• Add Review
  • Subscribe
  • Nominate
  • Submit Media
  • RSS

It's superhero time!!! (once again!)

Wait, wait, what's going on? I found so many superhero games these days, old and new. First Outlaw City: dark past, then the Lonely League, yesterday Master of the Wind and now... X-Men: untitled? Oh yes!

Anyway it's worth noting that all these games have really nothing in common aside for the superhero theme: different engines, different genres, Master of the Wind is a classic RPG Maker XP adventure rpg while instead The Lonely League is a RPG Maker XP turn based tactical game, and this X-Men: untitled? An action game! AND made with the good old Rpgmaker 2000! Yes, this is in fact a game made by BongHenry, the same author of The Lord of the Rings rpg, but this time it's action!

Well, Scott, that's not a really nice thing to say...

The game begins immediately after a presentation with no instructions, even if as expected you've to use the classic keys: arrows to move, Z to attack, X or Esc to open the menu. Anyway the adventure starts with Beast, the blue feral X-man that discovers that the X-mansion is under attack. Beast can make a charge attacks that propels him forward, a rather simple but useful attack. After destroying some robots (or rpgmaker 2000 RTP armored soldiers), a good pratice to get accustomed to the controls of the game, we will meet some others X-men including Cyclops that will join the team and together with Beast will try to rescue the students of Xavier institute, invaded by an army of mutant ninjas. Oh yes, this is a party based adventure!

Pressing X we can in fact open the menu that lets us switch character, each one with its own health bar. The inventory is shared so when we select one character we may press Z to select e control it, or Esc to open the menu and equip gear and use consumables and healing items to that particular party member. Please remember that IF a single party member dies it's game over, no matter if all the others are unharmed!

And even Sabretooth bites the dust! We won again!

Ok, so our duo saves the students, then finds that Magneto has gone mad (again) and has kidnapped Professor X. Then there is a minigame section in which Cyclops has to destroy the items (metal trash, vending machines and so on) thrown against the mansion, to avoid it being demolished (the optimal thing is shooting the projectiles, but in desperate cases you may shield the mansion with your body... taking the damage!).
After saving the mansion, since the other X-men are scattered around the world, it's time to collect them. First needed party member is Jean Grey, that went to the mall with the other girls, and like Cyclops can shoot: they're both useful to shoot levers (Cyclops) and switches (Jean... that may also shoot through walls), but the place is overrun by mutant ninjas and there's also Mystique! That will be the first boss battles, just remember that Mystique takes damage ONLY when in her (blue) form OR when she has the same form of your character, otherwise she's invulnerable (so you can harm her in Cyclops form only if you use Cyclops and so on).

Back to the mansion with Jean, it would be possible to open the bay doors and take the X-Men Blackbird to wander the world and recruit the other party members: Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler and so on, each one with his or her own particular attack, and each one followed by a boss battle against some classic bad guys like Sabretooth or Blob.

Storm can fly! But now it's time for another battle against not one but two bad guysvc(and assorted animals!)!

Ok, now the problems: the game itself is not bad but has some real problems: first is that characters do really little damage so you need several attacks even to destroy the weakest minion, and consider that you will be often surrounded (in these cases Beast's pounce attack or Jean's weak but useful pulling force becomes useful). The bosses? Well these will instead require an incredible quantity of attacks to be defeated, and unfortunately there is not even an health bar that will indicate how many. Luckily this happens also for our X-men, but this means that it's better ignoring most enemies and just dodge them rather that fighting them, because the rewards are scarce, the occasional healing item or some little money (and you need a lot to buy some equipment). The game can be saved on the main map of at the computers, while healing is obtained at the red X heling points. There are also some permanent upgrades, but they just an additional increase of 10 Hp.
Another problem that I noticed is that apparently some areas cannot be done without a particular skill, such as Storm's ability to fly over some terrain or Nightcrawler's teleport, and this means that some locations will be inaccessible until you unlock the right party members for the job, but no one tells you this.
Moreover enemies respawn once you go back to previous areas... and they're really so many!

Graphically the game is ok, uses the classic Rpgmaker 2000 graphics and RTPs with some edits for the X-men. Overall the various levels are well designed, even if there are some areas in the mansion with an overabundance of X shaped rooms and corridors, and diagonal shaped areas are pretty annoying in a game with no diagonal movement! Sigh.
On the other hand I like the music! Each character has a personal theme that is heard once he/she is selected, for example Wolverine has "Seven Nation Army" by White Stripes and Storm has "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC, and I'll let you discover the other songs!

I'm not sure this is true, but... good for you!

Final Verdict
X-men; untitled is a game that has an interesting concept and some good ideas, like the minigames and some puzzle elements that are cleverly implemented, unfortunately the battle system, due to Rpgmaker 2000 bad AI and limitations, is a bit of a chore. Pity, good idea but as usual rpgmaker proves to be a game better suited for jrpgs or adventure games (usually not even the horror chase sections are good due to the limits of the engine and Ai, so you can imagine how bad can be an arcade fighting game), maybe it would have been better with higher damage and/or less health for both enemies and playable characters, I would have not minded a more lethal experience if this also meant shorter battles, because as it is there is really no use to fight random enemies, it's just a waste of time. At least the healing spots are placed well, but I'd have not minded also finding some mid-level save points, even if it's true that levels aren't that long.
The game has also some odd things, some good like the references to the developer's other rpg about Lord of the Rings (a girl will try to sell you the book, and there are also televisions that display Gollum's face!) and some just weird like a plethora of different animals attacking the X-men in the various levels, like goats and squirrells! (I'm ok with fighting snakes and wolves besides zombies and mutant ninjas... but squirrels? Seriously?).

In the end this game has some cool ideas and some nice parts, unfortunately the final result is sadly not really that good. Pity.