Magneto's run amok. Time to grab three friends and save the world.
We grew up playing 2-D beat-em-ups like Streets of Rage 2 and Double Dragon, so when Konami announced plans to re-release its classic X-Men arcade game, we couldn't wait to fire it up and destroy some enemies. Thankfully, this title didn't lose much in the transition to iPhone and iPad, aside from the nostalgic feeling of being in the arcade, huddled around the cabinet with friends.
X-Men's plot (Magneto's up to no good) takes a backseat to the action. As one of six popular characters (the list includes Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler and Dazzler), you charge through a series of 2-D environments pummeling robots, weird goop creatures and other bad guys en route to an epic final showdown; you'll also encounter bosses like Pyro, Blob and Wendigo.
The game works in similar fashion to other brawlers from the 90s, so bosses flash red when they're weak, and using a special attack drains your character's energy, which is just stupid. Past that strange design choice, X-Men delivers a fun arcade experience, as you punch through waves of evildoers, either by yourself or with up to four people via Wi-Fi, which is a bit choppier than we'd like.
That said, expect to encounter cheap enemies that use dirty tactics to get ahead, like attacking off screen. Thankfully, the game provides a wealth of continues. We just wish it let us change characters after running out of lives.
Now whenever a company chooses to revive a retro title, one of the first things players demand are upgrades, especially when it comes to the graphics. Here, Konami chose to preserve the original game's visuals. There's a widescreen option, but it fails to do the game justice. Stick to 4:3.
Search for more X-Men reviews, and you'll probably read stuff like "the game shows its age", "the action grows repetitive" and "players can beat it in less than two hours", all of which are true, but that doesn't mean you won't enjoy the ride. Is it shallow? Of course, but X-Men is still a cool beat-em-up that's worth your time, especially at $2.99.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later.
What's Hot: Classic beat-em-up action, six characters to choose from, universal for both iPhone and iPad.
What's Not: You can beat it in two hours or less, choppy multiplayer.