Based on a failed late 80s cartoon pilot, Konami’s X-Men Arcade Game was one of the most requested classic titles to be re-released. Taking note of the huge demand, last year Konami and Marvel reached an agreement to re-release the game on Xbox Live Arcade, to much fanfare.
The console version of the game came with an abundance of modern features, including online mutliplayer, while also preserving the original game’s quirky dialogue, including such amazingly poor translations as “I am Magneto, master of magnet!” and “Welcome to die!”.
With a roster of five well known X-Men, Wolverine, Cyclops, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Storm, as well as one not so well known X-Woman (hands up everyone that has heard of Dazzler), Konami has brought this fan favourite arcade game to the App Store, potentially exposing it to millions of people across the world at a budget introductory price of 69p. But should you rush out and buy this game now before the price inevitably goes up?
Make no mistake, this is a pure port of the original arcade game, as it forsakes some of the additional features included in the console version of this game. The 360 version of the game came bundled with the original Japanese arcade game, which included collectible power-ups, and boasted a decent online multiplayer component, allowing you to play with up to five other gamers across the world. This version of the game only has local multiplayer, which allows you to connect wirelessly with up to three other devices.
In some regards this is a great feature if you happen to have four other friends nearby that have apple devices, as it goes some way towards recreating that old arcade game feel, and allows you to argue in person over who gets to play as Wolverine. Nonetheless some users may feel let down by the lack of any sort of online multiplayer.
As Apple devices do not have buttons there are digital buttons on screen for jumping, attacking, and performing each character’s unique mutant ability. These are devastating super moves that deal out massive amounts of damage in exchange for a little bit of your health. On iPad there is plenty of room for these buttons, however the iPod and iPhone versions suffer for having a small screen. More often than not your hands will end up obscuring the action, leaving you exposed to enemies that are behind you.
Fortunately the game has unlimited lives and continues, meaning that it doesn’t really matter how many times you die. Unfortunately this necessary decision also takes all of the challenge out of the game – with infinite lives why wouldn’t you just spam your super moves during challenging sections? As such you can probably finish the entire game in about 20 minutes. The fact that the game starts all over again once you complete it does little to extend its longevity.
Graphics 3/5: Featuring some large, bold, character models, the game’s art style is let down slightly by some uninspired level design.
Sound 3/5: Some of the greatest awful in-game dialogue can be found in this game. The other sound effects and music are decent enough for late 80s/early 90s arcade games.
Gameplay 2/5: Your basic side scrolling beat ‘em up gameplay. The use of special moves in the form of each character’s unique mutant abilities can too easily be abused when things get even remotely difficult thanks to the game’s infinite continues system.
Longevity 2/5: While there are six different characters to play as, and four player local co-op, you can still blitz through the game in about twenty minutes. It is a fun enough distraction to warrant multiple playthroughs, but it is not the sort of game that’ll keep you glued to your apple device for any great length of time.
Overall 2.5 out of 5
As far as inexpensive downloadable games go, there is plenty of enjoyment to be found in X-Men. However, it is a fairly shallow experience that is marred on the iPod and iPhone by the on-screen buttons obscuring your view. For the low introductory price of 69p (99 cents in the USA) it is still worth a shot, particularly if you are a fan of side scrolling beat ‘em ups and/or the X-Men.
- Luke Mears