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10 Thoughts On…Marvel Pinball – Vengeance and Virtue

Marvel Pinball: Vengeance and Virture is the newest DLC for Marvel Pinball. Zen Studios has really been supporting Marvel Pinball, as with this release, there are now ten tables for the game. We’ve reviewed the full Marvel Pinball along with the Captain America and Fantastic Four DLC tables. Now it’s time to look at Vengeance and Virtue with gives us four tables with the following themes: X-Men, Thor, Moon Knight and Ghost Rider. These are some interesting choices and after a few fours with the add-on content, here are ten quick thoughts on the collection as a whole.

1. X-Men is a very nice table with four flippers and as you would expect from a table featuring Magneto, makes a lot of use of a magnet effect, which you might remember from actual pinball tables like Addams Family Pinball. It’s extremely solid with a lot of missions ranging from using Iceman, Colossus and Psylocke to take down the Juggernaut, a multi-ball experience with Cyclops and Jean Grey, stopping the blob, or saving Professor Xavier from Magneto. I really enjoyed this table and like all the expansion tables so far, it’s much easier to get a high score on this than one of the original four tables.

2. The X-Men skill shot is the weirdest out of any of the tables I’ve played so far, simply because it’s hard to tell where the sweet spot is on the plunger and you are charging the ball to boot. It took me a few tries to figure it out simply because of the visual differences, but once you understand what the table is looking for, it’s an easy 200-500K in points to start a round.

3. Tables take a lot longer to load than previously released ones. So expect to be waiting a bit longer before you actually play a game.

4. The Thor table is a little weird. More than once I had both kick backs and a ball saved activated, yet the ball still went through. It seems like this one has a bug or two to work out, especially since nothing is going to annoy a diehard pinball player than having ball protection that doesn’t work.

5. Aside from that one quirk, the Thor table is a lot of fun. You get to choose your mission once a mission option is activated rather than aiming for specific missions on the board. You get to take on everyone from Ymir the Frost Giant to Loki himself. The board is nicely laid out and the board has a cleaner look meaning it’s easier to see everything that there is to do on the board. It also offers animated battles similar to the older Wolverine table.

6. Thank you for a Moon Knight table. I’m a big Doug Moench fan and it was great to FINALLY see a table not based on a character with a movie. Unfortunately, the table goes with the more modern take that completely and totally misses what Moon Knight is about, coupled with the worst version of Khonshu ever. Seriously, they’ve turned him into the Cryptkeeper and his horrible chatter makes the table hard to play, especially since the voice acting on all the other tables is so well done. Roger Stern and Denny O’Neil (along with Moench) would be pissed by this.

7. The Moon Knight table features four missions. Two involve animated battles, while the other two involve “tricks” on the pinball field itself. Morpheus is the most interesting as his dark psionic energy can even freeze up your flipper. These missions are pretty unique compared to the other tables. I also enjoyed the ability to “upgrade my HQ” which means more points for hitting certain areas and the multi-ball is exceptionally easy to trigger. Much like the Iron Man board, this is one of the harder tables to rack up a large score on, so you’re going to have to spend some time with this one figured out all the shots and what gives you the highest score for the least amount of effort.

8. Honestly, the midcard characters are what Marvel and Zen Studios should be looking at. This way these characters get more exposure AND it might lead to increased popularity in the comics. I’d love to see something like say “Marvel Monsters” in October where you get a four pack of Man-Thing (on a GIANT SIZED table, ho ho ho), Tomb of Dracula, Werewolf by Night and Devil Dinosaur. People like the tables, they’ll probably buy the trades or Marvel Essentials to learn more about the characters. The game’s also crying out for a Silver Surfer table set in the Starlin years with the character.

9. The last table is the Ghost Rider one. It’s a Johnny Blaze theme, but it uses the old Danny Ketch redesign from the 1990s. It’s an odd table to be sure and you’ll definitely spend some time trying to figure out the damned soul mini game and just when to hit the flipper. As well there’s a left flipper in the upper left hand ramp that you’ll want to get good with too, especially if you’re looking to earn a stage related trophy and rack up the points. Be careful with this one, as many of the views obscure the whole ramp and make this much harder than it already is. Perhaps the weirdest part of the stage is that you’re going to be regularly aiming at Satan’s junk for quick and easy points. This is perhaps the strangest thing they’ve put into a Marvel Pinball table yet.

10. Ghost Rider sports two features that are quite different from previous tables. The first is the “hellfire” shotgun that Johnny Blaze carried during the Dan Ketch years. You have a decent amount of control of where the shotgun aims once you’ve triggered it, but my advice is not to let the thing stray too far right or you may have trouble keeping the ball in play. The other is video mode. Here a small video screen with purposely terrible graphics shows up in the middle of the screen and you’ll use the flippers to drive the bike. The goal here is to keep the bike on the road as long as possible while swerving out of the way of traffic. Neat ideas.

All in all, Marvel Pinball is a nice little package. You’re getting four tables for about $2.50 each, which is a nice deal. You can break it down further by realizing if you’re new to the game, you can get all ten tables for $29.95 or Playstation Plus members can get the entire package for a measly Thirteen! Almost makes me wish I hadn’t gotten everything already with those prices.

I’ll admit I went into this thinking Moon Knight and Ghost Rider would be my preferred tables, but the opposite turned out to be true. I really prefer the X-Men and Thor tables, although Thor does seem to have that one issues with the saved ball activation. Moon Knight is neat, but the voice work is annoying and as a long time Moon Knight fan, there are so any little things about the table that drive me nuts. As a pinball fan it’s not bad, but it’s my least favorite of the four. Ghost Rider will be the table that’s hard to learn but a lot of fun once you get the timing down. Overall, I think I like these tables better than the original four, but not as much as Captain America or Fantastic Four. It’s still a great buy for any pinball fan, regardless of skill level, and you’ll have a lot of fun with them. Now if only I could get more friends to get this game (or the few that own it to get better at it) as I’ve so close to having a Team Force of 5,000.

  • Cloda07

    Good review… thanks! Interesting to see how people rate things based on their background and interest. I for one like Moon Knight with Khonshu chattering away… I know absolutely nothing else about the character except for what is on the table so I can’t analyse it to the same debt you are. Haven’t had a chance yet to play all the tables decently yet but I think Thor/Ghost Rider are the two easiest tables (at least to get to Wizard mode – haven’t beaten either tables wizard mode yet but have reached it), Moon Knight seems complicated but if you keep the ball alive long enough you steadily tick off all the required modes to get to Wizard mode (reached it as well… but couldn’t finish it yet). X-men at the moment is just a lot of confusion… seems like there is a whole lot to do though on the table so it will take some time

  • Danno

    Good review. I played all 4 tables last night, once each. I found Moon Knight to be, by far, the easiest of the 4 tables. I just kept racking up the points, and finished with almost 140 million, which I think is my highest score of any table (and I have them all except Rocky and Bulwinkle, as far as I know). Moon Knight and Ghost Rider are two of my all time favorite characters, so I was really happy to see them get tables. Still, Ghost Rider was my least favorite table of the 4.

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