The X-men's bad boy is back, starring in Wolverine's Revenge, coinciding with the movie release of X2. While the game doesn't follow the movie's storyline, it does delve into the mysterious past of Wolverine. Weapon X scientists planted a viral time bomb in Wolverine and you have 48 hours to explore the weapon facilities and find the antidote. While the storyline is pretty contrived, are the gameplay, graphics and fun factor enough to carry this game?
I have always loved the character of Wolverine and Activision does a fantastic job of re-creating all of Logan's abilities. This is the first game with Wolverine where they actually faithfully reproduce his healing abilities as well as his heightened senses and stealth ability. By pulling the left trigger, you can activate his heightened senses, allowing him to see heat patterns emanating from his enemies, as well as 'visually see' opponents scents trailing behind them. It also enables him to move quietly and surprise enemies. While sense mode takes a bit of getting accustomed to, it soon becomes second nature, especially on levels where visibility is low. In the game, Wolverine's healing ability only functions when his claws are retracted. While this isn't precisely accurate to the comics, it does force you to play the game without always relying on your claws. In many cases, sheathing his claws is essential, to allow you to slowly heal and also to speed up your attacks, as punches are executed quicker than claw attacks.
Everything isn't all rosy with WR. The graphics are not what I would have expected from the XBOX. I understand that Activision made this game for all three consoles, but I just wish that they wouldn't code to the least common denominator. While this game is decent, it could have been awesome. I would have loved to see this game really push the limits of the XBOX graphically. Also, I found some problems with the actual game play. There were many times when I found myself stuck to a wall, or experienced poor collision detection and in one case, I actually fell through the floor of an elevator in the lab and had to restore from a save point so I could continue to play.
Activision did put effort into making this game fun and unique. They recreated the propensity for Logan going into a feral rage. They enhanced the combat to allow for Wolverine to acquire new attacks, commandeer plasma turrets and even navigate a droid. I especially liked stealth mode and the ability to grab opponents and execute special strike and kill moves. In addition to killing enemies, each level provides opportunities to earn special points for collecting dog tags and unlock additional costumes for Wolverine by locating Comic icons in hidden locations.
While the game falls short of being truly awesome, Wolverine fans will find plenty to like about Wolverine's Revenge and should definitely check it out. All others should consider renting first.