Review by KingBroccoli

Reviewed: 07/23/00 | Updated: 07/23/00

I can't see why the X-Men wouldn't want to be cloned....an extra Wolverine or two might come in handy.

X-Men 2: Clone Wars is a lovely little side scroller that puts you in control of all your favourite X-Men, and even their arch nemesis Magneto! Apparently this evil organisation called Phalanx is making a whole bunch of clones, and only the X-Men can stop these evil doers! The question is, can these mutants save the day before they themselves are cloned? The answer lies in the hands of the player, but be sure that it’s not as easy a task as it may first appear to be.

GRAPHICS
The graphics are lacking a fair bit in colour and excitement, it’s the same old grainy colours you’ve seen a thousand times before rehashed together to make another bland looking game. The backgrounds and general surroundings of the X-Men aren’t too bright and cheerful and are usually just either a single colour or a few simple objects incorporated in here and there. When we were a lot younger those creepy looking sentinels that hang around in the background of some of the levels used to just freak everyone out, it’s a very sombre atmosphere that this game creates. Of course you can’t help but feel the tension and the ominousness of the whole thing, but this game does it particularly well despite the seemingly limited palette that it uses. There is usually a lot of movement going on in the backgrounds and foregrounds whether it be simple snow or pretty sparks of electricity shooting off in every direction. So that makes this section dull and action packed, if you understand what I’m saying (which I doubt many of you really do).
The characters should pretty much be instantly recognisable to most that see or play this game, there hasn’t been too much of an injustice done with all of the well known characters being faithfully recreated. They have some fine details (such as wolverines muscular, rippling chest........wouldn’t you like to rub your hands on that!) and look very smooth when put into action. They all wear their trademark clothing and look very pretty indeed. The bosses have some amazing designs with the final foe being truly overwhelming, you’ll go up against all sorts of robots and other oddities, each of them very nice to view. The characters add that nice little splash of colour into the scene and spices everything up a little bit. They look accurate and very nice indeed; top stuff is what it is.
There’s an absolutely huge amount of graphical effects littered throughout the game, you can’t go twenty seconds without seeing some magnificent explosions and amazing light shows. This was one area that they got ever so right and it looks truly fantastic. You couldn’t ask for some better eye candy in a Genesis game than what you get shown to you here.
Overall, the graphics are a pretty solid effort despite the lack of variety in the colours in the background and the graininess shown throughout it all. It’s very smooth and reasonably easy to distinguish what’s going on in front of you, so there aren’t too many complaints that a person can make about them. A good representation of the X-Men and their world.

SOUND
The audio sections do nothing at all to improve upon the graphics, the soundtrack that has been chosen comprises of a lot of deep, bass heavy music. It’s lacking in originality and also in effectiveness, it leaves little impact in the listener and comes off as a little half-assed. Very few of the levels have anything even slightly resembling a melody and at times it can sound like the musicians were just randomly picking out notes and thumping them. The majority of it is at a very slow pace and does nothing to heat up the on-screen action or inspire the player to greatness, as far as building atmosphere and character goes the music of this game fails quite miserably. It’s just not memorable enough, there’s nothing that makes it stand out and it seems that it’s all been done many times before. There were quite a few flaws that could have been fixed, but they’ve been left as they are and it makes a very shallow soundtrack and a none too pleasant experience for those that hear it.
Sound effects are rather sparse, and are a bit too shabby for my liking. They often sound quite tinny and not full-bodied like everyone knows they should be. Each of the characters have some nice SWHOOSH noises that accompany they’re flurried kicks and punches, and the SWHOOSH that accompanies Wolverine’s slash is sheer terror, unfortunately the quality just keeps going downhill until you’re practically cringing every time one of them sounds. The explosions sound rather pathetic and aren’t satisfying enough, they sound more like popguns than big bangs and that just isn’t good enough! It’s pretty much the usual corny sound effect fare, it falls into the trap so many other games of its type have so many times before.
Overall, there were improvements that needed to have been made and there were sounds that should have just been completely wiped out. But nobody can argue that they didn’t get the job done reasonably well, they nearly achieve their goals (whatever they may be) but just fall short. For that reason alone the sound is satisfactory, but it’s certainly nothing more than that, quality is lacking too much for it to be truly excellent.

GAMEPLAY
The gameplay doesn’t differ away from the normal side-scrolling stuff too much; most of you should be quite used to it. You just make your character run along and beat up anything that gets in your way; it’s not a thinking person’s game, more of a quick and brainless bash. The controls are rather simple, your character has a jump, a basic attack and their special move. The normal attack will just be a normal kick or punch whereas the special lets the mutants show off their true powers to everyone around them (Cyclops has his eye laser, Wolverine has a mighty slash, Nightcrawler can teleport etc.). All you pretty much have to do is run around, jumping from platform to platform and use one of the two attacks on the enemies you encounter. In depth gameplay? I think not.
Life comes in the form of DNA strands in this world, and there just never seems to be enough when you need it (consequently, when you have full health you’re likely to run into five of the things, don’t you just hate that!). You have a simple life bar that tells you how much energy you have left believe it or not, and if you manage to have the top two bars filled up then the X-Men power up a lot and become even more lethal than ever before. Teleports become dangerous, beams take up half the screen, the enemy should be full of fear when you attack with so much ferocity. Unfortunately there can be too many foes and you can quickly become overwhelmed and be struggling to stay alive let alone power up. A nice feature but a difficult one to exercise during later levels.
You are thrust right into the deep end with this game, not even a SEGA screen. As soon as it gets turned all you’ll be randomly assigned an X-Man to tackle the level with. If you’re one of those people that turns the TV on after the console then this is a dangerous game for you. At the conclusion of level one you finally get to choose from one of the many X-Men on offer to you, there should be one that appeals to you and that you’ll treasure for ever and ever. A couple of characters join the team after you defeat them, and they add a nice bit of variety into the action, altogether there’s a very nice roster to choose from even though a few of the characters are just plain pathetic to use.
The level designs are well varied, from the run and jump sort of thing to the type of levels in which you just float downwards and hope for the best. Everything is set out nice and logically and progression is made rather easy through the majority of the game. There are some jumps which can prove to be rather tricky, and the failure of these can result in a large fall back to where your mutant was previously was five minutes ago and it can make for some nasty backtracking. Thankfully, these areas are mainly kept to the first level so you don’t have to suffer too much throughout the whole game. Some of these levels can get quite a bit hectic, but they’re still set out well and that’s all that matters.
Overall, the gameplay of X-Men 2 isn’t overly innovative or cerebral, but it can still provide the gamer with some large, healthy doses of fun. It’s just a matter of time before you get sick of repeating level after level and area after area, but there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying the game up until then. It may have been done a lot of times before and since, but it still is good fun. Great implementation of the X-Men characters and great level designs. A solid job all round.

LIFESPAN
The lifespan is somewhere around the medium mark, it should entertain you and suck you in for a little while, but eventually you’ll just progress on to bigger and better things. The interesting concept, decent levels and the X-Men license should be enough to keep you playing enough to get well acquainted with the game. However it lacks that certain something to really hook the crowd and because of this X-Men 2 will just eventually become a distant memory in the minds of most who play it. There’s only so many times you can play through the first, simpler levels only to be blown away later on until you just get sick of it and let the cartridge grow old and dusty.

FUN FACTOR
Much in the style of the lifespan, the fun factor is also somewhere around the middle. Most players should enjoy it for a certain amount of time, but there comes a time in the game where the developers must have got enjoyable and insanely difficult mixed up because that’s what the fun is replaced with. Only the most ardent supporters of this type of game or the characters within it will find a prolonged fun factor from this game, it’s just an average side-scroller, nothing to get excited about really. If you really like hard games then this also may appeal to you, but it is a long shot.

CHALLENGE
You’ve probably all figured it out by now, that this game is damned hard. There’s a nice learning curve for the first few levels, you’re eased into the hectic style of gameplay that is implemented in this game and should have no trouble with the first few. However, when you hit the area just before the middle of the game everything steps up a notch and you’ll find yourself being slaughtered left and right by hordes of enemies. The last boss is practically impossible to dispose of, it will take years of practice if you want to finish the game because it’s not a walk in the park.

THE FINAL PARAGRAPH
X-Men 2: Clone Wars is pretty much just another face in the crowd, it has nothing that sets it apart from all the other games out there on the Genesis or any other console. The only buyable feature about it is that it’s (believe it or not) an X-Men game, going past the license you’ve got just another side scrolling, hit anything that moves kind of game. It may appeal to some people but I (and many others out there, I’m sure) just can’t get into a game that is so action based. Too fast, too hard and not enough depth. Some nice potential but it’s just knocked down to average by some annoying flaws, only worth a glance if you like those muties because it has not much else going for it.
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GOOD POINTS
- It’s the X-Men! We love you X-Men!
- The level designs are pretty good, nice progressive stuff there
- Really good if you’re looking for a HARD challenge

NOT SO GOOD POINTS
- Backtracking here and there, not the way I want to spend my day
- Nothing to make it worth getting over the next title out there
- Really bad if you’re looking for an EASY challenge
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GRAPHICS – 7/10
SOUND – 6/10
GAMEPLAY – 7/10
LIFESPAN – 6/10
FUN FACTOR – 6/10
CHALLENGE – 4/10
OVERALL – 6/10

Rating: 6

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