Featured Columns

January 14, 2010

The Comics Console: X-Men: Next Dimension

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, children of all ages – Marvel, Activision, and Paradox Development proudly bring to you the mutant mash up of the millennium! X-Men fans, let’s get ready to rumbllllle!

Following the footsteps of X-Men: Mutant Academy and X-Men: Mutant Academy 2 is X-Men: Next Dimension— a 3D fighting game featuring twenty-four of homo superior’s finest.

Released in 2002 for the Xbox, Playstation 2, and Game Cube, Next Dimension‘s main plot revolves around Prime Sentinel hunting down Bastion. Then the Brotherhood attacks the Xavier Mansion and they kidnap Forge, and then everybody fights, and then the X-Men team with the Brotherhood, and everyone fights again, and somehow everything works out in the end. And no that’s not just a cheap, quick overview of the game’s campaign; that’s pretty much exactly how the story pans out. It’s pretty uninteresting, and not very deep, and just about useless, although Patrick Stewart does reprise his role as Charles Xavier and narrates throughout. If you were hoping for some John Byrne or Grant Morrison quality story telling, then you’re playing the wrong game, but if you just wanna shoot your optic energy beams up Magneto’s ass, then, well, you could do worse.

Though the story is absolutely forgettable, the gameplay isn’t all bad. The fighting is fully 3D, yet reminiscent of Capcom fighters and the Dead or Alive series. If you’ve played a fighting game in the last ten years, then everything will look familiar. Your face buttons are all assigned high and low punches and kicks, you have a block button, and a button that will allow you to throw your opponent to the other side of the stage. You also have an interesting ‘Super Meter’ that you can fill as you chain attacks together. The Super Meter has four levels, each level providing a different signature attack, and the higher the meter is filled, the more advantageous the attack will be.

Unfortunately combat does suffer from some issues. The controls can sometimes feel unresponsive or sluggish, and there are some problems with collision detection. Sometimes you’ll land an attack perfectly, sometimes you’ll chain together a combo that won’t connect a single hit, and other times it will look like you completely missed when you actually connected.

But to keep things a little more interesting, Next Dimension has some great battle environments. Everything from the Danger Room that will actually change settings as you fight (You’ll start out in a holographic square, then suddenly the room will morph into a Rome coliseum, and then a post-apocalyptic future etc.), to the Savage Land, to the streets of New York. Similar to Dead or Alive, you can throw your opponent off ledges and into a different setting. For instance, you’ll start fighting inside the Xavier Mansion, then you can throw your opponent through a window outside to the lawn, and then again down to the underground X-Jet hanger.

All the different environments are pretty, if not greatly detailed. The graphics in general aren’t up to standards for what consoles could pull off in 2002, but they’re passable. The sound design is a little weak. Crashes and explosions are dull, and the characters’ grunts and quips are oddly quiet, barely noticeable over the K-Mart brand music score. Though each character’s starting and victory poses, while unique to each character, are always goofy and over acted, providing a good laugh if nothing else. Picture an over excited Scott Summers sprinting as hard as he can into battle shouting “FOR A BETTER TOMORROW!!” in his best super hero voice, before launching his optic beams into the air at full power.

Each character also has an alternate costume, which really means the same costume in a different color.

The usual suspects for game modes are here, of course one-on-one with the computer or friend and the campaign, as well as Practice Mode, and Survival Mode where you beat as many opponents as possible before being knocked out. And there is no online support.

So if you’re a dirty mutie lover and you have some dirty mutie lover friends, then you should all get together one weekend and have a good ole dirty mutie lovin’ good time. Even though X-Men: Next Dimension isn’t a terrible game, you really have to be a big X-Men fan to truly enjoy it. 3/5

Here’s the roster for X-Men: Next Dimension:

Cyclops
Wolverine
Gambit
Storm
Beast
Phoenix
Toad
Mystique
Sabretooth
Magneto
Nightcrawler
Rogue
Forge
Juggernaut
Havok
Lady Deathstrike
Sentinel A
Sentinel B
Bastion
Dark Phoenix
Psylocke
Bishop
Blob
Pyro (Xbox only)

Ya know it used to be every year it seemed like, that the X-Men were in a new fighting game. Be it Marvel vs. Capcom, X-Men vs. Street Fighter, or X-Men: Children of the Atom, we always had a healthy opportunity to shove some adamantium where the sun tends not to shine, but Next Dimension was the last true X-Men fighting game. That was eight years ago. I know the X-Men (and the fighting game genre) were very strong in the early and mid 90s, but with the popularity of the X-Men today, and the fact that they have probably as many video games as Super Mario himself, I’m kinda peeved that we haven’t seen a new X-Men fighter in a while.

Oh well. It may be for the best. Such a game probably couldn’t be worth a damn anyway unless it were 2D and Capcom was developing it. What would your dream roster be for a new X-Men fighting game?

Andrew Hurst
andrewhurst@hotmail.com

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9 Comments


  1. Dakk

    FOR A BETTER TOMORROW!!! SHOOP DA WHOOP!!!

    It was pretty fun despite its funky controls. But fuck story mode. Goddamn Toad ruled our lives.. TOAD!!!! ..i hate that guy. Good article tho! :I


  2. Jeff Jackson

    This is the only X-Men game I have. And I loved it. Used to play it all the time.



  3. I have this game for the ‘Cube and think it’s still a blast to pick up and play!

    It may not be the best game, but like you said, you could do worse. I’d always be Mystique- her mid-air gun combo was my signature move!!

    Yeah, the victory poses were definitely ridiculous…as were many of the in-game audibles from the characters… “Time for your dirt nap!” – Sabretooth, “Feel the burn!”- Jean, “I’m better than Cyclops- SAY IT!”- Havok.

    As for a “dream team roster” for a new X-fighting game, I’d keep the current roster listed above and add Polaris, Emma, Colossus, Shadowcat, Archangel, Iceman, Magik and some of the New X-Men (of the kiddie variety) like Surge, Rockslide, or Hellion.



  4. @Dakk yeah Toad and Beast were squiggly bitches to take on in this one!


  5. InfiniteSpeech

    Kitty would be pretty useless in a fighting game since her main power is being intangible. Even if they limited her phasing time I just can’t see here going toe to toe with some of the other guys


  6. DecapitatedDan

    oh seriously! What a bad game. Yuck. I never liked the 3-d fighters. I liked em 2-D. But to each his own


  7. billy

    The only X-Men video game I ever played was in the arcade as a kid, I think it was with the second team of X-Men (Wolvie, NIghtcrawler, Colossus). I can’t remember the name but I do remember throwing tons of quarters in that one. lol



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  9. Dakk

    ..i just think In a fight between Wolverine and Toad.. Wolverine would wipe the earth with Toads ugly face. but noooo.. apparently Toad is the man. pfft.. whatever. that guys a total poozer. i was embarrassed i got beat by him 1092094r2304091 times. haha



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