|Spider-Man and the X-Men
Release year - USA:1992
Company: LJN, Software Creations
Review by: PrimeOp
|With Spider-Man and the X-Men being the only two franchises Marvel cared to really push in the 90's (it's the truth and you know it) it only made sense to put the two properties in the same title. A lot of comic-based games have left may players jaded, especially back in the late 80's and early 90's. There are usually outside circumstances that cause this beyond the actual game creators, but the results are still the same: a disappointing game. Here's a look at a pretty good example.|
|The premise reads like a typical old team-up issue: Arcade, the bow-tie sporting, Kool-Aid smile wearing, white suited jack@#$ owner of Murderworld captures five of the X-Men. Everytime he fought the X-Men in the comics, it usually ended in them fighting his robots that look like familiar characters, the X-Men overcome them, capture Arcade and say, "Silly rabbit, tricks are for kids! Hahahahaha!" Back to the plot. Arcade captures five of the X-Men. Instead of the other 50 X-men or their offshoots like X-Factor, X-Force, or "X-amounts of times I told you to take out the trash-Faction" coming to bail out their teammates (like they do in all those 20 issue long crossover events that the kids seem to love), along comes Spider-Man... who also gets captured. Nice job, webhead. Arcade places each hero in their own death trap, each with it's own unique look and enemies. This just might be where the game went wrong. See, by having to make multiple gaming engines, it seems as if the programmers had less time to make them play smoothly. The result is a bunch of separate games that feel either incredibly basic or just plain unfinished.|
Arcade, criminal mastermind and assassin, has not only trapped five of the X-Men and Spider-Man, but has also managed to steal Cyclops' face. As Adam West would say, 'Diabolical!'
'Tremble before the staggering might of Apocalypse!!!" says the ageless villain as he hops around like a teenaged ballerina who just took a hit of ecstacy.
|Cyclops, who looks a lil' pudgy in this game, is trapped in a side-scroller. Here's the funny part: the bottom of the level is an electric rail. There isn't anything that tells you that it's electric, like a sign that says "Warning: Electricity!!" or using the soul classic "Electric Slide" as background music or even a character from Beat Street telling you about the third rail. No, you just find out when you touch it and die. Nice, eh? You'll notice that a lot of this game is like that. What bewilders me to no end is that Cyclops is stuck in a mine-cart level. A MINE CART LEVEL. IN AN X-MEN GAME. That's just wrong. Then Wolverine, killer of a thousand ninja, soldiers and other such ruffians gets to fight... CLOWNS! Clowns that hit him with wood and steel and pie! Actually, that's just a weird Freakazoid quote, but the pie thing is true. Wolverine can be hurt by PIES. That's just wrong. He's also attacked by Jack-in-the-boxes. Then he fights Apocalypse!!! COOL! Oh...wait... this version of Apocalyse is skinny and he's jumping around like a little girl here. 'Survival of the Fittest' is replaced by 'Jumping Jacks' in this sad example of not understanding the basic elements of what makes characters cool. It almost has decent control. Almost. Gambit's level is an auto-scrolling platform/bottomless pit/spiked floor/spiked ceiling hallway while being chased by what appears to be a Sentinel robot's spike covered testicle. It's like every annoying level hazard (except for mine carts) wrapped up into one level. I almost want to say it's appropriate for Gambit to be in an annoying stage, but I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.|
|Storm must swim through a watery maze, firing lightning bolts underwater at... robo-cyber-crazy stuff. She must be sure to replentesh her oxygen supply by sucking on these pipes. Hey, don't look at me like that. It's not like that, okay? Anyway, it's like the watery part of Sonic's Labyrinth zone, but with less fun and it lasts the entire level. Storm doesn't even get a recognizable character as a boss. Her first "boss" is this glowing saw blade and her second is a machine that must have all it's weak spots destroyed before Storm can escape. Spidey's play engine is easily the best. Arcade is a genius. See, he puts people in situations they can't handle and they wind up getting themselves killed. That's why he put Spidey in a trap that looks like a CONSTRUCTION SITE! Spider Man NEVER fights villains on unfinished New York construction sites, dodgin steel girders and stuff. Kids, that's sarcasm. He ALWAYS fights people on construction sites! This level almost has decent control, but there are still some horrible flaws. Spidey can't shoot out a webline while in mid-air. When crawling walls, Spider-Man can't just crawl to the top of a wall and crawl to the top but must jump off the wall and (hopefully) land on top of the structure. The worst offense is the fact that Spidey can't crawl on ceilings!|
The game almost realizes it's goal with the Spider-Man areas, but even those are flawed.
|This game is a disappointment. I wonder what could've been if the Software Creations had more time to fine-tune the separate engines or just concentrate on making one solid engine. Still, this game did what it was made to do: sell games. While it may have made a lot of customers bitter, its strong sales helped pave the way for better games in the future.|
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