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Thread: Ghostbusters Tips & Strategy

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    Senior Member EldarOfSuburbia's Avatar
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    Ghostbusters Tips & Strategy

    Ghostbusters is the deepest, most complex, table in TPA. Maybe not as complex as AC/DC.

    Even if you slog through the 538(!) pages of rules in-game, you're still likely to remain a bit confused.

    Let's start the conversation!

    Begin At The Beginning

    The skillshot is your friend, and if you do have a long game, is going to be a MAJOR source of points. There are two skillshots available:
    1. The P-K-E rollovers; cycle the lit lane and award with the left flipper.
    2. The left scoop, left loop, left ramp, right loop, right ramp, and right scoop; cycle the lit shot with the right flipper.

    My advice: forget the P-K-E rollover skillshot. The rewards are small fry and it's difficult to hit anyway. The real rewards, especially later on, are at the right loop and right ramp.

    Ball 1, take the Right Loop Skillshot to Start Scene. It's usually the one that's lit, so you don't even need to cycle. Give the ball a full plunge, dead pass from the left flipper to a catch on the right, and take the easy backhand on the right loop. This will start the "Okay Who Brought The Dog?" Scene.

    ... Then Go Straight To The End (of the movie)

    We're going to play what are, chronologically, the latest scenes in the movie, culminating in the climax vs. Stay Puft and Gozer. These get you tons of points, and tons of points are what you want because having lots of points in this game is they way to get even more points off of skillshots later. (There's an argument to be had about late-game skillshot choice. More on that in a bit.)

    After getting control of the ball, shoot the left ramp, left loop, and right loop to complete "Okay Who Brought The Dog?", and automatically start the next Scene, "Spook Central".

    "Spook Central" is another straightforward Scene: left ramp to stop the hurry-up and set the shot reward for the rest of the Scene (the hurry-up will automatically stop at 1.5M, and move on to the next phase). Collect each of the 4 lit shots (left loop, left ramp, right ramp, right loop) and again finish with the right loop. This completes "Spook Central" and automatically starts "Gozer The Gozerian".

    "Gozer The Gozerian" is long, complicated, and confusing. Without referring to the instructions, I think it goes something like: build the first reward with the right loop, and collect at the right ramp. Then build the second reward with the left ramp, and collect at the Gozer standup target which is at the top of the lane between the left ramp and the bumpers. Finally shoot some more lit shots (left ramp, right loop, right ramp?) and collect the final reward at the Gozer standup. Like I said, it's complicated and confusing, and even worse there are timers in each phase and if the timer runs out you fail the mode and will have to re-light scenes using the G-H-O-S-T standup and Slimer (or another skillshot to a lit Scene).

    Either way, once "Gozer The Gozerian" ends - either by completing it or failing it - Extra Ball will be lit at the left scoop, so get it. The left scoop kickout is tricky to control. Keep both flippers down and the ball will usually bounce off the tip of the right flipper, and give you control on the right. Sometimes the magna-slings will intervene, but not often.

    Say you complete "Gozer The Gozerian"; now "Stay Puft Marshmallow Man" is lit at the right loop, so make that shot to start it.

    "Stay Puft" is another multi-part Scene, but not as confusing as "Gozer". Make a shot to get into the meat of the mode, which is to make multiple lit shots to weaken the big fluffy guy. Eventually he will be lit up in red, make the right loop to destroy him. A final shot to the right loop will take out Gozer. Congratulations, you saved the world!

    Now you'll notice that the left ramp is lit up like a Christmas tree; shoot it to get into the mini-wizard mode, "We Came, We Saw, We Kicked Its...". Pretty standard frenzy multiball with increasing rewards at each shot. Additional balls can be launched into play from the left scoop, with Add-a-Ball re-lit by repeatedly shooting the left captive balls.

    You've Saved The World, So What Next?

    Well, there's a good chance some other stuff happened while you were saving the world.

    Almost certainly you collected some Super Jackpots (GB loves handing out Super Jackpots like they're Halloween candy). Maybe locked a couple of balls and got into Storage Facility Multiball, another pretty straightforward affair. You might have started something called "PKE Frenzy" - more on that later. And finally you might have had a "what the *&$^ is going on?!" moment when your flippers were reversed and you probably drained very quickly.

    Frankly none of the above is worth worrying about, except "PKE Frenzy". Super Jackpots will just happen, and they can be worth a lot of points, especially the Triple versions lit by taking out the Scoleri Brothers drop-targets that pop up in the middle of the playfield (think Cactus Canyon's Bad Guys), just not worth going for specifically. "PKE Frenzy", on the other hand, can be worth a LOT of points late on, and while the right ramp is a very tricky shot, mastering it - and mastering looping it - will be very beneficial.

    There Are Other Scenes

    Other scenes can be started at the left scoop (Library Scenes) and right ramp (Sedgewick Hotel Scenes). Neither of these tracks are as lucrative as the Apartment Building track, but they need to be completed in order to access the final Wizard Mode, "We're Ready To Believe You", which isn't all that special, to be honest: just another frenzy-style multiball.

    The Real Points

    In a long game, you are going to score big points in three ways:
    1. Bonus. Not sure if there's a surefire way to Hold Bonus, but it's a common reward from Tobin's Spirit Guide (collect when the blue lamp is lit at the left scoop). Bonus can get to 500M+ easily on a long ball.
    2. "PKE Frenzy". PKE builds up in a variety of ways as you play, and the more PKE you accumulate, the more points you can get from "PKE Frenzy". The "PKE Frenzy" jackpot is PKE x 1000 x multiplier. Late in a long game, be prepared for jackpots in excess of 400M that can be repeatedly collected at the right ramp. Just be aware that the multiplier will start going down eventually - shoot the left stand-up bank or a bunch of switches to increase the multiplier again. Starting "PKE Frenzy" isn't easy, and there are three ways to do it
    a. Select "PKE Frenzy" as the skillshot award, and shoot the right ramp to start it. The most common way, but the right ramp is difficult and if you make any other shot, the skillshot award goes away.
    b. Collect 80 ghosts. Collecting ghosts just happens, in a long game you'll get there eventually.
    c. From a Tobin's Spirit Guide random award.
    3. +10% score skillshot (at the right loop is recommended, as it's a very easy collect). This is far easier and more reliable than "PKE Frenzy", but it's a one-time thing per ball, and a good "PKE Frenzy" can easily outstrip this. If you're not hitting the right ramp that game, though, it's great. What you don't see is that every successful skillshot adds an additional +10% score, on top of the rewards it tells you about. So if your score is 1 Billion, hitting a +10% score skillshot will net you 100M (for the advertised skillshot award) + another 100M for the "invisible" skillshot award. That's 200M! Now imagine your score is 5 Billion. That +10% skillshot nets you 1B! But... a good "PKE Frenzy" might be worth 2B, 3B, or more.

    Triple Super Jackpots don't scale as well as "PKE Frenzy". Maybe they'll get to about 200M or so. Not to be sniffed at, but not worth chasing either.

    In Conclusion
    Ghostbusters is a deep, rewarding game with may paths to a high score; but like a lot of complex games, eventually one or two modes will sprint ahead of all else and dominate your score. "PKE Frenzy" is the king of these, but the +10% skillshot isn't far behind and good ol' fashioned Bonus is going to contribute a hefty chunk o' change in the long run.
    Last edited by EldarOfSuburbia; 10-27-2017 at 09:47 PM.
    "You've got an arm like a wet rag!" - The Dummy, Hurricane (Williams, 1991)
    "Ace of Clubs?!" - Bride of Pin*Bot, Jack*Bot (Williams, 1995)
    "You have been terminated. Have a nice day!" - Candy 2000, Safe Cracker (Williams, 1996)

    Wizard Goals remaining: Safe Cracker 26 [Unique] Tokens (19/26 collected); F-14 250K Launch Bonus; Frankie 150M Creature Jackpot, Complete CREATURE

  2. #2
    Senior Member Dedpop's Avatar
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  3. #3
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    Skill shot tips.
    Set PKE to K ALWAYS - 6x play field multiplier is absolutely worth it if you mess up the short plunge and nudge it in there.
    Otherwise set lane skill shot to video mode and short plunge, let ball bounce off right flipper, catch with left and hit right scoop and choose don't cross the streams. Instant $59 million I'd you get good at it.

    You can only choose video mode if you don't have a scene running, if you do it changes to 2x play field which I think is still worth it.

    Later in the game when I have a decent score I do the "10% of total score" - 10% of a billion is a pretty good payout.

  4. #4
    Senior Pigeon Kolchak357's Avatar
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    Nice write up. More info than I will probably ever need. Well done Mr Eldar.

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    Senior Member Crazy Newt's Avatar
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    Ugh! This game is definitely not casual-play friendly while listening to music and having some sporting event on a TV in the same room. I drink, I listen to music, I throw a game on the TV with the sound very low or muted, and I play a game of pinball or two and just clear my mind and relax. I can do this with AC/DC. I may not get my best score, and a few critical shots are missed or ignored, but I have a great time. This is the first game I recall that kind of irritates me. That awful left scoop return is how I almost always drain a ball. If you couldn't tell from the first few sentences I typed, I don't have a ton of patience and need a considerable amount of stimuli to feel normal. I've somehow managed to make it in this world for half a century with these irregular characteristics, so I probably won't change my personality too easily. I am what I am.

    This game has LONG pauses where something is happening on the dot matrix display and I have to plod through these far too often. I realize that I can press or hold the flipper buttons to expedite these occurrences; however, with that left scoop's eventual return, I need to practice great patience and totally forget that I even have a right flipper until well after the ball launches out of the scoop.

    I wasn't too thrilled about AC/DC at first, and learned to appreciate it later, especially after finding out my favorite new-ish Stern pinball machine, Star Trek, routinely crashes to my desktop during normal play under specific, repeatable circumstances. I ended up playing AC/DC quite a bit, and even learned the table rules enough to get into it. I read all of the GB rules. I found it much easier to play a game or two, and then go back to the instructions and read about specific sections I was interested in rather that trying to read through the full list from beginning to end. Still, the game seems to have odd, inconsistent scoring. I can feel like I am having a decent game, shooting the lit shots frequently and generally making the lights flash in a manner that would seem like I am doing a good job score-wise, only to end the game and see that I only scored a few hundred thousand. Then I'll play another game and feel somewhat disappointed about my play, but see a score over 3 billion or more. It is a game where I can say "Darn! Wow!" or "Yeah! Oh!" after playing what I felt was the same exact game.

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    Senior Member psykil's Avatar
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    Cheezing the skillshot: Short plunge the ball so it rolls up part way up the plunger lane and starts falling back down. Pull the plunger all the way back and the instant the ball reaches the bottom fire it back out. If you time it right you'll automatically be awarded the skill shot, including whatever the lit lane reward is. You can use this to go directly into a mode at the start of the game, get the 10% score bonus, etc.

    This and other playfield validation issues is why you'll never see GB in a PAPA A division tournament.
    psn: dirtyepic_sk

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    Quote Originally Posted by psykil View Post
    Cheezing the skillshot: Short plunge the ball so it rolls up part way up the plunger lane and starts falling back down. Pull the plunger all the way back and the instant the ball reaches the bottom fire it back out. If you time it right you'll automatically be awarded the skill shot, including whatever the lit lane reward is. You can use this to go directly into a mode at the start of the game, get the 10% score bonus, etc.

    This and other playfield validation issues is why you'll never see GB in a PAPA A division tournament.
    what if the lit lane is the video mode (right scoop) - does it reward video mode for the next time you hit the scoop?

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    Senior Member Slam23's Avatar
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    Props to Eldar, this is not an easy game to make sense of. Too bad the skill shot is not working yet properly for iOS because of flipper freeze-up at the start of the ball. It's one hell of a game though. In my local flipper competition it's a divisive machine: one half likes the frenetic pace and the theme, the other half thinks it's a random drain fest.
    iOS HOF 67.272 as of May 2018

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    Senior Member kinggo's Avatar
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    because it is random drain fest. Those damn magnets.......
    Anyway, I don't find this one complex when it comes to rules as such but as a game it is difficult. But it is the most gorgeous table Stern ever made and digital version is nowhere near the real thing. And gameplay sucks a lot, at least on android.
    Dear FS, Special Force and Radical, please.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Crazy Newt's Avatar
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    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by kinggo View Post
    because it is random drain fest. Those damn magnets.......
    Anyway, I don't find this one complex when it comes to rules as such but as a game it is difficult. But it is the most gorgeous table Stern ever made and digital version is nowhere near the real thing. And gameplay sucks a lot, at least on android.
    The artwork is a bit too cluttered for my taste, but I agree, it still looks very nice. As for randomness with the drains, I'd have to say that most of my drains are from inattentiveness as the the ball is kicked out of the left scoop. My reaction when I see the ball hurtling toward the right flipper is to select the right flipper as the ball quickly approaches. With this table, that almost always means that I will be off slightly with my timing and open a wide path for the ball to go down the middle. I have to continuously remind myself to let the ball hit a dead, right flipper first after the ball kicks out, and then catch it on the rebound with the left or right flipper, depending on where it ends up. For me, this is nearly always with the left flipper.

    Another frequent drain is when I hit the ball up the left ramp. Most of the time there is some DMD video going on and I have a few seconds before a new ball is launched. If I take this time to sip from my drink or look away to the TV or my music server screen for a spit second, I find that sometimes the ball immediately goes directly to the right inlane and I realize too late as the ball quickly passes by the right flipper and drains in the middle.

    Again, I don't play video pinball with my full attention. It is like solitaire to me. It is something I do when I listen to music.

    How is this for random; a 24+ billion score game immediately followed by a 38 million score game? Not too consistent from game to game.

    PS: I hate Mass Hysteria mode. I just select both flippers at the same time for the shots and check to see if the flipper orientation is back to normal whenever I have a bit a break in the action. Still can't figure out an easy visual queue for when the flippers go back and forth during this mode. I do watch for the 100 ghost lite and prepare after the PKE frenzy starts, as I know it is coming next. When the mode is initially enabled, I usually see the Mass Hysteria shown in the DMD, but that is almost always at the same time I drain 2 or 3 balls. After that, though, I mash both flipper buttons at the same time until the mode is finally over for good.
    Last edited by Crazy Newt; 10-30-2017 at 09:46 AM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member EldarOfSuburbia's Avatar
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    Mass Hysteria Multiball = Mass Drain Multiball, as far as I'm concerned. More often than not I've drained every ball before it even acknowledges that the mode has started. That's including when I'm nearing 100 ghosts.
    "You've got an arm like a wet rag!" - The Dummy, Hurricane (Williams, 1991)
    "Ace of Clubs?!" - Bride of Pin*Bot, Jack*Bot (Williams, 1995)
    "You have been terminated. Have a nice day!" - Candy 2000, Safe Cracker (Williams, 1996)

    Wizard Goals remaining: Safe Cracker 26 [Unique] Tokens (19/26 collected); F-14 250K Launch Bonus; Frankie 150M Creature Jackpot, Complete CREATURE

  12. #12
    Senior Member Crazy Newt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EldarOfSuburbia View Post
    Mass Hysteria Multiball = Mass Drain Multiball, as far as I'm concerned. More often than not I've drained every ball before it even acknowledges that the mode has started. That's including when I'm nearing 100 ghosts.
    I suppose if you are using the keyboard for the controller, you can cross your arms so your left hand is on the right controls and your right hand is on the left controls. Similarly, for those that are particularly flexible, I suppose you could hold the controller upside down. I have seen some people actually flip the controller over and use it upside down, which for me always ends in a mess with me changing the view mode and struggling to pause the game in transition...most likely draining all of the balls in the process.

    I did check to see if I could remap the controller's left and right bumpers in the game settings. I use the wired XBOX 360 controller with the triggers as the flipper controls. I was hoping to enable the bumpers to swap the left and right flippers. I may still do this through an outside source, since it is not available in the game itself. This way I can simply use the bumpers set up to control the reverse flipper, which would seem normal during the Mass Hysteria mode.

    Your tips are very helpful and greatly appreciated. I only try and survive the Mass Hysteria mode now since it is just not worth risking the ball(s) for the additional points.

  13. #13
    Senior Member EldarOfSuburbia's Avatar
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    One thing I didn't even mention was the playfield multiplier, which can be gotten up to 6x playfield scoring.

    That sound great in principle, but in practice:

    1. If you choose to go for the middle PKE skill shot (which will light both multiplier standups), it means potentially missing out on any skill shot award, and definitely missing out on the more lucrative flipper skill shot awards (+10% or PKE Frenzy). Making the rollover skill shot is difficult - probably 33% of the time. Making the flipper skill shot, especially the right loop, is a breeze and should be 100%. Maybe do this if you're getting near PKE Frenzy on your Ghosts total, or you're about to start Stay Puft or We Came We Saw... (is this multiplied?)? You still get the underlying +10% score after all.

    2. On the other hand, there's trying to use the left captive balls to get the standups lit, and that's fraught with danger and... I'm not entirely 100% certain if it's working properly or not, and you have to go through it twice to get the 2x and 3x lamps lit, and by the time you've got 2x lit, hit the 2x standup, then got 3x lit, the 2x scoring window will have closed.

    3. You still have to hit those darned standups, and one or both can be instant STDM drains if you hit them at the right/wrong angle.

    Playfield multipliers are one of those things I'll gladly accept if it happens to come along (most likely from a Tobin's award), but I'm not going to go after them obsessively. It's not like Dr Who where a single easy shot will ramp up the multiplier, or Dr Dude or Party Zone where all I need to do is get multiball. Going for them is either going to eschew a bigger, better award; or is a waste of time and potentially dangerous.
    "You've got an arm like a wet rag!" - The Dummy, Hurricane (Williams, 1991)
    "Ace of Clubs?!" - Bride of Pin*Bot, Jack*Bot (Williams, 1995)
    "You have been terminated. Have a nice day!" - Candy 2000, Safe Cracker (Williams, 1996)

    Wizard Goals remaining: Safe Cracker 26 [Unique] Tokens (19/26 collected); F-14 250K Launch Bonus; Frankie 150M Creature Jackpot, Complete CREATURE

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    Quote Originally Posted by EldarOfSuburbia View Post
    Mass Hysteria Multiball = Mass Drain Multiball, as far as I'm concerned. More often than not I've drained every ball before it even acknowledges that the mode has started. That's including when I'm nearing 100 ghosts.
    Mass hysteria - I drain immediately because I don't realize the flippers are switched until it's too late

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    Quote Originally Posted by DA5ID View Post
    Mass hysteria - I drain immediately because I don't realize the flippers are switched until it's too late
    Same here. By the time I have noticed it and the sample plays, I only have 1 ball left in play if I'm lucky...

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    Quote Originally Posted by TFHFony View Post
    Same here. By the time I have noticed it and the sample plays, I only have 1 ball left in play if I'm lucky...
    I had a really good game going last night 12bil (#1 mobile), mass hysteria caused me to drain all balls twice (100 and 200 ghosts) ending some high scoring runs.

    My friends cross their arms IRL to trick their brain into hitting the correct flipper with the response time required in pinball.
    Harder to do on an iPad, opting for the double flip -not working so well.

  17. #17
    Senior Pigeon Kolchak357's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DA5ID View Post
    I had a really good game going last night 12bil (#1 mobile), mass hysteria caused me to drain all balls twice (100 and 200 ghosts) ending some high scoring runs.

    My friends cross their arms IRL to trick their brain into hitting the correct flipper with the response time required in pinball.
    Harder to do on an iPad, opting for the double flip -not working so well.
    I double flip as well. And agree it doesn't work so well. Plus I always lose at least one ball before I realize what is going on. Just wish the ios version worked better. I need the inserts working to know what to aim for. Haven't played GB enough in real life to remember what to shoot for.

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    Senior Member Tarek Oberdieck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DA5ID View Post
    I had a really good game going last night 12bil (#1 mobile)
    12B? Looks like the Ghostbusters leaderboard for mobile points to the Cactus Jacks leaderboard. In Steam there's no Ghostbusters leaderboard available. Great job from Farsight...

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    Senior Member Striker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crazy Newt View Post
    I suppose if you are using the keyboard for the controller, you can cross your arms so your left hand is on the right controls and your right hand is on the left controls. Similarly, for those that are particularly flexible, I suppose you could hold the controller upside down. I have seen some people actually flip the controller over and use it upside down, which for me always ends in a mess with me changing the view mode and struggling to pause the game in transition...most likely draining all of the balls in the process.
    I crossed my arms the last time. It actually worked well for a minute. But I failed to realize I only had one ball left and the controls reverted, and the last ball drained before I realized what was going on. Oh well, practice, practice, practice....

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by psykil View Post
    Cheezing the skillshot: Short plunge the ball so it rolls up part way up the plunger lane and starts falling back down. Pull the plunger all the way back and the instant the ball reaches the bottom fire it back out. If you time it right you'll automatically be awarded the skill shot, including whatever the lit lane reward is. You can use this to go directly into a mode at the start of the game, get the 10% score bonus, etc.

    This and other playfield validation issues is why you'll never see GB in a PAPA A division tournament.
    I don't understand how to do this without changing the skillshot lane, right flipper and plunger are same "button" at least in iOS, aren't they?

  21. #21
    Senior Member psykil's Avatar
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    Maybe? I haven't tried it on iOS.
    psn: dirtyepic_sk

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