X2: Wolverine’s Revenge

May 13, 2003

Games that launch with movies have a history of being amazingly
average. Spiderman, Lord of the Rings, and Harry
quickly come to mind when I think of games that have
suffered this fate recently. There is nothing about these games
that really bothers you, but nothing that really stands out to you
either. This makes for a very bland gaming experience. Most of these
games are forgotten quickly and leave you with no lasting impact.
Will X2: Wolverine’s Revenge suffer the same fate as many
of its predecessors? The SB crew breaks this one down for you.

Insert Action Hero Here

I spent a good part of my day yesterday hanging out with The Wraith
over at EB Games. We discussed many things, from video games, to
The Matrix, to Pretzel’s susceptibility to panic attacks.
It was a good conversation. I made mention to him that I was currently
giving X2 a trial run. He pointed out to me that it was basically
the same game as Spiderman. I partly agree with him. It’s true that
they are both games that were probably rushed during development
to meet unrealistic deadlines. They are both third person action/
adventure games. They both rely on the popularity of the characters
to sell games rather than worry about graphics, game play, or story

How can you argue with the results though? Marvel characters =
game sales. It’s really a simple equation. If I had a say in a game
development company we would be cranking out super hero games. In
comparison with other games they don’t cost as much, don’t take
as long to develop, and sell like crazy. Even I will admit that
if some company released a game-featuring Gambit from the X-men
I’d buy it. I expect the upcoming Hulk game to be more of the same.

This strategy of swapping out graphics and changing the story reminds
me of what Nintendo games were like in 80’s. A successful game like
1942 would come out and would quickly be followed by a string
of games running off basically the same engine (i.e. GunSmoke).
I can’t say I blame the developers on this one. If the consumers
are going to continue to buy the same game over and over again why
would you quit repackaging it?

Left Shoulder Forward

X2’s graphics looked like they were slapped together from leftover
parts of a good game. While playing I get the feeling that the developers
saw something they liked in another game and just decided to throw
it in there. Several times throughout the game you will have to
trudge through the snow to get where you are going. Someone must
have liked the way that you left footprints in the snow in other
games, so they added it. Instead of footprints you leave some sort
of odd gray trench looking thing.

One of the most irritating examples of this is when your character
goes into sneak mode. It reminds me mostly of the “Aura Vision
Mode” in
Bloodrayne. During sneak mode everything on
your screen turns a tint of orange, everything except Wolverine
himself. Surrounding Wolverine during this mode is a thin line of
white pixels that make him look like he was cut-and-pasted there
using Photoshop. The most frustrating part of this whole “sneak
mode fiasco” is that Wolverine seems to be locked into this
strange walking stance where he leads with his left shoulder.

X2: Wolverine’s Revenge also features the return of the “Hyphen
bullet.” With all the technological advances and all the experience
of the game development industry one would think that you would
be able to come up with something to represent gunfire better than
hyphens. Orange tinted hyphens at that. The hyphen bullet is one
of those things that make my unforgivable sin list. It just shouldn’t
be done, ever, under any circumstances.

There are parts in the game where the graphics look pretty slick
and overall I wouldn’t call the graphics poor. As I said earlier,
it just looks slapped together. Some of the stealth kills and finishing
moves are very nice to look at, but after 50 times or so it gets
a little monotonous. I would say in the end that the graphics are
exactly what I would have expected from a game like this, nothing
too great, nothing too bad. Bland.

Less Hack, More Slash

I don’t know about you, but if someone hits me as hard as they
can in the chest with a butcher knife I do one of two things; 1)
fall to the ground screaming in pain, or 2) run for dear life and
hope to god I don’t bleed to death. Put “Get back up and try
to punch the guy still holding the knife” at the top of the
list of things I would not do. Amazingly enough the enemies in X2
are gluttons for punishment. Something deep in my heart tells me
that it shouldn’t take six slashes to kill each and every bad guy.
It’s not that they realize pose much of a threat, it’s just obnoxious.

The only thing that poses less of a threat than the enemy henchmen
are the actual bosses themselves. Even Sabretooth is cake to defeat.
I would spend more time worrying about falling off a cliff than
the ten enemies with guns who are standing there. This is yet another
part of the formula that is used when creating these super hero
games. “Make the game as easy as possible because all anyone
wants to do is see the story and super villains later in game. You’ll
find yourself with the controls mastered in five minutes or less
and you won’t have to do any thinking at any point in the rest of
the game. The only thing that could possibly inhibit you from beating
this game is the cocoon of boredom that you’ll quickly find yourself

Leave It On The Shelf

Don’t bother with this game. I’ll go ahead and tell you the two
best parts of this game. Patrick Stewart actually does the voice
of Professor X and you can unlock different costumes for Wolverine.
Of course you’ll soon realize that if you’re a fan of Wolverine
that you’ve seen all these costumes before and nothing new is really
going on.

It’s not that this is a bad game, but I promise that you’ve played
it before only it was called something else. Your time and money
will be much better spent watching the movie than playing the game.
Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that Enter The Matrix
doesn’t suffer the same end as many of its movie turned game predecessors.