Between last night and tonight, I probably have put about 50 games on the machine. I'd like to share some of my thoughts.
I've played the original many times. Always loved the layout, but never cared for the specific version of Spider-Man as a theme. Note, I say this as a huge Spider-Man fan. When I was 5 back in 1983, one wall in my bedroom was Spider-Man wallpaper. So growing up in that generation, I've always been drawn more to Spider-Man as a comic/cartoon than live action movie.
Fast forward to late 2015, when word was that Spider-Man was getting the Vault Edition with a re-theme, it mildly sparked my interest. That day in January, when they had the countdown clock, I was interested to see what Stern was releasing next, which I honestly thought was going to be Ghostbusters. That night I'm at the NJ Devils game and I checked my phone during the 1st intermission. When I saw the pictures, I really liked what I saw. So I immediately called up JJ to place my order for the game (great distributor btw).
Fast forward to Thursday night, the night for the grand unboxing (I can never just unbox a game, it must always be a grand unboxing). As we get the game out of the cardboard box and can see the cabinet for the first time, I was completely blown away by the art. It was 10 times better than I could possibly imagine. Then once we got the game into place and got a firsthand look of the playfield, I was blown away even more with the art. IMO, this is what the art on the game should've been back when the game was first released. Pictures don't do the art package justice.
From a playability/reliability aspect, I don't think the original can compare in several areas. First area, is the bulletproofing Stern engineered into the game. No foam is needed for the Doc Ock shot. The new magnet design protects the playfield. Second, is the DMD animations. Downright scary how great the animations came out. Third, with the art design, IMO, it makes the game timeless.
I look at my Star Trek LE as the #1 game in my collection. Spider-Man VE is the #1A in my collection. I could not be any happier with my purchase. I can definitely say, that my friends and I were very impressed with how this machine turned out.
Lastly, if someone asked me to give them my review of this game (VE) in under 3 words, my response can only be: F-cking Awesome!