Review by Spider Fox
"A true believer's deepest dream"
For over a decade, there have been several games released based upon the canon or non-canon storylines based on the iconic comic book stars published by Marvel Comics. Many loved superheroes had rarely or never gotten the spotlight, including Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Blade etc. and catered only to the mainstream heroes adored by young tykes and older comic fans alike, such as Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Incredible Hulk. However, born in the light of many failed Marvel crossovers save for the Marvel VS Capcom series, this game finally grants forgotten heroes the opportunity to shine as well as grace the more popular legends with newfound dignity and unforgettable adventures.
Gameplay - 10/10
Branching off of the two previous Marvel games developed by Raven Software (X-Men Legends 1 and 2), Marvel Ultimate Alliance adopts it's combat system and RPG-ish background elements, such as leveling up, character interaction, quests etc. while mixing it with a whopping real-time combat system that blows even hardcore beat-em-ups out of the water in comparison. It's no "Kingdom Hearts", but MUA offers near full use of the superheroes's trademark powers topped onto it's various melee combinations, and with a roster of 20 of Marvel's veterans the possibilities of different team-ups not only call for exhilarating experimentation, but has Replayability written all over it and is completely friendly to Multiplayer Gameplay. It will cease to shy off both action/adventure and RPG fans due to it's clever and fantastic mixture and is impossible to disappoint a Marvel fan.
Story - 8/10
MUA's plot dwells deep into the Marvel universe of old, which is one of the only discomfort that could put newer Marvel fans or those dedicated to a single Marvel series in hot water, but this is made up in great gameplay. Even if not every face and reference rings a bell, the story is incredible genius filled with edge-of-your-seat thrills that will make you want to play for endless hours just to discover what happens next. There is also a special feature incorporated in the background that allows you to implement the unnecessary missions of the game into the future of the Marvel Universe - every person you choose to save, or ignore and leave to their demise, every device that requires location you can cater to or leave forgotten, all of it will decide what the outcome of this comic book world will be. To put it simply without spoiling anything, Dr. Doom has reformed the Masters of Evil, an organization of supervillains of which name has been used again and again but is now as enormous as ever, and calls for the participation of every Marvel hero that exists for humanity's precious planet to stand a chance. Little do Nick Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D and this superhero alliance know what tricks Doom has up his sleeve...
Graphics/Sound - 8/10
Since it is on the PS2 version, the graphics aren't brimming realism as it's next-gen console siblings can boast, but it is still satisfactory and surprisingly decent given the deep amount of content provided. The sound effects are tolerable and not completely perfect, with a few strange kinks such as strangely chosen voice actors for certain characters (Thing and Ghost Rider just to name a few), but they fit the given environment and aren't much of a bother when caught up in the mist of it's exciting and intense gameplay. Each detail, from the craggy rock of Thing's orange hide to the webbed patterns on Spidey's getup, has detail of sporting efforts upon close inspection. Expect no graphical glitches here - everything is kept in place.
Play time/Replayability - 10/10
Slapping on the cliche expectation of a long-lasting RPG in the batch of everlasting fun gameplay, you can expect to be able to play this from hours on end, with or without buddies to tag along. If you get bored with mainstream missions, there are tons of side missions to ease the pain and add on to the possibilities and effect of your ending outcome. There's also things like additional costumes and characters to be found via pickup items that can sum to it's unlocking equation, which in itself is an entertaining challenge. Can you go wrong with 4 costumes per character out of a roster of 20? And to think that that's just a fraction of what's in store...
Final Recommendation - BUY
If you're not into the world of superheroes, this may seem like a simple beat-em-up. Fan of only a particular Marvel character? Quite sure you will still love it. This is great fun for fans of Marvel comics all around, and is a golden gem, a diamond in the rough of video games that is to be cherished and played time and time again.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/01/06
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