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Marvel Pinball: Avengers Chronicles
Score: 90%
Publisher: Zen Studios
Developer: Zen Studios
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 4 (Online)
Genre: Arcade/Classic/Retro/Online

Introduction:

Anyone who keeps up with the Marvel Universe shouldn't at all be surprised at the latest update to Zen's Marvel Pinball. The Avengers are most certainly the flavor of the week, and in celebration of the Joss Whedon action epic, Zen has released four of their very best tables in Marvel Pinball: Avengers Chronicles. The Avengers have been through a lot, and that is hardly limited to their silver screen takedown of Loki of Asgard. Of course, you get to do that in one of these tables. The other three deal with the Avengers, of course, but in subtly creative ways.

Theming:

Marvel Pinball: Avengers Chronicles contains four tables: The Avengers, Fear Itself, The Infinity Gauntlet, and World War Hulk. The style of The Avengers won't surprise anyone who has seen the movie. Like in their Ms. Splosion Man table, Zen has colored each of the special Avenger balls with schemes that accurately depict the hero of your choice. Fear Itself, as the name implies, has a decidedly more sinister theme than the other tables. It's completely hellish, taking place in what appears to be an underground lava grotto. The Infinity Gauntlet sports translucent, ethereal-looking orbits that don't appear capable of holding a steel ball. Thanos' monument to the Mistress is nice and grim, and the Gauntlet itself is what you actually launch the ball through at the beginning of each play. Also of note is the presence of the Silver Surfer; when he and Thanos clash, it usually results in something pretty unrealistic (but cool) happening. And World War Hulk may not be quite the Hulk table I was waiting for, but it's still fantastically drawn and constructed, from the capsized ship to the busted construction equipment to the almost noble-looking green smashing machine at the forefront.

Gameplay:

What makes The Avengers such a special table is the fact that you get to "play as" each of the six Avengers: Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, Hawkeye, and the Incredible Hulk. Each of these "Avengers" has his/her own bonuses, and your familiarity with the table may eventually dictate which Avengers you want to play as. The "table" hovers high above the metropolitan area at night, and assorted heroes and villains populate the table.

In Fear Itself, your goal is to defeat the vanguard of the Serpent. Most of your tasks are the result of summoning the Worthy; their instructions are displayed on the dot matrix.

The Infinity Gauntlet deals with Thanos and Mistress Death. Your job is to impress the Mistress while dealing with Thanos. This is easily Zen's most practically unrealistic table, but it's interesting because of the reality-warping effects induced in Infinity Gem mode.

World War Hulk is all about vengeance. Bruce Banner's wife and child are dead and he himself has been shot into space. So yes, our green anti-hero is mad as hell. So he must assemble the Warbound group and do some punishing. It's a great table full of smartly designed ramps and tasks; it even includes an incredibly bizarre detour onto a basketball court.


Value:

If you like pinball and the Avengers, this is obviously a no-brainer. Zen clearly loves this universe and is eager to explore its less mainstream elements. Marvel Pinball: Avengers Chronicles is a stellar package and well worth its 800 Microsoft Point price.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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