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X-Men: Wolverine's Rage

Score: 40%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Digital Eclipse
Media: Cart/1
Players: 1
Genre: Platformer

Graphics & Sound:

Watch the new X-Men cartoon!

Games that tie-in with movies and cartoons are rarely good, and Wolverine's Rage is no exception. This game screams 'cookie - cutter game', from the mechanics to the enemies. Anyone can tell this game was made to turn a quick buck. Thankfully, at least some effort was put into making this game look good.

The amount of detail and animation is really something to see, and the ways colors are used give it a comic book feel. Wolverine is beautifully animated and it's really a credit to Digital Eclipse for being able to squeeze this kind of fluidness out of a Gameboy game. In addition to Wolverine having a full set of great animations, all of the other characters are given the same amount of detail. For example, when a machine gun soilder runs out of ammo, he goes through all the motions of reloading instead of standing around before shooting again. You would think with this amount of detail, the game would run a little slow and choppy, but it's surprisingly smooth and fast, which sets up an excellent pace for the entire game. Overall, this is a very good-looking game; too bad that's the only thing it has going for it.

As for sound, well be thankful you can turn it off. The music isn't particularly bad; it's just very generic and unoriginal. All of the music is where you would expect it to be; the jungle stage has 'jungle beats' and the city stage has the 'urban techno' music. Worst of all, there is no variation between levels; it's the same annoying track every five levels. The sound effects, on the other hand, are a little more bearable, but are nothing really new or notable.


With this type of side-scrolling brawler, I'd want to say it's good mindless fun, but unfortunately, they forgot to add both the good and the fun. At its core, this is a simple side-scroller that actually manages to take a few steps back, sinking it to new depths of bad gameplay.

As far as the story goes, Lady Deathstrike has developed a machine that can turn any metal into liquid, which really sucks for Wolverine and his metal skeleton. Wolverine's quest to destroy the machine takes him though four stages, consisting of five levels each with a boss fight thrown in here and there. Once the first level starts up, the beautiful graphics make you think you're in for something special, but honestly, there is simply nothing here to distinguish this game from any other platformer. The entire game consists of generic side-scrolling timed levels, simple one button attacks (the instructions try to fool you with a 'special moves' list, but since when is ducking and punching a special move?) and collecting point bonuses. All of the levels lack any hint of originality, and many times, I felt Digital Eclipse just took some old, already done game, plugged in Wolverine, and called it a day. As you progress through the game, you are given passwords to help you continue, but this begs the question -do you really want to?


Guess what, the fun doesn't just stop at buggy controls and crappy special moves either -cheap enemies and insanely hard bosses have also been thrown into the mix. When you attack an enemy, instead of being knocked back or showing that you made some sort of contact with their body, they just keep attacking which results in you just swinging and hoping you're doing some damage. On the enemies side of the battle, some of these street thugs must be Jedi masters because many times they managed to do damage without touching me or by merely running into me. The boss fights are no picnic either. In this type of game, there is usually a pattern to the bosses' attacks that will eventually allow you to beat him, but I think someone forgot to tell Digital Eclipse. There is no pattern or life bar for the bosses, which will frequently result in you giving up before you beat the boss. This game is excessively hard and frustrating, especially if you consider it's target audience.

Game Mechanics:

As mentioned before, the instructions swear that there are special moves in the game, but if you really look at it, there's only one - Bestial Rage. Bascially, this is just pressing the attack button until Wolverine becomes invincible and starts to wave his arms around like a jackass. This move is actually somewhat useful, when it works and doesn't result in you dying since you lose life every time you use it. Another thing I would really love to know is why a game clock and scores were included. Both have no reason for being there - you aren't awarded anything special for getting a high score and no attempt is even made to explain the clock -so why bother? Again, the only explanation I could find was that Digital Eclipse simply stuck Wolverine into an already done game.

When you get down to the bare facts, this game was made for the sole purpose of being a commercial for the X-Men cartoon. When you first turn on the game, a promotional screen comes up telling you to there is a new cartoon, and at just about evey chance the game gets, it makes sure you know it. Bottom-line, unless you enjoy bad, almost unplayable games or are addicted to anything X-Men don't even bother picking this one up. Oh, and make sure you watch the new X-Men cartoon!

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

GameBoy Color/Pocket WWF Betrayal Sony PlayStation 2 All-Star Baseball 2003

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated