System: Sega Genesis
Release Date: 1993
First Played: 1993, (Owned in 1999)
Status: DEFEATED – September 7, 2014
Before we begin, please watch this link…
Hell Yeah!!! So now that we are all 9 years old again and really excited, let’s talk about X-MEN!!! For those of you who have no clue who the X-Men are, here’s a brief run down: Created by the legendary Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1963, the X-Men are a team of mutant superheroes who defend mankind from evil mutants who would want to destroy them. They were founded by Professor Charles Xavier, the most powerful mutant telepath in the world, who hides his mutant team in the guise of a School for Gifted Youngsters. Though many believe the “X” in “X-Men” is named after Xavier, it is actually named after the “X-Gene” the gene that causes mutation in normal homo-sapiens, turning them into homo-superiors and giving them neat-o powers! Or as Professor Xavier explained to a young Jean Grey…
Xavier – I’m a professor!
Jean – Of what exactly?
Xavier – Oh, um, well of many X-citing things, like…um…erm…Look! Evil! Go stop it!!
Originating with members Iceman, Beast, Angel, Marvel Girl and Cyclops, the X-Men roster would continue to grow and change throughout the years, being home to popular characters like Nightcrawler, Storm and Wolverine. For over 50 years, fans have delighted and lamented over the countless X-Men storylines, and will continue to do so for many, many years to come, because, at Marvel Comics, if you throw an “X” in front of something, you’re guaranteed to make “$”.
Even if you are not a comic book fan, it’s hard not to know who the X-Men are what with the many cartoon adaptations and blockbuster films that have and will be coming out. I mean, if it weren’t for the X-Men, we wouldn’t have Hunky Hollywood Heavyweight Hugh Jackman!
I’m the best there is at what I do, and what I do…is be delightful!
The X-Men’s unique characters and awesome mutant powers make it the perfect candidate for an action packed video game! There have been dozens of games over the years, some X-cellent and others X-cruciating, and I can say that I’m the proud owner of many X-Men games that fall into both these categories quite nicely, which brings us to this weeks game, the Sega Genesis exclusive: X-MEN!!
When First We Met…
I read X-Men comics when I was growing up, but it wasn’t my favourite. I was more into Batman, Spider-Man and Superman. It didn’t help matters that I also owned The Uncanny X-Men game for the NES which is considered to be one of the WORST GAMES EVER CREATED!!
Besides the terrible graphics and controls, it’s most known for a mistake that makes it virtually unplayable. When you beat all the levels, in order to access the final one you need to enter a code…a code which is on the game cartridge…which is currently in your NES. So, unless you wrote it down before playing, you’re pretty well screwed. But the MAJOR problem is that the code on the cartridge is WRONG. I wish I had time to delve into it more (I didn’t include it in the Quest as I was actually able to beat it) but needless to say, my experience with X-Men up to this point in time had not been great. That all changed when the 1992 X-Men cartoon came out!
What a show! It was fun; action packed, and actually had some great story telling, not just punching and flashing lights. The voice acting was also superb. Fun Fact: at an audition a couple of years ago, I actually met one of the voice actors on the show! I forget how, but we managed to end up on the same street car talking about voice acting; this is how the conversation went…
Adamus – …and that’s my animation experience, what shows have you worked on?
Hero – Have you ever heard of this cartoon from the 90’s called X-Men?
(I fight back the urge to scream “YOU WERE IN X-MEN!?!?!?” and instead say…)
Adamus – Oh! Yes, I remember that show, it was really good! Which character did you play if you don’t mind my asking?
Hero – I played this guy called Mojo.
Adamus – YOU PLAYED MOJO!?!?!?!?
Adamus – What I mean is, yes, I have heard of him…HE’S GREAT!
Hero – Thanks, I appreciate it…well, this is my stop…nice talking to you!
Adamus – YEAH!!!
I liked X-Men (Still do!); and in the following year of 1993 I discovered in the pages of my X-Men comics an advertisement for this…
Oooooohhhhhhh baby!! How kick ass does that look!? So, at the first possible moment, I went over to trusty Jumbo Video and rented it. You pop in the game and the title slams into the top centre of the screen accompanied by an awesome guitar riff!
If you keep on this screen instead of pressing start, you’re shown a rather lengthy blurb about who the X-Men are and how they are fighting their arch-nemesis Magneto, the Master of Magnetism!! Once you press start you’re greeted with this sinister Magneto close-up…
The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants has an AMAZING dental plan.
You’re then shown a shot of a satellite dish on, what I’m assuming is Magneto’s space asteroid base (because volcano bases are SO last year) appropriately named Asteroid M. It shoots some sort of signal at the earth. Hmm, what’s that all about? Then you’re brought to a screen which lets you pick your difficulty: Amateur, Hero and Superhero. Not feeling that adventurous, I pick Hero. Then you get to pick who you play as! You can be…
“I’m the best there is at what I do, and what I do isn’t very nice!!!!”
“Pick a card…ANY CARD!!!!!”
“En garde, mein freund!!!!”
Well this is a no brainer, WOLVERINE! I select him and he pops on the screen. So I’m in the Danger Room, where the X-Men train with DANGEROUS things…except nothing is happening. I walk around and jump on platforms…I can handle this kind of danger! At least this gives me a chance to get used to the controls (A = Mutant Power, B = Punch, C = Jump) After maybe 30 seconds of random nothingness, the screen changes to The Savage Land. There’s a little dialogue box up top that shows Wolverine talking; apparently he’s just as surprised to be in the Savage Land as I am. Time to slice and dice!! I press “A” and out pop the claws! SNIKT!!…or the Sega Genesis sound effect equivalent (Pleerb?). I run into my first victim, some guy with grass underpants; one slice and he’s done! The other enemies, though dealing some damage, fall just as easily. It’s then I notice the blue bar under my health bar. This bar represents how many times I can use my power; so Wolverine can only use his claws a certain amount of times? Don’t know if I agree with that…I have to sheath my claws in order to gain more mutant power. Also, I find that some of the platforms are a little tricky to navigate; this lead to me taking several falls. But don’t worry! Jean Grey comes along and places you nicely on the closest platform…and takes a healthy chunk of your life bar with her…
Among the flying lizards and leaping/spear throwing warriors, this level is also full of bees which gradually pick away at me and, to my horror, eventually lead to Wolverine’s untimely death. Yup, the Mutant Killing Machine Wolverine has been felled by a single bee. I’m then taken back to the Danger Room to select another character; Wolverine can’t be selected again so I go with my second favourite, Nightcrawler! One of the things I like about Nightcrawler is his teleporting abilities and that he can climb walls! I am stuck in the danger room again for 30 seconds or so, but this lets me try out Nightcrawler’s teleporting. It’s effective, one push of the button can send me teleporting several feet in any direction, but it takes a HUGE chunk out of my mutant power bar! The screen cuts back to the Savage Land, AT THE BEGINNING OF THE LEVEL. No mid way check points here ladies and gents! One fun thing I notice is that each character has a different dialogue at the beginning of the level. They basically say the same thing, but they say it in a way unique to their character (I think my favourite is Gambit because he throws in some Louisiana slang!)
Knowing where the dangers are now, I navigate the level easily and get to where Wolverine died. That’s where I run into a wall blocking my path. No worries! I’ll just climb over it….to which I realize that Nightcrawler CAN NOT climb walls. But…BUT…that’s his thing!! Next to teleporting that is! I don’t have enough juice to “Bamf” my way through so I am forced to back track and find another route. This leads me to finding a switch, but Nightcrawler is basically one more hit away from death. I hit pause to take a breather and a menu pops up. 8 icons with characters faces appear (well 7, the one where Wolverine should be is now crossed out.) The top has Cyclops and Gambit, so I can switch characters mid level!!?? That’s handy! Below are Rogue, Archangel, Iceman and Storm who act like assists by attacking nearby enemies.
So I switch to Gambit and continue on my way, past the now lowered wall and into some tricky platforming and bee dodging. I run into a bunch of guys throwing spears at me and decide to see what Storm can do. I select her in the start menu and she descends in a tornado of thunder and lightning! No one is left standing! Sweet! Off I go, however, a couple misplaced jumps leave me with very little health, and sadly, Gambit is the next to fall. Back to start! Let’s try Cyclops. I manage to get even further, but still take a lot of hits so I switch to Nightcrawler, my only available option at this point…..which is when I meet The Juggernaut.
Crawler – eep!
The Juggernaut runs at me and I throw a punch…but nothing stops the Juggernaut!! He ploughs right through me. That’s it, time to use some assists! I jump on a branch and select Iceman….who make an ice bridge…above Juggernaut…which does not help me at all. Gee, thanks Iceman! Christ! Juggernaut starts jumping and smashing the ground, causing me to fall off a branch! I dodge Juggy and summon Rogue! She appears and flies at him, punching him in the face! This does some damage! But, I only get to use Rogue once, only Archangel is left. He sweeps the screen 3 times also dealing damage…but I’m all out of assists and the Juggernaut still stands! “This ends now Juggernaut!!!” I dive at him and die a terrible death. Back to start!! Gaaahhh!!! All I have is Cyclops and he keeps the damage that was done to him! It’s not long before a well timed spear/bee combo sends Cyclops down for the count permanently. Then…
Game over…well that didn’t go well at all! I start again and set the difficulty to “Amateur”. This is much more forgiving, but it’s still difficult. Through trial and error I realize that Juggernauts weakness is his head/helmet, and dropping off a branch and timing a drop kick did the trick; though on one of my play-throughs some kind of glitch happened where Juggernaut just ran away! “Yeah! You…you better run! Quick, let’s get out of here!!!” After many more failed attempts, I finally get to the main boss for this level, who is none other than Zaladane!!
I have no idea who this is. Anyway, she jumps around the stag throwing energy orbs at you; time to use some assists! I ignore Iceman who has yet to do anything helpful (Tell you what Bobby, why don’t you just hang back with Jean, k? Great…) and bring out my heavy hitter Storm followed by Rogue and Archangel! These 3 manage to do A LOT of damage, and all I really need to do is smack her once and she fades away! Yes!! Back to the Danger Room; now there are orbs scattered around the stage, hitting one replenishes health and mutant power, but it’s not long until I’m teleported out of the Danger Room and into the Shi-ar Empire!
Whoever you decide to go with (I chose Nightcrawler) again shows surprise at being transported somewhere, and then off you go. This level is a massive maze, requiring you to locate many hidden switches in order to activate elevators or open doors…and everyone has guns! I found it very hard to get close enough to attack with the likes of Wolverine and Nightcrawler, so I found myself relying on Gambit’s cards and Cyclops’ Optic Blasts to defeat the palace guards. My foil was the Mutant Power bar. It would be exhausted very quickly, and as I ran away waiting for it to be replenished, I was gunned down. My X-Men quickly died and since this lacks a password system or save function, I must start FROM THE VERY BEGINNING OF THE GAME. Each play through I manage to get further along, but I meet my match on a section where you are travelling on top of a spaceship in outer space where I always fell off when the ship took off and died, despite Jean Grey’s best efforts at picking me up. On top of that I have to battle guards and dodge asteroids! Eventually I had to return the game; any chance I had at renting it again ended in the same result. Even several years later when I actually bought it at the flea market, I had no luck, but at that time I was playing its amazing sequel X-Men 2 Clone Wars, so I didn’t feel that bad about it. And so I lost track of this game, never beating Magneto but focusing on the many future instalments of the X-Men franchise instead…
Meanwhile in the Present…
When I saw this game in my video game chest, I was hesitant to put it on my list, as I was intimidated by its difficulty…maybe even more so than I was with Ninja Gaiden! I also knew that, if I were to declare this game truly “Beaten”, I would need to beat it on the highest difficulty: Superhero. I couldn’t even get past the second level on amateur! But no one said that this quest was going to be all Scotch and lollipops…so, I gave the cartridge a quick clean and popped it in.
I was surprised at how well I remembered my way around the Savage Land, I had the best success with Cyclops, and before I knew it, I was done stage one, and I didn’t even need to switch characters! My luck continued with Cyclops through to the second stage. When I got to that spaceship part, I still had 3 fresh X-Men to choose from, so by switching to Gambit I was able to withstand the elements of space and finally reach the Shi-ar Empire Boss: DEATHBIRD!
Deathbird I found again to be oddly easy, a nice playing card attack coupled with a brutal Archangel/Storm assault was all I needed to really put the “Death” in Deathbird! Once you beat her, there is a door on the bottom right of the screen that unlocks Lilandra, the Shi’ar Empress from her prison! It turns out that this ISN’T THE DANGER ROOM. I was actually teleported to the Shi’ar Empire and I just helped free it from her evil sister Deathbird (Who names their kids Lilandra and DEATHBIRD???)! Gambit is confused in his own charming Cajun way and we are brought back to the real Danger Room. By switching between Cyclops and Gambit, I’m able to fill both their health bars with the floating orbs and I’m ready to go!
I began to realize that, maybe this game wasn’t as hard as I remembered. Maybe my years gaming since then had honed my skills enough to tackle this with relative ease! There is a noticeable spike in difficulty when I reach the next level, EXcalibur’s Lighthouse (Excalibur is basically the British X-Men and they operate out of a Lighthouse, how quaint!). There’s some quick banter between you (I gave Cyclops another go) and Professor X (Via telepathic link) who informs me that something is wrong with the Danger Room program and he’s looking into it…thanks…off I go across some crumbling platforms where I run into Sabretooth!
He’s much harder than the other midway bosses thus far and I quickly lose all my X-Men! Starting over, I speed through the first 2 levels and square off with him again, though this time, through a lucky jump, I discover a glitch. As Gambit, I’m standing on the upper right platform with Sabretooth below. The way his attack pattern works is that whenever you jump, he lunges for you, but since I’m above him, he needs to jump up onto my platform first, which gives me lots of time to smack him with my staff; and so Sabretooth is quickly defeated. Inside the Lighthouse, you need to, again, find switches and destroy them in order to proceed; this leads to another Juggernaut battle (his attack has not changed, so I beat him easily). Dodging computer duplicates of myself, I eventually make it to the end…where Apocalypse waits!!!
That light surrounding him will kill you quickly, which is exactly what happened to me! So I start over and repeat this pattern several times. With Nightcrawler, however, I discover a shortcut by teleporting through several walls, which skips the Juggernaut fight and brings me to Apocalypse faster! I discover again that jumping triggers his attack; he absorbs power after I jump and just as he’s about to rush me, I attack. Wolverine actually deals the most damage the fastest, so after several tries; Apocky bites the dust!
Back to the Danger Room. Professor X says that a virus has corrupted the Danger Room program and he needs to figure it out. What should I do in the mean time? How about go to a war torn racist future where mutants are hunted to the brink of extinction?! THANKS PROFESSOR!
This stage is hell! Gun turrets everywhere, sentinels popping up, mutant monsters popping out of the wall, bear trap thingys, impassable energy gates, very well hidden switches…I die often to my frustration…I’m forced to look up a walkthrough (located here: http://www.gamefaqs.com/genesis/586618-x-men/faqs/24565)
It’s here that I need to explain myself. This walkthrough included a code that can skip levels…I used this code to skip all the previous levels I had beaten so I can start on this one. Is this cheating? I will say no, only because of the fact that not only had I beaten all the previous levels, but I was able to do so with all my X-Men alive and at full power. I used this step to save time rather than to skip hard parts or to revive fallen X-Men to give me the upper hand. I see this as being no different than being given a password after completing a level. If I used this “Cheat” to skip hard levels or revive fallen X-Men, then it would be cheating. Since I did not do that and I battle through each level till I mastered it, then I think it is acceptable.
Back to the game, the walkthrough helps tremendously. Apparently at one part I need to find a key…which is a circle with a K on it…which I originally thought was an X! Anyway, once I knew that I had to look for a key (and then found it) it was onto the Boss: Ahab.
I couldn’t get a good shot of him or find any good game photos of him…but here’s a drawing…wonder why they call him Ahab…
I only know him only through his action figure oddly enough…he randomly pops up around the screen and throws, you guessed it, harpoons at you. I didn’t have much trouble with him, a couple of well placed assists, Nightcrawler Bamfs and Gambit whacks sends him down.
Back to the Danger Room, and back to collecting orbs. The walkthrough tells me about a machine in the top right of the screen that, once destroyed, allows you a longer period of time in the Danger Room, and more time to collect power ups! Suddenly, Professor X shows up, he finally found the answer; I apparently need to beat the next level and then “Restart the Computer”. More on that in a bit…I’m teleported to Mojo’s World! This level is also brutal, with tricky platforms, fire, exploding tv’s, robo-dogs, flying…things…and then the man himself Mojo, all while under a time limit!
On the left is a time meter in the shape of Mojo’s face; when his mouth closes, GAME OVER. After many fails (the level select code is a great help here) I finally reach Mojo. Attacking from the front does nothing; he literally laughs at you! But I found that Cyclops was the best to deal with him. First I make him laugh by smacking his belly, then I spin jump over him, dodge his scorpion like tail and optic blast him in the butt…his weak spot…soon Mojo’s defeated…but that’s not the end! You still need to reset the computer…but where is it? You must now navigate a maze…which frustratingly I died several times in…eventually I get to the end. There is a hole in the wall where you can see the Danger Room. I kick it and destroy it. Should I have done that? Suddenly, Xavier’s face appears on some monitors! I need to reset the computer!!
This is a bit of a legend in video games, and I have ALWAYS wanted to do it! The computer the Professor is referring to isn’t anywhere in the game…it IS the game. You must reset your Sega Genesis! “But…that would ruin everything!! Right???” Not this time old friend. Had I not heard so much about this, I would have been stumped, randomly punch until I died. But since I know what to do, I press reset…
Those are 0’s and 1’s, sorry for the blurry shot…
OooOOoooOO!!! A fun cut scene presented like a comic book! The X-Men discover that a signal sent from Asteroid M has corrupted the Danger Room…so you need to go up there and get back the codes and give Magneto a taste of his own medicine! Forge, Beast and Psylocke are shown…..even though they are not playable and did NOTHING to help; though my favourite part of this slide show is how Storm is angrily looking at Psylockes butt.
Storm – Thanks for the input Psylocke, now would you put on some GOD DAMN PANTS????
There’s a quick cut scene of the X-Men flying their plane “The Blackbird” to Asteroid M…then the final level starts…which is the hardest of them all…I lost count how many times I died while playing this…this level is the most difficult navigation wise. One part makes you have to hit a switch by blindly jumping off a ledge, which took me many tries…a constant rage settled over me! I…just …want…to BEAT…MAGNETO!!! By luck I’m able to discover that Nightcrawler can teleport through several walls and get me more than half way through the level quickly…until I manage to get to the Big M himself…
For the first 30 seconds or so, Magneto is untouchable and creates metal boulders which he throws at you. Then, he slowly floats after you, every now and then releasing a nearly impossible to dodge beam at you, which deals serious damage. The walkthrough says Wolverine is the way to go for this battle, but time and time again, I’m defeated! Eventually I get a pattern down, Magneto will try to land close to you and punch you occasionally. Wait for him to land, when he lowers his force field to punch you, attack! Wolverine does a spinning claw attack which is effective, but even then Magneto still lays into me! With Nightcrawler weak (he took the most damage just getting to Magneto) Wolverine almost dead (though he gets Magneto’s health bar down to about half) I’m left with Cyclops and Gambit. I get Cyclops to blast Magneto, which makes him lower to a platform and shuts off his shield for a couple of seconds, and lay into him with assists! This works well, Magneto just needs 2 more hits! But I’m hit with those blasted lasers! I switch to Gambit, my last hope. His cards do nothing; they can’t lock in on him for some reason!! I take a beating…but by shear fluke I’m able to get two shots in with my staff just before Magneto can raise his shield…and he’s down! But I don’t get a chance to really see Magneto fall, because it quickly cuts to this shot…
OK! I GET IT! Yeesh…
A really long text discussion goes on between the floating head of Xavier and Magneto…and on…and on…and on…. The satelight used to send the virus in the beginning is destroyed and then we are shown this nice group photo right before the credits……………..…The End.
Not sure why, but I felt the incredibly hard and often infuriating stages were not worth the trouble of this ending. So much to read! If I wanted to read this much, I wouldn’t be playing a video game! All the reading aside, I didn’t think the dialogue was all that awe inspiring. The difficulty was very uneven, stages were next to impossible but easy bosses and vice versa, or in the case of Asteroid M, just HARD!!! And it’s not the good hard either. The controls are a bit finicky, jumping was a big issue I found, especially when I needed to reach high up places. The mutant power limitations also sucked a lot of the fun out of the game. These characters are known for their fantastic abilities; why would you limit them? They should be over the top and always in use! The music is kind of catchy; I think my favourite is the Shi’ar Empire level. Over all, I think with all the time and effort that I put into this game, there should have been a bigger bang for your buck. Even the final boss was lacklustre. Magneto just slowly floats after you for the most part; I found myself just standing there waiting for him to land so I could do something…which would 9 times out of 10, fail because you are left with almost no time to attack. I’m all for challenging games, but there is a difference between challenging and just brutal for the sake of being brutal.
Should you play this? Yes, if only to experience the “Restart the Computer” part, which in itself is very clever and unique. But, if you want a really good X-Men game for Sega, play X-Men 2 Clone Wars!! The music is adrenalin pumping, the characters have a variety of moves and UNLIMITED use of their powers and the story is more interesting as well.
Well, I finally managed to beat this ridiculous game! So what do you think? Are you ready to take up the challenge and try to defeat one of the toughest X-Men and maybe Sega games EVER? Or has this been a warning to avoid it entirely? Are you going to go watch some classic X-Men cartoons? I am! Sound off in the comments below!
Next week we’ll look at # 16 on the list where we will go from X-MEN to X-MAN! It stars everyone’s favourite Canuckle-head Wolverine! He’s all the rage…Adamantium Rage that is!