# 16 – Wolverine: Adamantium Rage (Let’s get angry and do stuff!!!)

System: Sega Genesis

Release Date: 1994

First Played: 1995

Status: DEFEATED – September 15, 2014

He’s the best there is at what he does and what he does…is make LOTS OF MONEY FOR MARVEL COMICS!!! I am, of course, talking about everyone’s favourite cigar smoking, beer swigging, back talking; slice and dicing, proudly Canadian mutant superhero, Wolverine! Making his first appearance in the pages of The Incredible Hulk # 181……

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“Hmmm, he needs to look more intimidating….give him some whiskers!”

……Wolverine would go on to be a member of the revamped X-Men roster, appearing in Giant Size X-Men # 1, and become a mainstay for the X-Men and Marvel Universe in general. Wolverine stands out from other heroes, despite him being only 5’3″. Maybe it’s his gruff, no nonsense way of talking; his anti-hero lone wolf appeal, his awesome sideburns? Or is it his willingness/eagerness to use his unbreakable adamantium claws to find a more permanent solution to a pesky super villain problem. Oh, and he also has a serious Berserker rage problem!!

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I wanted my bagel DOUBLE TOASTED!!! GRAAAHHH!!!!!

Add to that his mysterious past, his extraordinary mutant healing factor and heightened senses as well as his impressive (and sometimes just plain weird) roster of enemies, it’s no wonder that he can be found in the pages of so many comic books including his many solo adventure titles, X-Men titles, and even more recently teaming up with The Avengers. He’s arguably the only Mutant superhero who has found success with an on-going series, but can this translate into the realm of video games…?

When First We Met…

At this point in 1994, I was a diehard X-Men fan. I collected the comics, watched the cartoon show, I search high and low for all the action figures and had a couple video games to boot. My previous blog talked about the game “X-Men”, which gave me a taste of Wolverine action on the Sega Genesis, but I felt it was lacking. That all changed after I saw the picture on the game cartridge in an advertisement in the pages of my X-Men comics…

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That is one angry man. I WANT IT!! It wouldn’t be till a year or so later that I would finally get my chance to play it, after finding a copy in a discount bin at a local department store! As soon as I slammed the cartridge home into my Sega Genesis, I remember just thinking how COOL everything was! As the intro credits roll, some cool, slightly ominous heavy metal guitar music starts to play; Wolverine appears on screen and pops his claws while grinning maniacally at you…

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COOOOOL! After, you can start the game or peruse the options, which give you the option to enter passwords (YES!!) and choose the difficulty. I decide to go with easy, just so I can get the hang of it. Also, you have the option of looking at bios for the various enemies that you will face in the game! This was a bit of a spoiler for me, after all, I want to be surprised at who I’ll have to fight next, but it was still fun to read all the complicated back stories of the Wolverine rogues gallery. The art for each of the characters was also impressive, my favourites being the close-ups on Sabretooth and Bloodscream (I had no idea who Bloodscream was…but his name is BLOODSCREAM…so he immediately became awesome). But I didn’t spend $20 to read!! Let’s do this!!

After pressing start, you’re greeted with a close up of Wolverine’s ugly mug looking at a picture, which he crushes in his fist! You can’t see what it is a picture of…but Wolverine clearly isn’t happy about it.

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“…I must find out what went on…” Wolverine says to himself and then experiences a flash back of his ever popular Weapon X back story. We are shown comic book-esque cut scenes of a captured and comatose Wolverine being experimented on, having adamantium bonded to his skeleton! He wakes up, goes nuts, lots of screaming, fin. So…did he just find out what went on…? No time for “explanations”, Wolverine tosses the photo away and you start level one!

You’re in some kind of secret laboratory and some awesome heavy metal music starts to play, with just a subtle hint of funkiness to it. I’m at 100% health, (which, if you are damaged, will replenish itself over time; 1% every 5 seconds or so) and since I’m playing on easy, I have 5 lives. I notice a bar at the bottom of the screen which has a flashing dot which very gradually moves towards a space at its end that looks like Wolverine’s head. At first I mistake this as representing my progress throughout the level, when actually it’s a timer. When the dot reaches the end, as would happen to me several times, you come face to face with…THIS…

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Hugs!! My one weakness!!

An adorable little girl!!! Who gives Wolverine a big hug and explodes……………wait, what??? As I would find out by reading the in game bios, the little girl is an android named Elsie Dee, (a play on LCD! Whooaa!!!) who is programmed to find Wolverine and blow up with enough force to kill him, which in the game will cost you a life. Don’t slow down, gotcha. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

As Wolverine, you have access to a wide range of moves, which adds a lot of variety to the game and are visually rewarding as well as deal out some serious damage. There’s your typical slash attacks (his claws are always popped) and kicks, but the game ups the ante by adding spinning slashes, roundhouse kicks, upper cut slashes, a jumping pinwheel attack similar to Samus’ Screw Attack in Metroid, he can roll, do a forward diving lunge (which looks really cool) and he can even use his claws to climb walls! This was a welcome surprise, since previously in the game “X-Men” his moves consisted of jabs, jumping and jumping jabs (Jaberine?)

I find that playing this on easy is very…easy. I’m able to slice and dice my way through the maze/puzzle like laboratory with ease; overcoming heavily armed security guards, robots, robot dogs, and even a few over ambitious scientists along the way!

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“Hmmm, my hypothesis concludes that this is going to end very baAAAAAGGGHHH!!!!”

Playing this in easy made it seem very similar to the comics, where Wolverine is basically an unstoppable mutant weapon of destruction! Eventually, my mind began to wander, with nothing in the game posing any real challenge, I discover that if you turn Wolverine left and right quickly…it kind of looks like he’s dancing! And with each level having such catchy music, I found myself having awesome dance battles! There’s bad guy up ahead! Time to do some squats followed by the twist! Then stab him to death! Though this also lead to me running out of time and getting blown up by Elsie Dee, but it didn’t matter because I had plenty of lives and continues!

Now this is where my blog will differ from my previous ones; for you see, I have already beaten this game…but only on easy and normal difficulty levels! After I beat it on easy, I switched to normal, which proved more of a challenge and didn’t allow me to dance as much as I would have liked. But, I beat that too! I was hooked on this game; I liked all the different locals from the comics as well as the appearance of some major Wolverine enemies! And the music was so cool! So, to truly put this game to bed, I decided to take on hard mode. But hard mode…..*shudder*….hard was just to…hard! I was surprised at the difficulty spike. I had no time for dancing what so ever! NONE!! Where on the previous modes you get multiple lives and continues, on hard you get one life…that’s it…unless you are able to find an extra life somewhere in a level.

To my frustration, after having so much fun dancing and beating up baddies all over the place, I couldn’t even get past level one! Try as I may, it just would not happen. So, from then on, whenever I felt like making Wolverine dance, I’d play easy mode…but I would always feel that nagging pull that I’ve felt so many times before. The one that told me that I had been bested! But, for the time, I was content with easy mode……….

Meanwhile in the Present…

…Until now! I had remembered playing this game and really liking it. The game play, the story…and yes the dancing! I also remembered the nasty “Hard” difficulty. But, eager to strike this off my list…and to see that dancing again, I began. One thing that struck me right from the get go was the opening credits; it takes well over a minute for them to go by, without giving you the opportunity to skip them. I felt myself grow more and more impatient. Come on, I just want to play!! Finally, I can select “Hard” and start. Maybe it’s the adult in me, but right away the story bothers me, in that there really is no story. First of all, what’s that picture Wolverine was holdong? And how did that make him find this lab which serves as the first level?? I’m assuming this is the Weapon X laboratory? So, doesn’t that answer his question? Anyway, I start to play…and boy do I die quick! This tiny flying robot, which I’m having a hard time timing my slash at lowers me to about 20% health by the time I take care of it, a guard with a shot gun and a robot dog finishes the job! And when you die…

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Some of your favourite X-Men are looking at your dead body! Oh boy! Gambit, Jubilee and Storm seem to be taking it pretty hard…Professor X seems confused (What’s he doing with his hand…?)…Cyclops is my favourite here! He has a “Wish I could have done that” scowl on his face! Ouch! Then Game Over…then you have to sit through the opening credits again to get another go at it! It’s probably close to 2 minutes before I can play again…longer if you then have to enter a password…which when you really want to beat a level seems like an eternity.

However, with patience and a lot of Game Over’s, I manage to make it to Boss # 1…

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Yup, that’s a gigantic gun that fires missiles and other painful things at you! What you don’t see is the lake of fire that is below the crumbling floor!! And again, maybe this is just the cynical adult speaking over my previous child-like enthusiasm, but what the hell kind of lab is this?? Giant robots, fire and acid pits, disappearing floors which can re-appear by hitting a switch, THAT FREAKING GUN!?!?

Evil Scientist – You there! Put that Giant Missile Machine Gun in that room full of fire!

Rookie Assistant – Sir, I’m noticing our laboratory is missing actual Scientific Equipment, you know…us being scientists and all I figured…shouldn’t we be researching things…?

Evil Scientist – Ugh, you don’t get it DO YOU Bergstein?! Now, help me fill this room with acid!

Oh, and another thing happened that made me question my youth. So, after beating the giant gun, I thought it was a good time to do some dancing! That’s when I thought, “…wait a minute…that doesn’t look like dancing…that doesn’t look like dancing AT ALL!!” WHAT THE HELL WAS I DOING???? Why did I think that looked like dancing? What was I on??? I’m so disappointed…I guess I should just focus on the game…

After beating the gun and another scientist with a bazooka (he’s dead in like two hits), you’re presented with a code, which are names or places associated with Wolverine lore, like” Mariko” a love interest of Wolverine or “Department H” which was responsible for the whole Weapon X program. After, you’re shown a picture of a pissed off Wolverine looking at Professor X’s giant floating head in the sky…

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“Oh and thanks for noticing my new shirt Wolverine…oh that’s right YOU DIDN”T!”

It’s a quick scene where Professor X tells Wolverine that the X-Men want to help…help with what, I’m not sure, because the purpose of his mission has yet to be explained. If it was to deal with Weapon X, I just beat that!! Wolverine tells him that he has to do this on his own….Um, do I get a say in this? Can we bring Colossus along or something? But determined to be all loner-y and cool, Wolverine runs off…next level! You’re in the arctic tundra (Where the hell was that lab?) and your forced to fight your way through more soldiers, flying robots, guys on snow mobiles and even a giant army helicopter!

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Rookie Pilot – Um, sir, since we have A LOT of powerful long range weapons, shouldn’t we be higher up…so that man can’t attack us?

Evil Pilot – Ugh, you don’t get it DO YOU Kasovski??? Now dive down low as to expose our unprotected underbelly…

In this level you’re treated to two Wolverine baddies, a ferocious wolf creature known as Lurker…

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SPOOKY!

and a mid level boss known as Albert…

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Less Spooky

Oddly enough, I only have heard of Albert via his action figure (which I have, his arms can pop off!!), and I think I have a comic where he appears. Long story short, someone thought that the best way to defeat Wolverine would be to create a Robot Wolverine…named Albert…look, I told you some of Wolverine’s bad guys we weird so just bare with me. This Lurker guy is news to me, but he looks cool enough, and he fits in nicely with the arctic backdrop of the level. As I soon discovered, or maybe better put “Re-discovered”, the best way to get through levels and bosses is to be always on the attack. Just dive at your enemy and back them into a corner and stab them till they go away….Albert on the other hand is the only exception to this rule. Since he is you, he will always be on the attack, so the best way to defeat him (which took me far too many tries) is to patiently wait for him to dive at you…at the last second, jump and slash down then kick him like crazy until he runs away to try again. Repeat till dead. Lurker took more tries than I’d like to admit, but I found that doing this weird shin kick worked best. It looks ridiculous, but it worked! On to the next level with a new code!

After a quick cut scene where Storm of the X-Men asks to help, to which Wolverine again says no, you find yourself in a forest full of ninja’s known as “The Hand”! It was a great touch being able to climb the trees with your claws and then dive from the very top onto an unsuspecting ninja! You can’t experience too much of the tree climbing life though, as you soon run into one of Wolverine’s more fearsome enemies: LADY DEATHSTIKE!!!

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Knowing what she is capable of in the comics, I’m immediately on guard; so it’s with great disappointment that I found I was able to kill her with barely taking a hit! Just dive attack, slash, repeat. Well, that’s not the end at least; some exploring finds another cave, inside which waits quite possibly Wolverine’s greatest foe…SABRETOOTH!!!

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What’s interesting about this fight is that Sabretooth, just like in the comics, has a healing factor, so if you let him catch his breath, he’ll heal, and he does so at a much faster rate than you, basically 1% every second. Even with this incredible edge, I’m still able to beat Sabretooth far too easily than I would think appropriate for a character of his calibre. For a second, I think I’m playing on easy, a death on the next level would confirm I am in fact playing on hard. Also, I would think Sabretooth would be more a final boss, especially since this is a Wolverine game.

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A cut scene shows Sabretooth defeated on the ground, he says that Shinobi Shaw had a bounty on Wolverine, which is why he was waiting for him in a cave I guess…then passes out. Looks like we better pay a visit to Mr. Shaw…though again, I’m not 100% sure who Shinobi Shaw is. Cut to Wolverine running out of the woods and into a clearing just outside New York…so The Secret Lab, the Arctic and the Ninja Woods are all in walking distance from New York? Why not!

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But someone is leaning against a car at the edge of New York being all rough and tough…it’s Cyber: A giant man with Adamantium skin and poisonous/ psychedelic drug covered claws! He attacks Wolverine in a fun cut scene (pun intended). I think this is my favourite of all the cut scenes, since there’s a bit of a WTF moment when you see Wolverine start to melt! Then you go to the moon…

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One of these days Logan! Bang! Zoom!

The only enemies in this trippy stage are little Martians and tiny Lurker’s and Sabretooths, adorable! The main threat comes in a near constant barrage of asteroids. Staying put for too long will make you a sitting duck for asteroids, so I found that diving across the stages and platforms to give me the best success. Soon you run into Cyber, who I soon discover has no health bar, meaning YOU CAN’T HURT HIM. I discover at the right side of the stage a pit of green acid which I remembered that I have to push Cyber in to defeat him. By standing beside it, Cyber will not attack you, instead he will just run back and forth like an idiot, so this little glitch gave me plenty of time to gain my strength, after which I easily pushed him into the acid. Though this was an interesting way of staging a boss battle, I felt it was still far too easy, unlike the actual level itself which was incredibly difficult!

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So, that whole level was a dream, and somehow I defeated Cyber (I wish they could have shown a tripped out Wolverine fighting!) New code and on to “The Inner Circle” which is Shinobi Shaw’s evil club house. This level was short and disappointing; I don’t think it lasted more than 4 minutes. You basically just find a couple of hidden switches, fight some Hellfire Club goons and exit, not even a boss fight!

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After a quick taunt by Shaw, it’s on to the next level. Though bigger, is also not a challenge. It’s below Shinobi’s house I guess…

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The enemies are fairly spaced out and can be dodged easily. The challenge comes in the navigation of the platforms. It’s a bit tricky timing the jumps right, and often you’ll fall into giant buzz saws, but since I’m not getting attacked for the most part, it gave me plenty of time to heal. But soon I come face to face with Shinobi Shaw, who laughs and jumps into…THIS!!!

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Intimidating no??? Well it isn’t. See that black and yellow barrier in the front there? If you stay in front of it, nothing will hit you, and attacking it will lower Shinobi’s health down to 8% before it gets destroyed…

Rookie Mechanic – Why don’t we put a gun on the bottom too? That way, there will be nowhere for him to hide!

Evil Mechanic – Ugh, you don’t get it DO YOU Robertson??? Now, help me place these “Please don’t hit here” stickers on the weak spot…

A quick summersault claw attack and Shinobi blows up nice. You’re shown a cut scene of Shinobi running, but Wolverine catches him! Suddenly, the platform they are on gives way and you see the battered corpse of Shinobi on the ground. Now this is where the game takes a real twist… photo 4
This guy is Trevor Fitzroy, a mutant who can teleport through time and space! He explains to no one in particular that he hopes both of them die, two birds with one stone and all that. How is this guy involved??? Maybe we’ll find out hopefully. Next thing I know I’m in the sewers; which I’m guessing was right next door to Shinobi’s place? No wonder Wolverine tracked everybody so quickly, they were all in a straight line!! This level is tricky; it’s full of powerful sewer mutants whose attacks can deal serious damage quickly. It’s better to quickly run away that fight. After some tricky platforming and switch finding you meet this monstrosity… wolv14

Christ on a cracker!! That’s Bloodscream!! (Who names these people? Who’s next, Strangle Frenzy Bear?) Again, I find his bark is worse than his bite; claw dive, slash repeat until dead. Wow, really? Thankfully the rest of the level proves to be more of a challenge…I find that I need to sit back and heal, risking running into Elsie Dee. Eventually, after navigating the acid filled, mutant and giant alligator infested sewers; I come face to face with the most random final boss and most nonthreatening name in comics, Trevor Fitzroy…

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That’s him in a giant battle-suit behind a wall. Besides not being impressed at who he is, this is a pretty intense boss battle. Trev hides behind a wall and teleports Hellfire Club goons to fight you. After defeating 5, he activates his suit, flying over the wall, and tries to stomp on you! He’s equipped with a shoulder cannon, a chest cannon that fires fire, long claw filled arms, and kicking feet. I try my tactic of cornering him and going nuts, but he easily repels me, leading to my death. Also, the Elsie Dee timer does not reset at any point during the level, as it does in all the previous ones, so on one attempt where I almost had him, it cuts away from the action to show me that stupid cut scene and I die. Why would Wolverine stop fighting a man in a battle suit to hug a little girl??? Fighting Trevor just doesn’t feel right, a quick read of his Wikipedia page touts him as more of a villain to the Mutant Bishop than Wolverine. But, it’s an intense battle non-the-less. Eventually I find a tactic that works, I back MYSELF into a corner and let Trevor block me in! From here, I am able to dodge the cannon attacks as he only uses them when I’m far away, and I can destroy them quickly, though I take a lot of damage in the process. With the long range weapons off line, I jump over him and basically run back and forth, dealing bits of damage with my summersault claw attack. Eventually I am victorious! Now, let’s see why Trevor Fitzroy planned this elaborate scheme which I’m not 100% sure what it is…

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He lies on the ground and says, “You’ve won this time…” then passes out…

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……….huh? “Well Done?” Where’s the explanation? What was the point of this game? Why was Wolverine fighting all these people??? No, stop it! Put him down! He didn’t do anything! Don’t encourage him! Stop it!! Then it cuts to 2 screens worth of credits and then the game restarts. No further story and not even any music plays during this…just silence…almost as if the programmers are sneaking away hoping that you won’t see them to ask them any questions; like, for example, WTF??????????????

Judgement…

This game did not last the test of time, and I’m disappointed by this. I really liked this game growing up, but the plot hole riddled story, unbalanced difficulty of levels and what I now hear as angsty music, made for a much less pleasurable experience than I remembered. Also, I swear to GOD that he could dance! What was I thinking??? I kid you not; I would make him dance for longer than was appropriate. Though not everything is bad about this; I played for a bit afterwards on easy and I found myself having much more fun. This game is best when you can just destroy your enemies quickly. With the hard difficulty being as hard as it is, the cut scenes and ending don’t seem worth the trouble. Being able to get killed so easily by insignificant robot enemies demeans the Wolverine character in my opinion; though this really only applied in hard mode. And the time it takes for you to start a new game after you die is far too long. It adds unnecessary frustration, they should have put in an option to skip over it…but I digress…

My favourite part of the game BY FAR is this moment in the second level…

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Why are there adorable penguins in this level??? And they look at you as you walk by…and to answer that question that just popped into your head, NO YOU CAN NOT KILL THE PENGUINS…because I tried for a long time and nothing happened…monsters…

Apparently there is a Super Nintendo version of this game as well. I have no played it, but some pictures that I’ve seen makes it look like it has a more well developed story and different levels and bosses to boot; though it seems to look a bit more cartoony. If you give this version a try, let me know what you think of it.

So what do you think? Is this game the best there is at what it does? Are you going to track it down and deal out some mutant mayhem?? Or has this post revealed it to be a relic, a product that could only belong to the 90’s?

Thanks for reading bubs! Stay tuned next week for # 15 where we go from Marvels Merry Mutants to ol’ Web-Head himself! It’s his earliest release on the Sega Genesis, and possible one of his most difficult! Walloping Web Snappers!

Tah tah!

Adamus Prime

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