X2: Wolverine’s Revenge
There's only one thing worse than a bad port of a console game, and that's a bad port of a bad console game. Wolverine's Revenge adds itself to the long list of licence desecrations (second only to Evil Dead) with the greatest of ease, and is such a blatant rush-job attempt to cash-in on the X-Men 2 movie, you feel like suing them.
As someone who devoured Marvel comics as a youngster and prized Wolverine as the greatest, coolest character in any of them, I'm fully equipped on the X-Men knowledge front. I don't think I've been this pissed off at a game in all my years as a reviewer.
Wolverine is like the comic equivalent of Humphrey Bogart: tough, hacked off with the past and pretending to look after no one but himself. So it comes as a nice surprise to find the game investigates the hero's origins by setting the first section in 1968, and the escape from the lab where he was experimented on. Right from the intro movie though, you can see this is a shabby affair. Once you start playing, and are confronted with the abominable controls (don't even bother if you haven't got a joypad with two analogue sticks), you know it for sure. But it's not until you realise the true lack of depth of the gameplay, the frustration of yet another no-saves design and the sheer boredom of the whole enterprise, that your blood really begins to boil.
There are a few good ideas in there, like the use of Wolverine's animal senses, his healing abilities and proneness to lose his temper. But they're all appallingly implemented. There were moments where the bad design and even worse conversion hang-ups, had me having to control my own temper. Oh, and it's bugged to buggery too. Crashes and clipping problems are common.
Use The Voice, Luke
About the only saving grace is the voice acting, especially Mark Hamill's surprising effectiveness as Wolverine. Who would have thought squeaky Skywalker had it in him?
XMen 2: Wolverine's Revenge is still a complete travesty though. At least Spiderman (another great comic hero) got a polished, if uninspired game. Note to Marvel: please make a comic where Wolverine takes his revenge on the shortsighted marketing departments responsible for rushing this piece of crap out.
Download X2: Wolverine’s Revenge
If as a kid you used kitchen utensils to pantomime Logan's claw strikes, you’re in for some bittersweet gaming. No other X-Men game so fully realizes the Canucklehead’s many talents or captures the character’s essential badassness as well as Revenge does. I rarely tire of springing from the shadows to disembowel unwary watchmen. And while most of the levels are set in a visually drab military complex, there’s enough diversity in their design to keep things exciting. But several problems keep Revenge from being a stellar action game instead of a semisolid use of licensed material. The boss battles epitomize most of the game’s shortcomings: It’s obvious that butchering superfoes was meant to require improvisation, yet the correct approach always feels contrived, such as impaling Sabertooth midleap. And long after you identify your adversary’s weakness, you'll keep combating uncooperative controls, continue after continue, before claiming victory. The same quality-control problems carry over to the stealth missions-there’s rarely more than a single intended path to circumvent booby traps, and shadow kills, though rewarded, are only sporadically necessary. When secrecy is a must, the stodgy A.I. insists you follow its hard-and-fast rules rather than showing any real creativity. He may be the best there is at what he does, but Wolvie still has a few gaming lessons to learn.
It’s a good thing I don't have adamantium claws myself-there’s a good chance they’d have taken out a few controllers as I played Revenge. This game is tough.. .but usually for the wrong reasons. I can’t help feeling I would have had a much easier time getting through it if the shoddy control-especially noticeable during boss fights- had received a little more attention. What’s with making me awkwardly hold down L2 to stay in Stealth mode?! Also, while the game looks all right, the environments lack detail. Despite these shortcomings, I still had a genuinely good time playing as one of my comic-book heroes-but it’s by no means a great game. Logan’s diehard followers should give it a rental.
A comic fan couldn’t ask for a better story line or cast of characters in a Wolverine game, but unlike Chris, I wouldn’t even recommend Revenge as a rental. It's unnaturally hard, with save points so few and far between, you’ll definitely relate to Wolverine when he goes into a Berserker Rage. I’m a pretty even-tempered cat, but I came close to eviscerating my television several times-it’s that frustrating. I was even forced to replay a half-hour stretch of the game six times. Unfun. There are good ideas behind Wolvie’s stealthy gameplay, but his mutant powers are poorly implemented and the game camera will simply slay you. Don’t be fooled by its excellent production values-it’s just beautiful junk.
While Wolverine's no stranger to videogames, comic-book readers know the full range of the X-Man's abilities have previously been slighted on the consoles. What with his signature pig-stickers, it's always been easy to overlook the ol' Canucklehead's other mutagenic gifts. Of course, Wolvie's claws will always take center stage, and developer Gene Pool has devised plenty of satisfying ways for you to use 'em in its upcoming action game, X2: Wolverine's Revenge. You'll get a meat-and-pota-toes series of wild slashes, perfect for tearing through an equally redundant menu of generic goons, while other acrobatics include somersaulting, sliding, and spin kicking.
Thankfully, though, Revenge goes a bit beyond this programming-by-the-numbers by letting you cull these clones with several flashy finishing moves.
More than just lethal tinsel, these special attacks can be indispensable in boss battles. For example, to best the Juggernaut, you'll need to pry free his helmet with aerial attacks before you and X-pal Colossus can finish him with a straight-from-the-comic Fastball Special combo attack.
So, what's the fuss about the furball's other, often overlooked, talents, you ask? Well, for one, if Wolvie's always doing what he does best, his accelerated healing factor won't kick in; he has to sheath his claws in order to regain lost health. But it's access to his heightened senses that really puts you inside this killing
Cool and collected or a savage berserker, it's really up to you.
machine's Adamantium-plated skull. "We thought long and hard about the mutant abilities of Wolverine," explains Executive Producer Rob Letts, "and tried to tailor the gameplay to really bring his awesome potential alive." And it shows. Revenge is designed so stealth is, at least some of the time, a viable alternative to wholesale slaughter. When you hold down the L2 button, the screen goes gauzy and red, and environmental noise dulls to a quiet drone. Suddenly, you're at one with your surroundings: You can follow previously undetectable footprints, scan the UV spectrum for evidence of booby traps, and surprise your quarry from the shadows. Wolverine can be cool and collected or a savage berserker--it's really up to you.
Adding welcome depth to the breadth of these genetic blessings is a story line crafted by comics scribe Larry Hama. So, despite having titular ties to the X-Men movie sequel due out this May, Revenge's plot has much more in common with the long-running comic book. It also means that underlying the standard series of lackeys and locked doors is a solid story that Letts calls "fast and punchy." All we know so far is that Wolverine must trek deep into the Canadian wilderness, returning to the clandestine Department H facility. There, he must locate an antidote to the viral bomb that's just been discovered in his system.
Yeah, the infamy of shoddy superhero titles could be Wolverine's real worst enemy. But if Revenge's gameplay consistently puts his powers to meaningful use, perhaps the clawed one can escape the comic-book-to-videogame jinx.
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.
Snapshots and Media
Playstation 2 Screenshots
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