X-Men Review: Uncanny Nostalgic Fun

Posted: July 19, 2011 in Now Playing (Video Game Reviews)
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Pros:
Great Touchscreen controls

Cons:
16:9 Ratio Awkwardly Stretches Screen
Can’t Change Characters During Gameplay

Review based on Version 1.0.1

Back during the days when arcades were the big thing, Konami brought us some side scrolling beat-em ups that had players endlessly plunking down quarters. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons and X-Men. All of those games were very entertaining as I would continuously feed the arcade machine with tokens to continue on my adventure from beginning to end. Ahhh…the memories. These days, the games that had people filing into the arcades can now be found on our favorite consoles and smartphones. I recently downloaded X-Men to my iPhone an the nostalgia rushed back once again. This time without all the quarters.

Konami’s X-Men (now available in the App Store) is a port of the classic 1992 arcade game. Here you get to play as six of your favorite mutants against the evil forces of Magneto and the Brotherhood. Available for you to choose from is Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Dazzler. Personally, I liked Wolverine and Cyclops the best because they are my favorite X-Men characters. Each of the mutants have the same button mashing combat with attack and jump buttons. Of course what makes them different was that each character has their own mutant power. These mutant powers allowed you to clear the screen of enemies, but came at a price: a small chunk of your health.

For those not familiar with the game, X-Men sent you on a mission to “Save the City” as well as rescue Charles Xavier from the evil clutches of Magneto. Using your favorite mutant you would take on endless waves of palette-swapped Sentinels as well as other enemies and face a boss character at the end of each level. The Sentinels (like the Foot Clan in the TMNT arcade games) may have had multiple colors, but that didn’t  mean they were tougher than the others. The boss mutants at the end of each level really helped bring out the brilliance of X-Men as you took on characters like Pyro, Juggernaut and a host of others.

This port of X-Men on the iPhone and iPad is based on the American version of the game. Yes, there was a difference between American and Japanese versions. In the American version your mutant powers used up your health. Once you were below four health bars you could use your mutant power only one last time without costing you health. After that, well you were up the creek without a paddle especially if you get surrounded by Sentinels. The good news is that this game does contain unlimited continues allowing you to finish the entire game in one sitting which is about 25-30 minutes. This is perfect for those who live the “game on-the-go” lifestyle.

X-Men transfers very well to iOS platforms. The touchscreen controls are perfect and well responsive to the action on the screen. You can also change up the button display, but the defaults work just fine. The graphics are also also top notch especially for a game that was released almost 20 years ago. I do suggest that you keep the graphical display in the 4:3 ratio. There is an option for 16:9 which will fill the screen, but blows up the game to the point that the graphics look very fuzzy making the game look awkward. You would think that this wouldn’t be a problem considering the fact that the six-player arcade version did have 16:9 widescreen and is shown that way on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Sadly, on the iPhone and iPad it doesn’t.

Now that I have X-Men on both my Xbox 360 and my iPhone I can enjoy the classic arcade game no matter where I’m at, and I get to save a roll of quarters in the process. I also find that the game has plenty of replay value especially with achievements on Game Center. One of the achievements alone has you beating the game with each character which will keep you busy for awhile. There’s also multiplayer via WiFi, but I didn’t see a lot of people online playing. Overall, X-Men is great nostalgic fun for both fans of the comics, movies and television shows as well as casual gamers looking for a good thrill.

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