Marvel Pinball Avengers Chronicles – The PS3 Attitude Review
With Marvel Pinball, Zen Studios has always strived to create authentic pinball tables around iconic Marvel superheroes, and they’ve done a fantastic job thus far with the likes of Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, and many more. Avengers Chronicles is the latest 4-pack of tables and rather than individual characters, it focuses on entire comic story arcs. What this means for Marvel Pinball is more dialogue, more characters, and more epic pinball action.
The four new tables included in the Avengers Chronicles are The Avengers, World War Hulk, Fear Itself, and The Infinity Gauntlet. All the tables except for The Avengers are based on popular comic book storylines. The Avengers is based around the mega-blockbuster film by the same name and features the likeness of the actors. Each table has their own variety of objectives and mechanics, making Avengers Chronicles the most diverse Marvel Pinball DLC yet.
The Avengers film has already surpassed $1.4 billion dollars, making it the #3 film in the world, so it’s no doubt that Marvel superheroes are a hot commodity. The pinball table by the same name covers the events of the film in pinball form. Playing aboard the Hellicarrier, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes must complete character specific missions in order to defeat the god of mischief Loki.
Marking a first for any pinball table anywhere, The Avengers features six pinballs, each modeled after a different member of the team, that have their own unique abilities.
- Captain America: Ball Save + Combos
- Black Widow: Mission Bonus + Quinjet Boosts
- Iron Man: Bonus Multipliers + S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Hulk: Bumper, Slings + Powershots
- Hawkeye: Kickbacks + Skillshots
- Thor: Odin Force + Spinner
My personal favorite of the team is the Hulk. You can easily rack up thousands of points using his ball to strike the bumpers in the upper right corner, which exponentially increase in value over time due to his bonuses. Missions are activated by attacking Loki, who stands tall at the center of the table. Hulk, for instance, is tasked with defeating a horde of Loki clones blocking all the lanes. Once you complete all the objectives, you can then activate Wizard Mode and face off against Loki in the final battle.
WORLD WAR HULK:
World War Hulk is a crossover storyline featuring the Hulk being banished into space by the Illuminati. He then returns to Manhattan in a fit of rages and extracts his revenge against pretty much anyone who gets in his path. This includes the X-Men, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, and the debut Marvel Pinball appearance of Doctor Strange.
Little tidbits, such as the death of Hulk’s pregnant wife Caiera, are revealed through compelling dialogue between the Hulk and his adversaries. Players can even venture into a demolished Madison Square Garden mini-table and rack up extra points. Being quite the adversary himself, Hulk’s missions involve him going toe with the likes of The Thing and the agile Wolverine.
World War Hulk may not be the most glamorous of the Avengers Chronicles tables but with 11 lanes to shoot for, it’s easy to hit ramp combos and feel the brute strength of the Hulk. Watching him clash with Iron Man in his Hulk-Buster suit is truly a sight to behold.
THE INFINITY GAUNTLET:
The Infinity Gauntlet is without a doubt Zen Studio’s biggest pinball table ever released. Featuring 139 lines of dialogue, the table has Silver Surfer and Adam Warlock battling it out with Thanos who has gained possession of the Infinity Gauntlet and is looking to gain ultimate power. It’s your job to recover each of the six Infinity Gems that can be activated by attacking Thanos’ fortress at the center of the table.
Besides the massive amount of dialogue, what makes The Infinity Gauntlet so unique is the way the table environment changes based on which Infinity Gem is active. The Mind Gem resets the controls of the flippers, making it so that you have to hold down the triggers and then release them in order to make them work. The Time Gem periodically slows down time and makes everything appear in slow motion. The Space Gem opens up portals on the table that you must use to attack Thanos. The Soul Gem transports Adam Warlock to an alternate dimension; the Soul World mini-table. The Reality Gem is the strangest of them all as it flips the entire table upside down. Lastly, the Power Gem moves Thanos’ GOD wall down into the center of the table where you must destroy it using the power ball.
Each Infinity Gem slightly alters the way you play the table, making the learning curve for this one slightly higher than the rest. Thanos’ constant taunts and odes to Mistress Death don’t help either. Still, it’s the challenge that makes this table all the more rewarding, with each Infinity Gem you master gets added to your collection towards the bottom of the screen. It also means your one Gem closer to going up against Thanos himself in Wizard Mode. Do you have what it takes to take on the Mad Titan?
Taking place across Asgard, Fear Itself pits The Avengers against the god Serpent and his minions known as The Worthy. The earth itself is in a state of chaos and fear. What’s noteworthy about this table is its use of magnetic energy to catapult your ball across the table.
Fear Itself features a unique half circle loop that encompasses the bottom half of the screen. In addition to being critical to a few mission objectives, this half loop, if done correctly, can be used to propel your ball to various areas on the table. It’s somewhat of an added layer of protection as well because sometimes you think your ball is headed for the dreaded drain but will instead enter the loop.
The best aspect of Fear Itself is the level of detail put into the table. Captain America’s red, white, and blue shield is torn in half and used as bumpers. The table also features one of the most intricate ball launchers I’ve seen; Skadi rushes over to the ball and pounds it into oblivion with her hammer. Then there’s also the ever lurking Serpent in the background, waiting to strike.
The Fear Itself table is definitely the lowest scoring table of the pack but it has its own charm. While it’s not the most recognizable storyline out of the Avengers Chronicles, don’t underestimate the power of the gods.
In the end, Zen Studios has managed to outdo themselves again. They’ve finely craft pinball tables based on four of Marvels cherished story arcs, each with their own table mechanics and surprises. The Infinity Gauntlet and The Avengers are definitely the standouts of the group, with World War Hulk and Fear Itself following not far behind.
Honestly, it doesn’t really matter because you’re going to have a fantastic experience no matter which table you play, and with all four included in Avengers Chronicles the only difficult decision you’ll have is deciding which one to play first.