October 21, 2010

The Comics Console: DCU Online, Fist of the North Star, Wolverine’s Revenge

It seems like every week we’re getting new healthy batches of screenshots for DC Universe Online from Sony. I guess it’s the least they could do for pushing back the game’s release to next year. This week, Sony revealed mythical madwoman and top heel to Wonder Woman, Circe!

On the subject of screenshots, the First of the North Star series has a new game out early next month, Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage, and me being a fan or the original manga series, I couldn’t be more excited. Take a look!

Don’t let the handsome features of Hugh Jackman mislead you. X2: Wolverine’s Revenge is not a video game based on the film X2: X-Men United. True “X2” is in the game’s official title, but Wolverine’s Revenge is more of a Wolverine game with the film’s endorsement rather than a bad movie tie-in. No, this game has its own reasons for being a bad game, but it would have helped if the game wasn’t rushed to coincide with the theatrical release of X2. But that shouldn’t keep Wolverine fans from giving this game a chance. There is plenty here for the X-Men fanatics to enjoy.

X2: Wolverine’s Revenge

Publisher: Activision
Developer: GenePool
Released: April 15, 2003
Platforms: Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube, PC
ESRB: Teen

Where most video games based off of films retain the look of the film while exaggerating the film’s plot, Wolverine’s Revenge is more of a Wolverine game with zero ties to the film, with the game’s cover art being the only major exception. The game is set in the comics universe, but appears to be a mixture of both 616 X-Men and Ultimate X-Men. The story reaches back to 1968 and shows Logan being captured for experimentation under the Weapon X program. Your first level in the game is as Logan waking up in the experimental facility and going feral on some Storm Trooper wannabes, then jumping to the present and discovering a fail safe implanted in all Weapon X guinea pigs in the form of a lethal virus known as the “Sheva Strain.” Now, Wolverine must return to his past, and find the men responsible for Weapon X to find the cure for the Sheva Strain. Not exactly Chris Claremont quality story, but it sets up plenty of reasons to stab things, so it gets the job done.

Wolverine’s Revenge is a pretty basic and mediocre third person action game. As Wolverine you’ll cause havoc in a traditional stage-by-stage format venturing from point A to point B. Wolverine has standard punch and kick attacks, and of course his adamantium bread and butter. As you progress through the game you’ll discover combos that you will probably never learn because of how useless they are, since taking down most enemies only requires one or two swipes of your claws. You do have a few different finishing moves that can be activated when the word STRIKE! appears at the bottom of the screen. This allows fancy take downs with pretty animations, but the novelty of it wears off quick.

Wolverine has just as many defensive maneuvers as he does offensive, but they are all just as underwhelming. Wolverine’s healing factor is of course a key part of the game and comes in handy between combat for obvious reasons, but it will only activate when Wolverine’s claws are sheathed. A big part of gameplay is stealth elements requiring Logan to be sneaky, so Wolverine has been gifted with a stealth mode which allows you to spot land mines and shows nearby enemy locations. Picture a very ugly and unrefined version of Batman’s Detective Mode from Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Sadly, even with this laundry list of abilities for Wolverine, there seems to be so little to do. Enemies are easily routed, and the stealth mode is rarely necessary. It seems like more work to preform special moves and attacks than it’s worth.

In between your time “sticking it” to the man, you’ll be running around each stage flipping switches, collecting key cards, and solving kindergarten level puzzles. But that’s just assuming you know where you’re going or what you’re suppose to be doing. The most frustrating part of the game is its inability to properly explain the objective to each stage. Expect to be running back and forth through areas totally lost and clawing at random object to see if they uncover some hidden room or switch to unlock the next area.

But enough with the bad of this game. Some of the game’s finer points in gameplay are the boss battles. Magneto, Sabretooth, Wendigo, Lady Deathstrike, and Juggernaut round out the all-star list of mutant madmen to contend with. Even though each battle is fairly simple, each one is also different, and, compared to the repetition of each stage, the bosses provide great change up.

My favorite parts of the game, however, really had nothing to do with the gameplay. The game over-all is playable if you’re a hardcore X-Men junkie, and the awesome amount of unlockable costumes made playing through the game a lot more fun. I’ll be honest though; I didn’t play through the game unlocking each individual costume, I cheated and used the master code. Judge me if you will, but those cheats are there to make the game more fun. My favorite was classic yellow and blue Wolverine, but also available are the orange and brown suit, the Ultimate X-Men suit which you start the game in, Hugh Jackman’s movie costume, and the Alex Ross design.

More additions to the pros column are the voice cast. Patrick Stewart reprises his role as Professor X and acts as a guide at the beginning of each stage, and the man voicing Wolverine himself is the legendary Mark Hamill. I’ll admit I was skeptical years ago when I first heard Hamill was doing Wolverine. I mean, he does, in my opinion, the best Joker in history, but could he do a 360 from a maniacally jolly mad man to a gruff grizzled Canadian death machine? Turns out, he did pretty good. I don’t think I would cast him as Wolvie in a regular X-Men animated series, but for the game, it was cool to have Hamill as the voice behind the face.

Bottom line: Is X2: Wolverine’s Revenge worth playing? Only if you’re among the biggest of X-Men marks. The game is extremely rough by today’s standards, and anyone who is not interested in Marvel’s mutants or living the last gen life of Wolverine will end up bored and frustrated. Anyone still looking for a fun Wolverine experience but doesn’t want to be potentially disappointed with Wolverine’s Revenge, look no further than X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the best Wolverine game, and one of the better representations of a comic book character in a video game to date.

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Andrew Hurst



  1. Ken’s Rage better be good and just as brutal as the manga/anime!

  2. Matt

    Wolverines Revenge was probably one of the better Wolverine games that has ever come out. For the comic book fan it was great. Finding the hidden comics gave you the Wolverine costume from that era for Wolverine to wear in the game. Granted for me after I found the Brown and Tan suit I never changed it to any of the others. But it was a cool game and pretty fun. Definitely worth picking up now that you can probably get it for 10 bucks or less.

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  4. Played Ken’s Rage demo on the 360 and it looks great and aside from a few camera issues the game plays pretty well. It’s got the signature moves and sound effects from the anime and Ken’s Thousand Cracked Fists move is just great to pull off!

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