X-Men 2: Clone Wars
|X-Men 2: Clone Wars|
North American cover art
|Producer(s)||E. Ettore Annunziata
France M. Tantiado
|Mode(s)||Single-player, two player|
X-Men 2: Clone Wars is a 1995 platform game developed by Headgames and released by Sega of America for the Mega Drive/Genesis as a sequel to the 1993's X-Men. The game is based on the successful TV series from Marvel Comics. X-Men 2 was praised by critics and won retrospective acclaim as one of the best games on the platform. It was supposed to be followed by a cancelled sequel titled X-Women.
The game begins with a cold open; the first level begins as soon as the game is turned on with a random character (depending on the direction the player pressed on the controller's D-Pad). After completing the first stage, the title screen and credits roll and the player is given the option to switch characters.
Each character has a "mutant power attack" which can be used in combat. Unlike the preceding game, there is no energy bar that limits the amount of mutant power attacks a player can use. Some of the mutant attacks can be charged to a greater effect by holding down the power button. The attacks increase in power when the character has nine or ten bars of health and can perform different functions if the character is in the air.
In addition to these powers, each character has various lesser skills, manoeuvers and quirks which make gameplay a different experience with each (see above). These powers can be used to reach hidden health pickups (which take the form of a double helix) or as a shortcut. Players begin the game with eight lives (meaning nine attempts) that are shared by all characters, with no way to gain more.
The game is based on the current story arc from the comics at the time of release. The technorganic alien race known as the Phalanx have returned and are seeking to take control of Earth by assimilating all of its inhabitants. They have also captured and cloned several mutants for experimentation. Only a select group of X-Men (Beast, Psylocke, Gambit, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Cyclops) have avoided capture and, temporarily united with their oldest foe, Magneto, they must defeat the Phalanx before all of humanity is assimilated. Along the way, they will travel through familiar landscapes including the Savage Land and Avalon, and battle powerful adversaries such as Apocalypse, the Sentinels, Exodus, Deathbird and more.
- Beast - Beast is somewhat slow and has a poor special attack, but makes up for it with limited acrobatic skills (including clinging to walls and a powerful diving attack), and a strong normal attack.
- Cyclops - Cyclops' optic blast can be charged to become stronger and can harm multiple enemies at once. In addition, he can use a small array of martial arts tricks (such as combo punches and flying kicks) in melee.
- Gambit - Gambit's mutant power is a fast ranged attack that can be charged to both do more damage and fire multiple cards at once. His melee attack options are similar to Cyclops', but have superior reach (his floor-sweeping attack also seems to do exceptional damage in certain situations).
- Nightcrawler - Nightcrawler's mutant power, an explosive teleportation that can be charged for greater range and damage, is of limited use, due to its inability to traverse walls, ceilings and other obstacles. His strength is in acrobatic movements, including wall-crawling, double-jumping, and diving attacks.
- Psylocke - Psylocke's psychic knife attack only works against organic enemies and leaves her briefly vulnerable while performing it, but she is also armed with a sword for use against all enemies. She can cling to walls, double jump, and perform both a unique flying lunge with her psychic knife and a 360° jumping attack with her sword.
- Wolverine - Wolverine's "mutant power attack" is an unexceptional lunge with his claws, but his true mutant power is his unique regeneration ability: when Wolverine has either one or two bars of health remaining, he automatically (after a certain amount of time) heals and regains a bar of health until he has a total of three bars. After a significantly longer period, he can heal from three bars of health to a fourth bar. He can also scale walls by using his claws as pitons (which makes his movement while doing so more rigid than Nightcrawler's) and perform a double jump.
- Magneto (unlockable after the third level) - Magneto is unique in having no melee attacks - his basic attack consists of a limitless barrage of rather weak energy blasts and his "mutant power attack" is an explosive electromagnetic orb which, while slow to move and execute, can traverse walls. He cannot fly while a player character, but can hover stationary in mid-air, during which time he can rain energy bolts but not his exploding orb.
X-Men 2 was one of a handful releases for the Sega Genesis in 1995 that used a paper box rather than the standard clamshell case Genesis games came in. The European release of the game reused the same cover art as X-Men 2: Game Master's Legacy for the Game Gear, a different and unrelated game. The game was given a KA (Kids to Adults) rating by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
The game's music was composed by Kurt Harland, of electronica band Information Society. A soundtrack album was released in 1996. Some levels featured different soundtrack elements depending on the character selected although the basic structure of the level's musical theme remained the same.
X-Men 2: Clone Wars was met with mostly mixed reviews. GamePro remarked that the sound effects and music are a mixed bag, and criticized the two-player mode's tight scrolling, but praised the large sprites and the special abilities of the player characters. Electronic Gaming Monthly also complimented the characters' special abilities but criticized that the game is little different from the original X-Men and suffers from a number of weak points, and concluded that "the game never seems to come alive, despite a few cool (not to mention huge) bosses and challenging levels." GameFan's Takahara found the graphics, cinematic intro, and the need to match each character's unique abilities to each stage to all be impressive, though he rated the music as "average". A reviewer for Next Generation remarked that the game has more playable characters, more complex moves, more levels, and more gameplay twists than the original X-Men, but is still no more than a rental title.
According to a retrospective review in GameFan, "In short, Clone Wars is everything Uncanny X-Men was not: nice to look at with its well-animated 16-bit characters and multi-layer backgrounds, (...) easy to pick up and play thanks to good controls and an easily understood interface; a story that is fine for one player but more fun with two," adding, X-Men "ranks among the best comic book games produced in the era." Complex ranked X-Men 2 as the 18th best game on the Sega Genesis, adding that "the game achieved the rarely seen balanced gaming." It was also ranked as the 20th top Genesis game by ScrewAttack, who noted it for having in their opinion the best soundtrack on the system. X-Men 2 placed 19th on the 2013 list of best Marvel video games by Geek Magazine, who stated that "the soundtrack was just as good as Mutant Apocalypse, and each stage was ripe with cool nods to the comics."
A sequel featuring only the female members of the X-Men had been in development by Sega for the same platform. The game was cancelled in 1996 due to the company's shift to the 32-bit console Sega Saturn market.
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