Featured Columns

January 6, 2011

The Comics Console: Marvel Pinball

Awesome news bits: The first details regarding the Green Lantern movie tie-in game, Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters, and the next X-Men game, X-Men: Destiny, have surfaced. Here is the official release for Green Lantern:

“The Manhunters are an android race, originally created by the Guardians of the Universe to serve as the first interstellar police force. The Manhunters became more obsessed with administering punishment than serving justice, forcing the Guardians to dissolve their ranks. The few Manhunters that survived fled into exile and the Guardians founded a new elite police force called the Green Lantern Corps and armed its members with specially crafted power rings. Now the Manhunters are back and out for revenge, readying their forces for a war against the Guardians and the Green Lantern Corps. Faced with destruction, the Corps is looking to you as the newest recruit, gifted but cocky test pilot Hal Jordon, to protect peace and preserve justice. Building on the anticipation of Warner Bros.’ feature film Green Lantern, in theaters June 17, 2011, Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters includes the likeness and voice talent of Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, who is the star of the upcoming motion picture.”

Product Features

  • Master the Ring: Wield the Green Lantern Power Ring to create a spectacular range of “hard-light” constructs including a gatling gun, giant fists, and much more, all of which can be linked together to form an endless number of combinations.
  • Stand Together: Join forces with a friend to play as Hal Jordan or Sinestro to battle the Manhunters, with the ability to drop in or out at will.
  • Take Flight: Dodge, blast, and destroy legions of enemies as you soar across the universe in battles of intergalactic scope.
  • Available for purchase June 1st, 2011

My one wish this year is that this game doesn’t blow. Playing as Sinestro sounds very cool, and I hope maybe some other GL’s are unlockable, along with classic costumes. I do have to be honest with myself, this is a movie tie-in game, which means the chances of it being great are very slim, but I’m such a huge GL fanboy, I’m probably going to love it anyway.

Here are highlights from an article about X-Men: Destiny from X-Box Magazine:

  • The tone of the game is said to be “dark, mature, & intense” striving towards an adult feel, but a Mature rating is said to not be likely.
  • San Francisco is divided into human & non-human sectors as Professor X is dead.
  • The game starts with a peace rally being staged to pay tribute to Professor X, which is when you are prompted to pick one of three characters in the crowd.
  • OXM’s Activision guide chose Adrian Luca as their character.
  • The game presents the player with frozen in time “decision moments,” indicating it’s time for players to make a big choice. The first big choice in the game allows you to pick your power archetype ranging from being able to manipulate matter and your body mass, energy projection, or a third one that was kept a secret.
  • The game allows you to decide who is friend or foe in the X-Men universe.
  • Cyclops, Quicksilver, Surge, Magneto, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, and Gambit are confirmed to make an appearance in the title, with plenty more to be announced.
  • X-Genes play a rather large role in the game, ranging from boss fights to deciding to give it to an X-Men, or someone else to form another alliance.
  • Linking together a good amount of attacks will fill up your “Mutant power” meter, allowing you to pull off even stronger special attacks.
  • One of the special attacks described as a part of the “Mutant power” meter was “Force Pillars.” The attack was said to produce crowd clearing beams that rise from the ground.

So far, X-Men: Destiny is sounding pretty cool. We haven’t heard much about a Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, so I’m curious if this game will turn out to be basically X-Men: Legends 3. This year’s E3 is sure to hold more answers.

I like Pinball, I really do. I suck at it, but that never stopped me from pumping in a few quarters for even just a few minutes of pretty lights, colors, and sounds. It was never so much the game itself that entertained me, it was more the different themes of the machines. Comic book characters have always had a great relationship with Pinball (see some beautiful examples here), and that relationship continues, but this time not in the arcade, but on your video game consoles.

Pinball FX2: Marvel Pinball

Publisher: Zen Studios
Developer: Zen Studios
Released: Dec. 14, 2010
Platforms: PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade
ESRB: Everyone

If you’re looking for just a quick, fun, and well done game of Pinball, but don’t have $800-2000 laying around for your own table, or don’t feel like going to the arcade at your local bowling ally, your absolute next best option is Pinball FX2. Not only because it’s the best virtual Pinball simulation you can find, but because it’s free! Well, the initial game is free, but if I know you like I think I do, then you’re not gonna want to play Pinball on some boring generic table, no, you’re thinking “make mine Marvel!”, and for the Marvel expansion, you’ll be spending $10, but even if you’re not big on Pinball, just Marvel, it’s still totally worth it.

The Marvel themed tables are really what makes this game great, but it couldn’t happen without capturing an authentic Pinball experience. The physics in Pinball FX2 are dead on. The ball has the kind of weight to it that you expect from a real Pinball machine, and the flippers react just as appropriately.

The four table themes are based off of Spider-Man, Wolverine, Iron Man, and Blade, and the best part about them is that they aren’t just digital constructions of your basic Pinball machine. These tables come to life! They’re already covered and designed with comic book covers and beautiful art, but you’re doing a lot more than rolling a ball on Tony Stark’s face. On Spider-Man’s table, Green Goblin will fly across the board, throwing pumpkin bombs and shouting taunts. Mysterio will change the way the flippers work. On Wolverine’s board, Sabretooth and the Hand will attack. You’re actually battling supervillains via Pinball, and you’ll have specific missions like launching the ball into specific areas at specific times, etc.

No table is really better than the other, it’s all about finding what table works for you best. I like the Spider-Man table best, but my highest score is on the Wolverine table. My only complaint about Marvel Pinball is sometimes the action and animations, while pleasing to the eye, can be a bit distracting, and it’s easy to lose track of the ball if you’re not paying attention. Other than that, you couldn’t ask for a more satisfying and addicting game featuring your favorite comic book characters. Unless you have some kind of special vendetta against the game of Pinball, there’s no reason why anyone shouldn’t have a blast with this game. I would love to see more Marvel themed tables in the future. Captain America, Hulk, X-Men, maybe Deadpool.

Pinball FX2: Marvel Pinball is $10 well spent, and exactly the kind of Pinball experience I never even knew I wanted. I’ll be coming back to this game very often.

For more segments of The Comics Console, click here!

Andrew Hurst



  1. looks like I’ll be getting some MS points and downloading those tables real soon! 🙂

  2. Billy

    That pinball looks great! There is a local flea market that has a Spider-Man pinball game from the 1970’s. I’m sooooo tempted to buy it.

  3. […] For more on X-Men: Destiny, click here! […]

  4. […] to wait for Gotham City Imposters, one game you should already be playing is Pinball FX2 with their Marvel Pinball pack. Unless you have some deep childhood resentment toward the game of pinball, I really […]

  5. […] the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Iron Man, and Blade with his own Pinball theme. All the Marvel Pinball tables are awesome and addicting, and even if you like Pinball just a little bit, it’s […]

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