Thursday, December 16, 2010

X-men Arcade!

So I downloaded the classic X-Men arcade game on 360 and as I watched that progress bar fill I began reminiscing on my childhood.

Back then if you ran into a 6 player cabinet it was always full. You could always tell the experienced from the novice by how they played. Mutant powers wasted energy and those that spammed it were soon putting in more quarters or giving up their spot to someone that called "next." I can't say I was extremely good back then but there was always that self determination that if I got better then I could finally beat the game and still have some money left for The Simpsons Arcade game.

Fast forward to my late teens and early internet days, the days where emulators where the only way to relive old childhood arcade memories. Playing a 4 player Xmen game from the comfort of my home was the perfect chance to prove to myself just how good I could get. When playing with others though, in a setting that didn't require money, I soon realized that the feel of the game was completely different.

Having to pay quarters made a difference. Games in that era were designed to eat quarters so in order to beat a game you either had to work at getting better, or be rich.

Take that element away and all you have is a button masher where the only two buttons used are "mutant power" and "Start". That can get boring kinda fast.

Okay now let's move on to the present. I was pretty excited to finally play this game in a 6 player setting again. It would be my first time since the original arcade cabinet. I joined a game and pretty soon we had all six players. (unlocked a achievement) As soon as we started, my greatest fears were realized, no one cared about their energy. Just wave after wave of mutant power, then die, then repeat. It was even worse on the levels that had pits because they would just jump in the pit on purpose just so that they could come back with full energy!

Maybe it's just me, but I feel this takes away from the enjoyment and original feel of the game. Having a "expert" setting seemed pointless. The one redeeming quality was the leader boards but in my opinion more could have been done. Here are my top 3 ideas (in no particular order.)

1. An optional setting to set a cap for continues used.

2. Better achievements!
There definitely has to be a balance in making achievements too hard or too easy but for a 6 player beat'm up I think its completely pointless to waste achievements on clearing certain checkpoints and not jumping for a entire level...

3. An option to disable mutant powers.
(they could have even called it "Genosha mode")

As a direct port I already know that there were issues preventing them from changing the original game but one can still hope that in the future such things might be implemented in those classic beat'em ups we know and love...

What do you think could have gave this game a more challenging replay value? Any ideas for better achievements? Comments are welcome!


  1. I agree. The novelty wore off for me after 10th mins. Arcades were places you begged your parents for five bucks to play games that mostly at that time weren't accessible on consoles. The times back then praised the kid with chunky pockets, dumping his allowance in a machine. That's when we were kings.

  2. So true, so true. I tried playing online again later and it seems I got a completely different experience. I think the thing that made arcade games work was that social interaction. You don't always get that online...