7.0 / 10
X-Men license fared very well in the 2D fighting game genre due in large
part to the development brilliance by the kings of the 2D fighting game,
Capcom. 3D X-Men fighters havenít been nearly as good. The newest
X-men 3D fighting game title, the multi-platform X-Men: Next Dimension (XND)
attempts to again make synonymous the X-Men and a quality fighting game.
But unfortunately, due to the utter frustrating lack of responsive
fighting game controls. If XND attended the Mutant Academy it would
barely get a passing grade. The gaming world must still sit impatiently
twiddling its button-pushing thumbs waiting for a good 3D X-Men fighter.
fighting game on the Xbox has to live up to the high standards of the
best playing and looking Xbox fighting game to date, Dead or Alive 3
(DOA3). While XND doesnít come up too short of DOA3ís measuring
stick for aesthetic value, it falls by the wayside (the way
ďway-over-thereĒ side) of coming anywhere near the sensational
playability of Tecmoís fighting masterpiece. The seamless and
responsive control scheme found in DOA3 just cannot be found in XND.
Heck, it doesnít even have the control ease of another Xbox fighter, the inferior Kakuto Chojin, which doesnít have a lot of XNDís features but controls much better. It isnít that there isnít a boatload of moves available for XND either. There are plenty of specialty moves assigned to each fighting character. But having plenty of moves mapped to the controller and getting them to respond to your desired actions is a different story. There is a definite sluggish feel to XNDís controls, so much so that youíll never have any level of comfort that the move you are tapping on the controller will be performed against your opponent. Itís the single-most reason that I cannot give this game a higher rating.
If you bought this game for your kids, then you might be old enough to remember the old-school arcade game Frogger. Even if youíre not that ancient, you may have seen the new Frogger games from the past few years. Whatever Frogger game youíre familiar with, Zapper plays basically the same way, but replaces a frog with a cricket jumping around.
Surprisingly, the controls used to manipulate a leaping cricket through the various levels are easy enough to learn
only other shortcoming that the game has is a ďhuh?Ē story mode that
doesnít quite work because of nonsensical fight match-ups that the
mode places you in. The plot of the story mode has Professor Xís X-Men
joining forces with Magnetoís Brotherhood of Mutants to battle
Bastionís Sentinel army intent on eliminating all mutantkind. Okay, as
an X-Men fan, I can buy into that storyline. But if that is the case,
why does the game set up fights between supposed allies and even between
the X-Men themselves? Just doesnít add up. One good touch in the story
mode is the voice acting, led by Patrick Stewart, who lends his vocal
chords here for the role he portrays in the movie version of the X-Men,
are a few other modes, as would be expected, if you donít want to try
to figure out the logic of the story mode. An arcade, versus, survival,
and practice mode all make a welcome appearance.
does have some redeeming qualities that make it worthy of purchase
consideration if you are an X-Men fan. To start with, the game looks
good. The characters are detailed to the X-treme. Odds are, if you have
a favorite X-Men (or evil mutant, if you lean that way) youíll find
him or her in XNDís roster. Magneto, Rogue, Storm, Nightcrawler,
Beast, Juggernaut, Forge, and my personal favorite, Wolverine, are here,
among others. XND is the best looking videogame portrayal of the X-Men.
It does seem to go a little overboard when it comes to the Marvel
Universeís super heroines and villianesses, though, who are a tad too
breast-endowed here. Even worse is some of the rather skimpy attire
hardly covering their bare essentials. (How can Storm possibly fight
well with that thong? Isnít she worried about wedgies?
go along with the fine-looking characters are the detailed fighting
arenas, which are interactively breakable and in some instances
multi-tiered. The best one is the Mutant Academy mansion, which starts
out inside, but a few well-placed hits to you or your opponent and the
fight can gradually be taken outside. And lastly, while I didnít like
the controls of the game, at least XND gives you a good challenge with
its artificial intelligence. You wonít be able to just use one move to
make your way through opponent after opponent. Opponents could
potentially require a whole different fighting approach if you want any
chance to defeat them. To a certain extent, having a sweat-inducing
challenge from the gameís AI compensates for having to deal with weak
overall control schematics.
not as impressive as other Xbox fighters, the Marvel Universe comic book
heroes and villains certainly look the best they ever have in videogame
form in XND. The AI challenge pushes even the best gamers too. But the
gameís good looks and taxing challenge level cannot help overcome the
difficult fighting controls that made playing not very much fun at all.
In fact, the controls absolutely ruin the XND experience. Even fighting
game veterans will be reduced to button mashing mayhem. If this gameís
controls could have came anywhere near the responsive wonderfulness of
DOA3, this could have been a a great addition to the Xbox fighting game
genre. As it is, only the most rabid of X-Men fans might want to
consider picking up.
(January 2, 2003)
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