score. Combo a Warp Ramp with the left orbit to make it a 4X Super Ramp score. get to Warp 9.1 to start double scoring to make it an 8X Super Ramp score!
Not to mention you are still getting the points for the Warp Ramp shot which can be worth up to 2 Million each (double 1 Million) if you can repeat the shot over and over again. Use this to surprise your opponent with a huge comeback, and maybe even surprise yourself with the new score you have just achieved when your warping stops.
Yes, 11,600,000 points for one shot. I did have a bit of a “Holy crap!” moment when I saw the number appear on the scoreboard. No more timing out for me, unless maybe it’s the last mode to get Kobayashi and it’s the last ball. It’s worth the risk.
It’s useful to have your sound turned up so you can hear all of the new voice cues. The game will tell you when the Galactic Away Team shot is ready. After you collect it the game will tell you which Galactic feature is available. Thats great especially if you haven’t memorized which Galactic feature goes with each mode yet.
Besides, it’s good to hear all of the new Karl Urban voice cues that replaced the more generic ones from the last version.
More cool stuff: You are allowed to start a Mode and Klingon Multiball at the same time using the left saucer shot. You will be able to select the mode and then Multiball (with it’s great new animation and light show) will start immediately after that. You are also allowed to start the Galactic Away team during Multiball.
Nero’s Galactic Away Team feature is the Red Matter targets that litter the playfield. Imagine if the Thunderstruck mode from AC/DC had twice the number of targets that can give you points for missing shots. Then add Multiball on top of that. Even though you don’t get the additional shot bonuses that Thunderstruck gives you, that’s how mode scores like 18,898,000 or more can happen on Star Trek.
Incidentally, did you know there is someone else masquerading as @SternPinball on twitter that is not Stern Pinball? Stern Pinball is actually @SternPinballInc, which I learned after making the preceding twitter mistake.
Anyway, I can’t wait to play this game again! This update just took a fun game and made it outstanding!
I have to find out if anything happened with the Level Two and Level Three end modes. Before it was just another offshoot of the Save the President mode from 24, Battle for Cybertron from Transformers, or the Helicarrier mode from the Avengers. These are modes that require you to shoot all shots to build up a Super Jackpot that you can only collect after getting all of the shots. I’ve nicknamed modes like this as the “Battle for the Cybertronian President’s Portal Multiball” mode.
I am really hoping that Enterprise Amok (Level 2 end mode) and Five Year Mission (Level 3 end mode) are now improved. I am still dreaming that maybe pieces of my idea for the Five Year Mission end mode are somehow in there.
SSB is the editor of the website Fun With Bonus, home of the semi-coherent, misguided ramblings of a journeyman professional/amateur pinball player.