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X-Men: Children of the Atom (Arcade) artwork

X-Men: Children of the Atom (Arcade) review

"Mutant fighting in an erratic way"

X-Men came out at the height of the animated series' popularity. The mutants hailing from the comics scene were raising high up the charts in everyone's eyes and Capcom seized this opportunity to get the rights on making the first ever fighting game featuring the uncanny superhero group which would later on spawn more fighting games including other Marvel characters as well as integrating the popular vs. series that captivating gamers worldwide.

While you may have played said characters in said vs. gaming series, you would not have probably guessed the rough initiation that was made when Children of the Atom appeared at arcades. While the graphics and soundtrack are pretty solid, gameplay feels incredibly rough and even kind of unfinished when you try your hand at it. Unlike other games like Street Fighter Alpha and such out at that time, COTA plays in a completely different plane than your average 2D fighter. The addition of super jumping and special moves that can send your opponent reeling to the end of the screen are interesting additions to the norm, but then again some punches and kicks can be difficult to input when trying to perform combos in a game where the demo screen highlights such being the key.

Also the fact that every character is pretty different in terms of special moves and behaviors makes COTA a rough trip to travel upon. Some characters have a variety of normal attacks which include ranged ones and even more than one super special move while others have to conform in having at least one super power of their own. Wolverine for example can either heal up or speed up using one level of his power bar, while Cyclops can only perform his super optic blasts when the bar is full and little else. While you may argue that this only adds to the challenge and I for one would most likely agree the fact that the spike in difficulty when facing some characters is enough to make you punch the screen at times. You have to deal with AI that counters any other attack or move you make, while at the same time being cheap able to grab you and toss you around like a ragdoll with ease. A way to deal with such would know how to keep your distance with projectiles. Something I have seen some do more than once while playing this game.

X-Men has several liberties with such gameplay, allowing you to juggle opponents indefinitely when knowing how to and performing a complex array of combos if you ever are able to handily its rough mechanics, able to win battles in a few seconds without ever being touched. However if you hesitate just for a moment the computer will hand over your behind without any remorse. One of the keys to play this game knows how to use every attack performed on the buttons assigned, all while measuring your distance against your opponent. This is one of the perks that can be used against you and this game is never shy in taking advantage.

As is, the game can be enjoyable enough to play with its various heroes and villains. I for one am a huge X-Men fan and is quite gratifying being able to use many characters with attractive designs and fluid animation. The savagery of Wolverine against the towering menace of the cold, emotionless Sentinel to the vast power of Cyclops optic blasts against the master of magnetism himself, Magento. If gameplay were to be a bit more balanced, I no doubt could had enjoyed the game a whole lot more than trying to play it safe every time I made an attempt. I did had beaten it a few times, but using the method of keeping said distance with projectiles and such as I described above. This could reduce the fun factor knowing that in order to beat a fighting game you must resort to use gimmicks rather than a planned strategy. Of course this would not be a problem with veterans on the fighting genre, but to the casual gamer their experiences playing this would become less than formidable, and probably infuriating.


CptRetroBlue's avatar
Community review by CptRetroBlue (September 05, 2020)

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