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X-Men (Arcade) artwork

X-Men (Arcade) review


"“X-Men: The Arcade Game” is a downright depressing and stupid experience. It is based on the comic books published by Marvel Comics, which were originated by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the early ‘60s. Although released in 1992, this coin-op seems to drawn more upon the 1980s wave of X-Men comics, judging by the team’s dated (at the time) costumes. It features the heroes Cyclops, Wolverine, Dazzler, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Storm. The only novel aspect of the game was that some arcades had it ..."



“X-Men: The Arcade Game” is a downright depressing and stupid experience. It is based on the comic books published by Marvel Comics, which were originated by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the early ‘60s. Although released in 1992, this coin-op seems to drawn more upon the 1980s wave of X-Men comics, judging by the team’s dated (at the time) costumes. It features the heroes Cyclops, Wolverine, Dazzler, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Storm. The only novel aspect of the game was that some arcades had it in a massive six-player arcade cabinet, with two monitors joining together to create a view screen of CinemaScope proportions.

That’s really the extent of the appeal. X-Men is a terrible, terrible brawler. It features more cheap shots than a Michael Moore documentary. It fails to even capitalize on the most marketable element of the X-Men comics, which are the mutant powers. They’re reduced to screen-clearing desperation attacks, eating up your life meter most of the time. Oh, you get these little “mutant power” orbs that let you use these attacks without cutting down your health…but, realistically, the game is designed around wearing down the player, either through cheap shots or by forcing them to spend their health on mutant powers. There is no other way to deal with waves of enemies large enough to clutter a CinemaScope vista.

Your regular attacks, which you'll need to use after your special moves whittle your health to one stick, consist of mashing a single button to create some wimpy combos. I think there are other moves, but they don't make much of a difference. At least you’re allowed to smack around fallen enemies. That’s about the greatest advantage you have against the stage bosses, who pretty much lumber around and use their higher attack priority to knock you senseless and toss you like a rag doll. These bosses include the villains Pyro, Blob, Wendigo, White Queen, Juggernaut, and Magneto. They all have stupid catch phrases, with the dumbest belonging to, of all people, Magneto. Here’s a game where the X-Men’s articulate and charismatic nemesis exclaims “Welcome…TO DIE!” and “X-Chicken!” Uh-huh. If you comic fans think that’s bad, you’ll want to avoid the Attract Mode. To say that it mutilates the comic mythology would be kind.

Are the levels at least cool? Not really. They’re all variations on a single theme: granite, rocks and technology. There’s one jungle level that’s kind of cool and surreal, although Konami commits the sin of not calling it the Savage Land or having Sauron as a boss. Anyway, boring levels. Konami's done much better in their other beat 'em ups, such as the time travel antics of "Ninja Turtles" or the zany cartoon world of "The Simpsons." A greater understanding of the comic mythology might have lent the game a richer variety of settings.

This is a quarter muncher where you, X-Men fan or just plain gamer, give and give and get nothing in return. No matter how much mutant powers you use or how carefully you approach the enemy, you don't have a remote fighting chance. You're just a punching bag for the computer, which uses all the cheap tricks in the book to make your credits last as short as possible. Konami's X-Men is basically a suicide mission, where the mission is to make your local arcade lots of money.

Rating: 3/10

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Community review by joseph_valencia (August 29, 2009)

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