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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Review: X-Men: The Arcade Game (Xbox 360)

Back in 1992, Konami released a well-received X-Men game exclusively for arcades machines. It was not until the release of X-Men: The Arcade Game for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2010 that the classic title has ever been ported to a home console. That alone is cause for celebration, but Konami promised to provide additional features to enhance the gameplay experience.


Go go heroes!


As a member of the X-Men, your mission is to stop Magneto from unleashing devastation upon mankind. The character roster consists of Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Dazzler, so there is a decent selection of heroes to choose from. If you happen to have a friend around, they can join in on the action as well. You’ll encounter various villains from the comic series, including Mystique, The Blob, Juggernaut, and Nimrod.

Put candidly, there is not a whole lot to be said for the gameplay offered in X-Men. The objective is to destroy every single adversary in your path until you square off against a boss character at the end of the level. You devote the majority of your time using handwork to dispatch of your foes, but the X-Men can also tap into their mutant powers. However, using the powers costs some of your health, so the idea is that you should only use them in desperate situations. Since the player has unlimited continues, though, there is absolutely no disadvantage to milking your mutant powers dry, respawning, and milking them some more. It certainly makes the game more accessible to a wider audience, but fans of the original may feel that the overall experience is cheapened. 



Bash em up and bash em some more


X-Men Arcade is your typical arcade beat-‘em-up. What makes this release remarkable is the addition of online co-op and support for up to six players. Other new additions include the ability to choose between the Japanese and US versions of the game, an instant stage select, and drop-in co-op support. None of these features will win over people who dislike the gameplay itself, but the extra content goes a long way towards helping establish its place with the target audience.

The graphics sustain their original look and feel, but they have received the high-definition treatment that most classics seem to get these days. The game was particularly outstanding at the time of its release, so a bit of the charm has worn off from those days. On the other hand, you would be hard-pressed to come across somebody who legitimately dislikes the new look. All in all, they could not have enhanced the visuals further without trampling on the nostalgia of the fans.


Ooh. Special effects!


The music tends to be quite standard, but it fits well with the tone of the game. The voice acting and memorable quotes like “Welcome to die!” will put a grin on your face and make you thankful that Konami did not needlessly correct the script.

Despite coming up on being 20 years old, X-Men: The Arcade Game still manages to provide gratifying action. While the game rapidly gets repetitive and shows its age at particular moments, there is a simple joy in going around and busting some Sentinels that makes your purchase seem warranted. The additional new content is quite welcome as well, adding extra content to an age-old classic. It won’t win any awards for being an outstanding achievement in video gaming, but it would be an injustice to pass up a title of this caliber if you enjoy the beat-‘em-up genre.


- Clark A




Review: X-Men: The Arcade Game (Xbox 360)
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