RELEASED: November 1994
AVAILABLE ON: SNES
The X-Men debuted on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in the end of 1994... however, this "debut" of the mutant supergroup once again placed the bulk of the group in less than a cameo capacity, and cast the spotlight on its most popular member - Wolverine, a few years off his solo debut on the NES. Two very different versions of the same draft were made. The Sega Genesis version was developed by Teeny Weeny Games and published by Acclaim; this balanced action game was fairly well-received by Marvel fans, who praised the storyline and presentation, but heavily criticized the gameplay. The SNES version was an unforgiving, do-or-die type of beat 'em up. It was developed by Bits and published by LJN. Now why would I waste time on looking for a game that could actually be at least interesting (on a console that's not really one of my favourites), when I've got an almost guaranteed wet turd soiling my hands right here (on a console which ironically is my favourite console of all time)? Then again, you might remember that not all 16-bit LJN/Marvel collaborations were that bad...
One of us is going down, and it might as well be this game
In a classic set-up not presented too well in this SNES version of the game, Logan finally catches a hint of his mysterious past and travels to Canada alone to investigate the Weapon X project which turned him from a simple mutant of flesh and bone into the unstoppable adamantium-infused beast he is.
|Left: 11 out of 15?! I've already beaten the crap |
out of something like one hundred and
eleven dudes in this level. Something stinks.
The SNES game lives by its looks. Even though the storytelling and presentation are off, the graphics are basically really good, but as you make progress - if you can - you'll very soon figure that the reason that the sprites look so fluid might very well be that the cutscenes are so minimal, and the whole game consists of copied and pasted level and enemy design.
The game starts at the Weapon X lab, and although this is the easiest level in the game, it's probably the most exemplar of all the things wrong with Wolverine: Adamantium Rage. OK, so Elsie-Dee's supposed to work as the time limit - if you stick around for too long, say, "cheat" by standing in a safe spot to let your health regenerate in peace (one of the first games with spontaneous regeneration, by the way), Elsie-Dee's supposed to sneak up on you and kill you dead. However, that does not happen at least in this version of the game, or on the normal difficulty level. I've waited around for ages for it to happen just to see how, and how fast it plays out, but it doesn't happen at all. So whenever you find yourself in a pinch, just backtrack to the safest spot - usually the entry point - and take five. There, a tip. It makes the game a little easier, none the more interesting though. There's the game's greatest challenge, right there: maintaining interest. It takes you way too long just to skewer through this first non-sensical maze of copy and paste.
|Yes, those most certainly are ninjas with |
I know you've waited for this, so I'll just say it: the controls are shit, but a different variety of shit than what you're accustomed to in these games. They're completely non-sensical, over-sensitive, and pretty much impossible to master, since just one tiny press of the digital pad, in any direction, can change a simple move completely. Wolverine's running speed varies all the time, I guess it has something to do with repeated clicks into a direction but in this sort of game, it inevitably feels completely random. If you're going for a standing jump straight up, one wrong press and you might be diving head first into the pit next to you instead - no bottomless ones to my recollection, though. When it comes to aerial attacks, what you do with the digital pad doesn't matter all that much, it's Wolverine himself who decides whether he's going to execute that attack you just told him to or just jump straight into the enemy's line of fire as if to say "end my suffering". You could say that the best way to survive this game is to avoid moving whenever you're fighting. It's impossible, of course; in the later levels, you're bombarded from every direction - at all times.
|Maybe they won't see me if I run across this|
In all seriousness, Wolverine: Adamantium Rage is one of LJN's better games, as it does at least have its moments; you just need to survive several extremely boring levels and endure some terrible controls to get to experience those few brief moments of clarity. Like I said, I might take on the Genesis version someday - not within this marathon's limits, though - and judging by the reviews that actually focus on gameplay rather than presentation, it's not good, but at least a whole different game and well-presented Marvel Comics by-product.
+ ...In nice colours
+ Nice cavalcade of Marvel Universe characters rarely seen in games
+ Moderately good music
+ The password system's function as a checkpoint system as well...
- ...However, the password system's function as an actual password system sucks
- The controls are terrible
- The level design is boring and totally uninspired/uninspiring; the maze-like levels with their cryptic progress criteria are the worst
- Good story told bad
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