E3 2005: Level Up
Activision: Marvel, Movies and More
Product: Activision's E3 Lineup
Company: Activision
Date: 05/29/2005
Avaliable On:

A major portion of Activision's booth was dedicated to the publishing company's claim of the Marvel Comics line. Activision had three comic-related titles on display including Ultimate Spider-Man, X-Men Legends 2: Rise of Apocalypse and Fantastic 4.

Ultimate Spiderman follows the newest Spiderman comic line of the same name. This series (like the rest of the Ultimate lines) takes a slightly different approach to the origins and actions of the Marvel super heroes. These "Ultimate" series take the basic idea of the older comics and says "How would things be different if these stories started now." Ultimate Spiderman starts off where the comic leaves. This game lets you play as both Spiderman and Venom, and uses a new Comic book Inking format. Though at first glance, one might look at Ultimate Spiderman and think it was just cel-shaded, after watching it for a while and examining how the characters' colors react to the light -- one would see that the look is closer to that of a comic rather than your standard cel-shaded game. Also adding to the comic book feel is a unique panel system that makes you feel like you are playing through an interactive comic. Instead of being locked into one camera view, while executing an attack, a second panel might appear inset into the screen that shows your attack from a different angle.

Ultimate Spiderman lets you control both the hero and the villain in order to get the complete story and gameplay experience. Not only do you get different views on the overall story, but both characters play drastically differently. While Spiderman is an agile, fluid character trying to save New York City, Venom uses his brute force to terrorize the Big Apple. Spiderman comes out for the PS2, GameCube, Nintendo DS, Xbox, and GBA.

The hit X-Men game, X-Men Legends comes back and this time the mutants must join forces with their rivals in order to stop a greater evil. X-Men Legends 2: Rise of Apocalypse has Xavier's students combining forces with Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants. The greater evil is none other than the ancient Apocalypse. Through a prophecy, Apocalypse has taken control of the earth, and it is up to the shaky alliance to use all of their strengths and return the world from devastation. Locations include the Madri Temple, Egypt, the South Pole, the Weapon X facility and more, and each place gives you a better chance at molding and modeling your characters to your desire because the RPG elements found in the original Legends game have been improved upon. As you progress, you will be able to increase your characters' Focus, Ability and Strike attributes -- all of which helps the character perform in a battle. You control teams of four mutants through the missions of the game. There are a total of 16 characters to choose from. These mutants include Wolverine, Bishop, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Storm, Magneto, Toad and Juggernaut. Each character has 10 unique abilities that makes each one a valuable asset in any fight.

With 70 free roaming zones, you can take full advantage from the game's flexible storyline that lets you stop missions in the middle of them, finish other battles and then go back to finish the jobs that you left behind. You will face over 100 different types of enemies from your typical henchmen to some of the major players from the X-Men story line like Lady Deathstrike and the Four Horsemen (including former X-Man, Angel ... now known as Archangel).

Rise of Apocalypse also sports an online component that allows four players to join up in story-based mission co-op modes, where gamers will be able to see exclusive online content. There are also six multiplayer skirmish modes that offer everything from head-to-head versus battles to side-by-side battles against various enemies. X-Men Legends 2 comes out for the PS2, Xbox, GameCube and PC, with a broadband only restriction for the online play.

Fantastic 4 is of course the game-adaptation of the soon-to-be-released Fantastic 4 movie that follows four (um... five) people who where bombarded with cosmic radiation, and now all find themselves with drastic mutations. Ben Grimm, Johnny Storm, Reed Richards and Sue Richards become the fighting force known as the Fantastic 4, and they take on the iron-clad Dr. Doom before he succeeds in taking over the world. Each playable character has unique abilities that adds to the team's overall abilities. Mr. Fantastic (Richards) uses his stretching ability and intelligence to get into tight places and hack computers. You use The Invisible Girl (Sue) as a stealth element in order to sneak past enemies or into baddy-filled rooms. The Human Torch (Johnny) will have his flame ability, that allows him to create walls of fire and shoot fireballs at his enemies. The Thing (Grimm) is the brawn of the group. His strength will let you pick up heavy objects, destroy pretty much anything and obliterate enemies. Fantastic 4 is more than just a game that has you playing as each of the characters individually. This game will give you control of all four giving the it a more team-based experience.Fantastic 4 will come out for the PC, PS2, GBA, Xbox and GameCube and will include the voice talents and likenesses of the actors from the movies.

Keeping with the Move-to-Game titles, Dreamwork's latest film had its game at Activision's booth as well. Madagascar follows four inhabitants of the Central Park Zoo who decide to take advantage of a zoo-break that some determined penguins are planning. Taking up the call for adventure, a lion, hippo, zebra and giraffe decide to break out as well. The GBA and DS versions of this game will be side-scrolling action/adventure titles that will give you control of all of the major characters. The DS version will support 2 player co-op mode, as well as have exclusive 3D minigames. The Console versions of Madagascar (for the PS2, GC, Xbox and PC) will be a 3D platformer that takes you from NYC to Madagascar (and everywhere the crazy critters go in between).

Shrek: Super Slam takes place after the events of Shrek 2 when Donkey and Dragon are having a party, and their kids (apparently called "Dronkeys") escape from their pens and tear up the house. Now the only thing that will put them at ease is a bed-time story. Shrek, Puss in Boots and Gingerbread Man all try their hand (paws/crumbs) at calming down the half-breed younglings with classic stories (each with an odd twist). There is Shrek?s showdown with Puss in Boots at the Poison Apple Inn, or Donkey?s face off with Charming in front of the Dragon?s Gate. This melee battle game throws up to four players in a ring at different settings to see who is the strongest. Each character has his/her/its own special moves, and a total of 30 different weapons that can be found in the arenas. Super Slam comes out for the PS2, GameCube, DS, GBA, Xbox and PC.

Peter Molyneaux's The Movies is your standard sim game, but this time you get to control Hollywood. You control a movie studio and it is up to you to hire actors, get scripts and make movies that will improve your studio's popularity and success. The Movies is coming out for the PC, Xbox, PS2 and GameCube.

Call of Duty 2 was also on Activision's list of games at E3 this year. COD 2 takes you back to WWII and lets you re-enact larger and more intensive battles. You will fight in North Africa, across the European Theatre, the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc, war-torn Russia, and many more. This sequel to the hit Call of Duty lets you choose from over 30 hand-held weapons, and explore open-ended battlefields that allow you to fully realize the strategy you wish to execute. Enhancements to the game's AI include your squads awareness to how the battle is going on around them. They are constantly attuned to the changing flow of the fight and will react accordingly. They will draw enemy fire, lay down cover for you, use foxholes and moving tanks for cover, and warn you of incoming enemy troops and hostile fire. Call of Duty 2 hits the Xbox and PC late 2005 - early 2006.

Tony Hawk returns in an all new skateboarding line with Tony Hawk: American Wasteland. One of the big tag-lines this game is pushing is "No Levels, No Load-times". THAW will give you the freedom to skate or bike throughout the huge environment that is Los Angeles. You will see Hollywood, East L.A., and other easily-recognizable areas from the City of Angels. You will also have more tricks at your command. A few of these acrobatic feats include Bert slides, Natas spins handstands, and one-footed grinds and manuals. And on top of that, there are several new off-the-board tricks that you can perform. These are moves like wall runs, wall flips, and charged jumps. Also available for the first time in a Tony Hawk game, is the ability to grab a BMX bike and try your hand at a whole new style of trick-turning. THAW comes out for the Xbox 360, Xbox, PS2, GameCube, GBA and Nintendo DS Fall of 2006.

Keep it locked here for full reviews as the games release.

J.R. Nip aka Chris Meyer

GameVortex PSIllustrated TeamPS2