Super Types

December 16, 2010

The Comics Console: X-Men Legends

Last Saturday the Spike TV Video Game Awards debuted the first full trailers for Batman: Arkham City and Thor: God of Thunder. Arkham City looks pretty amazing, and the little advantage the game’s main antagonist, Dr. Hugo Strange, holds over Batman should prove for a very interesting story. As much as I love Hugo Strange, I was hoping for a few more looks at other villains for the game, like Two Face, Riddler, or the Joker, but regardless, the trailer is awesome, and if you haven’t seen it yet, see it here.

The Thor: God of Thunder trailer was, however, much less impressive. The Arkham City trailer gave us a cool cryptic plot set up, where as the Thor trailer just gave us some epic looking, if generic, gameplay footage. I don’t want to compare the two games too much, because Arkham City is the sequel to one of the best games of 2009, and Thor is a tie-in game to a movie, likely to disappoint. I hate to be a downer for the Thor fans, but I’ll be honest, I have very little faith in Thor: God of Thunder. SEGA’s previous attempts at Marvel movie games (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Incredible Hulk) were pretty big flops, and I see very little reason why Thor should be any different, but I would love to be wrong. See the trailer here. Also, check out these new screen shots!

X-Men Legends is a great example of a publisher knowing exactly how to use a comic book license and a developer who can actually come through with a good game. Something that, in 2004 when X-Men Legends released, we didn’t see a great deal of. Thankfully, the game isn’t based off the film franchise, and instead is a nice mixture of different pieces of X-Men comic book history.

X-Men Legends

Publisher: Activision
Developer: Raven Software
Released: Sept. 21, 2004
Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube
ESRB: Teen

The first thing the big X-Men fans will notice are the costumes. The uniforms and the look picked for this game come from the Ultimate X-Men comics, but the story doesn’t pull from any specific story from either Ultimate or 616 X-Men books. The opening cinematic introduces the familiar setting of a country just beginning to violently address the “mutant menace.” When recently outed mutant Alison Crestmere (a.k.a. Magma from New Mutants) is kidnapped by the Brotherhood of Mutants, it becomes your task to rescue her from the clutches of Magneto. But that’s just where the story begins.

The game is essentially a dungeon crawler/RPG, similar to Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance. You, as one of the X-Men, will claw, shoot, blast, and punch your way through thousands of robots and henchmen in lots off different environments and settings, all the while leveling up yourself, your party, and increasing your repertoire of abilities. Of course, one of the best parts of the game is customizing your team of X-Men. You and three other mutants of your choice will head out on field missions, though sometimes a mission will require a specific character be part of your posse, or only allow two or three X-Men.

All the classic and modern X-Men are here for you to take advantage of. Playable characters include:

Beast
Colossus
Cyclops
Emma Frost
Gambit
Iceman
Jean Grey
Jubilee
Magma
Nightcrawler
Psylocke
Rogue
Storm
Wolverine

As well as Juggernaut, Marrow, Mystique, and a few other bad guys in multiplayer mode, and in some levels, you can even play a bit as Professor X. And switching characters is as easy as pressing the D-Pad.

Attacks are unique for each character; you have basic melee attacks, as well as special moves that allow you to pop-up or bury your opponent, and of course signature moves that are specific to each character, like Cyclops’s super optic blasts, Nightcrawler’s teleporting, etc.

You’ll spend a lot of time beating up identical enemies, and this is where the game dropped off for me. The missions are very simplistic, consisting of finding and collecting objects, and, of course, beating up tons upon tons of henchmen. It gets pretty repetitive after a while, but the game supports four player co-op, so as long as you have some friends to play with, the repetition is less painful. However, no amount of friends can make up for how simple the game is. Health is very easy to come by, and save points aren’t that far apart. Rarely will you find yourself stuck in a situation you can’t fight out of, unless there happens to be some kind of game glitch which you can’t control.

Glitches are rare in the game, but they do happen. Usually as part of the dumb A.I. blocking a door, or a character respawning on a part of the map where they can’t reach the rest of the party. Again, they are rare, but they do suck, because you basically have to restart the entire mission to fix the problem.

As characters level up, points are spread throughout your entire party, so you won’t have to worry too much about unused characters being significantly weaker when you actually want to use them in the game. Each character also has specific stats that can be upgraded, as you would expect from any modern RPG.

What I most appreciate about this game is how long it is. Missions can take anywhere from a few minuets to a few hours to complete. Just the story alone can take around 20 hours to complete, plus the side missions add at least another 10 hours. The side missions are fantastic, and a real X-Men fan’s dream come true. You can unlock them by strolling around the mansion and talking to fellow X-Men. They play out as memories and even have the X-Men in the classic 1960s Jack Kirby costumes.

The graphics in the game are very nice with all the characters having a nice cel-shaded design, and the frame rate holds strong, but, as expected, the game looks its best on the Xbox. The voice acting didn’t win any awards, and was even pretty goofy at times, but got the job done.

This entire game is pretty important as far as Marvel fans are concerned. Activision and Raven Software would go on to create X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse, as well as the first Marvel Ultimate Alliance.

X-Men Legends is a very good game, especially if you’re an X-Men fan. If you’re looking for a fun budget title that you can play with friends, there are few better games you could choose over X-Men Legends.

For more segments of The Comics Console, click here!

Andrew Hurst
andrewhurst@comicattack.net

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5 Comments


  1. Jeff Jackson

    I’m not a huge gamer, but I love X-Men Legends. What a fun game.



  2. I spent sooooooooooo many hours playing this game and it was the best X-Men to come out at the time! From the graphics and the story it was well worth all of the time put into it and the unlockable skins were just the icing on the cake!



  3. LOVE this game! I always played as Iceman.

    This one is far superior to the second in my opinion. I like how this one forced you to play as all the available characters at some point, allowing them all to level up along with your most played characters. In the second, you can play as the same team the entire way through the game, which kind of hinders the development of other characters. Plus, the second one is far too easy.



  4. This game is part of the reason I kept my PS2 🙂



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