Hang about - an awful movie licence game? Based on a comic from Marvel? It's uncanny! If you see this box on the shelf RUN IN THE OTHER DIRECTION.
X-Men: The Official Game of the Movie is spectacularly awful. It starts with a great concept - a partially non-linear excursion through the settings of the film with the player alternately controlling one of three X-Men. Where it ends is somewhere far away, in 3D Double Dragon territory, where the buttons just can’t be mashed fast enough to satisfy the waves of identical enemies.
It’s not all bad though. There are a few interesting locations, and the different approaches favoured by each of the characters does make the whole package (slightly) less repetitive.
However, it’s mostly as terrible as Alan Cummings’ German accent (he sounds like Steve Zissou’s first mate Klaus). Whichever character you are in control of, the game works like this: enter new area. Kill waves of enemies. Get distracted trying to remember objective, settle for killing waves of enemies. Discover that was the objective. Rinse, lather and repeat. Ad nauseum.
The only exception to this horrible state of play is when you’re in control of the Iceman, surfing around on an ice-road in the skies. Playing the game, you would get the impression that the poor guy was pretty useless in case of actual combat - but if you need to extinguish a blaze, freeze a fission-reactor core, or cool some tinnies, give the man a yell.
Now, given the harshness of the above assessment of the gameplay, I would really like to wax lyrical about the wonderful graphics and sound. No chance. It’s an Xbox (classic) -targeted game, so anyone with a decent PC paying $80 for this game is going to be really angry - low resolution textures and low-poly environments make my PC cry.
The only moment of brilliance in the game is the solution to the problem of spoiling the film by including too much footage in cut-scenes. The story is revealed with partially animated still scenes, which appear to be composited together from rotoscoped frames from the film (see below).
In short, however, this game actually makes me think twice before ponying up to see the new X-Men movie. Not exactly a glowing endorsement for such a hyped blockbuster film.
- Good: authentic cast voices (except Halle); stylish cutscene design
- Bad: unimaginative button mashing; visually underwhelming
- Rating: 1/5
- Price: $79.95
- Contact: www.activision.com