Marvel Pinball: Vengeance and Virtue review for PSN, XBLA

It’s no secret that I’m a pinball junkie. From my days at the laundromat in my home town when I was young, to the arcade days of my teen years, and now as an older gamer taking what I can get thanks to virtual pinball tables, I just can’t get enough of that crazy silver ball. Thanks to Zen Studios I can get my fix without having to shell out 3-5 K just to play one since arcades and pinball machines are like finding dinosaurs in this age of online console and PC gaming.

If these machines were not so spot on accurate I would be just “settling”, but not only are these tables fantastic, fast paced, and authentic feeling, they add a dimension to the machines that could have NEVER been duplicated on a hardwood and glass version of the real world. Now characters come to life, portals and gate ways lead to new areas and even the ball can be manipulated and change color thanks to this technology. So now my love for old school pinball and new school ideas are blended together perfectly like peanut butter and chocolate. This all could not be possible without the vision and dedication brought to us by the Zen Studios team, and for that I say thank you.

Now fans have 4 new tables to become captivated with as the “Marvel Pinball: Vengeance and Virtue” tables have been released and can now grace your Xbox 360 or PS3. What you get in this sweet package is some of Marvel’s elite including Thor, Moon Knight, Ghost Rider, and the X-Men. Each table has its own unique personality, challenges, and addictiveness to it, but the only problem I foresee is which one to play first!

Thor table
In Thor, you get all the goodies you would want in a fun pinball game. While I’m not sold on the “gut rock” score for this game, the table has everything from ball saves, kickbacks, multipliers, extra balls, combos, multiball modes, micro missions, and over course the main mission objectives that will not only rack up the scores, but allow you to conquer the table. Getting to the main missions is a cool idea as you have to hit a barrier, spell URU by hitting the bumper, which ultimately opens the gates of Asgard. Not only are the missions great which include battling Loki, fighting the Destroyer, and even taking on Ymir for top GOD, you have jackpot opportunities along with the bonus for winning the mission. All leads to great skill and high scores.

Moon Knight table
Moon Knight is as complex as the protagonists’ story line. This is a good thing though as there are so many diverse methods of scoring here that you will not only learn the table the longer you play, but even get to know a little more about this, least popular, of the Marvel Characters in this set. Here you have ramps that are tied in with a clock that unlocks game modes, a Moon Ramp that only appears when triggered but is invisible otherwise, A War Chest that helps you purchase upgrades and weapons, 3 multiball modes that are all unique from each other, an interesting “stock exchange” mode where you buy and sell by hitting lighted ramps and objects, and of course your missions. To obtain Wizard Mode you have to spell MOON KNIGHT by completing missions and objectives including defeating the villains Morpheus, Bushman, Black Spectre, and Midnight, as well as doing the aforementioned upgrades and multiball levels successfully. This all leads to a deep and fulfilling game, so even if you haven’t heard of Moon Knight or dislike the character, don’t dismiss this table as it’s a blast.

Ghost Rider table
Ghost Rider thankfully does not star Nic Cage and is certainly more bad ass than the film. While not as deep as the other 3 tables in this collection, expect to go to hell and back with the level of difficulty and challenges it offer to be successful. Here you will literally battle in hell against the likes of Lucifer and his evil minions. You will also be part of the Quentin Carnival showing off, jumping ramps, and bringing the crowd to its feet. Of course it wouldn’t be Ghost Rider if you were not trying to stop the cursed souls from escaping the fires of hell, so here to you are able to toss them back to the Gates of hell where they belong. Tons of additional loops and multiball bonuses await your nimble fingers along the way, so be prepared to get a reflex check before you tackle this table as it is fast and furious.

X-Men table
Last but not least is The X-Men table. While probably the most popular table among the group, the play field was disappointingly small for so many character objectives. This doesn’t kill the table by any means, but it would have benefitted from a larger scale ala Fantastic Four. All your favorite classic X-Men are present and accounted for including; Wolverine, Jean Grey(Phoenix), Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Iceman, Storm, Colossus, and of course Prof X and Magneto lead the game’s main objective into battle with the help of villains The Blob and Juggernaut. This table has a lot of small missions and one final clash that will keep you attempting to keep Magneto at bay and the mutants free. Of course the Danger Room and X-Gene Bioscan make their appearance as well to round out all the fan boys wants from a classic X-Men table.

I mean seriously, how much more could you ask for in a 4 table set right? Oh you want the price? How about only 10 smackers or 800 Microsoft Points for the steal of the week? That’s cheaper than the price of a movie nowadays! Pinball FX/Marvel Pinball/Zen Pinball fanatics no doubt downloaded these on day one, but if you are wanting to jump in while the water is hot, then get this set along with the other Marvel and Zen created tables for endless hours of fun and addictive high scoring.