Review by KasketDarkfyre

Reviewed: 07/26/00 | Updated: 07/26/00

X-Men come to the PSX. But is it worth it?

-Visuals 8/10-

This is what the X-Men should have always been portrayed as, 3-D characters set in nicely detailed backgrounds, with visuals that show their mutant powers for a treat to the eyes. Giving you a ''3-D'' perspective of the X-Men, you have fleshed out, nicely detailed character to fight with, 10 in all, that all follow the actual schemes of the comic books, and even a few character scheme's from the X-Men movie. Every detail, from the muscular builds of the X-Men, to the powers that they have, are shown in near flawless detail across the screen.

Each background, follows some part from some comic book throughout the series, from the dark, dank confines of the Morlock tunnels, to the battle ground inside of the great and legendary Danger Room, right down to the futuristic scene of a future where the Sentienal's have taken over, you'll be hard pressed to find anything better in terms of keeping with the true theme of the comic books and their locations. There is even a stage taken from the movie, in the battle scene between Wolverine and Sabretooth, in the snowy forest, with some sort of building in the background that I've seen in the movie preview.

However, with such advancements in visuals, there is also a few problems, and this comes in terms of speed. Sometimes, if you notice closely, you'll find that the frame-rate is a little off once you start playing, sometimes, the attacks move a little too fast, or they move a little too slow, giving the game a choppy view in action. But, unless you're just looking for problems, you'll find that there is very little to complain about. Other various complaints might be a lack of locations to fight in, or that there is no background interaction or true ''3-D'' environment to fight in, in terms of jumping into the foreground, or background, but again, this is easily overlooked.

With these visuals, come the solid FMV intro and out-tro's for each character that must be earned through the battles that ensue with any of the X-Men characters. Even the movie-trailer comes across the t.v. screen in near flawless visual accuracy, save for the tell tale lines of streamed video on a CD. But you've got to remember, this isn't a DVD, so things like that are to be expected. All around, the visuals of this game make it above par, and almost perfect.

-Audio 8/10-

You can't beat the in-game sound of X-Men: Mutant Academy with a stick. You're getting your money worth in just the audio clips alone. Voice overs come out as if you were watching a movie, adding in emotion, the grunts and growls, laser type blasts, and even taunts at the end of each round. It gives the game an all around good audio sound in the fact that every voice is different, and the characters sound as they would in the comic books. Wolverine's infamous ''Bub'' to Gambit's ''Mon ami'' make you immediately visualize whatever X-Men comic you may have ever read. It's that good.

The music is nearly perfect as well, but in some spots it is a little low. Nothing from the movie is in this game that I could tell, but it's replaced with a type of heavy-metal, techno variant that does sound pretty good in the middle of a fight. You'll find that be-bopping along with it is easy, if you turn down the sound effects enough to hear it, but again, in some stages, it's nearly impossible to hear the music unless you turn the sound effects completely off. But by doing that, you miss the sound effects themselves...talk about a total mismatching.

Each stage has it's own typical theme music, which sounds about right with the background that you're fighting in. Again, you'll be hard pressed to hear this music, but if you turn everything down, sound effects especially, and put on a pair of headphones, it'll become clear that the music fits the game. All in all, above par, save for a few of the annoyances {i;e: low music, blaring sound effects}.

-Control 6/10-

Eh. This is typical of the generic fighting games that are out on the market, but this time, it throws in a little loop. Low and medium punch/kick have their own buttons, but if your controller is not set up for a hard punch and kick, then a combination of the low and medium have to be hit in order to get a power blow. This can present a problem to anyone who is new to the fighting game circuit, in terms of throwing off the flow of combinations and special moves.

Special moves are pulled off near flawlessly, but the true creame of the crop, the X-Treme moves, take alot of practice, and even then, there can be severe problems getting them to come off. With three different types of Super Moves, at one point, to get the most powerful of the Super Moves, you must repeatedly tap the X button, to make the power bar come up, and then pull off the move. This is all well and fine, outside of the fact that if you're in the middle of getting your ass kicked, you must take the time to pull this off.

It can get on your nerves, real quick.

Other than that, the controls are nothing that can't be mastered in an hour, and with the training mode available, you should be able to figure out, and pull off the moves in record time with a little practice. IT's nothing that an experienced fighting game player can't handle, but may not be much of a challenge for Tekken players.

-Gameplay 8/10-

The true high point of the game, has got to be the game play. X-Men gives you several options to play, from the traditional versus mode, to the Academy mode, where you can learn each and every character, to the Arcade Mode, where secrets can be unlocked, to the ever popular Survival Mode, where the name of the game, is to make it through on one power bar. All of these modes are useful, and can give you hours of playing time if you have the patience to play through them to unlock the secrets.

The Arcade Mode is your typical fighting game mode, where it's you versus the computer in a one on one battle to the finish in order to proceed further into the game. This isn't bad, except, the order you fight your opponents in, never, ever changes. You can easily blow through the game, knowing who you're fighting, and how to defend against them. This can get a little tiresome when you're trying to finish out the game, and have nothing but the same people to fight in the same order, on the same stages, that fight the exact same way they did before when you played. I will say this, Mystique? Is the cheapest fighting game character I have ever run across. {Put a crack in my t.v screen chucking the controller at it after losing to her 15 times in a row}.

The Versus Mode, is just like any of your other fighting games with a 2 player option. You'll be able to select your character, choose the battle ground, change your controll options, and set the life bar that you play with. Again, this wouldn't be too bad, but you have a limited number of characters to fight with {10 in all} and no secret characters to play with or moves to learn and use. This gets tiresome after about 5 or 6 matches, and you'll probably move onto other fighting games.

Academy Mode is the training portion of the game, giving you the ability to learn each and every character's moves, what they do, the range on them, and how to perform them. During this training time, you're guided by Professor X, who does speak with you while you learn the moves, which is a nice little bonus. By completing the training options and secetions {6 in all}, you'll earn a grade, ala Rival Schools, to unlock secrets for game play. Not a bad little thing to add to a fighting game to help those that are new to the fighting genre.

Survival Mode is just what it implies. You have one power bar, and must take out as many opponents as you can before your life bar is depleted or the time runs out. Either way, it can be very difficult against certain characters, and there are some characters that seem just too difficult to use in this mode. In any case, the further you get, the more secrets you will end up unlocking.

The final Mode, is the Cerebro Mode. This mode has nothing to do with fighting, but tells you what secrets there are to unlock, and just what to do to unlock them. If I remember correctly, there are about seventy-five to one hundred secrets to unlock throughout all of the modes, and with certain secrets, you must first unlock other secrets. All in all, this is a nice twist, giving the game some serious replay value until you have finally gotten all of the secrets unlocked.

-Overall 8/10-

This game isn't bad, not in the least. It has all of the makings of an above average game, but with the flaws that doesn't make it perfect. While the flaws can be overlooked, once the feeling of awe has diminished with playing the game, they'll become more and more apparent with each passing play. Secrets are what make this game, in which you'll play and play until there is nothing left to do in the game, and it sits on your shelf. It's really not a rental choice, but a buyer's choice, if you're an X-Men fan, or just a fighting game fan in general. Either way, you'll have fun with it.

Given the leaps and bounds that the X-Men games have made over the years, I would almost say that this is one of the best ones that I've seen, save for the four-player stand up acrade game. X-Men: Mutant Academy, is one that has climbed over the rest of the stand alone X-Men games, but is still shadowed by the cross over series, such as Marvel vs. Capcom, X-Men vs. Street Fighter, and Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Definately worth a look in any case.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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