To celebrate their 30th anniversary back in 2016, previously having been known as Data East Pinball and then later Sega Pinball, Stern Pinball released Ghostbusters Pinball, a brand new table based on the original two films. This has now been converted into digital form and is available in the Stern Pinball Arcade, with the Limited Edition version of the table to follow shortly.
The table itself takes its inspiration from the original films, rather than the 2016 reboot: Sound clips, music, enemies and missions are all pulled directly from the 1984 original and 1989 sequel. Even going so far as to include Ernie Hudson (Ghostbuster Winston Zeddemore) recording original lines for the table. These lines may only go so far as him saying “Get the Super Jackpot!” amongst other pinball-related cues, but it’s a nice touch to have this narrator-type guide you around the table.
Completing the aesthetic is some wonderful hand drawn art on the backboard and base of the table, and a Stay Puft Marshmallow Man statue to the right of the table which is visible most of the time. The graphics certainly do this table justice. And you have to rely on the camera to show you where the ball is as opposed to being able to lean left and right manually when the ball gets tucked away for a few seconds at the top of the table.
As with other tables in the collection, the Ghostbusters table features extensive instructions and tips to make sure you aren’t simply hitting the ball in any old direction and hoping for the best. This makes a massive difference as you begin to understand the objectives and missions, and what is needed to complete them.
Don’t fret if you lose the ball before completing the mission though, because as soon as you begin your next turn the mission continues.
The missions, or scenes, are all taken directly from the films and with the inclusion of the sounds from the movie really do make this a faithful representation, albeit in pinball form.
Despite the more basic appearance of the table, for instance it only has one pair of flippers at the bottom with none further up the table, and all the action is on the one level with no ramps leading to raised areas, this is still a difficult table to get to grips with. But for those struggling to complete many scenes during their 3-ball run, then there is an overarching mission that involves catching ghosts. Most shots on the ramps or orbits will in fact count as capturing one ghost and this can be an easier way to boost your score and get to grips with the table. Rewards for catching ghosts occur incrementally and include multi-balls and video mode.
It does also have some unique attributes though; the main one being a retractable crane with Slimer attached to the end. This appears at a couple of points during your play. Hitting the GHOST target when scenes are unavailable will bring him into play for a maximum of three hits, but it also reappears during one of the scenes as he will need to be caught.
There is one feature of the table however that I can only assume was added to make it infuriating. In front of both slingshots is a magnet designed to give the effect that the ball is under ‘paranormal’ control. This magnet changes the direction of the ball whenever it is near the slingshots. But having these so close to the flippers and the outlanes is a horrifically bad idea because it adds a layer of chance and luck you simply do not have time to react to. Many a ball will be lost to this dodgy design choice.
The Ghostbusters table doesn’t add any new achievements to the base game which is a bit of a shame as it still includes local highscores and table goals, which are the basis for all the other achievements in the game.
Ultimately though, this table is certainly a challenging one. I had a lot of fun playing it because of the amount of work that had clearly been put in, including clips from the film not just in the sound but recreated on the dot-matrix board. But there is a degree of difficulty with it that hampered my progress on many occasions. That said, it looks great, sounds great and for the most part, plays well enough.