reviews\ Oct 26, 2002 at 8:00 pm

X-Men: Next Dimension - GC - Review

Recently, there has been a surge of interest in comic series being in movies, games, and updated comics. The latest series to get this treatment is the X-men. It is about a group of people who have "evolved" and now have special powers. Some are a blessing, such as the power of increased self-recovery, while others are a curse, not being able to have human contact. Activision decided to make another fighting game based off this comic book series, and the latest creation is X-Men: Next Dimension. Will this game be a flop, or will it bring fighting games to the next level? Read on to find out!

There are several modes to choose from: Arcade, Verses, Survival, Team, Time Attack, Practice, and Story modes.
Arcade mode is where gamers select a certain character and fight ten matches, with each match being harder than the previous one. Verses mode is where two human players can duke it out to see who the best mutant is. Survival move is where games will fight a never-ending series of enemies, and you only have one life bar, the object is to see how many people you can knock out before you die. Team is where player pick up to eight characters and fight and equal number on the opposing team. Time Attack is where players can see how fast they can beat a certain number of opponents. Practice mode is where players can practice their moves to become the best mutant they can be.

Story mode is really interesting, and is the real meat of the single player side. It puts players in the middle of a humans plot to eliminate all mutants. Bastion has kidnapped Forge and forced him to produce upgrades of his Sentinels, which will ensure his victory. To free Forge, the X-Men will have to team up with their enemies: The Brotherhood of Mutants. The question remains: will this new allegiance of the world's most powerful mutants be enough to stop the sinister Bastion from reaching his goal?
The thing that is different from this story mode and others is that at key moments, players will choose from a list of fighter to carry on the game, and they will differ from each stage. This puts an entirely new spin on story modes, and it makes the game highly replayable!

The list of characters to choose from is highly recognizable; the majority has been included in the previous games. First there is Scott Summers, Cyclops, who shoots optical blasts with his eyes. Jean Grey is
Phoenix, who has the power of telekinesis and it is combined with the fiery powers of the mystic phoenix. Logan is known as the fearsome Wolverine, he has been blessed with accelerated healing, and because of this he was able to endure the process of grafting an adamantium skeleton to him. Remy Lebeau can make anything he touches turn into a kinetic energy bomb, he is known as Gambit, and his preferred weapon is a deck of cards. Rogue has the ability to copy any other mutant powers; she also can fly and has superhuman strength. Kurt Wagner is known as Nightcrawler, he has the ability to teleport to any location he desires. Elizabeth Braddock is known as Psylocke, she is a ninja who can form a psychic dagger that can pierce anything. Ororo Munroe has the ability to control the elements of the weather; her code name is Strom. Henry McCory, known as Beast, is super agile and has super human strength. Alex Summers, Scott's younger brother, is known as Havoc. He can shoot beams through his fists, and is as strong as his older brother. Forge is a technical genius, for fighting he has created a gun that has multiple attacks.

Yuriko Oyama is Lady Death Strike; she has cybernetic enchantments that rival Logan's adamantium claws. The Juggernaut is not a mutant; his powers come from a mystical source. His real name is Cain Marko, and he is a brother of Professor X, he despises his brother, and will use this mystical power to destroy him. Raven Darkholme can change into anything she desires, she has taken on the name Mystique, which fits her mysterious ways. Victor Creed is a mortal enemy of Wolverine, he has razor sharp claw that will tear through anything. Since he has a more beast like appearance, he goes by Sabretooth. Mortimer Toynbee is known as Toad, he is fast and extremely agile, and has the appearance of a Toad. Bastion is a human who was made for the intention of destroying all mutants. Prime Sentinel is nano-enhanced male who is one of the mutant destroying machines. He is very large, but very slow. The female version is also very powers, but she can fly. When Erick Magnus Lengherr was a young child, he endured through the horrific Holocaust, and now he despises all humanity. He is known though out the world as Magneto, and his powers allow his to control any electromagnetic forces. Magneto is one of the world's most powerful mutants, and not one to be trifled with. With this large selection of characters it will take a while to master all of their moves, there by enhancing the replay value.

The controls are as follows: Pressing the D-pad in diffident directions will move the character, block, sidestep, jump, or crouch. The Z button is a power transfer. L button will allow characters to throw things. Pressing R plus the d-pad will make different counters. B button is punch one, Y is kick one, A is punch two, and X is kick two. For players that can fly, press the c-stick. To change costumes, press the Y button on the character select.

X-Men: Next Dimension is rated T for Teen for violence and suggestive themes. The game takes up 1 memory block and 2 people can play at the same time.

Reviewer's Scoring Details

Gameplay: 6.5
I now have the official disease of the GameCube controller, it is called "D-paditis." The controller is just horrible for fighting games, the d-pad is too small, and it is near to impossible to execute moves without great difficulty. If players can overcome the small d-pad, they will find that combos are really easy to accomplish. This is both a good thing and yet a bad thing, players who want instant gratification will enjoy pulling off these combos with great efficient. Hardcore players will not like it because it is too easy, and there is nothing to learn and keep them from coming back for more.

Graphics: 7.6
The graphics have improved over the previous games that were on the PlayStation 2. The models are highly detailed, and there is a lot of background interaction. The problem with all this is that when it is compared to other fighters on the market, it does not look as polished. The other thing that is a constant nag with the graphics is the fact that all the characters move around like cardboard cut outs. It is really funny because it seems like all of the characters animations occur when they perform a super move, once that is over, they walk around and look totally unrealistic. The games effects look really nice, from all the explosions, to light beams flashing, and everything else, without the frame rate taking any hits.

Sound: 8.0
Activision did the correct thing and hired the voice actors who played the characters in the recent movie. The voice acting is really good in this game, and it is a welcome touch. The sound effects and the music fit this game perfectly, like you are in the X-men movie, or cartoon. If you have a receiver capable of surround sound, it will knock your socks off.

Difficulty: Easy
Every fighting game for the GameCube seems to be toned down for the lowest common dominator. The game was extremely easy to beat! There were times when a fight could get a little challenging, but players will never run into the challenge that other fighters offer.

Concept: 7.0
The first two games were on the border of becoming the next big fighting game, the problem that plagued it was the weird controller scheme. X-Men: Next Dimension is a good game, and has many unlockable secrets, but it has a "been there, done that" attitude. On the other hand, it is always fun play a game with a bunch of super powered mutants.

Multiplayer: 7.5
This game is all about fighting against another human being and it doesn't fail in this department either. Nothing is better than fighting against your friends to see who the best mutant in the world is.

Overall: 7.3
One of the biggest problems with this version is the controller. It will cause much frustration when you are in the heat of battle, if it wasn't for the shrunken d-pad and awkward placement of the buttons, this would have been much more enjoyable game. If players are a fan of X-men games they will still get a kick out of this game. One thing that increases the replay value is the ability to unlock extra costume, and hidden characters, which will be a pleasant surprise to gamers. I highly suggest that you rent this game before you purchase it, to see if you like the fight style and playing it with the GameCube controller. 


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