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X-Men (NES) artwork

X-Men (NES) review


"Iíve read a number of reviews for X-Men for the NES, and I donít get why everyone hates the game. Oh sure, some of the same complaints come up time and again and I can take some hints from that. Things like the terrible graphics, the poor controls, and the fact that LJN was behind the production. But what people fail to realize is that the problem is not with the game... itís with them. They somehow think this is a game about an elite fighting force of mutants with incredible special ..."



Iíve read a number of reviews for X-Men for the NES, and I donít get why everyone hates the game. Oh sure, some of the same complaints come up time and again and I can take some hints from that. Things like the terrible graphics, the poor controls, and the fact that LJN was behind the production. But what people fail to realize is that the problem is not with the game... itís with them. They somehow think this is a game about an elite fighting force of mutants with incredible special powers. That is not what X-Men is about.

X-Men is a simulation game where you play as the manager of the worst team of super heroes ever.

In this brilliantly made simulator it is your job to see a group of heroes through such dangerous locales as ďpracticeĒ and ďfuturecity street fight.Ē Itís established early on that your super heroes are more of a mop-up crew than actual crime fighters. By the time they arrive on any one of five exciting scenes, all the super villains have already been sent off to jail and itís your teamís job to clean up the mess they left behind. You must defeat such dastardly opponents as the sinister communist donut, the worm of pure villainy, and (my personal favourite) the bastard bubble.

The real joy of this management simulation, though, is how realistic the fighting is. Unlike most games in which your powers and abilities far outstrip those of the common enemy and make the game boring as a result, here the gameplay reflects an accurate representation of how difficult it would be to actually fight a sentient evil bubble. Those things are fast, maneuverable, highly intelligent, and they come in hordes rivaling the mongols in terms of numbers. To make matters more difficult, and thus more interesting, some of the team members left their long range laser weapons at home, and can only attack with their knees.

You will experience time and again the thrill and tension of an unwinnable combat followed by the crushing sorrow of defeat. Ah, yes, with any realistic simulation of life comes the inevitable end to life. In this game, you will quickly learn to accept that death is just an outgrowth of being born into this unstable existence and is not something to fear. Still, with the deep emotional bonds that form between you and your team of heroes, it will be hard not to shed tears the first time you lose them to an overwhelming tide of donuts. At least you can be satisfied that their deaths are impressive. Your team does not die by keeling over like pansies or coughing up blood. No, they explode in glorious flame like the heroes they are!

Well, actually, heroes is probably the wrong word to describe the members of your team. Looking up the definition of the word, I see it has three original meanings:
  • a being of godlike prowess and beneficence who often came to be honored as a divinity.
  • (in the Homeric period) a warrior-chieftain of special strength, courage, or ability.
  • (in later antiquity) an immortal being; demigod.

Considering how often your team expires in a violent combustion of their internal organs, they probably donít classify as immortal. Thereís also no one that worships this team (unless you count their dutiful manager) and they arenít particularly strong. So letís not call them heroes. Letís call them... paraplegics. It might not sound as impressive, but then, thatís not the point of the simulation. How interesting would it be to play as competent super mutants who could turn enemies to ice or blast them into smithereens with nary but a glance? Where would the challenge be in directing a character who had basic motor skills, let alone his own pair of indestructible claws?

That it isnít fun is beside the point. It isnít supposed to be fun. This game has captured every agonizing moment of what managing a bunch of paraplegics determined to fight crime would be like, and for that, I must give credit.

Rating: 10/10

zippdementia's avatar
Community review by zippdementia (June 30, 2009)

Zipp has spent most of his life standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox there. Sometimes he writes reviews and puts them in the mailbox.

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randxian posted June 30, 2009:

You forgot to mention this is a great simulation for constantly having doors slammed in your face.
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zippdementia posted June 30, 2009:

Oh yeah, that too.

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