Saturday, December 18, 2010

X-Men Arcade for Xbox 360 Review

X-Men, the arcade game has finally made its way to consoles after a lengthy 19 year absence. Now, on both the PS3 and xbox 360, one might wonder how the game ports over to next gen consoles. Thankfully, it does so quite well. So slap on your favorite spandex outfit and get ready to face the "master of magnet" as we dive into X-Men, the arcade game for the xbox 360.

First thing you need to know is that the X-Men game you remember as a child has been faithfully untouched for this port. No new graphics, no updated soundtracks, nothing has been updated. This is a good thing. Everyone remember how Turtles in Time was ruined for the 360? Only thing that had to be done with the X-Men arcade game port (which some of the die hard fans will notice) was new voice overs. This, my understanding was done due to legal issues. Thankfully the voice actors did a good job with trying to model the original voice actors. Also the original script was kept with the new voice overs so you get plenty of classic lines as "nothing moves the Blob" or "welcome to die!" This port is faithful to the fans of the arcade original with some added extras.

The added extras are not so much "new" stuff but rather the inclusion of every version of the game. You get both the USA Rom set and Japanese Rom set. The big differences between the USA and Japanese versions of the game are how the mutant powers work and the inclusion of life power ups. For the mutant powers, it works the opposite way in the Japanese version. When you use a power up, you use the orbs first, not your life. Once you have depleted all of your orbs you then can continue to use your mutant power at the cost of about 3 bars of life. This is preferred over the USA version where you use up your life first, then the mutant power orbs. The Japanese version also has some life power ups that help replenish your life meter. These are extremely beneficial as the game can become pretty hectic. The USA version has no life power ups. None. Zilch. Nada. This, with the cost of life to use your mutant powers causes the USA version to be quite the quarter (or in this case credit) muncher while the Japanese version tends to offer a much more leveled playing field.

Besides the different rom sets, you can also choose between both the 4 player and 6 player versions of the game. The 4 player version is presented in the standard 4:3 aspect ratio while the 6 player is presented in widescreen. The original X-Men arcade game came in two flavors, a 4 player cabinet that utilized one arcade monitor and a monster 6 player cabinet that required two monitors side by side to create a large enough screen for 6 players. This display set up is truly a must see as Konami was ahead of the time by creating a widescreen video game back in the early 90's! This means that the transfer for widescreen TV's is almost seamless. You can also play both the 4 and 6 player modes for both rom sets online.

This is where the fun factor for this type of game excels. Being able to play the original X-Men arcade game online with 5 other players is simply awesome. The port also offers unlimited continues right out of the box (er, right out of the interwebs). this means you and your friends can sit down and enjoy a fun romp through arcade gaming nostalgia without worrying about having enough credits to complete the game. A very important lesson that seems to have been learned from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game port on the 360 a few years back that only provided you with a limited amount of lives in an online gaming session. Only downside I have noticed was some lag when playing online with friends. The lag is by no means horrendous or unplayable, but it is a bit distracting. We do not know yet if this was due to a poor internet connection or if it is something that can be fixed with a patch. Regardless, the game is still enjoyable online with the bit of lag.

Other extras that need to be noted include a tutorial that is presented in a comic book style that describes how to play the game, screen adjustment options that let you shrink and stretch the screen out to fit your TV the way you want (very similar to adjusting an arcade game), achievements, the option to display a timer to keep track of your time to complete the game, and mappable buttons. The mappable buttons are a blessing in disguise. For some reason, a fair amount of xbox live games do not allow you to adjust and remap the buttons on your controller. This can be a pain when you have an arcade stick and want to get that classic arcade feel. X-Men fortunately will let you get that feel.

Overall the game holds up well considering it is 19 years old. It is as fun as ever to play through with friends. The game is on the short side with the ability to clear the game easily in under 30 minutes, but this is part of the games charm. X-Men is a game that you and your friends will play through a bunch of times. Playing classic beat'em ups and BS-ing with friends is what these games are all about, and with X-Men arcade you get that.

1 comment:

  1. Nicks Quick Notes:

    Besides the power pick ups and ways the mutant powers work the Japanese also has a few other differences to the US version.

    1. Characters jumping attacks are much faster in the US version. If you're playing without trying to spam the mutant power button, it makes it much harder to jump kick bosses in the Japanese version.

    2. The US version has longer levels then the Japanese version. In the second stage in the US version you ride an elevator down and you have to go to the left and dodge fire coming out of vents below. In the Japanese version you simply beat up the row of rockets and fight a little bit till you meet The Blob.