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Electronic Arts
October 2005

Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects

Marvel’s been out of the fighting arena for a few years. The X-Men went a few rounds in Mutant Academy and Next Dimension, but nobody else has seen much action besides Marvel’s Mighty Mutants. This October, several of Marvel’s heroes, including the seasoned Wolverine and Storm, are heading right back into the ring for a few rounds against EA’s band of villains called the Imperfects.


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Full 3D fighters require a lot of refining to reach perfection. A hugely in-depth, balanced system coupled with well-designed, non-intrusive levels is necessary to achieve harmony in such a complicated environment. 2D fighting on a “blue screen” as Dan Ayoub, the Producer, calls it is much easier to execute as control is relegated solely to performing moves and not to navigating the environment. However, EA has taken the plunge in an attempt to move characters away from the “blue screen” and into a fully interactive 3D environment with Marvel Nemesis.

Marvel Nemesis boasts a wide variety of Marvel characters. Venom, Elektra, Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Iron Man are just a few of the many already confirmed characters. Besides the main line-up, some extra characters are rumored to be hidden as surprises. The Imperfects, created by EA with help from Marvel, are a mixed bag—-some are impressive like the (literally) one-man-army Brigade, and some are on the cheesy side like Johnny Ohm. Other Imperfects are copy cats, such as Solara, who is reminiscent of the Human Torch. The Imperfects lack the background of the Marvel characters, and thus the appreciation of the fans, which may prove difficult for EA to overcome.

The control scheme is fairly basic—not as deep as Soul Calibur or Power Stone, but it should lend itself to casual fans, and hardcore fighting buffs may derive some entertainment from the impressive moves executed by easily mastered controls. However, a lot of work needs to be done before its October release date. The characters feel loose and inaccurate as they roam around the environments. Throwing items is sometimes futile at long range and often not very useful, and, at close range, can be abused to pin down an opponent for an easy defeat. Both situations are problematic and should be addressed.

The powers are portrayed accurately and feel forceful when executed. Spider-Man can swing around and perform aerial maneuvers as he should. Iron Man’s repulsor rays look impressive and feel like they pack a punch. Elektra’s dances around and flips her sais with dexterity, which is particularly impressive as the character is on high heels. Venom is strong and can swing around like Spider-Man. Some characters are less impressive such as Johnny Ohm, whose powers look alright on screen, but the character’s cheesy phrases and bland look detract from the fun of playing as him. The Marvel characters clearly stand out as the most entertaining.

The visuals are impressive thus far with, as EA has been claiming, fully destructible environments. Everything explodes and shatters, adding to the feeling of mayhem already created by the flashy powers. All objects can be picked up if the character is strong enough. Iron Man was able to lift a truck and fly into the air with it, which looks cool and adds to the entertainment value.

Audio is neither here nor there. Voice acting can be over the top such as Johnny Ohm’s incredibly original battle cry: “Heeeeeeeere’s Johnny!” The voice talent did a decent job with Wolverine and Venom. Spider-Man is lacking enough sarcasm and sounds too serious and over-confident. Overall, there’s nothing too impressive, there are no well-known voices, and the ambient audio is standard.

I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with “Story Mode” or the other various options, but what I saw looked fun. Most of my qualms lie with the Imperfect characters, but the Marvel characters have been treated with respect, and the powers look good and feel powerful, which is really what’s important here. It has some quirks that need to be fixed, but it’s still fun even in this few-months-early build.

word on the street

The Imperfects have been starring in a comic book mini-series by Marvel for the last couple of months. The series will run until the game debuts, so if you want to see the events leading up to the storyline in the game, you should check out that series. EA says that there may be future installations if the first mini-series is successful, so keep an eye out as the Imperfects may soon become Marvel mainstays. The limited Marvel series is necessary to add some personality to the Imperfect characters. Many fans are likely puzzled as to their inclusion, but with proper characterization, they may prove to be viable Marvel Comics personalities. Plus, it was just announced at Comic-Con that the Marvel scribe Mark Millar and artist Terry Dodson are working on the back-story for Marvel Nemesis, which could make things very interesting.

press release notes

  • Multiple Super Heroes - Play as Spiderman, Wolverine, or other legendary super heroes that span Marvel families, and battle a powerful new group of enemies, The Imperfects.
  • Super Power Control - Command an arsenal of powerful abilities unique to each super hero, and unleash them to devastating effect on foes.
  • Your Environment is a Weapon - Throw foes through walls, smash them with destructible objects, and use your surroundings to your advantage in massive interactive battles.
  • Multiplayer Mayhem - Fight to the last hero standing in epic, head-to-head clashes.


The game looks to be satisfying for the casual gamer who wants to jump in and start fighting, but could leave something to be desired for the hardcore fan in search of a deep, complex fighting system. The controls are a bit loose, and the Imperfects are something of a let down, but the Marvel characters are treated with respect. Perhaps the story direction of Mark Millar will add some personality to the Imperfect characters, making for a much more engaging overall experience. The game will likely be fun to play at least for the visually impressive power effects, and should be satisfying for those seeking a simple and entertaining Marvel fighter.

Staff Avatar Patrick Ross
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"Reggie kicked my ass and took my quote."

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