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X-Men: The Arcade Game (Video Game Review)

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over three years since we were treated to the release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game on Xbox Live. At 400 Microsoft points, this remains one of the best deals available through the Arcade, a four-player bashfest that’s fun to play both online and off. Konami has finally relented and released another arcade classic, just in time for the holidays. X-Men: The Arcade Game is based on the same 1992 coin-op release of the same name, where up to six players – through a double-sized arcade cabinet – can take on Magneto, Mystique, Juggernaut and a slew of other thugs, all while attempting to save Professor X from captivity. The price may have gone up this time around (the game sells for 800 Microsoft points) but Konami has poured enough nostalgic value into X-Men Arcade to make it worth it. The biggest highlight is obviously multiplayer. You can go at it with up to three of your friends locally, or hop on to Xbox Live and take part in an epic six-player session. There are moments of slowdown, but overall it runs unbelievably well, and you and your friends will have a ball bashing enemies while boosting your point count.

Even if you do go solo, however, you’ll find the gameplay is arcade beat-em-up fun. Your character comes with a slew of ground and air attacks, along with a special technique that nips at their energy bar. Some of these special moves are spectacular (Colossus’ “inner explosion”) while others are somewhat dull (Dazzler’s boring little spectacle). Regardless, all the characters are effective in combat, and you’ll want to complete the game with each one just to see how they fare. (For your trouble, you’ll also get an Achievement for doing so.) Konami threw in some great viewing options with X-Men. If you’re a sucker for detail, you can play in the 4-player 4:3 mode, where the details are greater, but the screen is shrunken down. This can pose a danger at times, as an enemy will strike off-screen. The best way to go is with the zoomed-out widescreen perspective, as you can see more stuff on the stage, including incoming enemies. No matter which way you go, the game looks like its vintage arcade self, right down to the somewhat corny intro screen, where Magneto is smiling like an idiot and Wolverine’s head gear is too large for its own good. Still, kudos to Backbone Entertainment for staying true to arcade code.

As for audio, some portions of the game’s voiceovers have been re-recorded, but the cornball dialogue remains intact. So, yes, Magneto still welcomes you to die, while Pyro’s best taunt simply has him stating he’ll burn you. (C’mon, what else is a guy named Pyro going to do, freezer burn?) The music is great to listen to again, suitable background music where the word “X-Men” mixes in with the tunes. The sound effects are also serviceable, with deep “thunk” punch effects and explosions. Though it may not have the lengthy replay value of other Xbox Live Arcade releases (you’ll see everything the game has to offer in an hour), X-Men: The Arcade Game remains highly recommended. It’s another dose of Konami arcade goodness, with up to six players taking part in the over-the-top comic book action. Nice job, guys. Now how about a little The Simpsons Arcade to hold us over?

Game Information:
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Platform: Reviewed for Xbox 360
Release Date: December 14, 2010

Score: 8 out of 10
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