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Systematic approach to completing F4 Wizard mode

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  • Systematic approach to completing F4 Wizard mode

    After reading some posts on the forum I realised that there are many people that have not reached or completed a table's wizard mode. As I had lots of fun reaching and completing the wizard mode, I wrote a step-by-step guide for reaching the wizard mode hoping to encourage and giving a boost to players that have not reached it before. There are obviously many other alternative approaches to reaching it but this works great for me and I have reached over 2 Billion before in Pinball FX2. After some feedback on the forum I adapted the guide to reflect some better ideas so thanks to those forum members for their input. This is not a table guide - I'll leave that to the guy that have done a great job so far on them (ShoryukenToTheChin's guide) - this is a straight path to the Wizard mode. Here goes!!!!

    Preparation

    - Learn the layout of the table.
    - Make a conscious decision that you will go for the Wizard mode and that you will not get side tracked. Forget about improving your score, the stackable multi-ball modes, 10x bonus multiplier etc.
    - Read the table rules so you understand how to complete each mission.
    - Make sure that you can complete all the missions before attempting a game to reach the Wizard mode. E.g. If you have not completed Dr. Doom yet... repeat the mission, without getting sidetracked, until you are comfortable in completing it and have an approach that works for you. Start the game, immediately go for the Baxter building, after the mission hole is lit, go for it and start Dr. Doom mission. Repeat until you can complete it no matter how many times you have to restart... it is worth it.
    - Make sure that you can hit the torch ramp (yellow ramp) at will as you will need to do it in the Wizard mode. There are two ways of doing it... shoot the right orbit and shoot the ball when it comes around or (the easier option) shoot it into the unlit mission hole and when it pops out, hit it at the ramp.

    Initial and Critical Goals

    - Accept that you will play a slow and calculated game as this table requires pinpoint accuracy. Before you take any shots, you will first need to get the ball under control, aim and then shoot (unless you go for the negative zone ball-saver - see below).
    - This table will gobble up balls down the out-lanes and down the middle - it appears to be impossible to keep the ball alive for a long time when you first play. The key to overcome this is to always and immediately, before anything else, play to activate the negative zone (NZ) ball-saver and the kickbacks.
    - To activate the NZ ball-saver and work toward activating the kickbacks you have to shoot the invisible woman ramp (blue ramp) and/or the thing ramp (brown ramp) seven times. After seven hits you need to shoot the Dr Doom ramp (green ramp) seven or eight times depending on what direction your first shot goes. The ball alternately gets diverted to the left or the right in-lanes - only the four left side shots count towards activating the NZ ball-saver.
    - When I go for the negative zone ball-saver I try to get into a rhythm by shooting with the left flipper into the invisible woman ramp and then with the right flipper into the thing ramp. With a combination of sight, sound and feel you can get into a rhythm to complete those shots quickly and efficiently.
    - After the seven shots you then need to go for the Dr. Doom ramp and you can also get into a rhythm for that... even though it is not a required shot, it helps with the rhythm if you shoot all the shots coming down the outmost left inlane into the invisible woman ramp rather than directly at the Dr. Doom ramp.
    - When you miss a shot... get the ball under control, take aim and try to get into the rhythm again. Practice makes perfect they say... and remember 10x combo activates extra ball - not that you want to get sidetracked!!!
    - After NZ ball-saver is active you should have at least the left kickback activated. Continue with the Invisible Woman/Thing ramp rhythm shots until it activates the right one.
    - As soon as you use a kickback - do the rhythm shots and activate it again.
    - As soon as you use the NZ ball-saver - do the rhythm shots and activate it again.
    - As soon as you lose a ball restart the process - do the rhythm shots and activate both again.... you get the picture. This is the whole key to making a long game on this table possible. If you don't stick to it... good luck!!!

    Missions

    - Proceed through the missions which ever way you feel comfortable with but think about it carefully. I do the Dr. Doom mission first because I find it the most difficult part of the entire table (including the Wizard mode... isn't that good to know!!!) and where I am also most likely to lose a ball-saver, kickbacks or a ball. That kind of stress is the last thing I want before going for the Wizard mode. I usually go for the thing mission last as it is fun and low risk if you get the ball on the left flipper and shoot from there.
    - If you can handle the risk of not first activating the NZ ball-saver or kickbacks, there is an alternative approach to starting the game off with a bang!
    - You can use one mission in a very efficient way to get the NZ ball-saver activated for the first time. After you charged up the seven ramp shots, start the Mr. Fantastic mission. Each time you hit his hand during his mission he will place the ball just above his machine, and when they roll down, it counts as one of the four shots you need to activate the NZ ball-saver, so it should activate after the fourth of six shots you need to make in his mission.
    - A combined approach of first completing the Dr. Doom mission and then to complete the Mr Fantastic mission to activate your first NZ ball-saver can be an excellent way to get you quickly into a good position in the game and well off towards reaching the wizard mode.
    Don't make it your priority though if you don't have the best ball control yet and rather stick to the safety first approach...

    Wizard Mode Preparation

    - First, and most important thing to remember about Wizard mode is that the game puts no timer on it... I repeat, there is no timer, so you have all the time in the world. No rush shots - bring the ball under control, take aim and shoot. If you miss.. get the ball under control again and repeat.
    - Before you activate the wizard mode... make sure you activate your NZ ball-saver and kickbacks. You notice that you will immediately "lose" the NZ ball-saver as soon as the mission start.. but you will get it back once you complete the wizard mode... which makes life much easier especially as you will then approach the game in your new guise as "The Ultimate High Score Maker"!
    - If you lose one kickback during wizard mode... take the time to get into your practice ramp shot rhythm and reactivate before continuing... remember there is no timer on the mode.

    Wizard Mode

    - The first stage is easy. Get the ball under control and shoot it into the portal so that Torch can go through.
    - The second stage is also easy - shoot the three targets in front of the thing hole and then the ball into the thing hole to destroy the energy converter... easy!
    - The third stage can be nervy because you have a relatively short time for each individual shot but again... the game does not time the stage. You need to hit the rays from Galactus four times to reflect it back into his eyes - the rays will randomly hit up one of the four ramps. Decide which ramps you are comfortable with and only shoot at the ray on those ramps (Invisible Woman ramp is the easiest for me and Torch the most difficult)... do not shoot at the other ramps if you are not comfortable with them... you will make a mistake and then you will regret it.
    - The fourth stage is to get Torch back through the portal again... shoot the D. Doom ramp four times to open the portal... they make it easier by every second Dr Doom ramp shot not being diverted to the right. Do your practised rhythm shots again as it will make it easier... blue ramp - green ramp... repeat.
    - Now for the fifth and most difficult stage... well it would be if you haven't practised hitting the torch ramp!!! You need to collect the Ultimate Nullifier that Torch brought back through the portal - it appears as a hologram at the entrance of the Torch ramp.
    - Once you collected it, you need to complete one more shot for the sixth and last stage - hit either the lit Dr. Doom ramp or the Invisible woman ramp to defeat Galactus and then enjoy the spoils of your victory with a bit of a multi-ball frenzy - the game puts a timer on the frenzy mode so don't take your time but make sure you aim your shots as much as possible as it results in a much higher score.


    Well, there you have it. I hope you complete it quickly! Once you completed the wizard mode your confidence will go up, you will feel that you have beaten the table and the scores will come... if you remember to always keep the NZ ball-saver and kickbacks activated!!!
    Last edited by Cloda; 08-03-2019, 05:24 AM. Reason: updated after I did a video in Pinball FX3
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  • #2
    Tip my hat off to you sir, excellent help for those who aint done the GALACTUS battle as of yet.
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    • #3
      Great advice for the most part, but I strongly disagree on one point, and have a bit of advice of my own to add. I would suggest always going for Doom's mission first, before activating NZ ball saver, as it is the most challenging, and negative zone will not activate in Doom's mode, and worse, if you drain in Doom's mode with the NZ up, it glitches out and will be unavailable the rest of the current game.

      Once you have Doom down, charge up the 7 ramp shots for NZ, but instead of hitting the 7-8 sign ramp shots, start Mr Fantastic's mission. If the NZ is fully charged, each time you hit his hand during his mission he places the ball just above his machine, and when they roll down it counts as 1 of the 4 shots you need to activate the NZ ball saver, so it should activate after the 4th of 6 shots you need to make in his mission.

      Using this strategy to start the game off will get you 2 missions down, and activate the NZ ball saver in a minimum # of shots, putting you in a great position to finish the rest of the missions.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by heathenSauce View Post
        Great advice for the most part, but I strongly disagree on one point, and have a bit of advice of my own to add. I would suggest always going for Doom's mission first, before activating NZ ball saver, as it is the most challenging, and negative zone will not activate in Doom's mode, and worse, if you drain in Doom's mode with the NZ up, it glitches out and will be unavailable the rest of the current game.

        Once you have Doom down, charge up the 7 ramp shots for NZ, but instead of hitting the 7-8 sign ramp shots, start Mr Fantastic's mission. If the NZ is fully charged, each time you hit his hand during his mission he places the ball just above his machine, and when they roll down it counts as 1 of the 4 shots you need to activate the NZ ball saver, so it should activate after the 4th of 6 shots you need to make in his mission.

        Using this strategy to start the game off will get you 2 missions down, and activate the NZ ball saver in a minimum # of shots, putting you in a great position to finish the rest of the missions.
        Great tips

        That's the way I have been doing it... Doom first followed by Mr. Fantastic all while activating NZ ball saver and kickbacks.

        Still haven't beaten wizard mode yet. Have made it there 5 times and have gotten really unlucky each time with some unfortunate bounces, lol (I choked a few times too). Nice to know that none of the modes are timed. Gives me a chance to catch my breath. I think I will take a few shots at it tonight to finish up the achievements for this table

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        • #5
          Originally posted by heathenSauce View Post
          Great advice for the most part, but I strongly disagree on one point, and have a bit of advice of my own to add. I would suggest always going for Doom's mission first, before activating NZ ball saver, as it is the most challenging, and negative zone will not activate in Doom's mode, and worse, if you drain in Doom's mode with the NZ up, it glitches out and will be unavailable the rest of the current game.

          Once you have Doom down, charge up the 7 ramp shots for NZ, but instead of hitting the 7-8 sign ramp shots, start Mr Fantastic's mission. If the NZ is fully charged, each time you hit his hand during his mission he places the ball just above his machine, and when they roll down it counts as 1 of the 4 shots you need to activate the NZ ball saver, so it should activate after the 4th of 6 shots you need to make in his mission.

          Using this strategy to start the game off will get you 2 missions down, and activate the NZ ball saver in a minimum # of shots, putting you in a great position to finish the rest of the missions.
          Thanks for the feedback and tips HeathenSauce - nice approach to activating your first negative zone ball-saver!! I will build it into the approach as an alternative for people to consider (later - going to bed now!!). I have never thought of it because I'm kind of obsesses with getting the Negative Zone ball-saver activated before I get temped with some or other mission or mode but will definitely try your approach from now. Hopefully the Dr. Doom / negative zone ball-saver is also fixed up quickly because its a pity that you have to adjust your strategy because of a glitch.

          Originally posted by KGSoloman8000 View Post
          Great tips

          That's the way I have been doing it... Doom first followed by Mr. Fantastic all while activating NZ ball saver and kickbacks.

          Still haven't beaten wizard mode yet. Have made it there 5 times and have gotten really unlucky each time with some unfortunate bounces, lol (I choked a few times too). Nice to know that none of the modes are timed. Gives me a chance to catch my breath. I think I will take a few shots at it tonight to finish up the achievements for this table
          Please let me know once you have achieved it if all my info is accurate - I couldn't get myself to attempt it again before posting this... until we know what is going to happen with the game breaking glitches I am not really going to play the table too hard.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Cloda View Post
            Hopefully the Dr. Doom / negative zone ball-saver is also fixed up quickly because its a pity that you have to adjust your strategy because of a glitch.
            Somehow I managed to make the negative zone work during Doom's mode, and got curious so I tried some scenarios to get it cleared. It seems the bug only occurs, when you hit Doom with a simple ball. If you don't hit him, or hit him with an enchanted yellow ball, the saver works just fine. Nevertheless if you hit him wit a simple ball, and then an enchanted ball, the saver will work either!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by 4rcad3f4n View Post
              Somehow I managed to make the negative zone work during Doom's mode, and got curious so I tried some scenarios to get it cleared. It seems the bug only occurs, when you hit Doom with a simple ball. If you don't hit him, or hit him with an enchanted yellow ball, the saver works just fine. Nevertheless if you hit him wit a simple ball, and then an enchanted ball, the saver will work either!
              I've had it glitch twice on me, and both times were before I had made the Baxter building shot and my ball was still normal, but I'm not sure if I had actually shot the ball up the sign ramp at any point in the mode. I've never had it actually work in Doom's mode.

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              • #8
                Thanx for the Wizard Mode guide... great idea. Every table should have one.

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                • #9
                  Funny enough when I completed the wizard mode it was on my first time, I just relaxed and made careful shots throughout. there where times I nearly mucked up but held myself together.

                  I complete it on Thursday night last week,.

                  So who else has joined the Give GALATUS A Stomach Ache Club?
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ShoryukenToTheChin View Post
                    So who else has joined the Give GALATUS A Stomach Ache Club?
                    Pick me, pick me!

                    Thanks for the guide Cloda; great idea.

                    Has anyone noticed that the Dr Doom mission doesn't award a score on completion? Played it today, and got zip for my efforts. Meanwhile, the Invisible Girl mode gives 10 million...

                    BTW, if you're having trouble with the green/orange ramps when trying to build your kickbacks and magna save, try for the blue ramp instead. It's the easiest shot on the table, and you can use your two nudge warnings to get the ball on to the left flipper for the shot. (Then wait 30 seconds to reset the warnings. Rinse, repeat.)
                    Last edited by Womble; 05-25-2011, 10:23 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Womble View Post
                      Pick me, pick me!

                      Thanks for the guide Cloda; great idea.

                      Has anyone noticed that the Dr Doom mission doesn't award a score on completion? Played it today, and got zip for my efforts. Meanwhile, the Invisible Girl mode gives 10 million...

                      BTW, if you're having trouble with the green/orange ramps when trying to build your kickbacks and magna save, try for the blue ramp instead. It's the easiest shot on the table, and you can use your two nudge warnings to get the ball on to the left flipper for the shot. (Then wait 30 seconds to reset the warnings. Rinse, repeat.)
                      Your method definitely work as well but when I first started playing the table I realised that it was going to drive me crazy activating the kickbacks/NZ ball-saver if I can't do it in a relatively quick and easy way... what has always worked for me is the zen rhythm thing for certain combo's where you kind of end up going into auto pilot mode... some of the tables where I do it on is obviously Fantastic 4, Ironman for the kickbacks, Spiderman for defeating doc Ock and other missions and Rome for starting garrison missions and extra balls. It is amazing how once you get the rhythm down it gets so much easier to repeat it again as it relies more on muscle memory... and ends up saving a lot of mental energy.
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                      • #12
                        Yeh muscle memory plays a big part, I agree with that 100% it just takes practice the more you do something the less alien it feels.
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                        • #13
                          Thank you Cloda!

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                          • #14
                            Fantastic Four Wizard Mode Video

                            OK... I decided to see if I could make it through to the Wizard mode in under 15 minutes so that I could post it on youtube. I'm glad to say I managed to do so, but to do it I had to ignore most of my own advice so in this video you won't see me going for kickbacks and NZ ballsaver (well... I did start of with the Dr. Doom mission and then the Mr. Fantastic mission second but forgot to first go for the 7 blue/brown ramp shots before starting the mission). I also played the game a lot looser than I usually do e.g. shooting much more from moving balls, but this time around it worked out.

                            A quick play of Pinball FX 2 / Marvel Pinball - Fantastic Four table through all 5 missions and Wizard Mode. I didn't play my normal game of first activatin...


                            PS: Sorry for the terrible video quality, especially the exposure and sound that's soft and out of sync - I had to cover up the sensor (and at the same time microphone) on my camera as you could clearly see the reflection off the TV screen in the recording. If I do another recording, I will see what I can do to improve on this. First time I ever uploaded a video on youtube so there is still plenty that I have to learn.
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                            • #15
                              Cheers Cloda.

                              Always nice to see extensive use of dead flipper passes. There's something very zen about ball control without hitting the flipper button.

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