Dec 8, 2011


X-Men has been installed on my Transformer tablet for some time now and it's never quite made it to the top of the list for my next review. I liked Captain America and have always thought the X-Men could make a great video game. This title, however, doesn't attempt to do that, but instead brings back the classic arcade game from the early '90s.

So let's head back to around 1990 which was a time when one of the hot themes in video games was the side scrolling beat 'em up. I'm not sure what was historically first in this genre, but for me it was Double Dragon. Next it was Altered Beast which offered quite the graphical upgrade and, if I recall, that was around 1988. This game is from 1992, or 4 years later, and apparently took a step backwards in the graphics department, whether for effect or cost, and looks quite retro for better or for worse. The UI has actually been converted to be touch screen friendly... at least, that is, until you play it and then they revert to the tired trick of an on screen DPad and buttons. As a side note, I have started to see game developers use an on screen DPad that actually works well as it moves with your thumb. In a nutshell, you place your thumb... the DPad is centered on that point... and then you slide to choose a direction. I've been quite pleased with games that do that (and I don't recall the titles), but suffice it to say that X-Man does not and thus becomes a challenge to control.

For those not familiar with the beat 'em up style of game here it is in a nutshell. You walk to the right/left on the screen using the DPad and cannot reverse course. Bad guys show up in droves and you have to fight them. In X-Men you can jump and punch and also use a mutant power which almost acts like a smart bomb dispatching multiple enemies in one fell swoop. Repeat until the end of the stage at which time you'll meet up with a boss and have to dispatch him as well. On to the next level and repeat until you tired of the game or have a new high score with which to boast. The thing I've always thought would be neat with an X-Men game would be more of a puzzle aspect that takes full advantage of the various mutant powers from the comics/movies. Here the only real difference is in the graphics that result from such an attack as in the end they all seem to just kill everything your character is facing.

I also can't help but be interested in the story line for this game as it repeats every time I play and presents Magneto as an evil mutant whereas I don't feel the recent movie series presents him in the same light. The movies seem to present him as untrusting of non-mutants, feeling that mutants are superior, and wanting to advance his own kind to the detriment of humanity. I just don't see that as "evil" although it's not exactly nice, either. I digress.

qrcodeAs you can tell I'm luke warm on X-Men. It's not great... it's not horrible. It seems to emulate the old arcade game faithfully albeit with poorer controls although I wasn't a connoisseur of the original when it was in the arcades. And I have to be frank in that I've never been a fan of beat 'em up games in the first place as they generally seem repetitive and dull. As for my experience with the genre this rehash seems about average. One feature this does sport is multiplayer coop play over wifi and while I didn't try that I suppose it could add to the game if you can get 3 other X-Men fans together with their Android tablets. As for me, I give it 3/5 stars.

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