Review: X-Men The Arcade Game (Android)
Back in 1992, X-Men: The Arcade Game was the game me and my friends would always dump our quarters into. (Well, that and The Simpsons Arcade Game, of course). I grew up with the X-Men cartoon, and being able to play my favorite characters at the arcades was simply a blast. Last year we saw an HD version of the classic title on the PS3 and 360, and now we can play it on our phones. X-Men: The Arcade Game for Android is the same arcade game we all know and love, but there are a few issues that hold the mobile version back from being a must buy. After all, nostalgia can only go so far.
X-Men Arcade is a side scrolling beat-em-up typical of Konami’s arcade games during that era. Everything from the story to the graphics and the music is exactly how it was back in the arcades. As great as that is for nostalgia, it’s also part of the problem. It’s easy to ignore the short, ridiculous story, the cheesy dialogue, and the horrible music, but my biggest complaint about X-Men Arcade for Android is that there are unlimited continues.
The game is really simple. You get to chose between six X-Men characters (Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus and Dazzler), but each of them play pretty much the same. However, they all have a specific Mutant Power you can use. You’ll spend most of your time moving up and down the screen, jumping and punching your way through enemies, and occasionally, you can use your Mutant Power that can pretty much clear the screen of enemies. This, however, comes at a price, as you will lose health every time you use the Mutant Power. When you are paying a quarter for every five lives, you will strategically use this power, but in the mobile version, since you have unlimited continues, you can simply spam the Mutant Power to cruise your way past enemies.
Of course, you’ll lose your score if you die and continue, but people like me, who could care less about high scores, won’t be too concerned about the score resetting anyway. I think this feature takes most of the appeal away from the game. To begin with, it’s already a really short game; the eight levels can be completed in 25 minutes to one hour. So when you have the ability to simply continue with no repercussion, the game feels even shorter. What I do like is the ability to use chapter select to continue games, but then again, having to restart form the beginning of the game every time you boot it up might bring back some of the arcade feel. Short of having to charge people five/ten cents for continues, I’m not really sure how to get that same arcade experience from these re-releases. Having unlimited continues definitely doesn’t help.
X-Men for Android controls much like other beat-em-up games on the platform. You’ll use a digital analog stick on the left of the screen to move, and there are three digital buttons on the opposite side that will serve as the jump, attack, and Mutant Power buttons. The controls can be a bit unresponsive at times, which can be frustrating when you are fighting waves of enemies, as you will occasionally hit the Mutant Power button by mistake. This issue is more frustrating than the unresponsive controls, because you lose health every time you use the power. Aside from these issues, the game controls pretty well on Android, though I have definitely played games that controlled better using the digital analog controls.
The difficulty of the game might shock some who don’t remember the arcade version; after all, this game was built to eat up quarters. Even on Normal it takes a bit of practice to get through a large stretch of the game without dying. There are several different difficulty levels, which adds to the lasting appeal of the game, but with unlimited continues, I’m not sure the difficulty level matters much unless you just want the satisfaction of beating it on Expert. There are also in-game achievements and facebook integration, which can add to the replay value.
Obviously the biggest appeal of these games is the multiplayer. In X-Men: The Arcade Game you can play online via Wifi with others, but good luck finding someone to play the game with. Not only would they need your Wifi information, I had difficulty even creating a game to have others join. Playing this game with your friends at the arcade was what made these beat-em-up games so great, so it is more than disappointing to not be able to easily jump into an online game.
X-Men: The Arcade Game for Android is really a mixed bag. I still enjoyed playing the game on my phone, because the nostalgia factor is strong enough to keep me playing. The hilarious dialog and crappy music doesn’t bother me, and neither does the length. I like games that I can jump in and play for a few minutes, and although I would love to play X-Men with my friends, this classic title is still a lot of fun. But the issues with online play, the touchy controls, and the unlimited continues are issues that can’t be ignored. If you have fond memories of playing X-Men at the arcades, then you can’t go wrong with the Android version; if you don’t, then it’s safe to say that you can pass on this game.
Note: X-Men Arcade requires Android 2.2
X-men: The Arcade Game
|Platform: Android (reviewed - HTC G2), iPhone, iPad|
Release Date: 6/02/2011
ESRB Rating: 9+