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Raven Software
September 24, 2004

X-Men Legends

When Activision called us up wondering if we’d like to drive up to Santa Monica to check out some updated X-Men Legends gameplay, our answer was a simple “How can we say no?” If you’ve noticed on our site, we’ve been holding a huge X-Men Legends feature every week covering each character using Dojo-ite Morgan Stephenson’s background knowledge and excellent research methods. Offering this opportunity is sort of like offering us a batch of freshly baked cookies with extra chocolate chunks. We had a chance to sit down and get some hands-on time with the GameCube version for the first time. We checked out a few different levels that we haven’t played before, as well as all but one character that we haven’t seen at all in playable form, but Morgan has his theories. In any case, we’re ecstatic to let our readers know all about this game, so let’s cut straight to the chase. Read on and enjoy.



Before we get too far into our experience, let’s summarize just a little on what this game’s all about. X-Men Legends is really working on re-launching the X-Men license. It’s really that huge. Activision and Raven have an amazing writing team that have worked on the title called Man of Action, or Joe Casey, Steve Seagle, Duncan Rouleau and Joe Kelly as their secret aliases. As far as gameplay is concerned, we’re in for a treat. The player can control a team of four X-Men at any given time and switch between them in real-time at their leisure, even during combat if they so wish, using the D-Pad.

Combat in the game is important, seeing as how Action ties into one of the two phrases in the genre of Action RPG. There are two buttons that the player uses to deal out fisticuffs. One button is used for quick attacks while the other for strong. A combination of these buttons results in awesome combos that trip, throw, launch your opponent into the air and more. You can also pick up your enemies and toss them in any direction. Actually, why limit yourself to people when you can throw practically anything within the game world? That is, if you have a mutant powerful enough to. Also, what good would mutants be without their powers? You can use your powers at any time throughout combat or otherwise. More on that later.

The game’s story mode starts out with a news report, covering mutant-related violence. It then cuts to a breaking story regarding Alison Crestmere, recently discovered as a mutant and being taken away by an anti-mutant squad. Before she can be locked into an armored truck, the squad is broken apart by two members of the Brotherhood of Mutants: Blob and Mystique. However, Wolverine “cuts in” unexpectedly and fends off the two villains as much as he can. During the quick fight, Alison goes berserk and summons a massive amount of fiery magma, littering the street with fire and lava. While Wolverine gathers his bearings after being thrown through a window, the villainous duo take off with the girl. So begins the first level.

The introductory level takes place in central New York City and spans across Manhattan Island. We took control of Wolverine, and only Wolverine, through most of the level. This certainly isn’t a complaint since Logan obviously owns everything in his path. Starting out, we opened our translucent map and began exploring. As we made our way through the lava-filled destruction, we came across several members of the anti-mutant squad and Wolvie made short work of all of them. The combat is immediately fluid and action-packed. Combining his punches with his mutant dash attack power, nothing would seem to stop Wolverine. Soon, we were on our way to our first level-up.

Once a character gains enough experience points to level up, we’re able to play around with a couple of upgrade points. First off, we had one point to put into Wolverine’s attributes. To choose from were different types of powers such as Strike, Focus and more. Since Wolverine is all about fierce power, we selected Strike. We then went onto powers, which had a huge amount to choose from. After browsing through several offensive and defensive abilities, we decided to upgrade his Healing Factor, since that’s what makes him practically unstoppable. After playing around with a few other characters later in the game via leveling up, we were more than pleased with the sheer amount of customization.

After proceeding through part of the level, we found ourselves in Central Park where we saw our first glimpse of Pyro, who would be a fairly tough boss later on in the game. Pyro sets a few trees ablaze (surprise) in order to escape and keep the path clear of any pesky Wolverines. Making our way around the fire, we found a fire hydrant conveniently placed next to a billowing fire that blocked our path. With a swift smack and slash, the tank exploded, spraying water everywhere which quelled the out of control blaze. After making our way through the rest of the park by smashing through a few walls to gain access to some water work passages, we found Mystique who would be our first boss battle. She provides a nice challenge as she’ll send out Brotherhood minions towards you before attacking you herself. Watching her morph into different characters is a cool effect, but after easily defeating her we moved on quickly. No time for lollygagging.

After moving on, we ran across Cyclops who then joined up in our two-mutant party. That’s when the cooperative fun can begin throughout the story mode. With two players, or up to four in the next level, the action gets more intense and the fun factor practically triples. As we made our way through East Manhattan, we ran into Blob, the first physically resistant character in the game. Since he’s physically resistant, Wolverine’s claws have practically no effect. Only Cyclops’ optic beam can really do enough harm to defeat him. Once he fell, we were able to pick up some unlockable comic book covers and danger room discs. The comic books upgrade certain characters’ skills while the danger room discs… well, we’ll have more on that later. The first mission is complete and we’re able to see even more of the game in action.

After checking out Xavier’s Institute and saying hello to Forge, who not only supplies the X-Men with any equipment they may need, but is also voiced by Lou Diamond Phillips. Speaking of which, Patrick Stewart reprises his role as Professor X. We then moved onto our first mission at the HAARP facility. This is the demo we played at Comic Con for hours on end and Morgan was physically removed from the station at the end of the day. Here, we fought several members of HAARP security as well as the Brotherhood. Later, you’ll fight a tank as well as Pyro, who we met earlier in the game.

We then moved onto one of the game’s flashback sequences, wherein Juggernaut crashes through the X Mansion to find his little brother Xavier. Members of the original X-Men, Cyclops, Jean, Iceman, and Beast, were clad in their original costumes, which was a cool added effect for fans. Jean is pretty much useless in the fight with Juggs, but after his helmet flies off, she’s able to use her telekinesis abilities to a greater extent. This is definitely one of the more promising and entertaining levels we were able to check out.

Moving on, we checked out a Nuke Plant with several new mutants in our party. Teaming up Beast, Magma, Jubilee and Nightcrawler, we made our way through a dangerous mission in Act II. There was a lot of action and we were able to check out the ultra-super mutant powers, especially Magma’s. Magma summons a volcanic eruption, which pretty much destroys anything and everything around her. It’s an amazing feature and we played around with a few others, but none were as cool as hers.

Finally, we skipped over to Act III, the final act in the game. In the middle, we were allowed to explore the Hive, where Sentinels are created. Before entering the Hive, however, there was a lot of tankage. Fortunately, we had Colossus, Wolverine, Beast, and Gambit with us, so that was hardly a problem. However, we noticed that several enemies were physically resistant, so before everyone was brutally killed, we had to return to the Xtraction point to select a couple of mental fighters. Emma Frost was an immediate first choice followed by Psylocke. While Colossus and Wolvie made short work of the tanks, Emma and Psylocke brutally murdered the rest of the ground troops. Upon entering the facility, Wolverine proceeded to destroy anything that was in his way, including Sentinel machinery. Later on into the game, we ran into a production room where we bumped into several unfinished Sentinels. Even though they had missing limbs, they still walloped us pretty good.

Before taking off, we made sure to get enough time into the Danger Room, since it was something we hadn’t seen ever. In the Danger Room mode, you’ll be able to test your skills and pass different exams in order to prove your worth. There are six different settings that will be available throughout the game, although we were only able to check out Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior. The others, Senior, X-Man, and Legend, can probably only be unlocked later into the game. At least that’s our assumption. The different tests range from easy to difficult, pitting you against a few boxes, a few enemies or dozens of enemies. After completing a Qualifying Exam, you’ll be able to start working on the next level of challenges. In order to open up new tests, you can find Danger Room discs scattered throughout each level and also purchase the discs from a Healer you’ll meet later in the game.

As you can tell, there’s a ton of stuff involved in making X-Men Legends what it truly is. In fact, we’ve hardly scratched the surface. There’s tons of unlockable content including enemy bios and even a trivia game that hardcore X-Men fans will enjoy. Don’t go into it assuming that all of the questions will be “What is Wolverine’s real name?” because there are some rather obscure questions like “What’s the address of the X-Mansion?” and “Why can’t Cyclops control his powers?” If you answered those correctly, don’t worry. We couldn’t even remember some of the questions; they baffled our minds so much. After about four hours of playtime, we had to call it a day and go home. We tried to steal Activision’s NR Reader and a build of the game, but they caught us. Thankfully, we were able to pin it on PlanetGameCube’s Content Editor, Daniel Bloodworth. Activision thanked us for apprehending the culprit and we slinked out the door. Unfortunately, our hands were empty and the next time we’ll see the game is when it’s finished.

word on the street

Multiplayer. X-Men Legends seems to be one of the best examples of a great cooperative multiplayer experience. If anything, it brings back the old memories of playing Gauntlet II on the NES for hours on end, only years later you’re playing as the X-Men. How freaking cool is that? Comic book fans are going crazy about this game as well. In fact, I was able to talk with someone from regarding the game and he thought that it was top notch material. Seeing as how Activision has been on a roll lately with the release of Spider-Man 2 earlier in the summer, it would be no surprise if the game captures the thumbs of comic-book gamers everywhere as well as casual gamers.

press release notes

  • Immersive Epic Story - Inspired by the "Ultimate" X-Men series and penned by former X-Men writers, X-Men Legends draws players into an original cliffhanger storyline full of plot twists and intrigue. The rich story continues through more than 35 fully rendered cinematic sequences, supporting vast playable worlds and explorable environments that thrust players into the life-or-death crossroads for humankind.
  • Vast Selection and Customization Options - Players recruit their team from more than a dozen favorite X-Men characters to embark on each new mission, as they learn and build-up special superpowers unique to each character. The action continues as gamers strengthen their team by upgrading character attributes, enhancing their fighting abilities and learning new moves. Fans can even find new equipment to increase mutant skills and unlock new characters, costumes and other hidden treasures throughout the epic struggle.
  • Superhero Action with 4-character Real-Time Control - The action in X-Men Legends is fierce as players not only build their team of four powerful X-Men for each mission, but also are able to switch instantly between team members as duty calls in the heat of the battle. Players can easily command allies and teammates to assist in combat as well as use each X-Men's unique superpowers to solve puzzles, overcome obstacles and confront enemies. Special moves and super powers can even be combined to increase enemy damage and gain more experience. With destructible 3-D environments, X-Men Legends' players experience the full power of the X-Men as they feel the effects and see the aftermath of superhero battles.
  • Multiplayer Story and Skirmish Modes - Players can battle the Brotherhood of Mutants and confront evil-doers alone or team up with a friend to experience the epic journey in 2-player co-operative mode, where each player controls two mutants to make a powerful X-Men squad. With Dynamic Joining, a partner can jump into the action at any time. X-Men Legends features several other multiplayer modes as well, including Skirmish mode, where players can import their single player characters and attributes for head-to-head combat versus action for up to four players, or in side-by-side battles against all enemies.


X-Men Legends is turning out to be an excellent Action-RPG with lots of unique features and amazing visuals. When it was time to pack up and say goodbye, they asked me if we had enough time to spend with the game. Thinking back to our hours spent at the Activision booth at E3 as well as the San Diego Comic Con, I could only say “Never enough time.” However, once the game is available, we’ll have plenty of time to wear our fingers down to the bone on this title. Stay tuned for more and more coverage on X-Men Legends in our weekly updates. We’ll also have an interview on the title up soon, so if this preview isn’t enough for you, catch up with us here on Nintendojo.

Staff Avatar Austin Starr
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"If life's not beautiful without the pain / well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again"

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