ZEN Pinball Street Fighter II Tribute


posted 9/25/2009 by Tina Amini
other articles by Tina Amini
One Page Platforms: PS3
This is one of the more exciting aspects of the Street Fighter II add-on, as well as the more clear representation of the tribute. In keeping with the original game, you can partake in fights that give you extra points and bonuses. Each character on the lower playfield (Ken, Chun-Li, Ryu, and Guile) has a 4-ramp combo and a locker that upon hitting will enable the character in question to be used as your fighter. After initiating a fight, your health and your opponent’s health will be lit up on the outlanes. Use the ramps and orbits to attack your opponent and deplete their health, but hitting the bumpers or targets will allow your opponent to attack you. Winning a fight against all four characters will start a fight with Bison. Pass through Akuma’s ramp to light up the letters in his name and challenge him to a fight, as well.

Complete a combo belonging to Chun-Li, Ryu, Ken, or Guile to choose a fighter (watch the flashing signs on the lower playfield), then lock the ball in his/her locker to start a fight. Use the ramps and the orbit, but avoid the bumpers and the targets during the fight.


Start a sparring match with Akuma by hitting the left ramp five times. Practice develops internal energies: each lit lamp of CHI buffers a hit received in FIGHT! mode.

The characters remained true to form in their behavior ranging from their sounds (Chun-Li’s infamous kicking sounds) to the images (Blanka’s encasing of electricity). I was excited to find out about fighting Bison, which as veteran Street Fighter gamers will know is the ultimate boss. Being that it was the boss level, I appreciated that you have to pass through all four fighters before you can face him. Getting to fight Bison in Zen Pinball felt like an actual boss level: it’s difficult, and finally getting there feels like an epic achievement. To my delight, the DLC proved to bring more than cosmetic value to the table, but rather really got into the game and even managed to include actual fighting and levels of difficulty that depend on your accomplishments, same as Street Fighter II.

I quickly loved this game because it was challenging, but with a relatively easy and consistent gameplay. You have three flippers controlled by two buttons: L1 hits the left flipper, and R1 hits both right flippers simultaneously (or whatever configuration you prefer). Easy enough to get the hang of, allowing you to focus your energy on perfecting the sequence of hitting the silver ball at the appropriate time and place to achieve a special move. The consistency of controls and gameplay gives you the opportunity to focus your efforts on really mastering the game.

Zen Pinball is more of a hobby than a game of the year title. Think virtual poker, solitaire, etc. One of those fun games that never get old, and that you can play for hours. The impression of a good pinball player is tantamount to a good pool player. I daresay pinball will never go out of fashion.

Zen Pinball: Street Fighter II addon’s appeal is in its challenge, as well as the reminiscence of the Street Fighter characters. All things considering, Zen Pinball took a classic game and really mastered it. The physics are incredibly accurate, the Street Fighter II theme is fitting, and it is just challenging enough for there to always be room for improvement and another move to perfect. It is a great virtual pinball game, and I was really impressed with the creative way in which the game included the Street Fighter II machine.

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