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Wolverine: Adamantium Rage (Super Nintendo Cover)

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Wolverine: Adamantium Rage (Super Nintendo Back Cover)

      Another superhero video game. Now, Wolverine: Adamantium Rage was released on the Super Nintendo. On previous Super Nintendo outings he teamed up with Spider-Man in Arcade’s Revenge, then the X-Men in their game, and now he finally gets a game all to himself. However, what occurred was an absolutely horrible game that is largely unplayable. Which is really sad, because all the elements of a good game are clearly here.

      I will only be reviewing the Super Nintendo version; I won’t be comparing it to the Genesis version, which is a different game entirely and made by a different studio. Bits Studios (responsible for the awful Spider-Man 2 & 3 Game Boy titles) made the Super Nintendo version, whereas Teeny Weeny Games made the Genesis version.

      You are Wolverine. You are breaking into Xavier’s computers when you find there is a message directly sent to you. How did this happen? Who cares. It’s time to go to Canada and cut people up. Wolverine: Adamantium Rage is a very unusual beast. Just look at the controls page in the Instruction Manuel.

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      Did you see that? Please tell you noticed it, too. Wolverine has around 20 different moves. You would think this would make for a very entertaining game. Well, let’s describe the moves in theory anyway before worrying about the execution.

      Next, let’s look a Super Nintendo controller. You will need to see this to understand just how the controls on this game work.

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The 2 buttons at the top are ‘L’ and ‘R’.

      Ok, now here is the gist of it. Ignore the “Crouch and Slash” (Box #4), as I never did it. You can punch, good for trapping people against a wall so they can’t attack back, but mostly for punching in close combat rather than using the claws (yes, I just said that about Wolverine, who is famous for his claws). Ignore the Throw A Backhand (Box #6), because you really aren’t going to try and punch behind you; enemies move too quickly to switch your brain to use your other hand to be able to use that (plus they will run through it due to the awful hit detection explained later).

      You can Kick by pressing Y, but look at “Throw A Front Kick” (Box #10). You have to hit Y, then hit Up afterward. That could not be more awkward. Nothing is ever stationary for this to work. “Attach To A Wall” (Box #11) sound complicated, but it’s just jumping with the B button, then selecting X to stick to the wall. To jump to the adjacent wall, hit jump (B), and Wolverine automatically jumps to the wall and attaches himself to it. Be Warned: Hit anything else and Wolverine falls, and you aren’t allowed to control anything or try to stick to the wall again on the way down. So basically, it’s annoying is what I’m trying to say.

      “Forward Dive” (Box #12) is the Up button. Why? You jump forward. Is this for avoiding close combat situations? You accidentally hit this button all the time trying to do other moves and it will sometimes throw yourself off a cliff. Luckily there are no platforming segments that lead to instant death (most of the time). “Slash With Claws” (Box #15) is the R button, and what you will be using the most. It’s the most effective weapon. “Claw Uppercut” (Box #17) says you must first crouch by selecting Down, then hit A. This is useful for flying enemies that are too high to attack. To attack people in the air, you have to press ‘Down’, then press ‘B’ to jump while still holding the Down button. Wolverine will jump upwards, and you must hit ‘X’ as you jump in the air to strike with your claws. However, it has to be very precise. Since only the tips of your claws do damage once they are fully extended (read that again to see how broken the controls are), it will look like your claws and body went right through an enemy and no damage will occur. You end up waiting for the bad guy to fly higher so you can actually hurt him, while trying not to get hit from his fireballs.

      Now read the bottom text of the moves page; there are even more moves than present. The 1st special move is done by pressing R and A. It looks like a normal backhand punch, but then the punch swings forward. You can even do it while running. And though you can hit people close to you, good luck hitting them after they’ve already hit you, because once you are hit, your attack animation is halted and you don’t follow through with the move. This is the slowest move in the game, so you’re not ever going to use it. The 2nd special move involves crouching first, then selecting X, and then selecting A right after. You must hit X first, otherwise he just punches someone. If done correctly, you will stand up and hold both hands outward with your claws extended. This is intended to hit enemies to the left and right of you. I can’t mention this anymore without telling you that it doesn’t work. I tried this ability many times, and often, enemies just causally walk through your claws because of how poorly designed the hit detection is. This secret attack actually becomes essential on Lady Deathstrike. There is an open electrical wire, and if you perform this 2nd special move on it, you will have electricity all over your body for 2 seconds. Lady Deathstrike will lose 15% of her health if she runs into you. If you attack her normally, every attack only does 1% damage.

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Oh my god, guys, I actually made a direct attack. I might actually have a chance. *dies*

      This is the real problem of the game; hit detection. Seriously, the massive list of moves and the inventive idea with electricity on Wolverine’s claws is a good idea, but they all fail because of the hit detection. YOU HAVE TO HIT THE ENEMY AT THEIR FIRST WALL OF PIXELS ON THEIR BODY WITH YOUR FIRST PIXEL ON YOUR CLAW/PUNCH/KICK. Even then, you only hit them with your attack ONCE YOUR ATTACK ANIMATION IS COMPLETE. If an enemy is already walking toward you and walks past the tip of your claws in the middle of your attack, he will take no damage, because the tip of the claws only damage him when they are fully extended. And now the enemy is right beside you and can attack. This…this is a major problem.

      The other, significantly major problem is attacking people already running inside you. When an enemy and you share the same space, neither of you hurt each other with your bodies. However, your attack will never hurt them, AT ALL. I’m not joking. You have to run away from them, turn around, hope they didn’t follow you, and then attack, but only if they are far enough away. You can try to run, turn around, run, then jump kick, but this isn’t how a game should be played for every enemy, and you will still miss because your flying kick must be pixel specific on a moving target. Does that sound like fun? Also, you run too fast and the screen jerks too quickly to follow you when doing so, making it hard to time your return attacks because you have to attack BEFORE the enemy appears on screen in most instances.

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Darn it. Now that I missed he’ll start runing back and forth in my character model shooting at me,
reducing my health, while I have to run away, turn around,
and wait to predict his movements so that I can strike at just the right time.

      Also, due to the poor hit detection, your regular fists are better than using your claw in some instances. You can punch a ninja to death by trapping him in a corner. But, if you try the claws, they often fail to hit and just make you get attacked. Your regular punch should not be better than your claws. You are Wolverine!

      And yes, cheat I did. After failing about 10 times on the 2nd level where you fight Tri-Fusion, I had to use a password. You have to fight 3 bosses at once, with no chance to heal. And each boss has completely different attacks, and they randomly teleport and exchange places with each other constantly. The worst is that the hit detection is poor here, you are always hit by an unblockable 4-armed swordsman, and the giant has a ground pound which is impossible to time to jump over. In Level 3, I failed to defeat Lady Deathstrike before the time limit. I was making my special move to extend my claws toward electricity to hurt her (as stated above), but Lady Deathstrike will come toward you, shoot her hand at you, and stop your attack. It is very rare that she will run right into you. And when she attacks, she deals you a lot of damage. You can hide on the top floor to heal, but that wastes time and just brings Elsie Dee, who kills you instantly and gives you a game over. Also, you have to be extremely precise because of the hit detection I mentioned before. If Wolverine becomes electricity and Lady Deathstrike runs through your claws before they stop extending, she runs right up to you and attacks you. So, good luck.

      On yeah, did I forget to mention the time limit? You have half an hour to get through each stage, (through there is 1 instance where you start a bomb and have to get out quickly independent of this). Also, every time you die, the timer keeps going. Unfairly, the timer is hidden, so you never know how long you have. I had to look up on the internet (not the manual) to find out that it is 30 minutes for each level. So if you die a lot and finally get to the boss, you might find a small girl in red clothing flying toward you (you only get a 15 second warning before she appears). But, because of how awkward the controls are, you won’t avoid her. She touches you and and it’s an instant Game Over, regardless of how many lives you have left.

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The worst level is the maze level, with multiple flipping doors where the switches are hidden throughout the level, and each door flips to make you travel horizontal or vertical onto a different path; leading to a headache of a level when you have a time limit.

      I only played through the rest of the game on a Game Genie. I gave myself infinite health, but the time limit remained. I still died 3 times this way before beating this game.

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      Story: 2 out of 10

It tries at a story, but it’s really just a cutscene that leads to the next boss, who is behind an entire level to get to, who leads to a next boss that was controlling them. You start off in Weapon X fighting robots. You go to Japan to fight ninjas (The Hand). You do into a drug-induced hallucination to fight supernatural things like a dragon. You fight mercenaries on a roof in Toyko. You go to the Hellfire Club. You end in a sewer as the final two levels. Yes, a sewer level.

Why does Shinobi Shaw have a Data file, but he isn’t a boss you can battle? You never find out why he wants to kill Wolverine (or why the mystery boss wants to kill Wolverine, either). Shaw points at you for Fugue to attack you, and she is the boss in the next level, too. Why isn’t Shaw the next boss? His variety would have helped, but then no one most likely made it this far without cheating. Also, it’s weird that the plot seemed to be Shaw planned everything, only for the big reveal to say it was The Great Beast (the leader of The Hand) for a giant Deus Ex Machina boss fight.

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Sebastion Shaw; he gets a Data File despite only appearing once to command Plague to attack you.

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The final boss, The Great Beast, leader of The Hand. He felt easy, but then I was cheating.

      Music: 3 out of 10

The opening theme is actually really catchy. I tend to like it, and it gets stuck in your head. However, the rest of the game is weird synth music that isn’t memorable and feels out of place for the game. It’s really upbeat for a game about killing everyone in your path.

      Graphics: 6 out of 10

The graphics are one of the only high points of the game. The variety of the backgrounds in the levels is really well done, and they all have a distinct look. Enemies change from level to level, and most bosses all have interesting looks and abilities. However, nothing really stands out.

      Challenge: N/A

The game is hard, but not on purpose. If the hit detection worked, you’d have a huge challenge incorporating all these fighting move into the game and it would be fun and challenging, with only occasionally awkward controls. However, since the game is always awkward and hit detection is broken beyond belief, I can’t even give it a worthwhile consideration of points.

      Fun: 5 out of 20

Ok, it might not seem like it, but I had fun the first 2 hours. However, as I went on, I got frustrated at boss after boss and angry at the controls. Later, when I used Game Genie, it was only fun half the time because the hallucination level that contained monsters had enemies that took forever to kill. You end up repeating the same patterns over and over with them.

      Replay Value: 2 out of 10

It would be fun to play again with a Game Genie in the far, far future, but otherwise I’d never play it again the way it’s normally supposed to be played. It’s cool to place on my shelf and look at, but mainly serves as a game for me to warn others against playing.

      Extras: 4 out of 10

I gave it 2 points for the Character Profiles, and 2 for the password system. You can look up the info for all the villains in the game. Now, I was a reader of X-Men, but I didn’t recognize any of these villains except Lady Deathstrike (I thought Shinobi Shaw was Sebastian Shaw at first). Maybe this was a 90’s thing, but I read X-Men in the 90s and watched the cartoon, and I still recognized no one, so I suspect that most of the characters are from Wolverine’s actual solo series.

      Bonus Points

+5 Points – Trickery

The game really sets you up for thinking you are going to play a good game. You see this list of moves, character lists of all the bosses who are from the comics, the manual was really well presented for fans, and you are also introduced to that cool opening Wolverine song that gets you ready for the cool game you think you are about to play. So, it deserves some credit for it’s preparation, even if the execution never worked.

Final Points: 24 out of 80

I don’t know what else to say. I actually enjoyed playing the first level, but all enjoyment was destroyed by the 2nd level boss (actually 3 bosses) which were nearly impossible. Yes, I was enjoying what was a horrible game because it takes a really bad game for me to realize it’s a bad game. I was giving this game more of a chance than most because I usually enjoy everything, and then it came to a screeching halt. I wanted to like this game. There is obviously lots here that should work. If you removed that stupid jump-the-way-I’m-facing jump Wolverine does when you hit the Up button, and actually made it so that you could hit enemies anywhere on their body, and could hit them during the animation movements, the game would actually be fun. I wonder if someone good at hacking roms could do this?

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Spoiler: Wolverine returns to the mansion thinking he’s about to be attacked,
but it’s really a Welcome Home Party. Check out Bishop’s crazy face

Yes, it’s time for something popular from my memories, but a little different than most people do it (since there are most likely millions of reviews of this show on the internet). In this episode, I spend a lot of time going over Morph’s character arc on the series, as well as describing his comic book origins; as Morph was my favorite character. I also go over the DVD release, and how they don’t show what I remember of them because I grew up with the episode premiere that was full of errors. Also see the original TV Pilot “Pryde of the X-Men” and it’s arcade game. There’s a quick look at episodes I remember and spin-offs that were done (comics based on cartoons based on comics, for example), and even information about the air dates versus the story order.

YouTube / BlipTV / Vimeo

Murphy’s Media Memories – X-MEN TAS: Morphy’s Character Arc + More from Shawn Padraic Murphy on Vimeo.

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X-Men Arcade Cabinet (6 Player)

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X-Men Arcade Start Screen

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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      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

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“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

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Shawn