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X-Men: Wolverine's Rage (Game Boy Color) artwork

X-Men: Wolverine's Rage (Game Boy Color) review


"Wolverine's Rage is little more than a hissy fit."


X-Men: Wolverine's Rage (Game Boy Color) image


The third realm in X-Men: Wolverine's Rage is a dense jungle crawling with inhuman nasties. Traversing it is a slog, but you manage to punch your way through the woods and ascend to a plateau. There you meet Sabretooth, who belts out a couple of insults before charging at you and leaping through the air repeatedly. Now and then he might break his rhythm to give you a knuckle sandwich, only to resume fighting as if a generic platformer boss had assumed his identity...

You soon spot a glaring pattern that could be exploited with some diligence. However, if you're like me, you lack the patience for calculated combat. Instead, you swing at Victor Creed with reckless abandon whilst accepting the blows he rains on you in return. When your hit points reach a critically low level, you retreat to the left for the comfort of an eye-level platform. There you sit so your mutant power can kick in and restore your health. Meanwhile, the villain stares at you as if he's incapable of leaping the squatty platform. Unfortunately for him, his wounds refuse to heal despite the fact that he possesses the same regenerative capabilities as Wolverine. As a result, he becomes easy prey once you're fully rejuvenated, and in the end he plummets off the plateau.

X-Men: Wolverine's Rage (Game Boy Color) imageX-Men: Wolverine's Rage (Game Boy Color) image


Earlier in the campaign, super villains Lady Deathstrike and Cyber make appearances. The former's aggro deactivates when she's off-camera, allowing you to recuperate while she stares into space. The latter boss engages you in a chaotic confrontation that tends to conclude in anticlimax. Rather than a straight up brawl, the scuffle against Cyber requires you to push him off a building. As it turns out, though, he's more than willing to accidentally take care of that part for himself.

Such is the power of Wolverine's Rage's AI...

Half of the fun of playing a superhero video game is encountering and battling familiar antagonists. However, I'm a reasonable man and I don't expect every such convergence to be a conflict for the ages. All the same, this shouldn't prevent developers from crafting heart-pounding matches, even in the portable world. Take Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge on Game Boy, for example. Despite its scaled-down proportions, it's a terrific and challenging platformer with crazy bosses. Needless to say, it flies its brand's banner proudly. Sadly, I can't say the same for Wovlerine's Rage, even outside of its boss skirmishes...

X-Men: Wolverine's Rage (Game Boy Color) imageX-Men: Wolverine's Rage (Game Boy Color) image


In contrast to its boss stages, Wolverine's Rage's standard levels are tolerable albeit unremarkable. Each stage is an intricate network of platforms that form an inconspicuous path leading to a swirling helix-shaped goal. Of course, there are plenty of side routes and dead ends to throw you off, not to mention forks in the road. Is that... glee I detect? Oh, you must believe that Woverine's Rage is rife with exploration. Sadly, you must abide a time limit during non-boss segments, and you should therefore keep your curiosity in check if you wish to succeed.

Obviously, thugs and obstacles attempt to frustrate your efforts, but you know they're no match for Wolverine..... except they somehow are a match for Wolverine.... If there's one thing the developers should have focused on, it's combat, becauseWoverine's Rage's battle system is broken to a point that hampers the experience. For starters, you can't throw a punch without receiving a counterattack, and most of a stage's foes must die in order for you to advance. Constant altercations wear down your hit points, and your only respite lies in either stumbling upon a restorative power-up or remaining still while your mutant power heals you. Remember the time limit I mentioned earlier? Well, it's pretty stringent, so you don't have all day to lick your scrapes.

X-Men: Wolverine's Rage (Game Boy Color) imageX-Men: Wolverine's Rage (Game Boy Color) image


Any action title worth its salt provides a means of mitigating damage, typically by offering a way to dodge or block your opponents' strikes. Few enemies in Wolverine's Rage allow such a luxury, so you're constantly locked in wars of attrition. To make matters worse, adversaries often require multiple successive shots to fell, which may inadvertently activate "rage mode." You see, mashing the B button causes Wolverine to execute a useless, titular flurry of claw swipes that also drains your energy and refuses to deactivate even when you command it to do so. Because a game full of attrition-based combat isn't complete without an impractical, life-sucking super combo triggered by utilizing a common function...

Yeah, I understand that Game Boy Color design forced simple control schemes, but it's not as though there weren't wiser button combinations available to serve as rage mode's prompt. Examples: Up+B, A+B, Select...

Over time, the familiar routine of mapping out locales so you can conclude stages grows wearisome. X-Men: Wolverine's Rage doesn't offer much variety, sports a shallow (and often counterproductive) combat system, and features an array of dull, idiotic boss encounters that highlight this sub-par platformer experience. If I have one positive remark, though, it's that the game handles wonderfully. Wolverine's Rage is nothing if not stable, mostly thanks to its solid control response. However, there's more to effective platformers than mere functionality, and Woverine's Rage failed to rise to the occasion...

2/5

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Staff review by Joseph Shaffer (February 15, 2016)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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