There are two things in this world that consistently remain on my top-ten of all-time favorite things ever: Pinball and The Avengers. The fact that those two things are coming together in not only one, but four tables as part of the Avengers Chronicles has me giddy beyond imagination. I've been waiting what feels like forever for these tables to launch.
So, you know I was ready for the pinball portion of my appointment with Zen Studios last week at E3 alongside Destructoid's resident pinball aficionado Conrad Zimmerman. We only had time to check out two of the tables as Zen had been showing us quite a bit of their two newly announced titles, KickBeat and CastleStorm. Those two tables were all it took to sell me on the entire pack.
First up, we launched the "Infinity Gauntlet" table. I let Conrad take up the game first (I really just wanted to see the master at work). I was always really looking forward to the this table because Thanos is one of the pivotal Avengers villains, and Marvel's upcoming plans with his character make this table even more exciting.
This is the most story-driven table Zen has ever put together. There are 139 lines of dialogue, and quite a few moving parts around the table. In the top-left, the Infinity Gauntlet itself has the capability of picking up your ball and moving it onto the nearby blue ramps. Silver Surfer hangs out on the left side, and after initiated he and Thanos will fight it out.
After Conrad finally gave up the controls, I played a round myself before moving onto the next table. This one seemed to move a lot quicker than other tables; almost as if it was at a higher angle. This could just be because of the fact that there are so many big ramps along the back wall.
The guys from Zen Studios recommended I check out the "Fear Itself" table next to "see some really crazy stuff." Yeah, I was all over that. Upon starting the table, I instantly saw what they were talking about. There is a ton of things going on in there. "Infinity Gauntlet" may be the most story-driven, but "Fear Itself" probably has the most stuff. That's not a bad thing either, as it doesn't feel crowded at all.
I'm not at all familiar with the Fear Itself story arc from last year, so forgive me that I don't know the characters' names. At any moment, there are three characters standing around the table. I should also let it be known that this table has the coolest launcher in the history of pinball: a guy crouches over the launching area and slams his hammer down.
Captain America's shield is broken in half and acts as the two bumpers right above the flippers. There are numerous metal ramps to take your ball around the table, and a lot of interesting nooks and crannies to initiate different parts of the table. Other characters from The Avengers make appearances on the art throughout the table. There's even a giant serpent that can pop out of the back and mix things up.
As I was playing, I managed to start one of the main missions that opened up a portal. It was relatively easy to get to (being on the middle ramp in the back), but I became nervous and accidentally let the ball go. Not only that, but that was my third lost ball. I suppose I'll just have to wait until next week to see what that does.
I'm a little sad that I didn't have time to go hands-on with "World War Hulk" or "The Avengers", as those seem equally awesome in their own right. As I've already stated, the two tables I did get to play were enough to sell me on the entire pack that's arriving next week. Not only are they fun to play, but they are masterfully crafted and should hold their own among the best tables Zen Studios has made to date.
I don't know how they could do any better than Avengers Chronicles, but I have a feeling the best is yet to come.