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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

GenePool

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q2 2003

 

 

- Pretty good comic book adaptation

- Mark Hamill’s a good Wolverine

- Some cool stealth/strike moves

 

 

- Just so-so control making combat practice necessary

- Some aggravating limitations during combat

- Vanilla enemies get repetitive

 

 

Review: Spiderman - The Movie (XB)

Review: Blade II (XB)

 

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Wolverine’s Revenge

Score: 6.5 / 10

In Canada’s Almanac, Wolverine is listed as Canada’s official comic book character.  In 1992, McGill awarded him an honorary doctorate.  People on the streets of Edmonton, even if they’re fuzzy on the whole comic book scene, will be able to tell you the name of the guy with an adamantium skeleton and heavy sideburns.

 

x2 xmen wolverine's revenge xbox review          x2 xmen wolverine's revenge xbox review

 

Yep, I made all that up (just in case you went running to find a Canadian Almanac to verify my claim) to illustrate how much I like Wolverine as a character.  Even so, I tried approaching Wolverine’s Revenge (WR) as evenly as possible.

 

Even a fan like me can’t help but term the control a bit problematic.  If you played last year’s Spiderman: The Movie, it feels relatively similar to that game, but WR has a much calmer camera.  The problems crop up in combat situations, which is to say, all the time.  Wolverine can dish out all sorts of damage with and without his adamantium claws, but getting used to executing the moves is a challenge in itself.  I like to think I’m no slouch when it comes to third-person action games but it took me a significant amount of time to come to grips with the way Wolverine moves.  Some of this is attributable to the number of different moves Wolvie has at his disposal.

 

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Spiderman has far more moves than Wolverine, but Wolverine can enter a heightened awareness that allows him to spot invisible lasers and track enemies by scent or heat traces.  But he wouldn’t be Wolverine without uncontrollable rage.  Taking down enemies boosts his rage meter – max it out and he can deal out even more damage.  He can drop to all fours in his version of “stealth mode” which allows him to make sneaky kills much more easily.  He also has a variety of simple 

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button-mashing combos that help to deal with large crowds. (Or try hoisting up an enemy and bowling.)  The most spectacular moves are doled out when Wolverine gets the go-ahead to “STRIKE!” which produces a variety of acrobatic and damaging results.

 

However, all this is not without problems.  When using heightened awareness, you can’t jump or attack (except for strikes).  When the rage meter maxes out you enter into a feral rage.  You can’t store it for a time when you really need it.  What happened to me most often is that the rage meter activated right after I cleared a room of enemy targets.  (Granted, it can be activated manually.)  Only during the periods of rage does Wolverine match what I imagine his speed would normally be during combat.  He seems to punch and kick too slowly in his regular state.

 

On the upside, WR manages to make Wolverine true to his comic book self.  A big problem I had with Spiderman: The Movie was the fact you had to grab web fluid icons to maintain web levels.  This was a huge difference between the game and the movie, where Parker mutated slightly to just shoot webs instead of having to make web fluid.  WR has no such problems.  Wolverine’s healing factor is in full force.  After taking a lot of damage in a fight you can just stand around until he’s all healed.  Of course, this method means a lot of standing around.  There are health vials to collect that provide an instant hit of health – these are actually necessary in certain situations when he takes so much damage his healing factor can’t keep up.  And the ever-important “snikt” of the retractable claws has been absolutely nailed.

 

x2 xmen wolverine's revenge xbox review          x2 xmen wolverine's revenge xbox review

 

Of course, I got this far without mentioning anything about WR’s story and for good reason.  It’s in the periphery at the best of times – the action is front and center.  The game picks up just as Wolverine is making his escape from Department H’s Weapon X facility, and moves to present day when Beast breaks the news to Wolverine that a deadly virus is about to overcome his mutant healing factor.  In 48 hours he could be dead.  This propels him back to the Weapon X facility in a bid to find a cure.  In turn, this puts him in harms way of Magneto, Juggernaut and Lady Deathstrike among other baddies.  But like I said, it’s light on story.

 

The graphics are pretty sharp and the heightened senses mode is cool, but taking on the 300th nameless soldier doesn’t mean much variety.  The animation is good and the environments are well designed for the most part.  There’s not much in the replay department unless you want to find all the extras, which include comic book covers that allow Wolverine to don some classic togs, which are perfectly translated.  The sound is good too.  Mark Hamill proves to be one of the most versatile voice-actors around – he’s a great Wolverine.  And as Patrick Stewart is one of Activision’s contract people, he throws his voice behind Professor X. (I’m sure he has a parking spot in the Activision parking lot.)

 

In the final analysis, Wolverine’s Revenge manages to be an average action game but a great translation of Wolverine in his first starring game on this generation of consoles.  For that alone it’s probably worth a look.

 

- Omni

(May 10, 2003)

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