At a Glance: LJN Ltd., back in the year of 1989, decided that a game about the mutant superhero group the "X-Men" would be a profitable venture. And it would have if they had actually picked up a really good book or a comic book or a piece of paper that read "THE X-MEN DIDN'T FIGHT CENTIPEDES AND BLOBS." Because that is exactly what this game is entirely about.
Platform: NES (Download Emulator here - 192k)
Download: Download ROM here - 64k
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Game Plot: There is absolutely no plot. All you get that tells you why you are doing anything is garbled messages that resemble coded messages instructing you to kill. They are so unintelligible that I doubt they would even make good instructions for assassination, resulting in a thousand people taking shots from bell towers at innocent seantors and persidents.
Enemies: Every single enemy in this game is something I have never heard, read, smelt, or thought of while in contact with any x-men movies, comics, cartoons, or even other video games. Blobs, centipedes, little monkey robots, skeletons with swords, and little mouths in the ground are things I have never associated with the troubles the x-men face in their daily adventures. I have never seen a group of centipedes jump Wolverine and Nightcrawler on TV while they talked about their lives. If I ever did see such a thing, I can never imagine writing a letter to Nintendo Power asking for that in a game.
I asked how to beat Soda Popinsiki, because he was hard.
Honestly, how hard is it to imagine the x-men triumphing over a bunch of blobs and skeletons? I don't see the x-men patting themselves on the back after they lay waste to a bunch of crawling bugs on the ground. Especially after they lose the majority of their team from trying to move by a door that closes randomly. I swear I lost more of my lives from doors than I did any boss or enemy. You often wonder if the makers of a game were simply entering into the industry in order to torture young children, and if they were why didn't they simply boil the game down into it's most difficult parts: getting past a door.
Weapons: Enemies drop items like invincibility power-ups, speed power-ups, a power-up that kills everyone on the screen, and a power-up for health. The most useful one is obviously the invincibility, not because it allows you to crush your enemies, but because it allows you to get through doors that would otherwise crush you and kill you immediately. You are allowed (forced) to bring a friend into the battlefield, be it human or computer. Either way, one of you is going to die and end up watching the other one actually play through the game.
Levels: The exact same thing with a different background. Sometimes it's lava you can't touch or it'll kill you, sometimes it's little vine things that you can't touch or it'll kill you, sometimes it's just some black junk on the ground. Either way, every stage has some stuff you can't walk on and stuff you can walk on and walking through them is like navigating a Byzantine conduit. You find teleporters that bring you to more places where you can't walk on stuff .Eventually you find a key and eventually you find a boss. You kill him, teleport, and go back to the start of the level. Then you choose a new one. Notice that I've removed every single drop of emotion from this description
Bosses: The bosses are as sad as every enemy you meet, almost appearing like they want you to help them escape this terrible game instead of kill them. Since you know what the world looks like outside their little square they fight you in, you do them the only heroic thing you will ever do in this game and end their existence with a few "pew pews" of your laser eyes.
Defining Moment: When I was little I always wanted to be a superhero. To have powers that no one else had, to defend people against being hurt, to go on adventures and not have to do my math homework. If this game was an instructional video on how to be a super hero you would not only need to wander around blindly punching every insect you see and trying to steal people's keys, but you would also need to force your friend along and sacrifice them constantly just to get any of this bug punching done right.
So in other words, we already are superheroes. All of us.
Each category in the rating system is based out of a possible -10 score (-10 being the worst). The overall score is based out of a possible -50 score (-50 being the worst).