Jun 8, 2011
It’s been 19 years since X-Men debuted in arcades, hungry for quarters and inviting us to fight against Magneto and his band of evil mutants as the superhuman X-Men. After making HD appearances on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, it’s finally found its way to Android.
This is an extremely faithful port of the arcade game, save for a few nice updates such as a level select, “awards” to unlock, leader boards, OpenFeint integration and 4-player multiplayer over WiFi. The only part of the game that doesn’t attempt to recreate the arcade experience is the lack of dependence on a steady stream of quarters. At the start of each game, you have 7 lives (wither fewer lives on harder difficulties) to rack up as high a score as possible. If you lose all of your lives, your score resets, but you have unlimited continues. So, even if you’re not very good at this game, you can still beat if it you just keep playing.
At the heart of X-Men is the simple, repetitive fighting action. As enemies approach from every side of the screen, you just tap the “punch” button to attack with a variety of movies that happen automatically. Punches, kicks, grabs and throws all work the same. You can also tap the “jump” button to launch yourself for an aerial attack, although it’s not always easy to land these where you want them.
This is a game about the X-Men, though, and as anyone familiar with the X-Men knows, they are mutants with superhuman abilities. Cyclops shoots optic blasts from his eyes; Wolverine has adamantium claws that cut and tear; Storm can summon violent, destructive storms; Colossus emits an energy blast from his body; Dazzler can drop energy bombs and Nightcrawler can kill enemies by teleporting through them. Simply by tapping the “mutant power” button, you can unleash these powerful attacks to clear the screen of enemies. However, using your mutant power drains your health, and once it drops below a certain level, you can only activate your power a limited number of times. It pays to exercise caution and use your powers strategically by saving them for the big boss battles at the end of each stage.
Having one of my favorite arcade games available on my phone any time I want to play it is a real treat. However, if this were a new game coming out today, I don’t know if I’d score it as high. It’s short, but extremely repetitive. On top of that, I could probably criticize the animation, the graphics or the poorly translated dialog, but because this a port of a classic we’ve grown up with, we expect these things to be in here. Truth be told, if I played the game and found that someone had “fixed” its “flaws,” I’d be extremely upset. I expect to hear Magneto say, “Welcome to die!” and “I am Magneto, master of magnet!” As such, this is a faithful port with a few small glitches, but plenty of updates to make it great.