Review by GalFord
"It's not normal.. it's a hybrid.. a mutant. Homo Superior is here...."
After a small success with the movie tie-in X-Men: Mutant Academy, Activision/Paradox decide to update and refine the average game into something special. The 10 characters from the first game have now been joined by Forge (Inventor extraordinaire), Havok (Brother to Cyclops and powerhouse in his own right), Nightcrawler (Demon-like teleporter) and the ever-charming Southern Belle, Rogue. Upon this, there are many hidden things to find and a few extra characters to unlock as you play. But, you're not reading this to find out that are you? You want to know if it's worth your time. So.. on with the show!
GRAPHICS: Pretty much the same as the first game. The menus and selection screens are clean, crisp and easy to understand. The attention to the well realized characters, and interesting backgrounds make for an interesting x-perience. Spot effects such as special moves, supers etc.. are dealt with in many different and flashy ways. (Although I must warn anyone who wants to learn Nightcrawler. If you can't handle flashing lights, forget it. :P ) There are a few problems with the camera such as it not tracking the action fast enough sometimes, but it's quite bearable. You then have the Full Motion Video intros and outros which are nicely done (And cel-shaded as I've noticed in parts..) that set the right mood at the right time.
SOUND: Voices are very well done. Each one suiting the characters the best that they can. Some characters' voices are a little on the quiet side but again, it's in line with the characters' persona. Music is almost non-existant. At least, you don't even notice the tracks until the round is nigh-on over, but by then it's far too late.
GAMEPLAY: In the first game, the last 4 characters were borderline cheap and downright nasty to fight against. Seems that Paradox thought that it'd make the game better if everyone fought hard, fast and nasty. The computer A.I is ruthless and unrelenting, and that's just on Normal. The Easy difficulty level isn't exactly that, but it's not quite as skanky as the harder ones. But, with practice, you'll learn to be as harsh as the CPU opponents.
Onto the game details: So, what's different from the first game? Quick answer: Lots. Long and drawn out answer: For a start, everyone now has the ability to launch the opponent into mid-air and jump up after them to carry on the merciless beatings. Most characters have a few new special/super moves including aerial moves. The scope for combo-ing is immense, and should keep hardcore players happy for quite some time.
REPLAYABILITY/LASTABILITY: There are many, many things to unlock ranging from extra costumes and extra characters to movies and one hell of a fun hidden versus only stage. Fighting games are mainly 2 player games, but this one has more than enough to keep just one player going until their friend arrives! From the Arcade Mode to Survival Mode, then onto completing the vaunted Academy Mode which will teach you the game inside and out. The combo system is very deep and as mentioned before, will have good players creating larger and more difficult combos as time goes on.
FINAL WORDS: I couldn't wait to get my hands on this game when I heard about it, and thankfully Paradox have easily surpassed the average game that the first one was and have created a decent, fun to play sequel. I don't think I'll be going back to the first game now. And in many ways.. I look at that as a good thing. ^_^
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 09/27/01, Updated 09/27/01
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