when Marvel and Sega made the best X-Men game

In 1993, the X-men were at their best. Proof of this is the X-men game on MegaDrive, which is definitely one of the best mutant games.

What better time for 90’s comic book fans? To produce shuffled the comics cards, Frank Miller shocked the audience City of Sinand the X-men they weren’t wearing black leather clothes yet Matrix. The mutants have known their hour of glory, with the performances of Jim Lee in the series and the appearance of new characters who have quickly become the darlings of the public such as Jubilee, Gambit, Bishop or Cable.

The enthusiasm was such that Marvel decided to adapt the adventures of the mutants into a TV series, for immediate success. The series developed for Fox Kids in the United States was heavily inspired by the aesthetics of Jim Lee and Chris Claremont in the comics, while taking up the basics of the script by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. After comics and TV, all that remained was to conquer video games so that X-Men become the media kings.

The mutants had already made their way into video games, without much success with products of pure exploitation: the abominably ugly The creepy X-Men, point and click failed X-Men: Madness inside Murder world, le beat’em’up mou X-men the arcade game you most of all X-Men II: Fall of the Mutantsplayful boil that mixes incomprehensible adventure and soft action.

To restore the image of the video game while you are in colored spandex of X-Men, Marvel decided to join forces with Sega and Western Technologies to produce a console-exclusive title that was a success in the United States: the Sega MegaDrive. And for the occasion, it was out of the question to serve fans a heated soup: Sega and Marvel would create one of the best games in the history of the license X-Men.

Insert heroic 16-bit music

Days of future past

In order not to disappoint fans, the equation was simple: put into play everything the salt of the animated series does, respect the letter of the mutant dress code and shake it all up in a nervous action platform shaker. With the esthete Ed Annunziata (Here is the dolphin, Kolibri, Mr Bones) at the controls, the title was in good hands. Annunziata, in collaboration with Western Technologies, has worked to make the game as beautiful as possible, with the goal that fans feel play an interactive episode of the animated series.

For the formula to be at the top, the script had to be more than a pretext at all costs. After much rehearsal, the decision is made to set the action in the Danger Room, Professor Xavier’s famous creation based on Shi’Ar technologies that allows mutants to train in extreme conditions, where the injuries suffered are real. The room was breached by Magneto, and here is a group of four mutants, Wolverine, Gambit, Cyclops, and Nightcrawler (Diablo) stuck in a room that would pass the traps of Saw for a nursery.

X-Men: photoorptic Blast!

Each hero has unique abilities : Wolverine destroys everything in its path, Cyclops uses his optical beams to destroy enemies from a distance, Gambit sends his cards charged with kinetic energy, and Diablo can teleport through levels, ideal for fast runs. The gameplay was not limited to advancing the level to kill robots, monsters and Mutates of the Savage Land.

In the great Sega tradition, the levels were not linear and it was mandatory to explore the most hidden corners of the stages to see the end. With ingenious level-design, and some well-thought-out puzzles, often based on switches to find and activate to open previously blocked passages, the title was in line with the action-platformers of the early 90s. , simple, but terribly effective.

The fan service hasn’t been forgotten, far from it: the iconic villains of the comics are present, with a hyper charismatic Magneto at the top of the list, but also an Apocalypse in its legendary shades of blue and which grows as the fight drags on. , Juggernaut (The Scourge) rushing headlong between the heroes and the hideous Mojo, Krang’s unlikely bastard son of the Ninja turtles and the Clown of To produce.

X-Men: photoIit’s even smaller than in the comics

Generation X

Far from being satisfied with the minimal service of the 90s action-platform game, X-Men brought its share of welcome news. The ability to change characters on the fly was unprecedented, and allowed you to adopt the most suitable character for the situation in real time. Diablo to get through the levels as fast as possible, then Cyclops or Gambit to defeat opponents from a distance, and finally Wolverine against bosses and called himself mass.

Added to this is the ability to summon secondary heroes, a system that will be revised in the fighting game saga. X-Men VS Street Fighter et Marvel versus Capcom. By simply scrolling through the menu, Storm, Angel (in the form of Archangel), Iceman and Rogue (Malicia) come to lend a hand to the hero. If Storm, Angel, and Rogue have offensive skills, Iceman steps in by creating an ice bridge to cross some difficult platform passages.

X-Men: photoLand an obligatory step in the fight against clones

The game X-Men reserved a discovery that marked a date in the history of the JV: the case of the “Reset Mojo Crunch”. Contextualization is necessary. Recall that in 1993, without the Internet or social networks, when players were stuck in front of a puzzle, the only resource was to share their problems or invest in magazines dedicated to game solutions.

The fifth level put the X-Men grappling with Mojo, the invertebrate mounted on mechanical legs. A wizard by trade, obsessed with terrestrial TV shows, has trapped the mutants in his high-tech citadel. After long minutes spent traversing platforms separated by columns of fire and suffering the appearances of Mojo grinning on cathode screens, the player finally arrives in front of a computer.

To complete the level, you need to restart your computer’s terminal. Here’s the problem: nothing explains how to do it, except a sentence from Professor Xavier: “Reset the computer now!”. Destroying it doesn’t end the level, so you might get stuck on Mojo ad vitam æternam … The solution: Press the Reset button on the console. An enigma that kept the genius, that will have driven a generation of players crazy.

Mutant inheritance

Despite this little “troll” before the advent of this term, success was largely there, so much so that Sega and Marvel put the cover back in 1995 for X-Men 2: Clone Wars. Again developed under the guidance of Ed Annunziata, the game will resume the concept of the first game X-Mengreatly improving the graphics and animation of the title.

Always eager for novelty, Annunziata will create for this second part an introduction that will remain in the annals, in the form of a snowy prologue playable as soon as the console is turned on, even before the title screen. The four heroes of the first part are included, plus Psylocke and Le Fauve. The icing on the cake: Magneto also became playable once the third level was completed.

X-Men 2: Clone Wars: photosJumping Wolvie

Once again, the success with audiences and critics was there. But against all odds, no sequel worthy of the name will take over. The X-men will shine in arcades with the saga Street fighter against X-men. And X-men 3 subtitle Mojo world it was still released in 1996 on Game Gear and a long-dead Master System, but its poor quality made it a forgettable title.

Ed Annunziata had wanted to propose a real new project later on X-men 2: Clone WarsS., which would feature an all-female team. Sober title X-Womenhe could have ended his trilogy in style X-men. All hope is not lost, however, since the producer does not despair of seeing the mutants return to a completely different medium, the Intellivision Amico:

“A long time ago, I introduced X-Women to Marvel as the third X-men game for Sega Genesis. Unfortunately, it never saw the light (I left the company), but now I’m trying to get Tommy Tallarico to support the game. for the new Intellivision Amico “.

Waiting for a true hypothetical X-Men 3 developed by Annunziata, the mutants will return this year in Marvel’s Midnight Suns a turn-based tactical RPG from Firaxis Games, the creators of cult classics X-Com. With a plot inspired by a narrative arc The Rise of the Midnight Sons and Jake Solomon who holds the reins of the project, like the phoenix Jean Gray, could very well sign the resurrection of the X-Men on console and PC.

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