(Topic ID: 297908)

Some thoughts on recent Sterns after first play (TMNT, Mando, LZ, AIQ)

By Frax

1 year ago



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  • Latest reply 1 year ago by Audioenslaved
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#1 1 year ago

Went to a league/tournament yesterday and got to play these 4 for the first time. Just some random thoughts for others that haven't been able to play these yet:

Mando LE - I only got one game on this one, sadly, but the surprise was the magnet above the lanes for me. That was actually far more interesting than I expected it to be. Rules? It's a letdown from what little I saw. It might just be me, it might be early code, I'm not sure. I definitely need more time to play the game. =\ The only thing I could figure out to do was shoot the center ramp and start multiball. No clue how to start modes, or anything else. (No, I don't generally look at the rule cards because many times the code changes over time make them a moot point or are too generalized to actually help). The swinging target mech in the middle was....kind of silly, honestly. This worked a lot better in AC/DC where it was hidden with the captive ball and the toy, IMO. Didn't get to the upper playfield, so can't comment on that.

TMNT LE - Oh god, where do I even start? I'm not sure WHAT to think about this game.

The under-flipper training shot was not nearly as bad as I'd seen in videos. I don't know if the flippers were just weaker so the bounce-outs were less from the extended play, or if it was the Superbands sapping power off the ball, but for whatever reason, I had very little issue making that shot. I had a LOT of issues getting up the side ramp that the upper flipper hits, which is why I'm thinking the flippers may have been a bit weak.

The shots feel...okay, I guess? Nothing terribly exciting. That right ramp reminds me of the Creech right ramp, only it doesn't feed to inlane, it goes to the upper flipper.

I do like the balls dumping out of the Van on the LE, and the magnet spinner is amusing for multiball starts as well, but in my experience the disc did very little during normal gameplay to fling the ball in an unpredictable way. It's just not in a great place, or high enough rotation speed, for that.

The scoring is a mess. The rules are passable, but the scoring feels incredibly unbalanced, and just terrible when you're chopping away for 5+ minutes to get....2 million? That just feels like garbage. And I saw this over and over from both amateur and high level players. My son got 2nd place in his 4-pack with....800k. O_o I'm sure there's some gimmick that's being missed, but if 45+ people are missing the point....what am I supposed to think here?

Was not particularly impressed with the animations on the screen. Some of it seems like a mish-mash of different art styles, and just generally slow robotic movement on the animation that seems more in line with early 2000's CGI TV shows for kids.

Even the owner said he hates the game. Apparently he just buys LE's sight unseen and doesn't go to any arcades to try games out. *shrug* Take that as you will.

Led Zeppelin LE - Wow that playfield is wiiiiide open except when the spinner mech is up! The ramps feel satisfying, and the left dead-end/scoop to start modes feels easier than it has in some prior Stern games (Looking at you, Metallica and Guardians). It's a solid game overall, but I just didn't find it to be terribly fun. I'm not really sure what the point of the rising spinner mech is on the LE. It's interesting, and I like spinners but....aside from helping me complete Tour objectives, not sure why I'd ever care that it's there if I was a buyer. The other spinner is easy enough to hit. The upper side ramp from the upper flipper is a pretty tight shot...maybe too tight for that type of shot. I didn't pay too much attention to the screen on this one, I just followed the flashing arrows and tried to stack the multiball off the left ramp with a mode, and that worked out pretty well for me overall. I never did figure out how to light all the stuff to start using the angel target for the playfield multipliers, that was kind of a bummer. =\ Otherwise...it just feels like a solid game. There's nothing critically wrong with it in my opinion, but also nothing that really stands out, aside from the bright blue trim.

Avengers Infinity Quest - This was by FAR my favorite out of the four.

The rules feel very solid and thought out, the scoring feels even, and the art package is really good. I will say that never once in any of the games I played did I give any craps that the under-playfield locks were visible through the playfield. Like....that was just completely useless to me and irrelevant. Things felt "accessible", like the side flipper shot to the middle ramp is not terribly bad, nor is the shot to the inner loop from that flipper. Nothing feels out of reach on this game.

If I can muster any real complaints about the game, it's primarily my personal dislike of post-type spinners (TOTAN, AIQ, Avengers OG, ETC). I didn't like them on EM games, and I don't like them on modern games. I do feel like the physical ball lock and the fact that the spinner raises up and becomes a big mode start hole on the LE are both big positives for me. The Avengers Tower shot for the multiball locks *can* be a bit 'odd', and the post for the spinner can end up annoying in the way if it's all the way to the left. It doesn't happen a lot, by any means, but it's a possibility.

The mode where the flips are limited (but you aren't punished with loss of ball if you drain, they just take away 5 flips....and this is a BRILLIANT code choice if you ask me, because nothing is less satisfying in deep games like this than draining and fully losing a mode, or being stuck in a mode through repeat balls and not being able to clear it) is a lot of fun. I completed it with 21 flips left, I dunno how good that is, but it FELT really good, and forced me to think about dead bounce passes where I usually will not go for them on most games at all.

There is a LOT to do on this game, and hopefully I'll find another one I can play sometime soon. I could see owning this game at some point.....as long as it's the Premium or LE. I don't even want it without the spinner lifting up, because it's the only thing that makes that type of spinner acceptable to me, is getting it out of my way for a moment.

#2 1 year ago
Quoted from Frax:

I completed it with 21 flips left, I dunno how good that is, but it FELT really good, and forced me to think about dead bounce passes where I usually will not go for them on most games at all.

It's not really a hard mode to do, if you hold down the lockbar button when it start it goes into hard mode where you only gain like 2 flips per shot; that's a tuffy.

#3 1 year ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

It's not really a hard mode to do, if you hold down the lockbar button when it start it goes into hard mode where you only gain like 2 flips per shot; that's a tuffy.

It feels like that's about what I used. It felt like an eternity just watching the ball bounce around waiting for it to get on the right flipper for the shot. Stressful to me to just let the ball do as it will like that, because I'm a flow player, not control, heh. If I get a chance to play it again I'll definitely try the hard mode, didn't know about that!

#4 1 year ago

The best part is after it's over you're sort of gun shy aboot using the flippers

#5 1 year ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

The best part is after it's over you're sort of gun shy aboot using the flippers

I could see that being a thing, though honestly that happens a lot worse with reverse flipper stuff for me.... especially TSPP. Holy crap that messes me up for a bit after playing the multiball with that.

#6 1 year ago

IMHO the best Stern after the JP release is AIQ

#7 1 year ago

Tmnt is a game you’ve really got to get to know more intimately. I bought one and I was like what have I done after 50 games but after 100 games I was in love!! It’s a FAST FAST game that hurts you for mistakes and the majority why I like it. The modes are fun there’s a heap to do and I haven’t gotten to final battle yet and the midway wizard mode in team up is super fun too! Just put some more time on it and you’ll love it!

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