X-Men in Review – 18 Years And Worth The Wait

I have to admit that I thought the X-Men arcade game came out before 1992, but apparently my memory is already starting to fail me (I thought this mainly because I didn’t think I frequented arcades so much when I was in college).  Whatever the case, I played this game any chance I got, and I always longed for a nice home version – or any home version – to be released.  Alas, it wasn’t meant to happen until 18 years later when the game arrived on XBLA and PSN, neither of which I had access to.  Finally, however, Konami must have caught drift of how badly I wanted this game, and they released an iOS port of the arcade classic.  It was so totally worth the wait.

Since the game features the X-Men, your plot is the basic “save the world from Magneto” shtick.  As one might suspect, however, the plot really doesn’t matter.  This game is all about playing as your favorite x-man and kicking evil mutants around the screen.  The reality is that the game isn’t even all that complicated – you have punch, jump and mutant power buttons, and there aren’t any complicated left, right, up, down, spin around type moves or weapons to pick up.  There are, however, plenty of villains to fight (some of which get kind of weird on the island levels), including several famous bosses like Mystique and the Juggernaut.

In regards to the eponymous heroes of this tale, you get to select between Wolverine, Cyclops, Colossus, Storm, Nightcrawler and Dazzler.  I’m not really sure why they threw the last one in there as opposed to someone like Iceman or Gambit, but I’m sure they had there reasons.  Anyway, it’s not like playing one versus another feels all that different, though there are some cool personal moves, like Wolverine ripping sentinels apart with his claws or Colossus giving an enemy a headlock and knocking them senseless.

You can take on the mission on your own, or you can hook up with up to four other players (according to iTunes, though I’m really surprised it wouldn’t support playing all 6 characters at once) via WiFi.  The one thing that seemed to be missing, or at least that I wasn’t able to figure out, was how to switch between characters once you lost all your lives and wanted to continue the game.

The visuals are certainly 1992 good, and actually hold up fairly well even today.  The characters look like they jumped straight out of the pages of the comic books, and the later island levels feel source material inspired.  There are some nice little touches like watching sentinels get built in the factory levels.  The animation overall is decent, and watching some of the close up combat truly seems like an X-Men battle come to life.

The audio doesn’t fare quite as well.  The voices are nice in that they are there, but they aren’t great.  The rest of the sound effects are either standard or often seem kind of odd, especially when it comes to some of the non-robot villains.  The music is actually pretty good.  It has a nice old school console quality to it and never gets boring.

Much like the release of such SEGA classics as Streets of Rage and Golden Axe, this beat-em-up is more of a nostalgia piece than anything.  Thankfully this was my era of gaming, and as a result I truly appreciate what this entry brings to the table.  Its simple mechanics and straightforward game play probably won’t appeal to fans of modern brawlers, but those looking for a quick combat fix should feel right at home.  After nearly 20 years, this still feels like one of the best X-Men games to me.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: X-Men Developer: Konami
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.0 Min OS Req: 3.1.3
Price: $2.99 App Size: 50.3 MB
  • Brings back lots of memories
  • Looks good
  • Music is well done
  • Multiplayer WiFi support
  • Simple mechanics might be a turn off
  • Sound effects are uninspiring
  • Over too quickly


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