Featured Columns

December 10, 2009

The Comics Console: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Over the last few years alone, Wolverine has become a household name. Now, when people talk super heroes, they will often mention Logan among Superman and Spider-Man. This was cemented in this year’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine film. But once upon a time, Wolverine wasn’t the star of movies, or televisions series, or had an action figure that you could buy in almost any store in America. In 1991 George Bush was president, Operation Desert Storm was just beginning, Terminator 2: Judgment Day was in theaters, the Nintendo Entertainment System was the reigning video game console, and Wolverine was just a comic book character. The Fox Kids X-Men animated series was still a year away, and Wolverine was only a star in the pages of X-Men comics and in the minds of comic book fans. However, he was popular enough to warrant the development of his own video game.

Software Creations and LJN’s Wolverine for the NES wastes no time dropping you into the action in large levels against armed enemies for you to rip into with your claws. Well, more like punch at awkwardly and hope you’re close enough to hit something. Wolverine might be one of the easiest games I’ve ever played. As Canada’s greatest gift, you jump from platform to platform, avoiding traps and enemies looking for a black door that will take you to your next level.

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You have the option of popping your claws with the SELECT button to cause slightly more damage, but you’ll most likely never have to, or notice a difference between the adamantium upgrade and your fists when killing something. Actually, it’s possible to run through eight of the nine levels without killing a single enemy. If you’re careful enough, you can speed run right past most foes, reach your exit with little issue, and finish the game in about 15 minutes. Sometimes the only challenge is finding the exit, but it can get tense when multiple enemies are firing on you at once. But if you do find yourself running low on health, you can always lookout for the hamburgers spread out in each level to give you a little HP boost. I’m not kidding.

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While the gameplay may feel dull and pointless, the environments are colorful and diverse. You play in generic factory looking rooms, to fire volcano areas, and even a haunted level where you’ll avoid zombies and specters. In one level you spend most of your time swimming. Between each level is an image of Sabretooth that builds up to your one and only boss battle. Mutie lovers will enjoy Havok, Jubilee, Psylocke and Magneto making brief appearances in the game.

This is one even hardcore Wolverine fans may have a hard time enjoying. 2/5

Oh how things change. But like the old saying goes: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Some of which is true for Wolverine games, but not all of it.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is one of those games that has all the ingredients for being terrible. 1) It’s based off a comic book character and 2) it’s a movie tie-in game to a big summer action movie. Both are qualities that most people groan at and avoid with video games. Fortunately, Raven Software and Activision prove that magic can happen when you handle your property in its appropriate light.

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The film X-Men Origins: Wolverine may be rated PG-13, but X-Men Origins: Wolverine the game is rated R (Well, M for Mature, really, but you get the point) for intense violence — the key, as any fan knows, for truly capturing Wolverine. This game is bloody. Buckets worth, spilled by Adamantium and bone. You take on robots, mutants, and militaries with what your depressed whore of a momma gave ya, leaving a trail of body parts that you wont find in the movie.

You start out with light and heavy attacks that are the meat and potatoes for most of the melee. As you level up, you unlock special attacks and combos that, with a little practice, can be strung together in a beautiful feral rage. Speaking of feral rage, you have a rage meter that, once filled, allows you to go berserk and unleash some of that built up aggression. In addition to the combos and finishers, the levels are filled with death traps to eliminate your enemies with, like walls covered in spikes for ole’ Wolvie to throw chumps into, or helicopter blades used for giving the worst haircuts ever. The game isn’t just a repetition of hitting A or X to get through it, however. As you progress you’ll be forced to change your tactics and use some of the combos you’ve unlocked.

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When you’re delivering as much punishment as Wolverine, you’re bound to receive just as much. Wolverine’s healing factor is put to good use here with your health bar refilling fairly quickly after a few seconds of not taking any damage. A cool little touch here is that you can actually see damage Wolverine has taken with his flesh opened up, exposing muscle and bone, which slowly mends itself. As cool as this is, it can make the game pretty simple under the normal difficulty. The only times you feel you’re in danger of actually dying is when you fall off a cliff or into water. Yup, bullets, swords, explosions, you name it, and Wolverine can brush it off, but he falls into a deep puddle and he’s a gonner.

The game’s story bullet points the film’s and expands on it some. You rampage through Africa, the Weapon X facility, inside and outside of a casino, and a few other locations, solving small puzzles using your animalistic senses. You’ll fight against Blob and Gambit with little explanation as to why you’re fighting them, other than they’re the next poor sum’ bitch in your way. These fights are pretty straight forward, though the fight against a giant Sentinel does stand out. Not often, but sometimes bosses and enemies will glitch. They’ll just stop moving, or disappear, and force you to restart.

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You can finish the game’s five chapters in just under 10 hours, and there is no multiplayer. The only replayability is looking for unlockable classic costumes like the brown and yellow to play through the story with. Hugh Jackman does a great job reprising his role, but other voices and sounds are pretty generic and forgettable. The level designs are also made up of simple corridors and curvy trails with little distinction.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is by no means a perfect game, but it fits well, because Wolverine is by no means a perfect hero. While the game has its technical issues, it’s satisfying, and fun while it lasts, and it accomplishes the one thing that every comic book video game should strive to do: Make the player feel like they are the character. X-Men Origins: Wolverine earns a 4/5.

Checkout The Comics Console next week when we look at the comic book games we always wanted, and the comic book games we never asked for.

Andrew Hurst
andrewhurst@comicattack.net

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9 Comments


  1. Infinite Speech

    This game is the closest you get to being Wolverine in any past game and it’s a pretty impressive game at that. It’s a lot better than what I thought It would be since it’s based off of a movie since they tend to suck horribly. It did get a bit repetitive at times but I enjoyed it plus that opening cinematic was GREAT!!!


  2. billy

    Every time I see this game in the stores I want to pick it up. It looks very cool. Good review AW.



  3. Yeah, that NES Wolverine game pissed me the hell off… the claws were rendered pointless… WTF!?!?!?

    I think it’s really cool how in the new game as Wolverine takes damage, the character shows it in the game. Didn’t they do this with Arkham Asylum where Batman’s costume takes some wear as you play on? That’s awesome.


  4. Infinite Speech

    Yeah by the end of the Batman game your cape has holes and Batman’s chin is visibly bruised and there are rips and tears in the costume!


  5. Aron White

    I remember that NES game! I rented it once. I never got too far but my friends were always telling me that Wolverine and Psylocke get a little freaky. They run up to each other, the screen goes dark, and then Wolverine comes back fully energized.

    Is there any truth to that, or is that just the product of the imagination of hormonal pre-teens on the school bus?



  6. […] Marvel made a promise to the fans of not producing anymore bad games, and so far with games like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, they’ve made good on that promise. But the Iron Man 2 video […]



  7. […] promise has been broken. The promise was originally made due to the poor reception of the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie tie-in game (though while video game critics may have been hard on ole Sknit-Bub, Wolverine […]



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