That’s it! I’m done being an impostor in the pinball world: I’m the happy owner of a Deadpool Premium, first machine in my gameroom. For the rest, we’ll see 🙂
This gives me the opportunity to fill a gap in our articles. So here is the test of this pinball machine that we ranked among the 10 best pinballs of the 2010s. Report to the fact that it was released in 2018.
- 1 Deadpool, the Marvel anti-hero
- 2 Deadpool: an irreverent pinball machine?
- 3 Zombie Yeti again and again
- 4 Chimichangas with worms
- 5 Unforgettable trajectories
- 6 The toys, one notch below
- 7 The gameplay: pure George Gomez
- 8 Fun on all levels!
- 9 Little difference between Pro and Premium/LE
- 10 A pinball game that will last
Deadpool, the Marvel anti-hero
If you don’t know this character, don’t go comparing him to Batman or Superman. He was created much more recently, in 1991, by Fabian Nicieza for Marvel comics. In that, he is the fruit of his time: more ambivalent, less polished, and playing with the codes of the Comics, the main media in which he evolves.
I’ll spare you his story in detail, so here’s a summary as violent as he is: Deadpool, a.k.a. Wade Wilson, is the result of experiments on a cancerous assassin that gave him the ability to regenerate, but by destroying his skin. This gives him, when he takes off the mask, the appearance of a leper or a burn victim. As a result, he is angry and beats up just about everyone, X-Men or villains, depending on his desire for revenge or his mercenary missions. In the movies, he mostly beats up bad guys, because I guess the main character of a movie can’t be ambiguous.
His humor is made of bathroom jokes. On the other hand, he doesn’t hesitate to challenge the reader, and in this he was one of the first anti-heroes to break the conventions of the genre.
Deadpool: an irreverent pinball machine?
On such a ground, did Stern Pinball concoct a universe as trashy as the protagonist? No, let’s not kid ourselves. The level of offbeat humor is about the same as in the movies, or even a notch below. We are closer to the jokes of a child than to those of a violent mercenary.
In concrete terms, the callouts are of the order of “hehehe, I said balls” and “it must be hard to lose all the time”. The animations include a retarded and snotty unicorn during the ball saved and extra ball, a Deadpool playing a pinball machine that looks like the limited edition game, or who gets his arms ripped off and then grows back.
In short, the humor works, the voices are nice, nevertheless we remain on a machine adapted to all the family and thus remains in the register of the acceptable by the largest world. Perhaps the artwork is the most divisive aspect.
Zombie Yeti again and again
Stern pinball took a loyalty card from the artist Zombie Yeti, that’s for sure. Buy 5 pinball artworks, get the 6th one free! Let’s do a little recap in chronological order of the artist’s major contributions: Ghostbusters, Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast, Deadpool, Ninja Turtles, Avengers:Infinity Quest, and lately Godzilla.
Can we blame the manufacturer for using Zombie Yeti so often? On the contrary! His very colorful style fits perfectly to our machines, and the composition is dynamic. If, for Godzilla, the choice of such a vivid palette could be surprising when the animations on the screen refer to the old Japanese movies of the 60s, here the universe of Deadpool lends itself very well to saturated tones. The character does not do in half measures, and the artwork either, everything is good.
The 3 boxes are successful, with a special mention for the Premium version, representing the Megalodon having a tooth extracted by the anti-hero. This picture evokes the final scene of one of the quests found in the code. We’ll come back to that later.
Chimichangas with worms
The only reservation I’ll express about the graphics is about the backglasses. The Pro version is a bit bland, and the Premium and Limited Edition versions show Deadpool with a half-ripped mask trying to catch a chimichanga, a variant of Mexican burrito. This is one of the character’s favorite dishes and the subject of a side quest.
My problem: the chimichangas pictured are particularly vile, they look like they are stuffed with worms! A bit like Wade’s wounds by the way, it must be part of the Zombie Yeti style. It’s a shame because the composition gives a very well rendered impression that the hero is going to step out of the frame.
I’m just kidding. The alternative backglasses created by the community are less original, it is still difficult to do better than the original artist.
But let’s get to the heart of the matter, i.e. the playfield. All its originality lies in its particularly inspired trajectories. The most impressive is the lane that starts just to the right of the mini-Deadpool, goes around him, then takes a ramp that runs along the whole back of the set to finish its course in the katana. The katana is a toy that extends the ramp and holds the balls in its handle for a multiball. Honestly, when the shot is accurate and powerful enough to go all the way through, your brain releases a small dose of addictive endorphins.
The large loops at the bottom of the board also make an impact. Moreover, on the Premium and Limited Editions, the left loop serves the right flipper via a ramp that lowers according to the playing phase. Classic, but very effective.
Finally, the left ramp is ultra short and, after a half-turn, delivers the ball at high speed to the left flipper. By the way, it is made of metal colored in red in its Premium and Limited Editions, a nice change from the ugly plastic ramps.
Generally speaking, the game is nervous, and the lack of attention costs the player a lot. However, I wouldn’t say that the game is punishing. You can notice the attention George Gomez has paid to deviate the trajectories that would “drain” the ball.
The toys, one notch below
3 toys come to enrich the playfield and the game mechanics. The katana has already been mentioned above, so I’ll move on to the Mini-Deadpool: in the middle of the playfield, a row of drop targets hides a static target sheltered at the bottom of a “cavity” (I can’t think of a more appropriate term, forgive me). When the conditions are met, the drop targets rise up to trap the ball and trigger a 2 marble game phase or a other objectives.
The small “cave” is topped by a Lil’ Deadpool figurine whose arms and head are wiggling at the end of their springs. It’s not a big innovation, but the charm of the mini character is undeniable.
Finally, a disco ball (only on Premium and Limited Edition) starts spinning on itself when the spinner on the left loop is activated several dozen times. Lit by a small projector, the disco ball projects its reflections on about a third of the playfield, the time the associated mission ends, all accompanied by a 70’s music all that there is more kitsch.
Yes, Deadpool’s musical tastes are eclectic, as we will hear at other times metal, rap, country, and so on. And yet the whole has a certain coherence, like a “playlist of shame” that fits perfectly with the character. Besides, all the songs are well made and composed especially for the machine.
The gameplay: pure George Gomez
I hardly mentioned it, but the designer of the Deadpool is the legendary George Gomez, who gave our passion its most appreciated machines, among which Monster Bash!
Are his tables the most original? No, the prize goes to Pat Lawlor, that’s no mistake. But are they the most fun, the most immediately understandable? Without a doubt. GG is the undisputed master of pinball machines that appeal to all Pinheads from 7 to 77 years old.
This ease of access is also reflected in the mechanics of Deadpool. The main storyline consists of defeating several “villains”. To do this, you have to send the ball into the scoop and choose your first opponent: Sabretooth, Mystic or Juggernaut. Then follows a fight whose codes are those of a video game like Mortal Kombat. You have to take down your opponent’s life before he takes yours, then give him a final blow (optional for the scenario but generous in points). Each villain has his own mechanic, which obviously consists in targeting one or more elements of the board.
Once the first 3 opponents are down, the mini-wizard mode starts. To reach the final wizard mode, you will have to complete two quests which consist in going back in time and taking a tooth from a Megalodon and another one from a T-Rex. Then, you will have to defeat again the 3 protagonists of the beginning, but they will have reinforcements… Don’t try to understand the logic, there is one but we don’t care 🙂
I leave you the pleasure to discover the principle of the Wizard Mode and the Mini-Wizard Mode. Of course, I just touched the fight with Sauron the Pterodactyl, but my silence will leave your pleasure intact. #lowscorepinballwizard #dishonesty
Finally, a tip from a Pro gamer (not me): duels are much easier if you call for reinforcements. Your allies are 4 in number and can join the fight if you have properly activated them beforehand.
Fun on all levels!
The backbone of the storyline is completed by a significant number of side quests, I’ll name a few:
- Catching Chimichangas
- Disco Multiball and/or disco mission (depending on the model)
- Ninja Multiball
- Deadpool Multiball
- Deadpool Frenzy
- Katanarama Time
- Mechsuit Multiball (with 4 balls)
- Berserker Rage
- Boom Button
Let’s not try to be exhaustive, the goal is to show you that there is a lot of fun outside the main scenario.
I can’t help but see the filiation between Monster Bash and Deadpool. The second one is a 2010 version of what the first one was in its time: a fun, simple, humorous game, with a mastered playfield.
Little difference between Pro and Premium/LE
At Pinball Mag. we appreciate the Stern machines but we don’t hold back when it comes to having playfields with different game mechanics depending on the version. Indeed, the Pro models are generally stripped of several features, which are often the core of the gameplay on the other versions. For example: the building is static on the Godzilla Pro, where it sinks under the board on the Premium and Limited Edition.
Modifying the artwork, adding better quality immobile figures, adding some options like shaker or anti-reflection glass, OK… But amputate the game, no!
Deadpool marks a transition on this level because the differences on the board are slight compared to the more recent machines:
- The disco ball and an associated game mode
- The removable ramp that serves the right pinball from the left loop
The rest is only cosmetic and goodies. We do like the audio cassette on the Premium version and the vinyl for the LE. Make sure you check the bottom of the box!
A pinball game that will last
It’s time to take stock: does Deadpool bring innovation to pinball? Not really. But will it remain an enjoyable game even 20 years from now? Without a doubt.
And the most important question of all: will it stay in my gameroom for long? As long as I haven’t reached and scored on the Wizard Mode, certainly! And even though I’m getting a little better every week, I still have some room for improvement.