X-Men Arcade was originally released by Konami back in 1992. The 2D side-scrolling game was a hit in the arcades back then and now the game has been released for the PSN and Xbox LIVE Arcade. The game was renowned for its playability and the fact that six players can play all at once.
Can this new port capture the magic of the original game? Side-scrolling beat-em-up games were fun in the 90s, but are they fun to play now? Let’s find out as we take a look at the HOTs and NOTs of X-Men Arcade.
Six Player Multiplayer
The fact that six players can join in and play the game cooperatively is the best feature of the game. Offline multiplayer allows up to four players but online multiplayer can host up to a maximum of six players at one time. What’s also great about the online aspect of the game is that people can join in on your game at any time. There’s no need to choose a specific lobby where you have to start at the beginning of the game. I remember some players joining in on my game on the last level!
The characters featured here will be recognisable to just about any X-Men fan. The heroes include: Wolverine, Cyclops, Colossus, Storm, Nightcrawler and Dazzler who are all playable. Kitty and Professor Charles Xavier make appearances too.
The bosses you will encounter are Magneto, Mystique, Pyro, Blob, Wendigo, Nimrod, The White Queen and Juggernaut.
The game is easy enough for any player to just pick it up and play. Much like the recent LEGO Star Wars games, there’s an unlimited number of continues so everybody even your grandmother can complete this game in one go. The controls are easy to master too with a jump button, two buttons for your attacks and a special attack that allows you to use your mutant abilities. And there’s no fear of getting lost in a game like this as the only way you to to go is to the right of the screen.
Both American and Japanese Versions
Both the original American and Japanese version of the game are included. Although there are no cosmetic differences between the two the versions, you’ll notice that the Japanese version offers more power-ups. This made the Japanese version a little more fun to play as your mutant abilities are the best way to get rid of a ton of enemies standing in your way. Sadly, there was no Japanese voice-overs but the voice acting and dialogue is still humorous to listen to.
Sadly, this is only straight port of the 1992 original game as there are no graphical HD enhancements put into the game. The 2D sprites are still rough on the edges and haven’t been smoothed out. Not to mention the characters themselves look small. Whether you’re playing the game on a HDTV or not, the visuals have not aged very well in comparison to other games such as Sonic the Hedgehog or even Final Fight.
2D side-scrolling beat-em-up games were prevalent back in the 90s but this style of gameplay gets boring playing it in 2010. All you do is walk sideways beating up wave upon waves of dumb A.I with the same set of attacks. Boss battles are no different either as they’re just as monotonous as their minions. The fact that there are consequences of dying means you can just respawn and spam as many of your mutant abilities as possible until they’re defeated. There’s no sense of skill and thought that you need to put into this game.
This has to be one of the shortest games you’ll ever play. Anybody can expect to beat the game in around 30 minutes. There’s even an achievement to unlock if you’re able to complete the game in less than 25 minutes. Unless you want to unlock all the achievements in the game there is little to no incentive that you would likely to ever play the game more than once. Once you’ve finished the game there’s no extra modes or bonuses for you to play. It’s just the same set of levels facing the same bunch of enemies. Apart from the Japanese version allowing you to pick up power-ups there’s no differences between the American and Japanese version of the games either.
X-Men Arcade is not a bad game if you can bypass the repetitive nature of its gameplay. Fans of the arcade original will be happy to know that the game has been relatively untouched since its release in 1992. Plus the inclusion of online multipalyer is arguably the best feature in the entire game. However, if you’re seeking a game that will last for days then I’d advise you to give this game a miss. 30 minutes of gameplay is just too short in this day and age.
[Editor’s Note: X-Men Arcade was reviewed on a Xbox 360 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]