I had something of a revalation today.
This game always mildly bummed me out because it looks and sounds so amazing, but is an absolutely terrible game for introducing people to pinball. When non-pinball people came over, I always had to steer them away from it, because they just had no chance of getting anywhere on it. Even very good players find it super frustrating, and in competition simply resort to exploiting the video mode to death.
I love a good challenge, but GB drains are out of control and make the game significantly less fun. This extreme difficulty also works very much against the linear ruleset. If the game were easier, it wouldn't be so bad that you have to start on the same 1 or 2 modes every time, because you would eventually play lots of others too.
So anyway. Today I put on some new flipper bats from Marco that are 1/8" longer, and also set the angle on them to eliminate the factory droop, just to see what it was like with a "normal" flipper gap and "normal" flipper bat angle.
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And man, it is like night and day! It is actually FUN!
- You can save about 20% more STDM shots, putting it on par with most other games.
- The longer bats combined with less droop makes cradles a lot easier.
- No more kickouts STDM.
- Scoleri Brothers are no longer an automatic death sentence.
- Left ramp is slightly easier to backhand.
- the altered flipper angles make it so you CANNOT auto-plunge or manual plunge the orbit to go into the Video Mode without flipping anymore. This is a VERY GOOD thing in my opinion. If people are going to exploit video mode, they should at least have to make the shot themselves.
the difference in bat length is really pretty small -- it's about equal to the thickness of the flipper rubber. There are still plenty of center drains. But it results in enough saves that the whole game feels more satisfying.
That's my opinion, anyway.
here is a link to flippers I bought: http://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/20-9592-7 (they also have them in white and yellow)