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ACDC Pro

mwong168

Administrator
Staff member
Nov 14, 2012
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Adam analyzes...

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My initial reaction to ACDC Pro was one of distaste since the earlier software on the machine had so many things wrong with it. It felt more like it was just about the music instead of the pinball and the only thing to do was keep piling on and collecting the jackpot value. Fast forward to today and the latest revision of the software (V1.65 - Mar. 22, 2013) has turned a mediocre game into a spectacular game. As far as I'm concerned ACDC Pro is the best and most balanced game when it comes to risk vs reward.

First and foremost let me take care of one thing in this analysis, the right side inlane/outlane is completely obscured by the cannon. This would be the game's one flaw I'd have to say. If you own the game, you can get used to losing site of the ball over there and still know what you need to do to keep the ball from heading down the outlane. But I can understand how if you are stepping up to the game and you don't play it regularly that not being able to see over there is very jarring.

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That being said, what Stern has done with the ACDC Pro software is nothing short of a master piece because of the way the software integrates with the machine because it is perfect and works so well.

I'm sure you are wondering WTF am I talking about? At its core the game sounds simplistic, pick a song, shot the shoots, build a jackpot value and collect it. Simple right but that's where it starts. It' starts simple then you start to get into the meat of it. The game is great in that it forces you to play the entire machine. You see each song in the game corresponds to a specific shot on the machine. So as examples:

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Warmachine is the left loop
Highway to Hell is the right ramp
TNT is the Standups
Shook Me All Night Long is the pop bumpers
Whole Lotta Rosie is the Top rollovers, etc, etc.

What's cool is how each of these items works into the machine. If for example you choose Highway to Hell the machine starts with just the right ramp shot lit. You need to shoot the right ramp in order to light all the other shots on the machine.

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Once you shoot the right ramp and all the other shots are lit, you shoot those shots to build up the Jackpot value but a greater point value. Just shooting the one lit shot associated with the song will get you no where fast. So you need to keep shooting all the other shots on the playfield to build up your song jackpot value. Once you shoot a shot the light turns off and you can't raise the value of the jackpot again until you shoot the specific shot related to the song playing. This will then relight all the shots and you can continue building your jackpot.

What's great is since the machine makes you play out the entire machine, there is strategy involved in when you use what songs and how best to take advantage of them during multiball. As an example Jam multiball, jackpots are on the ramps.

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So when you are in that multiball, I will want a song that will relight the rest of the shots while I'm making Jackpots at the same time. So I'm going to be picking Highway to Hell or Rock and Roll Train. As those are left and right ramp shots. That way every Jackpot I make during Jam Multiball, is also building toward and resetting the available shots to build up that jackpot value.

Now this is where the risk reward comes in because the Jackpot value is only good for the ball you are on. If you build it up to 100 million and then drain before you collect you have to start all over again. Also you can't just collect it whenever because you need to have the cannon lit, which you do by spelling fire in the inlane/outlanes.

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But the problem is once the cannon is lit any shot to the right ramp loads the cannon and you must fire it. If you miss the cannon unlights and you are stuck spelling fire again so you can collect the jackpot. It becomes this cat and mouse game of trying to keep the canon lit but not shooting the right ramp so you don't waste it.

Then you add in the playfield X and the Risk vs Reward ramps up even further. If you nail the bell X number of times it starts a playfield multiplier that multiplies all values on the playfield.

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Initially it starts with 2x but if you nail it enough times during 2x, 3x will start running. This means that whatever jackpot value you have built up could be double or triple if you play your cards right. So now not only do you have to keep an eye on when your cannon is lit but also how far are you to your next playfield multiplier and do you want to risk going for 3x to really get a huge jackpot. The entire time in the back of your mind you have to know that if you drain you have to start all over. Also I haven't mentioned that once you collect the jackpot it goes back down to it's base value as well so you can only collect it once so again how do you best take advantage of that.

Let's talk about multiballs as there are 3 of them and each are lit in different ways.

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Jam - Lights by shooting X number of ramp shots
Tour - Lights by hitting X number of loop shots
Album - Lights by completing X number of target banks (by far the hardest to start)

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What I think is cool about each multiball is how they award skillfull play. You get a base jackpot value but you can raise and double that jackpot value be doing certain things. I haven't figured out the specifics of Album and Tour but in Jam the jackpots are on the left and right ramp. If you combo those shots it doubles the overall value of the jackpot and raises it by a bit as well. Then you add in the ability to 2x and 3x off the bell and you can really ramp up your score.

Now comes the stacking as all 3 multiballs can be stacked but you need to light all 3 of them and start them all at the same time for this to happen. Very much like BSD, the jackpot values now also triple in value. If you can stack all the multiballs together they are added in a super jackpot that is lit by hitting one jackpot from each of the multiballs (Jam is ramps, Tour is loops, Album is target banks). The Super Jackpot is lit on the bell and will grow depending on the number of jackpots you hit.

Now this is where things get confusing because I talk about the song jackpot above, that song jackpot you are building can also be brought into the multiball. Every time you score a jackpot in Album and Tour multiball an animation flashes on the screen of the Album or Tour in chronological order. If the Album or Tour corresponds to the song you currently have playing you score your entire song jackpot value. What is also awesome is that the Jackpot value doesn’t reset which means you can collect it off the cannon as well. This really creates a huge opportunity for some massive points if you can line everything up.

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Now onto VIP passes which you get from the skill shot or super skill shot. VIP passes are kinda a smart bomb so to speak as they award a single shot on the game. Where it becomes really valuable is in multiball because you can also get VIP passes from collecting a certain number of song requests. In multiball if you collect each of the 5 shots on the playfield (left loop, left ramp, bell, right ramp, right loop) you get an add a ball. So since the VIP pass awards one of those shots you can shoot 4 of the 5 shots and then sit and wait until a ball is about to drain and nail the FIRE button to bring the ball back into play.

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This really adds to the strategy of how you play your multiballs as you want to make sure you take the best advantage possible on when you use your VIP passes to keep your multiball going. Now onto Encore which I have yet to make it to I don’t know what the mode is like but the way you get there is to complete all the songs. When you choose a song, the song request sheet on the backboard of the machine clears off.

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You then need to collect 10 of the 12 song requests to give you the option to change the song. You complete a song request by shooting the shot associated with the song, so as an example shooting the left loop would complete the song request for war machine.

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Once you have collected all 12 songs you will light encore mode. Again I haven’t made it there myself so I don’t know what it is and I don’t like to spoil wizard modes for myself so I haven’t read up on it yet. I think there might also be another wizard mode from the multiballs but I’m not sure. During each of the 3 multiballs, outside of the triple stack Super Jackpot each one has a Super Jackpot. When you achieve the Super Jackpot the light for that multiball lights solid letting you know you have completed that multiball. I have to assume there is a reason to light it solid but I am not sure.

The last thing of note about ACDC are the super modes. They are kinda just an add on as they don’t really offer any major scoring opportunities or huge benefit. I’m also not even sure how to lock them in so you can achieve the built up value off the cannon. But I do know that as an example, Super Lanes will give you an option to double your bonus or double the score of your next shot when you roll down an inlane or outlane. Also Super combos will light an Extra Ball after x number of combos made.

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Each of the super items builds up a value similar to that of the Song Jackpot but unlike the Song Jackpot their values hold on from ball to ball (I think) but the values are never huge enough to actually compete with that of the song jackpot values.

At the end of the day, ACDC is one of Stern's best offerings to date and really ranks up there with the likes of TSPP and LOTR in terms of fun factor and rules. In some ways I want to say ACDC is better because unlike TSPP and LOTR it doesn't require that huge investment of time to play it. I can play it and have short games or long games and they both feel satisfying unlike LOTR and TSPP where if you aren't in for the long haul you aren't going to get as much out of it.
 

Vengeance

Well-Known Member
Nov 14, 2012
1,990
138
63
Keswick, ON
Holy hell just made it to Encore and I gotta say one of the best wizard modes in pinball for sure, and Ive played allot of wizard modes!

Ended up with a cool Billion on the game, dont usually like to post high scores since I think they are pointless since comparing high scores from game to game is impossible. But had to post these pics
 

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WARLOCK

Administrator
Staff member
Nov 14, 2012
1,803
197
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The Bluffs, Scarborough
Congrats Adam. Nice score!

That will take either Brewmanager or I a more than a few games to beat "me
thinks" once your ACDC Pro comes to Scarborough.

Looking forward to your ACDC Premium analysis once you have it figured out.
 

Vengeance

Well-Known Member
Nov 14, 2012
1,990
138
63
Keswick, ON
Now I can add on to this section with an explanation of Encore, if you don't want the Wizard mode spoiled for you, don't highlight over the text below this:

What a well thought out and amazing Wizard mode.

First you get what I would say is a 30 second into laying out all of the rules on how the wizard mode will work.

Basically it's an add a ball mode, the 5 lite note shots when hit will add a ball, your song jackpot builds via the standup targets and can still be collected off the cannon.

All of the work you did before this comes back to you in this mode, every Song you accumulated value before you get back in this mode. I didn't figure that portion out till late in the mode but basically since each song corresponds to a shot, you must complete that shot to get the value you had for that song and then move on to the next.

So as an example, for the song "For those About to Rock" you need to complete the Rock targets and you will get the song value you built up for that song.

TNT, hit the TNT targets and you will get that value

It advances in order I think in the way you played them.

The best part I thought about this mode was not only was it an add a ball, so it really gives you every opportunity to keep playing, but that it was basically like a new game!

You get 3 balls, same as you would if you just started the game to complete the mode, so as long as there is still a single ball in play and you haven't drained two times before that, you can continue the mode.

That I have to say is the best feature, most Wizard modes you get your into but your usually so stoked you finally made it that you forget everything that it just said, it's usually a mulitball and once you get back down to single ball play it's over. So you spend most of your time just trying to keep your balls in play and never really figuring out what the hell is going on.

I've been to Valinor, but I could never tell you what actually happens, I know it's a mulitball but that is about it.

Encore really gives you the time to appreciate your accomplishment and does so with a well thought out and really well done wizard mode.

It just further cements ACDC, IMO into one of the greatest pinballs in existence today, if you don't own one, you are missing out!

Before today I would waiver back and forth on which game was my favorite, between LOTR, TSPP, Tron, or ACDC.

Now without question I can say ACDC is my personal favorite and a shinning example of everything great about pinball!
 

mwong168

Administrator
Staff member
Nov 14, 2012
6,472
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Awesome score Adam and figures you always have your best scoring game just before it gets ready to leave your collection.
 

Chris Bardon

Well-Known Member
Nov 15, 2012
1,186
103
63
Mississauga, ON
Maybe I just need to spend more time with it, but this game hasn't clicked for me yet. What I like about LOTR or TSPP is that you're advancing the game for more than just raw score, and ACDC doesn't seem to have that. Probably just a function of the theme, but it's part of the package, so it's one thing that keeps it from the top of the list. What it does seem to have (and what I haven't figured out), is the ability to take just about any situation the game throws at you and go somewhere with it. You can plan out your shots all you want, but if you're not making them, or if things bounce differently, you may have to change your strategy. The best games always offer you a different move, so no two plays are exactly the same.
 

Vengeance

Well-Known Member
Nov 14, 2012
1,990
138
63
Keswick, ON
Yes ACDC is 100% score driven but so is TSPP by example, everything you do in that game is to also advance your score.

Tron as well, LOTR less so as that is more about story and while there are actions to get bigger scores, you can still feel like your accomplishing things in LOTR and have a crappy score.

But what I like most about ACDC is that you never feel like you are in Jail. By that I mean, there is never a point in the game where you have just failed at something and you go, "GOD DAMMIT now I have to do all of that all OVER AGAIN!!"

LOTR, TSPP, Tron, ALL have that feeling, that moment when you are trying to achieve something and it doesn't work out and now your stuck.

You are always moving forward in ACDC, there is always something you can do, some shot to make to move forward, and once you reach the end, that is the end, and it is a gratifying end.
 

Zeus

New Member
Nov 23, 2013
1
0
0
Scarborough
Thanks for the post Adam....a lot has changed since the original software Shoot The Same Shot Over And Over Again (which was my strategy every time I played)
 

DRANO

Super Member
Nov 15, 2012
2,816
504
113
Mississauga
I have to admit that the feeling of this game being so "points driven" really made it hard for me to buy-in 100%. I wanted to like it, but being a big fan of modes and storyline in pins, it always seemed to be missing something for me.

After reading this review and understanding the strategies a lot more, I think I would probably be a lot more open minded towards this pin now.

Thanks!