A young girl named Alison Crestmere has been
identified as a mutant. She is being run down on the streets, denying that she
is, when suddenly Mystique and The Blob appear to snag here. It would be a
hopeless situation but for a crouching form, sarcastic and deadly, who appears
to protect her.
Wolverine springs into action, landing on The
Blob. Alison screams for them to stop fighting, and as she protests she begins
to change. Fire encases her hands, and then there is an explosion. Lava flows
from areas opened up in the streets. Wolverine has been knocked through a
building, while The Blob picks up Alison and gets away. But Wolverine is not
about to give up so easily, however …
“Freeze, mutie!” A lone guard stands in
Wolverine’s path. The famed adamantium claws emerge from his knuckles as he
growls, “Hey bub, you should have called in sick today.”
Activision and Raven Software, in conjunction
with Marvel, have released X-Men: Legends for the PS2. Rejoice all you fans of
superhero videogames, and all X-Men fans in particular – it has finally been
X-Men: Legends is an extremely linear game.
There is a set direction you must go, defeating the mobs along the way.
Initially you only start with Wolverine, but soon Cyclops joins you. This is a
good thing because during your second boss battle, with The Blob, you will
discover a nice little aspect about the game. The Blob is resistant to physical
attacks, meaning that Wolverine is almost useless. However, Cyclops is not. As
long as you have enough of the blue power potions, akin to mana, Cyclops can
whittle the behemoth down.
You get those pots, and health pots as well,
during the game play. The environment is destructible to a point, and you may
smash a trashcan to find some potions, or other equipment. The pots can be used
by any controlled character or set up for self-usage in the character status
menu. You can have them automatically use a healing pot if there health drops
down to a certain level. But potions are not the only things that drop.
There are gold coins and equipment as well.
The equipment can be used in three areas on the X-Men, and the coins can help
you buy necessary items.
Another intriguing aspect of the game is as
you move along, the X-Men gain experience and level. You can apply earned points
in two areas. For example, on Wolverine, there are four areas you apply the
level points – strike, agility, body and focus. At the lower level you really
cannot skill up special attacks, but as Wolverine levels up, you can get special
attacks like Claw fury, Feral Rage, and Savage Rampage. Each one of the X-Men
will have enhancements to their core powers that can add up to some deadly
skills and combos.
In all, there are 15 X-Men available to play,
and a host of Brotherhood and other villains to battle. In addition, there are a
couple of throwback missions, which put the X-Men in old costumes battling
familiar nemesis like Sentinels.
Along the way, during the game, there are
extraction points. These are save points, but once you get into the game, they
will also allow you to switch out members of your team. Should you need the
attributes of Nightcrawler for part of the mission and perhaps Storm to another,
you can switch the members at the extraction points.
X-Men: Legends also offers a unique type of
multiplayer option. This game is only story-mode oriented, but another player
(up to four total) can jump in and participate with no more fanfare than
plugging in a controller. Using the D-pad will allow players to jump between
playable X-Men. Nothing could be easier.
The controls do take a little time to get used
to. In order for Cyclops to use his optic beam, you have to hold down L2 and the
X button. Once you get the controls down, though, this game is very playable.
The rotating camera aids the viewpoint.
Players can also take advantage of the Danger
Room to gain experience and learn how to effectively use combos.
The graphical quality of the game is terrific.
This is one of the few times where the gameplay is better than the cutscenes.
The special effects are delightful as well. Nothing is more pleasing than having Nightcrawler trigger a teleportation attack, popping in behind an enemy for a
kick, then vanishing in a puff of black smoke to appear behind another. While
there is some repetition in the sound, for the most part it is spot on. Having
Patrick Stewart voice Professor X really does a great deal for the game. While
the musical score does not jump out at you, it does underscore the game very
X-Men: Legends is the type of superhero game
that was a long time coming, but it was worth the wait. It sports challenge,
terrific and varied characters, tons of action, some mental strategizing, and
while there are load times as the characters zone, that is all incidental. If
you are a fan of the X-Men, get this game.
Cyclops-based puns aside, this is a blast.
The gameplay is interrupted a little in terms
of flow by the zoning, and of course leveling your characters. And the controls
do take a bit of getting used to, but once you do, this is a linear romp that is
progressively more challenging as you move along.
Though not exactly cel-shaded, the game has a
touch of that quality. The world is comic-book lush and amazing to look at, the
effects are superb and the animation wonderful. The actual gameplay is better
than the cutscenes.
Some repetition but a judicious use of the
musical score to underline the game. Patrick Stewart as Profession Xavier is a
The game does present more of a challenge as
you move through it. There are no difficulty settings, per se, and the game is
linear. The puzzles are relatively minor in nature.
The instant multiplayer co-op mode, the team
extraction/swap points, the leveling – all this adds up to a game that does it
right and immerses players into the X-Men universe rather well.
Let’s see, co-op play is instant, with no
restarting levels. How sweet is that? One player, or two-player, or four-player,
it is all the same.
The MMO market aside, is there a better
superhero game that gives such terrific team conceptual play with elements of
RPG on the market? Don’t think so. X-Men: Legends creates a thoroughly enjoyable
atmosphere, with great multiplayer options. Marvel fans can rejoice, and fans of
team-based combat games can as well. X-Men: Legends is the superhero game that
will elevate the bar.