Marvel Pinball: Vengeance and Virtue Platform: Xbox Live Arcade (Xbox 360) Price: 800 MSP / $10 USD Developer: Zen Studios More Vengeance than Virtue… Just B-roll with it After two follow-up Marvel tables (Captain America and Fantastic Four ), Zen Studios took a break from the comic book scene. A great cross-company homage with Ms. Splosion Man, and ports of the amazing Sorcerer’s Lair and Paranormal tables kept things fresh on the video-pinball scene. Now Zen is back with a new four-pack of Marvel branded tables. Having touched on some of Marvel’s top characters, we now get tables based around some of their other franchises. The Vengeance and Virtue table pack includes Thor, Moon Knight, Ghost Rider, and the X-Men. Ice Breaker Thor Thor makes a much better pinball table than it did a movie. The table is rich with vibrant color and detailed enemy toys. The board feels long and plays fast and smooth with ramps, orbit, and targets that are fairly easy to hit. With a bank of three targets opposite the launch exit, Thor’s skill shot is simple but challenging. Moon Knight Where the other three tables in the Vengeance and Virtue pack play long-range, Moon Knight feels close and intense. The focus is not on ramps here, with the table featuring multiple orbits. A hairpin orbit slings the ball back into the action, maintaining a frenetic pace. A crescent shaped ramp return spans the main flippers and creates an interesting rhythm. The ball can go all the way around to drop in the left inlane, or drop abruptly in the right inlane. Moon Knight also has one of my favorite skill shots to date. The table art looks good, even though the palette is mostly limited to a small range of grays & whites. The one weakness of this table is that the mini-game playfields are too easy. One Hell of a time. Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze is a flashy stuntman and the Ghost Rider’s table plays to this theme well with jump and loop-de-loop ramps. Stuntmen often work with fire, as do hellspawn. So the table artwork is more than appropriate. The table comes with some cool toys like the devil behind the mission hole along with the Ghost Rider and his demonic chopper bike. The front tire is behind the JUMP ramp, so each shot up the center of the table triggers a wheelie. The rear of the bike sits on a bonus wheel (ala Wheel of Fortune that spins under the tire. The left kickback is also one of the toys. On activation, a swiveling “Hellfire” shotgun allows you to launch the saved ball back onto the playfield. The audio really stands out on the Ghost Rider table, with revving motorcycle engines, chainsaws, and shotgun blasts filling out the sound-scape. Banter between Blaze and the enemies is also well done. X-Men This franchise was first touched upon in Marvel Pinball’s table based around Wolverine. X-Men features several members from Charles Xaviers team of mutants, including Cyclops, Jean Gray/Phoenix, Iceman, Beast, and the Doctor himself. Some X-Men have a ramp, while others have table features based around them and their mutant powers. Cyclops for example is represented by the ball launch, with Xavier urging him to “Control the strength of your optic blast” to score a skillshot. No game based on the X-Men would be complete without rogue mutants. Villains include the ever-present Magneto, the virtually unstoppable Juggernaut, and Mystique. There may be others but X-Men is the most challenging table in Vengeance and Virtue so I haven’t seen the bulk of the missions and mini-games yet. Narrow ramp and orbit entrances increase the learning curve. The short, fast orbits make it hard to utilize the flippers at the top of the table. Ball Out Overall, Vengeance and Virtue is an excellent addition to Marvel Pinball / Pinball FX 2. The difficulty increases through the playlist as shown, with Thor being the easiest and X-Men being the hardest of the tables. Moon Knight and Ghost Rider experiment with style and flash, managing to catch my interest the most out of the four tables. Table art is beautiful throughout, with X-Men lagging behind the others. Sound is well implemented but can become repetitive. Pros: +Artwork, color schemes & toys +Interesting new table variations Cons: -Some sounds are a bit too repetitive -Some mini-games are too easy Marvel Pinball: Vengeance and Virtue scores 9/10 for effectively changing up the pace and style enough to keep things interesting. A review copy was used to evaluate the game.