Starship Troopers


A Guide to
Version 0.9 as of January 18, 1998.
by Karl Brostrom

A lot of stuff in this rulesheet is copyrighted by either Tristar Pictures or SEGA Pinball, Inc. You know the drill. This version of the rule sheet should be fairly accurate (there were a few misconceptions in the previous version). Please keep in mind the rule sheet is based on pre-production software. Feel free to send comments and/or corrections to me.

Extra special thanks to the following people for their help:

  • Bjorn Englund
  • Christian Magnusson

Changes from version 0.1

  • Added explanation of the wiz mode
  • Point awards for Bugs added.
  • The number of Bugs on all planets are now listed.
  • Replaced "Nuke Multiball" with the official name (according to the score card) "Planet Multiball" throughout the document.
  • All combinations of Planet Multiball now covered. Also fixed a few errors in the explanation of Planet Multiball.
  • Mini-flipper scoring explained.
  • ...and some minor stuff.


  1. K00l abbreviations & words
  2. Playfield Description
  3. Skill shots
  4. Main Objective
    1. The Planets
    2. Point values for Bugs
    3. Mini-flipper scoring
    4. The Brain bug
    5. Advance Planet vs. Planet Multiball
  5. Planet Multiball
  6. Regular Multiball
  7. Orbit Multiball
  8. Recon Awards
    1. Recon Boost & Combos
    2. List o' Recon awards
  9. Extra Balls
  10. Miscellany
  11. Spoilers
    1. Klendathu
    2. Easter eggs
  12. Known software glitches
  13. The mini-flipper
  14. Strategy

1. K00l abbreviations & words

  • Bug - the word used for a hostile alien species in the Starship Troopers universe
  • K - 1,000 points
  • M - A million points
  • SDTM - Straight Down The Middle
  • MB - Multiball
  • DMD - Dot Matrix Display
  • EB - Extra Ball
  • ST - Starship Troopers

2. Playfield Description

In the most clockwise order I could come up with:

Left flipper
Standard flipper here.

Left inlane
Lights the right loop for an Orbit Multiball letter.

Arm Nukes hole
A small hole just above the left inlane. Can be lit for EB and Planet Multiball. The ball is kicked out from the hole to the right flipper.

Bug standups
Above the Arm Nukes hole, are four standups, standing side to side. Two yellow targets, one red and one green. The colors correspond to a particular bug species (see 4. Main Objective). Hit a flashing standup and kill a bug - simple as that.

Left loop
A loop, going all around the back of the playfield, ending up at the entrance to the Right loop. The loop can be either unlit, in which case the ball will be sent to bonus X rollovers, or lit for an Orbit Multiball letter.

Left ramp, "STARSHIP"
Shooting the ramp lights STARSHIP (see 8. Recon Awards). Lit for jackpots during regular Multiball. A yellow Bug standup is to the left of the ramp entrance. Slow shots drop into the Orbit Multiball lock (see below), really slow shots have a nasty tendency of going SDTM.

The Warrior
This is sort of a mobile standup target. It can move back and forth (slowly). Shooting it a number of times (see 6. Regular Multiball) will light Multiball. As you shoot it, it moves backwards, finally revealing a sinkhole - this is where Multiball is started and Super Jackpots collected.

Orbit Multiball lock
Behind the Warrior is a small sinkhole. A magnet can stop balls coming from the left or right loop and drop the ball into the sinkhole for an Orbit Multiball lock.

Bug standups II
More standups; Two green, two blue. Some of them can be hit by random bumper action. The standups flank the exit from the bumper area.

Three bumpers, arranged the usual way. Balls can exit through a passage to the right of the left ramp.

B-U-G rollovers
Located just above the bumpers. Spell B-U-G to advance bonus X by one. Just above the 'U' is another magnet that can stop a ball coming from either loop and drop it to the rollovers. This is what happens when you shoot an unlit loop.

Recon Award scoop
A small scoop, just below the bumper area. See 8. Recon Awards for the details. Balls coming from the Orbit MB lock and the Warrior sinkhole are kicked out here as well.

Right ramp, "TROOPERS"
Shooting the ramp lights TROOPERS (see 8. Recon Awards). Lit for jackpots during regular Multiball. A yellow Bug standup is to the right of the ramp entrance. Slow shots drop into the bumper area.

Brain bug
A target hidden underneath the playfield, which can pop up for you to shoot at. And it's a huge target! Located infront of the Right ramp/Recon scoop.

Right loop
Same as the left loop.

Bug standups III
Even more standups; two yellow, one green and one red. These are just above the right slingshot.

Right inlane
Lights the left loop for an Orbit Multiball letter.

Right outlane
This one is a bit different; it's actually a combined outlane / shooter lane. A one-way gate above the combo-plunger sees to that drained balls leave the playfield peacefully.

Right mini-flipper
Mounted to the right of, and slightly above, the standard-sized right flipper is a small Thing-sized flipper. The flipper is controlled with a separate button mounted below the normal flipper button. Trust me, this is confusing at first!

Right flipper
Standard flipper.

Status displays
Just above the flippers are four single-digit displays. These tell you how many bugs are left on the planet currently under attack. The displays are: Warriors (yellow), Plasma Bugs (blue), Hoppers (green), Tankers (red).

Planet status
Above the Status displays are the six planets o' bugs portrayed; Antilles, Zegema Beach, Dantana, Tango Urilla, Planet P, and finally the ultimate bug planet from hell, Klendathu. These can be unlit (not attacked), flashing (have been attacked) or solid (have been nuked as well).

3. Skill shots

There are three possible skill shots:

  1. Plunge the ball; a magnet will catch the ball above the B-U-G rollovers. One of the rollover lights will be flashing; move it with the flipper buttons. If you do it right, you're awarded +1 Bonus X. (This is very similar to the skillshot in Medieval Madness)

  2. Hold the left flipper button as you plunge the ball; hitting the right ramp will award a 5M Ramp Skillshot. Holding the left button will disable the magnet that otherwise would've captured the ball.

  3. Hold the left flipper button as you plunge the ball; plunge just hard enough to get the ball into the Orbit Multiball sinkhole. You will be awarded an Orbit MB letter. This probably isn't an "official" skillshot though.

4. Main Objective

Six planets full of bugs, and you must kill 'em all. You attack the planets one at a time in a fixed order. There are four potential species to be annihilated; Warriors, Plasma Bugs, Hoppers and Tankers. The type of bugs and their numbers differ from planet to planet. To kill a bug, you simply shoot any flashing Bug standup. Each bug is associated with a color:

Warrior Yellow
Hopper Green
Plasma Bug Blue
Tanker Red

So, to kill a Hopper, you shoot for the flashing GREEN standup of your choice. Note that bugs can be killed only during regular play!

4.1 The Planets

When the game starts, Antilles is under attack. To get to the next planet, you must first eliminate all bugs. At first, plenty of Bug standups will be lit. However, as you kill more and more bugs the number of lit standups will decrease.

The planets and their inhabitants, in order of appearance:

Planet Warriors Hoppers Plasma Tankers
Antilles 5 3 0 0
Zegema Beach 4 7 0 0
Dantana 6 5 3 0
Tango Urilla 8 6 0 5
Planet P 9 0 5 7
Klendathu(see 11.1 Klendathu)

4.2 Point values for Bugs

The point values for the different bugs increase as you move on to new planets. For example, a Warrior on Antilles is worth 100K, whereas a Warrior on Zegema Beach is worth 150K. Point values for Bugs on each planet:

Antilles 100K 200K N/A N/A
Zegema Beach 150K 250K N/A N/A
Dantana 200K 300K 400K N/A
Tango Urilla 250K 350K N/A 500K
Planet P 300K 400K 500K 550K
Klendathu (see 11.1 Klendathu)

4.3 Mini-flipper scoring

If you shoot a Bug standup with the mini-flipper, that hit will count as two hits. Get good at shooting bugs with the mini-flipper; you will advance through planets much quicker if you do! It is possible to cheat the machine by flipping the mini-flipper after you've made a shot with one of the two regular flippers.

4.4 The Brain bug

Once all bugs on a planet have been whacked, you may try to capture the Brain bug. The Brain bug is represented by a huge standup target that pops up infront of the Recon Award scoop. To capture it, you must hit it a number of times (it's hard to miss). The first time you need one hit, the second time two hits, etc. Each hit is worth 1M. This is a timed mode (though I can't remember a timer being displayed); if you run out of time, the Brain bug escapes. I usually trap the ball and wait for the Brain bug to disappear; the risk you take shooting at it isn't worth a couple of millions.

4.5 Advance Planet vs. Planet Multiball

Once the Brain bug is gone (doesn't matter if you captured it or let it escape), the Arm Nukes hole will be lit for Planet Multiball, and the Recon scoop will be lit for Advance Planet. They will remain lit until either shot has been made. A hurry-up, starting at 5M and counting down to 1M, is started at the same time; shoot the Recon scoop or the Arm Nukes hole to collect.

You should try to advance to the next planet, unless you're already on the fifth planet (Planet P), in which case that option is unavailable. If you collect Advance Planet, you will return to regular play with a whole bunch of new Bugs to whack.

5. Planet Multiball

Planet Multiball is an N-ball Multiball, where N is determined by the number of planets being nuked. All flashing planets fall victim of the nuke attack. The more planets you nuke simultaneously, the higher the point values during Planet Multiball, and the more balls you get. The idea is to advance to as many planets as possible before starting Planet MB.

The following shots will be lit at the start of Planet Multiball:

Left loop, Left ramp, Recon scoop, Right ramp, Right loop, Arm Nukes hole.

You must make the first five Nuke shots to light Super Nuke at the Warrior. The Recon scoop awards a Double Nuke. The Arm Nukes hole will spot a Nuke for you and award the associated jackpot. Each shot has a flashing arrow or lamp labeled "Nuke" that will turn solid once hit.

The point values depending on the number of planets being nuked:

# planetsNuke JackpotSuper NukeNumber of balls
1 1M 10M 2
2 2.5M 25M 2
3 4M 40M 3
4 7M 70M 4
5 12M 120M 4

Once the Super Nuke has been collected, all Nuke shots are relit for another go. This multiball can be worth a lot! After Planet MB is over, all nuked planets will be lit solid.

6. Regular Multiball

(I believe it's actually called Live Fire Assault Range MB.)

Shooting the Warrior a number of times will start Multiball. The first Multiball it takes 4 hits, second MB 6 hits, etc. As you shoot the Warrior target, it will move backwards. When only one shot is left to light MB, the Warrior will move back and forth to indicate this.

The Multiball itself is a 4-ball MB. Both ramps are lit for jackpots; the jackpot value starts at 3M and can be increased to a maximum of 4M. You increase the jackpot value by hitting the Bug standups. All standups will be unlit at the start of MB; if you hit a standup, it will light up, and will not add points to the jackpot value anymore. Lighting all standups awards an Extra Ball (which I haven't been able to confirm, since one of the standups is broken on the machine I'm playing).

You need five jackpots to light the Super Jackpot, which is worth a whopping 15M. The Warrior will at all times spot a jackpot for you, but will not award the associated point value. The Super Jackpot remains lit for 16 seconds. Once the Super Jackpot has been collected, or the timer has reached zero, the cycle repeats.

If you fail to shoot any jackpots at all, a Multiball restart sequence will commence. You have some 15-20 seconds to get the ball into the Warrior sinkhole. You only get two balls in the restarted MB.

7. Orbit Multiball

To start Orbit Multiball, you must make two Orbit locks. To lock the first ball, you need to shoot three lit loops (the DMD will display the word ONE, with the collected letter flashing). The inlane switches light the opposite loop, for a period of around 5 seconds. The third loop shot will be caught by a magnet, and dropped into the Orbit MB sinkhole. The same applies for lock number two, with the only difference the word to spell is TWO. So, all in all, it takes six loop shots to start Orbit MB. This number does not increase. Note that making a lit loop shot does not unlight that loop, so it's fully possible to make 3 loops shots in a row for an Orbit MB lock!

Orbit Multiball starts out as a two-ball Multiball. Both loops are lit for a 5M jackpot, and remain lit throughout Orbit MB. A successful loop shot will be caught by the magnet, dropped into the sinkhole and then kicked out from the Recon scoop. The first two loop shots will add a ball as well, even if the shot is made after the ballsaver has expired. Thus, a maximum of four balls can be in play.

8. Recon Awards

A Recon Award is a pseudo-random award collected in the Recon scoop. By shooting the left (STARSHIP) and right (TROOPERS) ramp you go to the next Recon Level. There are six Recon Levels (1-6). The higher you go before collecting at the scoop, the better the awards. The DMD will display four choices, and one of them will "randomly" be picked for you. The scoop is lit for a Recon Level 1 award at the start of each ball.

The following awards are those I know of:

1 Ground Attack, Psychic Test, Spot Species, Bonus Hold, Recon Bounty 1M
2 Ground Attack, Orbits lit, Super Pops, Recon Bounty 2M
3 Double Scoring, Spot Planet, Multiball Ready, Recon Bounty 5M
4 Ramp Hurry-up, Air Attack, Recon Bounty 8M, Nuke Chase
5 Multiball, Multiball Ready, Orbit Multiball, Extra Ball
6 Extra Ball, Special, 25M points

The awards have been known to move up or down a level. The major awards (such as Orbit MB, Double Scoring, Ramp Hurry-up) seem to not move, though.

It is my experience that level 5 will always award Regular MB if you haven't had one already, otherwise Orbit MB. Level 6 will award 25M. Note that Regular MB and Orbit MB usually are worth much more than 25M.

8.1 Recon Boost & Combos

You'll sometimes be awarded a Recon Boost when you shoot the Recon scoop (only when it's lit for a Recon Award). This seems to be random, and can be very annoying if you're fishing after that lucrative Orbit MB and get 25M instead. You can be boosted any number of levels, I think.

A more controlled way of boosting the Recon Level is to do a Recon Combo. I'm not 100% sure how this works just yet; if you shoot the Right ramp, Left ramp, Recon scoop you boost three additional levels. Or so I like to think, anyway. Could use some help here

8.2 List o' Recon awards

The awards described briefly:

Ground Attack
A two-ball multiball. The DMD will cycle through 100K, 200K, 300K, 400K *rapidly*. Hitting any Bug standup target will award the displayed value.

Psychic Test
The video mode. You get to cycle through a deck of cards with the left flipper button. Select with the right button. If your card matches the one picked by the game you're awarded a Special. There are also point awards for matching color, number, etc.

Spot Species
Kills all bugs of the species in majority.

Bonus Hold
Holds the bonus multiplier, I would assume. I've never gotten it.

Recon Bounty
Point award.

Orbits Lit
Both loops will be lit for an Orbit MB letter, for the remainder of the ball in play.

Super Pops
Bumpers worth 50K / hit.

Double Scoring
All points values are doubled. Lasts 20 seconds.

Spot Planet
Kills all bugs on the planet currently under attack.

Multiball Ready
Lights Regular Multiball at the Warrior.

Ramp Hurry-up
A hurry-up starting at 3M, ticking down to 1M. Shoot either ramp to lock the value. For 20 seconds, both ramps will be worth that same value.

Air Attack
Same as Ground Attack, only with a 100k-900k scoring range.

Nuke Chase
Shoot the lit Nuke for 3M+250K. The Nuke will move even if you don't make the shot. Lasts 25 seconds.

9. Extra Balls

There are at least five ways of collecting an Extra Ball. Of course, I haven't been able to collect all of them due to some weird Lyle settings. No Extra Balls for me. Anyway, here's a list of the EB's I know of:

  • Play poorly. A freebie EB will be lit on ball 3 if you have a score lower than 20-30M.

  • 15 shots to an unlit Arm Nukes hole will award an Extra Ball.

  • 50 ramp shots will light EB. After that it's 100 ramps. After that, I'm not sure.

  • During Regular MB, light all Bug standup targets.

  • Have some luck with the recon Level 5 or 6 award. I have yet to see it actually award an EB though.

10. Miscellany

Raise in rank
By shooting the Arm Nukes hole a number of times, you can raise in in rank. Four shots are needed to become Squad Leader (worth 5M), after that it's N shots for Corporal (worth 10M). I'm not sure what comes after that.

End of Ball Bonus
Your bonus is determined by the number of bugs killed during that ball. Hoppers and Warriors are worth 100K a piece. I believe the same applies to Plasma bugs and Tankers. Brain bugs are worth 300K. The entire bonus is multiplied with the Bonus X value. You increase bonus X by completing the B-U-G rollovers.

Shooting the Warrior
The Warrior moves pretty slowly; sometimes this means it hides the sinkhole behind it. When a critical shot like the Super Jackpot is lit, it is good to know that, at all times, the Warrior standup counts as the sinkhole.

High-score table
Apart from entering your initials, you get to choose a face to go along with your name.

11. Spoilers

Spoilers ahead! Close your eyes and think happy thoughts in case you want to find out just what happens at planet Klendathu for yourself.

11.1 Klendathu

Once all five planets have been nuked and cleared from Bugs, planet Klendathu will be flashing. Shoot the Recon scoop to start the attack on Klendathu. You get unlimited balls for 30 seconds. To finish the mode, you must kill 9 Bugs of each species (all Bug standups are lit) and make all five Nuke shots. The Nuke shots are worth 5M a piece, the Double Nuke (collected at the Recon scoop) is worth 10M. I assume the Bugs are worth something as well, but the DMD doesn't display any information on that. If you manage to kill all the Bugs and make all the shots, you're awarded a 50M completion bonus. Note that once the timer has expired, the mode will continue with the balls still in play. I'm assuming the release software has induced a few changes to this mode; with beta software, the mode continues until *all* balls have drained.

11.2 Easter eggs

When the military dude is briefing you ("This planet has 8 Hoppers..."), press both flipper buttons. He will die a most gruesome death.

12. Known software glitches

(note how I cleverly avoided the word "bug")

OK, so I've been playing a machine with beta software. I hope this has been fixed in the release software:

It is possible to have Regular MB running with only one ball in play. All other shots you'd expect to be active during regular play are there as well. You can shoot jackpots and Super Jackpots forever and ever. How and when this happens is unknown to me.

13. The mini-flipper

The first few times I played ST I quite simply ignored that extra flipper. Big mistake. In order to control the ball in ST, you'll need to use it. For instance, it's possible to drop-catch balls coming from the Recon scoop. It's also good for slowing down balls coming from the right inlane, and then catching it with the regular flipper.

Shoot Bugs with the mini-flipper, or at least try to make the machine think you did! It makes advancing through planets so much easier!

You may notice it's extremely hard (the word "impossible" comes to mind) to shoot the Arm Nukes hole with the regular right flipper. While it's possible to do a bank-shot from the left flipper, try this instead: Catch the ball on the regular right flipper. Holding this flipper up, flip the mini-flipper. If you're lucky (1 time out of 3 perhaps), the ball will land in the Arm Nukes hole. I assume the odds for success vary from machine to machine.

14. Strategy

Some thoughts:

Go for Regular MB and Orbit MB - these can be worth huge amount of points.

Wait with the Planet MB; try to nuke more than two planets at the same time. This implies that you at some time shoot for bugs, which can be a hazardous venture. Use the mini-flipper!

Shoot the left and right ramp for Recon Levels. At level 5, you'll more often than not be awarded Orbit MB. Avoid level 6 - Orbit MB is worth more than 25M!

My best so far is 656M, best Regular MB is ~150M, best Planet MB ~270M, best Orbit MB 95M.

See you at PAPA!

Editor's Notes

  • HTML added by David Gersic
  • E-mail addresses have been expunged to prevent web-bot spamming, and Web links have been updated where possible.

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