X-Men (1993 video game)
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North American cover art
|Developer(s)||Western Technologies Inc|
|Mode(s)||Single-player video game
X-Men is a home console video game produced by Sega in 1993, based on the adventures of the Marvel Comics superhero team, the X-Men. One or two players can play as any of four pre-chosen X-Men. X-Men is a Mega Drive/Genesis-exclusive game and in 1995 was followed up by X-Men 2: Clone Wars. It's one of the first video games to feature a recharging health system.
The game takes place in the Danger Room, a training area for the X-Men inside the X-Mansion. A virus transmitted via satellite has infected the Danger Room, disabling control and safety limits. The X-Men must endure the unpredictable behavior of the Danger Room until the virus can be located and eliminated. Once the virus is eliminated, the X-Men discover that Magneto is behind the computer virus and the final stage involves a battle with him.
Gambit, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, and Cyclops are available to play. Each character can jump and use various unlimited weapons (i.e. punch, kick) and a superpower which had a usefulness limited by a mutant power bar similar to a life meter, making the player rely more on standard attacks. The mutant power bar would slowly regenerate when depleted and when switching characters in mid-game, would revert to the status of the next characters mutant power bar from the last use (characters yet to be used would start off with a standard full bar of mutant power).
Wolverine: Uses retractable claws which enhance the strength of his basic punches and allows him to execute special mid-air attacks. As in other X-Men games, he possesses a healing factor that enables the character to recover from injury (i.e. replenish the life bar).
Gambit: Uses his trademark bo staff as a weapon. His charged cards track enemies.
Cyclops: Uses rebounding optic blasts.
Nightcrawler: Uses a teleportation ability which can skip many areas or transport a secondary character.
Other X-Men such as Storm, Rogue, Iceman, and Archangel can be called upon for support. Jean Grey also appears as support to pick up characters which fall. There are several levels, most having boss fights with familiar X-Men villains.
All of the music in the game was composed by Fletcher Beasley using the G.E.M.S. system (Genesis Emulation Music Software), which could communicate with the Yamaha 2612 FM synthesizer chip on the Sega Genesis and could be used to directly play back the sounds through the Genesis.
In Fletcher's own words, "My inspiration was to create some hard edged rock/electronica tracks that would work well in the game. In part, this was because I listened to music of that era and had played in many rock bands but also because I thought it would work better on the Genesis than to attempt something more organic or orchestral sounding. The Genesis’ synthesizer uses four operator FM synthesis as its sound source. FM sounds best, in my opinion, doing hard edged, distorted sounds or very synthy sounds. It’s not so good at organic sounds. On X-Men, I was attempting to create the sound of distorted guitar on many of the tracks I wrote."
X-Men was critically acclaimed on the Sega Genesis. It was praised for its original soundtrack, graphics, and respectable controls. However, some criticized the game for it lack of playable characters.
X-Men has been most remembered for its high level of difficulty, even for experienced players. In 2011, IGN named the game to its "Fifteen Really, Really, Really Hard Games" list, citing "unfairly placed enemies, ridiculously annoying jumps and near-impossible-to-beat bosses." They also mentioned the game's fourth wall-breaking end to the fifth level "Mojo's Crunch." After Mojo is defeated, the game instructs the player to "reset the computer". However, there are no switches for doing so. Resetting the computer is meant to be literal, in that the player has to lightly press the reset button on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis console before the time ran out. Holding down the reset button too long would simply reset the system to the title screen. This also makes the game impossible to complete when playing on the Sega Nomad or Mega Jet without using a level select cheat, as the portable Sega Mega Drive/Genesis has no reset button. This cheat is also impossible to perform on the Firecore variants of the Sega Genesis (since the reset/menu button can only perform a hard reset)
- Reyburn, Scott (November 21, 2011). "Fifteen Really, Really, Really Hard Games". IGN. Retrieved January 23, 2013.