X-Men 2: Clone Wars
Since an actually good X-Men movie is currently out in cinemas, I thought I’d take a look at an actually good X-Men retro game!
For that, I turned to the good old Sega Genesis for advice and soon found myself re-discovering a really cool X-Men game.
The game is X-Men 2: Clone Wars, the follow-up to the simply titled X-Men. A game which, as much as I enjoyed it back in the day, simply didn’t have the pace and the flow needed to keep you glued to your TV throughout.
Thankfully, this superior sequel sorts all that out.
Now, I may be shooting myself in the foot here as there really aren’t many complaints I have about this game and even making fun of it is a bit of a challenge, frankly. Still, let’s take a look at it and see why it works so well and if it’s as good as it sounds.
Based on the animated TV series out at the time and the comics, of course, the plot follows the X-Men trying to stop several threats from the ever devious Magneto to the Sentinels and an alien race of bad guys called The Phalanx whose plan it is to clone and assimilate everyone on Earth Borg-style.
The game opens with Professor X chatting to Cerebro, clueing us in as to what’s currently happening.
So we haven’t even started playing yet and there’s already a mention of something as awesome as ALIEN NINJA CLONES.
That little piece of text alone gets the game a star right there.
You then get to choose your character from the likes of Wolverine, Cyclops, Beast, Psylocke, Gambit and Nightcrawler.
They’re a good bunch of playable characters even if poor old Gambit looks rather rough in the above picture.
You start playing the game and instantly realise you’re in safe hands.
For one thing, the music is 16-bit gold (I wish I had the soundtrack!) and the animation on the characters and their design is spot-on. It’s rarely been this fun to slice things up with Wolverine’s claws as it is here.
Take THAT, alien ninja clone!
Take THAT, whatever used to stand there!
It helps also that your characters are always running because, in the first X-Men game, their nonchalant walks through the Danger Room’s holographic jungles etc. hardly felt urgent and exciting.
At least these guys look genuinely busy and in a hurry this time!
So the graphics look fab, from the H.R. Giger-esque designs of some characters…
And the terrifying Sentinels…
To the backgrounds which have way more depth and detail to them than they used to.
It all looks perfect and the tone of the game is appropriately dark and unnerving. The Sentinels level even literally shakes, making you about as stressed out as possible.
I’d say Cyclops is probably the least fun of the characters to pick because you need to constantly aim his head at the enemies before blasting them out of existence.
When you do get those laser eyes of yours working, however, it looks pretty awesome.
There’s a whole range of villains to fight against aside from Magneto, the Sentinels and the Phalanx such as Exodus:
Whatever that creepy, intimidating scorpion-like monster is:
Yes, that’s right: the Phalanx kinda start winning and your beloved X-Men start being cloned so you end up fighting against the very heroes you were rooting for all along.
But if the X-Men are clones, who are you playing as, you ask?
This is awkward.
Indeed, Magneto basically becomes the X-Men’s saviour as he soon becomes a playable character once his original plan kinda falls through, as they usually tend to do.
The entire time you do wonder why he doesn’t just use the metallic backgrounds of the spaceship or secret lair or whatever it is to kill the aliens (and the X-Men) but I guess it could be made of cardboard, plastic or cheese for all we know. Some kind of alien alloy we don’t know about. Something even the great Magneto can’t control.
Think of it: a MEAT spaceship!
Poor old Magneto is lost, lost I tells ya!
And so is my train of thought…
I blame the game, it really does get weird near the end what with all these ghoulish, Lovecraftian creatures walking around and those green slime-filled swamp levels in which you fight all kinds of disgusting bugs.
Luckily, I love all that stuff.
David Cronenberg’s X-Men?
Bring it on!
The game ends on a bit of a downer at first with Cyclops taking on Magneto verbally.
(always a great idea)
Magneto challenges Cyclops’ morals with a classy, biting retort and, by this point, I’m totally invested in that whole conversation and sort of secretly hoping that X-Men 2: Clone Wars turns into a text game!
Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!
It’s on now!
What’s Cyclops gonna reply?
That’s actually weirdly intense and powerful.
I honestly did not remember this game being this enjoyable and this well put together.
Perhaps all this time replaying lesser X-Men games and that not bad but not great LJN Wolverine game clouded my mind into thinking that good X-Men games were barely there in the first place.
Actually, full disclosure, but I kinda…
I kinda made this game and have been lying to you all along.
Using Juno’s completely unexplained time travel super powers, I decided to travel back to 1994 where I spent an entire year developing this sequel with Sega under a pseudonym. It was totally random since only my consciousness travelled back into my younger body and I was like 8 at the time. Nevertheless, I somehow got to America, sneaked into the heavily guarded Sega headquarters and made a kickass X-Men game for y’all to enjoy and for me to review on 1MoreCastle in the future.
It’s okay if none of you believe me.
All that matters is X-Men 2: Clone Wars is a lot of fun and you should totally revisit it.
Also, you might want to give the movie X-Men: Days Of Future Past a go as the above rant makes little sense without watching it.
Anyway, I’m off back to 1997.
There’s a Batman film I need to fix…