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X-Men: The Official Game

Score: 55%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Amaze Entertainment
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:

If anything else, you at least have to give Amaze credit for trying something a little different with the DS version of X-Men: The Official Game. Rather than simply port the GBA version of the game to the DS and include tacked-on touch support, the developer instead built the entire game around the touch functions. While the mechanic shows promise, it is clear that it still needs a lot of work.

Visually, X-Men isn’t much of a looker. While not necessarily a terrible looking game, the DS is capable of much better visuals than this game would have you believe. Backgrounds look okay, and show off a few more details than the blurry, 3D characters – but overall the entire visual presentation is lacking.

Sound is much better than the visuals, due in large part to the game’s soundtrack. Whoever did the music should get an extra day or two off – or at the very least a Coke out of the machine down the hall. Hell, I’ll even kick in a nickel if I have to… Anyway, the point is that the game sounds great.


Like the console versions of the game, X-Men’s plot takes place between the second and third films. Where the DS version differs (aside from shifting around the plot elements found in the console version) is that in addition to playing as Wolverine, Iceman and Nightcrawler, you can also play as Magneto – who turns out to be the most interesting of the bunch.

X-Men is essentially a top-down shooter with touch elements. All four mutants have their own abilities that come into play at various parts during the game. Each mutant’s ability gives him an advantage. For example, Wolverine is your melee brawler while Iceman is a ranged attacker. The trick to the system is that you need to switch between the two depending on the situation. Wolverine can’t hit flying targets, but Iceman can. On the other hand, Iceman can’t hit enemies with heat shields, but Wolverine can. Nightcrawler’s ability introduces some mild puzzle-solving which usually involves a timer of some sort. Magneto is the coolest of the three and features the more creative mechanic. Magneto can grab objects in the environment (which is done by touching the object with the stylus) and either fling them into enemies or use them to block attacks.

Repetition is the game’s major enemy. After the first few levels, you’ve basically seen everything the game has to offer, so there isn’t that compelling a reason to keep playing. You can always go through the Boss Attack mode, but the boss fighters are so simple to beat there isn’t much of a point.


X-Men doesn’t provide much of a challenge. It is incredibly easy to figure out which mutant to use in any situation and the only time you’re likely to die is if you get too close to an explosion or get really unlucky. Enemy A.I. is slow; enemies usually don’t attack until they’re almost dead. Boss battles are incredibly simple and usually revolve around one or two easy to beat patterns.

Game Mechanics:

Again, it is the controls that make the DS version such a different experience. Movement is handled by either the D-pad or, if you’re a lefty, the face buttons. Pressing the shoulder buttons cycles through your team of mutants. The game’s touch functionality comes into play when attacking or using abilities. Touching an enemy causes your character to attack. When playing with Wolverine, it is possible to touch an enemy across the screen and start his attack animation. From there, you can just move him to the right spot and get an easy kill. It’s a different concept, but it is pretty clear that it needs some work. Tapping on a mutant activates his X-Factor ability. For example, touching Nightcrawler activates his “BAMF” ability, which slows down time. Again, Magneto’s abilities are the more creative and really make you wish the other three had received the same treatment.

Even though X-Men: The Official Game isn’t a good one, the underlying mechanics could make for a fun experience if used properly. It’s just sad that the promise is greater than the final product. Hopefully Amaze will one day get the opportunity to expand the ideas and show what they can do.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Microsoft Xbox 360 X-Men: The Official Game Microsoft Xbox 360 Table Tennis

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