Review: X-Men: The Arcade Game (360/PS3)

Posted: January 2, 2011 in PS3, Retro, Reviews
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X-Men: The Arcade Game Review

X-Cellent Fun

If you grew up in the late ’80s or early ’90s, chances are good you know the X-Men in one form or another. I myself started on the comics and the animated show, and at the bare minimum you’ve probably seen one of the films. And for me, as well as a lot of others my age, there are also memories of Konami’s 1992 beat ’em up, X-Men: The Arcade Game.

Well, it’s back and the game is, for the most part, a straight port with some modern conveniences. You can choose between a four and six player cabinet (four player operates in full-screen, while six is in wide screen), the US and Japanese ROM (there are a few differences, noticeably Japanese subtitles and the addition of powerups), three difficulty settings, and local or online play. It’s a very straight-up, faithful translation – no graphical upgrades, no improved music. And if Turtles in Time: Reshelled taught us anything, it’s that sometimes those things are better left alone.

X-Men: The Arcade GameFear not, the narmy lines that graced the original (“WELCOME TO DIE!”) are still intact, and as cheesily charming as ever. The graphics look the same as they always have – which is good, because they pretty accurately reflect the look of the comics and the animated series. And the music – I won’t lie, it’s pretty forgettable.

The game is simple to pick up and play (as arcade games should be) – an attack button, jump button, and a button to activate your character’s mutant power. You can choose from six X-Men, from the ever popular Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm and Nightcrawler, to the relatively obscure Colossus and Dazzler. Each character’s mutant power works a little differently, but the purpose is the same – one-shot whatever gets in its way. There are also some slight differences in their attacks – Storm has a little longer reach, and Nightcrawler’s jumping attack is a bit easier to direct, etc. The gameplay is simple – punch your way through hordes of Sentinels, Genoshan Magistrates (I think – correct me if I’m wrong, readers) and lizard men, among others. You’ll also run into bosses like Emma Frost, Pyro, and The Juggernaut(!). There’s not much to it, but it’s a lot of fun and it’s always easy to jump into.

And it gets even better when you’ve got a full team playing! The best part of the game is multiplayer, and I’ve found the online matchmaking to be, for the most part, quick and easy to get into. You have the choice of a quick matchup, selecting the game you’d like to get into, or creating your own. Just a tip – try to find a host with a good, quick connection. If your host player has a bad connection, the game will lag to a ridiculous degree and you’ll get the dreaded “Player X is not responding” message. However, I’ve found that going into the custom match and selecting a host with a low ping alleviates that little headache.

I have found that a few of the trophies are a little glitchy, and only trigger under very specific circumstances (although I found a workaround for my problematic one). Also, the game is pretty short – lasting about 30-45 minutes on an average run-through.

The Final Verdict

X-Men: The Arcade Game is a game one that I’ve spent quite a bit of time on in the past few days, and it’s pretty fun in spite of its relatively short length. The game holds up after multiple playthroughs, and is still very playable after all these years. For its low price, this is a game which both fans of the genre, and the franchise itself, may want to try.

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