Well now that it’s officially the summer movie season of 214 and Godzilla started out with such bang meriting a sequel close on its sizable heels, we turn our attention now to next week’s much anticipated release of X-Men: Days of Future Past. Admittedly while we consider ourselves geeks among most of the population, we’re only superficially aware of the storyline for this film (it’s like Terminator starring Wolverine as Kyle Reese). Also, while we’ve marched into every single X-Men film before hopeful for something great, we always leave mildly disappointed (or completely enraged in the case of X-Men: The Last Stand). Our eternal optimism should be understandable. The comic books have surprisingly been around for over fifty (yes 50) years, there have been several TV incarnations of the series (we in particular grew up on the X-Men: The Animated Series cartoon from 1992), and there have been dozens of X-Men-themed video games for us to enjoy. As we get hyped up for the new movie this coming weekend, we thought it would be fun to look back at the highlights for us of the best X-Men video games.
X-Men (Arcade) – 1992
Let’s start this list out strong. When we think back to our favorite arcade games ever, X-Men sits right at the top of the list next to The Simpsons, Sunset Riders, and the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (thank you, Konami). Magneto’s running lose and it’s up to you as one of 6 available X-Men (Dazzler, seriously?) to stop him. While the game was a fairly conventional quarter-demanding brawler, the characters played differently enough thanks to their unique special attacks and the game made good use of the X-Men license with the supervillians you fight. It certainly helped that this game arrived the same year as the tremendously popular cartoon which generated even more fans to the series. All these years later, we still find ourselves enjoying the quick hour it takes to rescue Xavier and Kitty Pride in this game (dibs on Nightcrawler).
X-Men (Sega Genesis) – 1993
A virus has infected the Danger Room in the X-Men mansion and it’s up to you a buddy to endure the unpredictable trials the simulation throws your way until order can restored. You can play as one of four available mutants but as is par of the course, Wolverine steals the show due to his ability to regenerate health as you play. Warning though, this game is notoriously hard, appearing on lists including Battletoads and Ghosts ‘N Goblins in terms of difficulty. Admittedly we have yet to beat this game and apparently there’s almost a game breaking sequence towards the end when you have to reset the Danger Room computer by performing a soft reset on the Genesis itself hoping you don’t restart the game, but it was a great coop game at the time (again during the peak of the cartoon series) that combined action, platforming, and puzzles that we still enjoy today.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes (Various) – 2013
TTGames is the Tyler Perry of video game publishers releasing new titles seemingly multiple Lego titles a year and while some of the games have been a chore to complete, Marvel Super Heroes is a treat. The available roster of players skyrockets to 150 different characters and the game provides considerable fan service to the series by small touches like having Stan Lee in the game or bringing back Agent Coulson. This game has it all. You’ll visit the X-Mansion, stop by Asgard, fight Magneto on Asteroid M Island, etc. It just goes and on and, if you’re even a cursory fan of the characters, you’ll enjoy almost every minute of it.
That’s just scratching the surface though of the X-Men games. We never did get into the X-Men vs. Street Fighter series although we know those games are insanely popular. We also missed the X-Men Legends series although it’s on our list to try soon. What games did we miss that you liked?
In the meantime, here’s hoping Bryan Singer brings his A game this next weekend. As always, we are hopeful. Please enjoy our Don Sterling mashup below, Days of a Racist’s Past.