Remember the Arcade movie from 1994? No? Well it’s a good thing I’m here to fell you all about it. It’s about an evil Arcade machine (named ARACDE!) that will steal your soul if you lose it’s game while no one is looking. John Delancy is Arcade’s creator, Seth Green is in a bit part, and the main character must deal with her mother’s suicide while trying to warn her friends about the evil Arcade! Plus, I’ll tell you about the vast differences between the original cut and graphics of the film compared to the original.

Photobucket
X-Men Arcade Cabinet (6 Player)

DSC02751
X-Men Arcade Start Screen

DSC02754
X-Men Playstation 3 Start Screen

      X-Men: The Arcade Game was released into Arcades in 1992. It was released on the Playstation 3 & X-BOX 360 in 2010. For me, it was available only at the local Putt-Putt Golf in the Arcade section. Nothing was as cool as playing with 6 friends, and even other strangers, all while fighting various marvel villains. I remember sometimes our group would wait for some players to play a bit, then continue where they left off once they quit so we didn’t have to always start at the beginning and spend so many quarters.

      This review will cover the Playstation 3 version and it’s various special feature. First, there are 2 Cabinets you can play; 4 Player (Full Frame) and 6 Player (Wide Screen). The 6 Player is better in either game, as in the 4 Player game you will occasionally be shot by the armored men with guns before you can even see them, while the 6 Player version gives you more room to move. However, the 4 player allows you to get to enemies quicker.

      When the game starts, you will see a strangely out-of-place screen with the Marvel villains. It looks out of place after watching the 1990’s graphics of the original opening before it.

      You can chose 1 of 6 different X-Men from the comic books (however, all the designs for the characters are based off of the failed 1989 TV Pilot: X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men). You can chose from Cyclops, Wolverine, Dazzler, Nightcrawler, Colossus, & Storm.

DSC02750
Come, Cyclops, Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Storm, & Blond Woman.

      Now, onto the controls. Your options are Punch (Circle), Kick (Up + Circle [but only while near an enemy]), Jump (X), and Mutant Power (Triangle). There are no weapons to pick up, but none would really match X-Men anyway unless you were playing as Cable or Bishop. Each character also has a sort-of screen clearing move (Cyclops uses a wide beam that destroys everything in front of him, but not behind him). That’s it. The controls are very basic. As such, it can get repetitive if you want to play through the game as every single character, but for a short 30 minute session with friends it’s a fun experience to beat up Sentinels and X-Men villains.

      Your main goal is to stop the Sentinels (controlled by Magneto) from destroying the city; then it’s to save Kitty Pryde, then to save Professor Xavier. In the comics, Sentinels kill mutants, but you just assume that, being robots, they are Magnetic and Magneto can easily alter their body and/or processors.

      You start out in the streets of an unknown city that has been devastated by Sentinel attacks, then go to a Factory, Island M (I assume this is Muir Island or the Savage Land), and then Asteroid M.

      Along the way you will fight Pyro, Blob, Windigo (?), White Queen, Juggernaut, 2 unknown Super Sentinels, Mystique, & Magneto. Over the course of the actual levels, however, you mainly only fight 2 types of enemies; re-colored Sentinels and re-colored armored men with guns. There is the occasional addition of moving lasers, fire generators, Reavers (comic villains), and monsters that grow out of the ground.

DSC02776
Are these the Reavers? Or just a random coincidence by the developers?

DSC02777
You must beat all the bosses again in the final level.

      Some of the enemies are severely underutilized, such as the mechanical bugs, the flying bat robot, killer plants, and the killer bees (though the bees are the most annoying). Why make so many villains if you’re only going to use them once in the whole game, but keep using the same two enemies over and over?

      There are also 2 country versions; you can play the Japanese or the American version. The Japanese used the English audio, but has Japanese subtitles in cut-scenes. There are only 3 differences between them that I could tell.

      1) In the American version, when you want to use your mutant power, you must use it from your own life energy first. You have a mutant power glob that you can get every time you start a new life, but you can only use it when you have 1 or 2 energy bars of life left. In the Japanese version, you use your orbs first, then once depleted, you start using your own life energy.

      2) The Japanese version is also easier, as it removed the grated lasers on the ground that you have to avoid throughout the entire game. They are fun in the America version because you can also knock enemies into them.

      3) Finally, the Japanese version has power-ups that give you more mutant powers, however, this is not present anytime you play with just a Single Player.

DSC02762

      Story: 10 out of 10

The X-Men (Nightcrawler, Cyclops, Storm, Colossus, Wolverine, Dazzler, Kitty Pryde, & Professor Xavier) must fight Magneto and his army (Pyro, White Queen, Juggernaut, Mystique, & Sentinels). You start out trying to stop sentinels, then the story actually does change as people get kidnapped, you fight people from the comic books, you play as people from the comic books (with appropriate power), and you even go to locations from the comics (Asteroid M).

      Music: 7 out of 10

Most of the time, you would not hear the music in the Arcades. But now on your home console, you can hear the music, and it’s actually pretty enjoyable. It never gets repetitive or boring, and it’s just plain strange to me for some reason, but a strange I enjoy.

      Challenge: 5 out of 10

Since this is an arcade game, I have to just give it an average score. X-Men gives you unlimited quarters to beat the game. Though this removes the challenge, it simply means it’s meant for a multi-player game to relive the entire game of your youth without having to spend tons of loose change.

      Fun: 10 out of 20

X-Men is fun in short bursts, but when I tried playing 2 playthroughs in a row, it got boring. I usually went 2-3 weeks between picking it up again to play with another character.

      Controls: 10 out of 10

The controls are simple to use; anyone could play this game. However, just because it’s really simple does not count against it.

     Graphics: 8 out of 10

The graphics are really polished, and you can tell all the character and locations look as they are. The graphics and cut-scenes give it a comic-book / cartoon look (a serious one), and the character sprites and enemies actually match the cut-scenes (the openings and endings). It seems they only re-colored many Sentinels, but they designed a lot of extra enemies that appear very briefly, along with missiles, lasers, etc, so an effort for extra graphics was made.

      Replay: 5 out of 10

It won’t be getting any single player usages for many years, but if any friends are over and we want to play a video game that supports 6 players, I can start X-Men for a quick gaming session.

      Extras: 4 out of 10

The Trophies are pretty lame, and completely unnecessary, with one that says to Not Jump at all on Level 4. Three of them require all 6 Players playing throughout the entire game; if they leave for any reason, the trophy will not work. The choice of 3 difficulty settings (Easy, Normal, Hard), the Japanese and American versions of the game, plus the 4 or 6 player cabinet from each makes for a pretty good feature.

      Bonus Points

      +5 for 6 Player Game

      + 5 for Cheesy Dialogue

DSC02786
“I am Magneto, Master of Magnet.” (Yes, that’s what he says)

Seriously, how many 6 player games did you know of back in 1992? How many do you know of in 2012 that don’t require internet only co-op?

The dialogue here is the most fun to listen to, just for its awfully cheesy dialogue, especially from Magneto. It’s not just the dialogue, but also the delivery.

Magneto surprises you in level 3 and says, “X-Men, Welcome…To Die.”

Magneto shouts at you randomly: “X-Men, you shall meet with my wrath.”

You die while fighting Magneto: “You Are/Dead.” The tone is abruptly cut as if it’s two different voice samples together without a space or pause

Sometimes when you are punched by Magneto: “X-Chicken”

      Total Points: 69 out of 90

Overall, this is a fun game to play with friends, and it requires no long term commitment. Single player is fun, but only once or twice, and not worth a huge investment. If you enjoy the X-Men, you will enjoy this game with its representations of many characters from their world and it will make for a fun game session with friends.

This Review is also available

      VideoGameGeek / RetrowareTV / GameFAQS

Tagged , , , , ,
Posted in Reviews, Video Games
Shawn

Photobucket
Every cover in America, Europe, & Japan used this image;
while a re-print showed more art to the left.




Photobucket




       Altered Beast is one of the Sega Ages line being re-released on PlayStation Network. It was originally a game packaged with the Sega Genesis in 1989 (it was pre-dated by an Arcade game that same year). It was just released on PlayStation network on September 6, 2011.

       Altered Beast was the first Genesis game I ever played, and all I can remember about it is punching zombies, and the phrases, “Power Up” & “Rise From Your Grave.” So, is it still fun after all this time?

       The game starts off with you as a small man, who has just arisen from your grave to start beating up zombies and wolves. You won’t know why you are doing anything until you watch each cutscene and the plot unfolds.

       Your basic controls are to punch, kick, and jump. If you hold down while hitting the kick button, you will kick straight up into the air, which is an easier way to hit airborne enemies. Pressing down and attack only makes you punch while ducking. You can also jump half your body size, unless you hold up and jump, then you can jump nearly the entire screen to get up to a platform.

       Altered Beast plays on two different levels. There is always a lower level, but most of the time there is a platform up top for you to move in-between (or run away) from enemies. There is normally no deviation from this except in some platforming elements in a cave level.

       Your first objective is to collect white orbs that you must retrieve by punching white wolves. Once you collect your first orb, your chest explodes outward and rips your shirt apart. A 2nd orb does the same to more extreme (with your character’s head not changing, leading to a funny site). Collecting a 3rd orb transforms you into a Beast.

Photobucket
The white wolves actually flash white and red.




       There are five different beasts you transform into, each according to what level you are on.

Level 1: A Wolf that shoots fireballs and has a fire dash; your speed also increases.
Level 2: A Dragon that constantly flies. You shoot electricity from your mouth, and you have an electric charge attack that surrounds your entire body.
Level 3: A Bear that has a jump spin. The weakest of the 5 forms.
Level 4: A Tiger that shoots bouncing fireballs, and has a vertical dash.
Level 5: A Golden Wolf with the same abilities as the Level 1 Wolf.

       You normally want to become a beast as soon as possible, because being human sucks: You are slow, and the controls are stiff. Sometimes your controller takes a half second to respond to your input.

       Once you’ve encountered the Demon man for the 3rd time, he transforms into a boss. However, if you are already a Beast when you meet him for the 1st or 2nd time, the Boss fight will start early. If you are human when you reach him for the 3rd time, well, let’s just say you might want to pray. Once you have defeated the boss, you are turned back into your weakest form and must repeat the process.

Photobucket
These monsters get harder and harder, as you must be only a pixel
ahead of him to punch first. Usually, you will be hurt.




       New PlayStation Network Features:

1) You can see the controls and assign any button to any thing you want.
2) They also included a Smoothing option to make the old graphics look better.
3) A scoreboard exists to track the highest point totals.
4) You can play multi-player in your own house or online.
5) Trophies. Yes, there are trophies. They are all easy to get.
6) You can play the original difficulty settings of Easy, Normal, Hard, & Hardest with the original Genesis continue and life bar options, but you also customize your lives and continues for each difficulty option.
7) You can save your game at any time (like an emulator Save State) up to 3 times

Score Breakdown

       Story: 5 out of 10

You have been resurrected by Zeus to rescue Athena (though this is nowhere in game). The story is told in pictures through the graphics with no dialogue between levels.

       Challenge: 7 out of 10

Altered Beast is hard. If you want to try the hardest difficulty setting, you will be playing for a bit, but it is easy to learn the game and beat it in just a few playthroughs (you can also Save State Spam if that is your thing).

       Music: 3 out of 10

The points are for the phrases the people speak (a cool feature at the time), as I don’t remember a single song or even notice it’s there.

       Fun: 10 out of 20

The game can be fun, but it gets a little frustrating on many occasions due to the punching demon enemies that always seem to hit you first. Sometimes the white wolves are placed n the most annoying of locations.

       Controls: 5 out of 10

The controls are a little stiff when human, but they are an early Genesis game, so that should be taken into account. The controls get easier to manage when you are a beast.

       Graphics: 6 out of 10

The boss graphics are huge and take up a large portion of the screen while still looking good. However, most of the enemies keep getting re-used.

Photobucket
The bosses are really large and hard to dodge.




       Replay: 3 out of 10

Once you’ve played it, you might want to play it again on a harder mode, but once you’ve done that, that’s it. It was fun to replay a 2nd time, but after that you won’t want to.

       Extras: 5 out of 10

There are no extras to speak of on the original version, but due to the extra modes added to the Playstation Network, it gets half the needed points.

       Bonus Points:

       +3 Enjoyable Ending

Most games had pretty pathetic endings at this time, and Altered Beast has a fun ending, as after the credits, it will show the characters in the game taking off their monster costumes as if the game you just played was a movie.

       Total Score: 47 out of 90

Altered Beast can be a fun game, but it is a little frustrating at times. However, it is one of those games that can be fun to play as a guilty pleasure for half an hour.

Photobucket
You will never beat the game unless you read
the hints in the helpful, 3 page rulebook.




This review is also available at:
       VideoGameGeek / RetrowareTV / GameFAQS

So, just messing around with editing the opening and ending stories of Battletoads / Double Dragon. Enjoy.

BlipTV / YouTube / Facebook / Vimeo