|Konami is a master in the realm of creating instant classics throughout the 1980’s and 90’s with titles like Contra, and Gyruss, but one of their last titles in the era of neighborhood arcades stands out, Konami’s X-Men. This classic title brought the player deep into the Marvel universe of the Uncanny X-Men with such playable characters like Cyclops, Wolverine, and Storm. The coin operated version allowed four players to join the adventure at once. Very much like Captain America and The Avengers game, this title had its differences, though still very much like The Avengers title. Players clamored to have the chance to play as Wolverine or Cyclops, fighting their way through armies of Sentinels and other enemies who jump onto the game screen. This is also the only game where you can play as Dazzler, a very third tier Marvel hero, along with Night crawler.
The main goal is to rescue Professor Xavier and Kitty Pride from the clutches of Magneto and his henchmen which include Pyro, The Blob, Mystique, Juggernaut, Nimrod, and The White Queen. The game is basic platform, but the action is fast and never boring.
Graphics – is fantastic for the time and players will enjoy the solid appearance of all the heroes and villains. The backgrounds and colors are also very crisp and sharp, excluding the voiceovers which seems like dialog from previous similar titles. One of the surprising positives of this classic is the game soundtrack. The music keeps the players moving and never gets tedious or boring. This is a solid title and the graphics support the game play with a nice story ending once you beat this action adventure game.
Controls – The coin operated version is your basic joystick along with side buttons for punching, kicking, and a super power. The best thing about this title is using your super power which gives you between three to four uses depending on the character you choose to play with. Since this game is available for download on the Xbox Live system the controls are very similar to the actually arcade video game and easy to use. The controls will not intimidate new game users and confidence will build for anyone who does grow very intimidated over several buttons and joysticks on a controller.
AI – average and barebones, easy to predict an enemy’s next move. Like most side scrolling platform adventure games the AI is not a challenge and most of the foes move in the same direction. The only real challenge is that you will fight different foes with different powers, and this is where the player needs to adjust tactics, but once the player understands each attack, he will never be surprised. By the way the fun part is fighting your way through the levels, who cares if the villain’s all move the same, the player just wants to mash buttons.
Replay value – is eternal and will always want to be played. The coin operated allows four players, but the Xbox Live allows six players and you can choose between a local game or online. This is a bonus for anyone who likes to play with others from around the world. People like to mash buttons together and this title will deliver the goods. A player will become so entranced with the game that two hours will fly by without knowing it. High recommendations to play this game.
Where to find this classic – It is sad to see most of the classic games fade away, especially with most game players using more downloads, but that can also save some stellar classics. Fortunately for Konami’s X-Men the latter reigns true, and can be found if you have an X-box 360 and you are using the Xbox Live feature. The original X-Men game is new to the arcade library and can be downloaded for 800 Microsoft points. This is a steal for a game with high replay value and excellent for bringing us all back to those early 1990’s memories when arcades started to fall to the wayside. If you want to relive your youth and play an original version with the original cabinet, then you are in luck. Silicon Valley is the heart of video games and for the original X-Men there is still a vestige of hope for playing the original coin operated classic, the location is a place named Nickel City in San Jose, California. Nickel City is also the home of major classics and can be played for free with a small entrance fee, though most of these classics are missing their original cabinets.