Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Welcome to Die! The X-Men Arcade (PSN) Review

If you remember the late 80s and early 90s days of arcade games, you're likely spending quarter after quarter playing through the Konami beat-em-ups from Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons, and X-Men. The 1992 X-Men arcade game finally gets the downloadable treatment on Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network. The full game is back unchanged from its original version, but now with added HD filters, widescreen, and online play with up to six people. Just like previous old-school beat-em-ups that have been put out for download, the nostalgic mindset will kick in for a few hours, but after numerous sessions in a row, it will get old fast. Despite that, X-Men is still a good classic to run through every now and then with friends and multiple players online as it is worth the ten dollars.

Six X-Men are playable in this beat-em-up with Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Dazzler in their classic outfits (before the 90s Fox cartoon started) as each mutant has their own power they can bust out, but with limited quantity. Cyclops's optic blast and Storm's tornado are examples are those powers in use as these are useful when numerous enemies are around and you just want to clear them out quickly and efficiently. The premise of the game with Magneto and his evil brotherhood of mutants terrorizing the Earth as it is up to Professor X's X-Men to save the city and well the world in general. If you any other Konami beat-em-up, you know what you're going to get with this one as you mash the attack button taking out enemy Sentinels, bosses as the end of the level such as Juggernaut, and die a lot since the game loves to take your quarters back in the day. Fortunately, there are unlimited continues in this downloadable version both locally and online, so you can just breeze through the game in its entirety in less than a hour. With the online play though, I wished there was an option for a lives limit to increase the challenge and allow players to play with urgency like the downloadable release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1989 Arcade on Xbox Live. Even with unlimited continues, players tend to be reckless spamming away their mutant powers not worrying about their health, so most online games you'll jump in will play out like that. The performance of the online is good for the most part when at low ping, but of course things will get laggy pending with your connection and players dropping in and out at any time, which is also a nice feature. As a nice bonus in this downloadable release, you can the Japanese ROM of the game as it is significantly different from the US ROM with actual health and mutant power pick-ups. Basically, that version is pretty much the one to go with because it feels like the other Konami beat-em-ups even though with the US version without pickups, you had to play with more urgency.

Graphically, the game looks the same as the original arcade version, but now with HD filters and smoothing, which are fine. The health screens are new though with high resolution art, better looking meters, and showing off your account name when playing locally and online. At default settings, the game is widescreen with wallpaper considering how big the original arcade cabinet was having fit four to six players at a time, but you can stretch out the screen to full if that is your preference. The game also rarely slows down especially when chaos is ensuing on screen being filled with enemies, but online lag can be an issue at times maintaining that consistent framerate. As for the sound, the game's music and sound effects are pretty much identical from the original as well being slightly remastered for this release. The game's signature quotes remain the same since those were good memories especially Magneto's infamous "Welcome to Die!"

X-Men Arcade was a great Konami beat-em-up and still is today with this downloadable release. It is still fun to beat up Sentinels and other enemies here and there with multiple players locally and online. Of course, it will be boring doing it solo as there are not as much enemies on screen compared to multiplayer sessions. Online play that works fine pending lag issues, the Japanese ROM playable, and multiple difficulties that change the number of lives and mutant powers you have keep this game's replay value going for a bit. It is nice to have for short gaming sessions rather than playing it consecutively for a few hours as it will get old and repetitive fast. For ten dollars, X-Men is worth it if you want to be nostalgic again remembering how good the classic era of Konami beat-em-ups was.

Score = 7/10

  • Solid port of the arcade classic with no significant changes
  • Japanese ROM being playable is a nice touch and the better version to play
  • Six player local play is an awesome feature on PS3
  • Online play works fine for the most part pending lag and connection issues
  • Even though there are unlimited continues both locally and online, I wish there was an option for a lives limit especially online to increase the challenge allowing players to play with more urgency
  • As with the rest of the classic Konami beat-em-ups, it will get repetitive fast if playing for consecutive play sessions especially with those unlimited continues.

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