X2: Wolverine's Revenge
Game Info
Platform(s)
Xbox, GC, PS2
Publisher
Activision
Developer
GenePool
Genre
Action
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Blood, Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Feels like Wolverine Comics
• Strike System adds a lot to the combat
• Custom Soundtrack feature

The Bad

• Graphics could use improvement
• Lots of Trial and Error portions
• Repetitive music

 
Grade
C+

Rather than letting Wolverine's Revenge ride on just the strength of the comic book license alone (because apparently Wolverine isn't popular enough), Activision tried to tie it in with the upcoming X-Men movie sequel. What this game has to do with the movie.... well, outside of Hugh Jackman on the cover and X2 in the name, I don't know. The story behind Wolverine's Revenge begins with Wolverine breaking out of the Weapon X program that made him the "man" he is today. On his way out, he finds out that a fail-safe virus has been planted inside him known as the Shiva Virus. Some time later, after years with the X-Men, Wolverine discovers that the Shiva Virus has become active and he has 48 hours to find the cure.

The core of the gameplay is based on Wolverine's innate abilities and fans of the comics will be pleased at what GenePool has given them. With the White Button, players can pop and sheathe Wolverine's claws. While you'd think you'd want his claws out all the time, Wolverine's healing ability can only be used when his claws are put away. The X button throws punches and the Y button kicks. The A button allows you to jump and the B button performs Strike attacks, which add a great bit to the game. At certain points in a fight, players can initiate Strikes to perform scripted combos depending on how many enemies are within striking distance. You can also pick up enemies and throw them. At the end of each section, you'll be given a score, which goes toward unlocking more Strike moves.

Along with the standard fighting Strikes, Wolverine can perform Stealth Strikes, which allow you to sneak around and attack enemies without settling off alarms. Hitting the Left Trigger will initiate Wolverine's special senses, which is helpful in tracking footsteps, seeing in dark areas and track the scents of nearby guards. The Right Trigger allows you to crouch and perform a sneaking run. Along with a health gauge, Wolverine also has a Rage gauge, which fills during combat. Once it tops off, Wolverine will go into a Berserker Rage, which will allow you to tear through your opponents. You can also initiate this prematurely by double-tapping the White Button. During the game, you'll be able to find Cerebro files and Comic Book covers (which allow you to switch Wolverine's costume).

Wolverine's Revenge does manage to deliver a style that feels pulled straight from the comics. The notable characters (including Sabretooth, Beast, Colossus and the Juggernaut) all have a sharp look to them, even if a lot of the character models look somewhat blocky. The NPCs have some decent detail but you'll find a lot of the enemies look the same, so much so that you'll feel like you're beating up on the same two or three enemies throughout each stage. The levels are sizable, but seem to lack in overall detail and suffer from some blurry and uninteresting textures and weak lighting effects. The graphics package is never really bad in any aspect, but it doesn't do much to draw you any further into the game that the comic-book premise does.

The audio package is rather hit and miss. With Mark Hamill as Wolverine and Patrick Stewart as Professor X, the main characters are voice acted fairly well. Unfortunately, though, the NPC voice acting is pretty plain and uninteresting. On top of that, a number of the NPC lines get repeated so much you may think that only one or two lines were actually recorded. The music is noticeably dramatic, but seems to be repeated so much it loses its punch. Fortunately, the game supports the custom soundtrack feature, so you can switch over to something you actually want to listen to.

While Wolverine's Revenge does manage to get the comic-book feel down pat, it does manage to miss the mark on a number of things. A lot of the levels suffer from trial and error gameplay, where you have to do a series of things correctly or else you're forced to start over at the beginning of the level. While this might be okay for two or three tries, some stages may take a lot of tries before you get through, leading to excessive frustration. Also, Wolverine's claws seem a lot less effective than they should be. Even standard enemies take a number of blows to drop. Because of that, you'll find the game proves to be difficult by means of having to duke it out with just about every smalltime minion you run across. Throw in an in-game camera that needs constant attention and still manages to find itself in the wrong place and only the heartiest Wolverine fans may stick around to the end.

It's obvious that Wolverine's Revenge benefits from having a great license. Without it, the game is fairly average and mostly forgettable. Wolverine's Revenge does good at capturing the comic book feel well, but the overall frustration behind the gameplay may take away from the enjoyment of the game. If you can live with the game's flaws, you'll most likely enjoy yourself.

- - Vane

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