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X-Men: The Official Game

Score: 60%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Z-Axis
Media: CD/4
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Platformer (3D)

Graphics & Sound:

As far as X-Men: The Official Game's visual and audio experience goes, the game does a pretty good job. The main characters, Wolverine, Iceman, Nightcrawler and Professor Xavier, all look and sound just right. Hugh Jackman, Alan Cumming, Shawn Ashmore and Patrick Stewart all reprise their roles as their mutant counterparts as the team goes back to Alkali Lake in an attempt to retrieve the stolen Cerebro components (see the second X-Men movie).

Unfortunately, the rest of the graphics, the other characters and environments come off somewhat bland and generic making the highpoint of the game's presentation the main mutants you will be playing as.


X-Men: The Official Game takes place not long after the second movie when Professor X sends three members of the X-Men back to Alkali Lake in order to retrieve the technology stolen in that movie. Now Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Iceman must battle through the reawakened facility at the lake and try to shut it down once and for all.

Each level is designed specially for each of your mutants. If the level will require a lot of non-stop attacking, then Wolverine will be the mutant at hand, where as Iceman's levels take on the style of a rail-shooter where you slide your way from location to location taking out enemies. And Nightcrawler's levels have a more platformer feel to them and you will have use his teleportation ability as often as possible.

At the end of each level, you are awarded several Upgrade Points (how many points is determined by the difficulty setting). These points are used to manipulate your mutant's genetic structure in order to increase his various abilities. This RPG-like element allows you to increase various characteristics like Wolverine's Healing Factor or Fury, Nightcrawler's Precision or Relocation, or Iceman's Balance or Ice Beam. This "Mutant Evolution" system actually added some replay value to the game ... at least for those people who don't consider a game beaten until they have gotten every unlockable and point they can.


X-Men: The Official Game's difficulty settings are applied on a per-level basis (as opposed to playing the whole game under a particular setting). This means that if a level is really testing your patience, you can lower its difficulty a bit and run through it. So what are the benefits to playing on the harder levels? The number of Power Upgrades that you will be able to get in that level.

Besides the number of upgrade points that are available at the end of the level, the only other difference between settings is the number of grunts the game throws at you. The lower setting of Novice sends you enemies in very easy to manage waves while Hero and Super Hero have increasingly higher number of enemies at any given time.

Game Mechanics:

X-Men: The Official Game has a control scheme that takes a little getting used to, but once you do, it is surprisingly easy to perform complex attacks. Unfortunately, the slippery control the actual commands provide renders any gain provided by the scheme null and void.

You move your characters around the 3D world using the W-A-S-D keys and your various attacks and abilities are performed with the L, K, J, I and O keys. So basically, putting your hands on the keyboard as if you would type, your left hand moves your character, and your right hand is for your attacks. Again, this took a couple of levels to get used to but when I got into it, I had no problem performing the attacks... now accurately aiming and dealing out damage was another thing (but that goes back to the slippy controls, not the button layout).

So what happens when you press the right hand buttons? As you would expect, different things based on which mutant you are controlling. For instance, the J key will let Wolverine perform a quick attack, Iceman shoot out ice beams and Nightcrawler punch, where as the K button lets the blue-demon teleport to an enemy, Iceman unloads a fury of ice and Wolverine deals out a wider attack that does less damage but can effect more enemies.

Ultimately, X-Men is an OK title with a few nice features, but isn't really worth the effort. If you feel you have to play it, rent one of the console versions.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 2000/XP, 3D hardware accelerator card with 34MB RAM, Pentium III 1.2 GHz or AMD Athlon XP 1500+ GHz, 256 MB RAM, 3GB Hard Drive space, DirectX 9.0c compatible true 16-bit sound and drivers or higher compatible sound card, 100% Windows 2000/XP compatible mouse, keyboard and drivers

Test System:

Windows XP Professional Ed., AMD Athlon XP 2400+ 2GHz, 2 GB RAM, DVD-RW, Radeon 9800 Pro, DirectX 9.0c

Sony PlayStation Portable Lemmings Sony PlayStation Portable Field Commander

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated