Continuing with the theme of licensed games we started last week, we now have our first game based on a Marvel Comics property, the first of a fair few. The X-Men arcade game shares a lot with the previous Konami entry, and even expanded up to six players on screen at once, but sadly it’s perhaps best known for its badly translated Magneto dialogue, specifically “I am Magento: Master of Magnet!” and, of course, “Welcome to die!”. What is the actual game like post-dialogue? Let’s find out!
These Sentinels overcome their lack of height by throwing large rocks. Makes sense to me!
The X-Men reached Arcades in 1992 worldwide, and as mentioned it had a six-player version available using two screens and a mirror to give the illusion of one big screen. That being said it was probably far more likely you’d see the four or two player cabinets instead. I saw none sadly, but there you go… I did enjoy emulating the MAME ROM in the mid-2000s…
Not speaking of illegally downloading it, the game was released digitally on the a PS3 and XBOX 360 in December 2010. All the voice work had to be re-recorded, but the bad translations were kept the same, which is a nice touch. Sadly by the end of 2013 the game was delisted from both online stores and has never returned, so we’re back to MAME being the only way to experience it again…
An example of the Six Player machine, not from me, obviously!
The gameplay is actually back to simple basics, beyond the whole “up to six players” thing. You have an attack, a jump, a grapple where you can attack and throw enemies, and a health-draining special move (called a “Mutant Attack”). You can actually store extra Mutant Attacks that don’t damage your health via pick-ups, the only pick-ups in the game (apart from the Japanese version has health and power-ups, oddly enough). You can also attack downed enemies, often meaning you only have to knock an enemy down once to kill them if you’re quick enough.
That’s your lot! Simple mechanics, but six very different characters and very smooth and satisfying combat and animations mixed with a good variety of levels, enemies and bosses mean the simple combat doesn’t affect having a great time.
As for genre clichés? Well, most of the enemies you face are re-coloured Sentinels with diminished height, plus a few suited thugs with big guns. Surprisingly there isn’t a lift level, though maybe that was due to the duel screens for the six-player version, to be fair…
Graphics and Sound:
Oh man, it’s him! You know… Erm… Silver Samurai’s robot cousin?
The graphics are nice and chunky, smooth details and multi-layered backgrounds. Can’t complain there.
Likewise the sound is good, with catchy background music and those oh-so-lovely Arcade sound effects, particularly the actual hitting sounds.
The master of magnet himself. Why he’s working alongside Sentinels, the robots created to hunt down and exterminate his race, I have no idea…
The X-Men, consisting of Cyclops, Colossus, Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler and Dazzler, are sent on several missions ranging from Sentinels to Reavers to super villains until Professor X is kidnapped by Magneto while they’re away. The X-Men search M Island first only to find out he’s been taken to Asteroid M, where to soon arrive and eventually defeat their old nemesis. Simple, but effective, especially given the variety of enemies to pick from in the X-Men lore.
An example of the Four Player version, also not by me!
Again this was something me and my friend played on MAME when we were first getting into the shady world of emulation, and we really enjoyed it. Much like Turtles in Time before it, the source material lends a lot to character movesets and location variety, plus no end of bosses to pick from! A fun time.
Jeez, overcompensating much?
Now? Pretty much exactly the same! It’s a really solid scrolling beat ‘em up with the X-Men world lovingly layered on top of it. Not much more to say than that!