Review: X-Men Arcade
Welcome to die, ladies and gentlemen. Before starting, let me preface this review by writing that the X-Men 6-player arcade machine holds a special place in my heart. More than even the Simpsons arcade cabinet, X-Men had the ability to tractor beam my brothers and me in anytime we visited an arcade. Throughout the years, favorite characters arose (Wolverine), countless quarters were eaten, and the game was only completed once or twice. Now that X-Men Arcade has landed on the PSN, I can say that I’ve beaten the game about six times, on the hardest difficulty and the most Japanese version. This is for the good and for the bad. I wouldn’t say it’s for the ugly, but I couldn’t resist tossing this sentence in here.
After navigating through a few sleek menus, the game will be familiar to anyone who’s played it before. This is because it is, for the most part, unaltered by the developer. X-Men is a co-op beat-em-up, a genre that has blown up on the PSN this year. Any combination of six online or offline buddies can join the fray as one of six mutants: Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Cyclops, Colossus, Storm, and the flirtatious dive bar singer Dazzler. The only noticeable graphical changes are the updated character avatars at the top of the screen and the ability to apply pixel smoothing from the options menu. You can opt to play without smoothing or avatars, so there’s no foul here. The major problem with the game comes in the form of its brevity.
The drop-in online/offline co-op is great, but the experience is cut short by the fact that the game takes little more than 20 minutes to complete. I beat it five times within the first couple of days of its release. Even on the hardest difficulty, there’s nothing holding you back from spamming your mutant powers to clear the screen or stun lock a boss. Deaths during playthrough are recorded on the leaderboards, but besides for that there’s no consequence for dying and continuing. The fact that you’re not scrambling over quarters or surviving on your last dollar takes a fair amount of the sense of urgency out of the game.
That being said, I still enjoyed X-Men Arcade quite a bit. The cutscenes and voiceacting have been left untouched, which means the hilarious verbal slips and Pokemon-like bosses (WENDIGOOO… WENDIGOOOO… WENDIGOOOOOOO!) are still in tact. Unlike the train wreck which was Turtles in Time: Re-shelled, X-men Arcade is an example of what a coin-op beat-em-up should play like on a home console. The ability to change between the US and Japanese cabinets is nice, as is the ability to switch difficulty settings. Besides for that, it doesn’t bring a whole lot to the table, which is fine. From your couch it’s the closest your going to get to the arcade spell (and smell!) of pizza, soda, sticky carpet floors, and blaring DDR machines. If your pursuit of nostalgia is as potent as mine, you won’t regret purchasing this game.
For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- Nostalgic beat-em-up action
- Drop-in hybrid local/online co-op
- Different cabinets and difficulty settings
What I Dislike:
- It's about 23 minutes long
- No quarters = no consequences