Saturday, 15 October 2011

X-Men II: The Fall of the Mutants (MS-DOS)

A sinister looking loaf of bread warms his hand against the radioactive X-Men II logo.

This is the third ever X-Men game to be released, but the second to be developed by Paragon Software, so that's why it gets to be called X-Men 2 I presume.

I've played a few X-Men games now and I still couldn't name more than maybe three or four of these guys.

Hi The Watcher!

It seems that I get to choose a full team in this one. I'll go with...

... these five. Wolverine with his amplified senses, healing factor and unbreakable claws, Cyclops with his tactical genius and eye beams, Nightcrawler with his teleportation ability, Rogue with... I don't know, probably flight and super strength. And Kryten from Red Dwarf spray-painted blue.

So I get to go to a snow covered city, a snow covered city, or the mall? Well it's always nice to have a choice, but I'll go with the snow covered city.

...just as soon as I figure out how to out to make my choice.

Okay this is just stupid, how the hell do I select things? Has it crashed or something? I can't believe I'm stuck at the first menu screen.

Oh, apparently it wants me to press '1' for Dallas, '2' for Galleria, or '3' for Ice Age! Well that's... kind of ridiculous.

Whoa, top down view! Wait, 'Locate enemy within two weeks', what the fuck? How many real hours is in a week?

I guess I should go take my mutant conga line around this icy maze of streets then.

Crap, I've apparently wandered into a battle. I've no idea what the difference between first attack and second attack is, but either sounds good.

Like with the other menu I have to select my desired command by pressing the appropriate key. This time though it wants me to press the first letter, so I shall press 'f'. For 'fuck these controls'.

Well what's the button I press for this then? I've hit every nearly every key on the keyboard and nothing's happening. Did I crash the game?

Oh! I know why it's not working. I'm not close enough yet to attack. I'll need to spend my first turn moving everyone into position.

There we go, now I'm making progress.

I eventually win the fight and receive... absolutely nothing. No xp, no money, no items. There seems to be zero benefit to getting into fights.

I take a couple of steps and I'm right back into another battle. Only this time I've switched the combat mode.

Now instead of a turn based battle system, I've got a side view real time action battle on my hands. Against a dinosaur.

Uh, let's see if Cyclops is handling things any better.

Nope. It seems each enemy takes one of my characters on single handedly, and I have to win each fight in turn. So Wolverine and his dinosaur can wait on pause while Cyclops figures out how those eye beams work again.

There we go. Cyclops 1, Barbarian 0.

Now Wolverine can pop his claws and go all snikt on this prehistoric menace.

And the fight's won.

Damn, I didn't even see a trap! Plus I don't know how to switch heroes on this screen yet.

Damn, I'm already half way through day one. And I still haven't got a clue which way I'm supposed to be going.

A map would be nice. For all I know I actually have one, I just don't know how to bring it up.

I switched back to the original battle system because I thought it'd go better for me. But this is unbearably slow now. I think I'll stick to the side view action screen from now on.

Well I know how to switch characters now, but I don't know who to switch to!

And now I guess it's night time because I can't see a damn thing any more.

Damn, I thought Cyclops was supposed to be tall. He's looks tiny compared to that car and it's driver.

Nightcrawler has a kick attack, but it throws him forward as he hits, and it's easy to start overshooting the target with him. So I hammer the kick button, move back a bit, hammer the kick button, move back at bit...

Looking at my health I'm obviously doing something wrong, but I don't know what.

Well Nightcrawler's dead, but the rest of my team are still hanging in there, barely.

Rogue sticks to punches and kicks, but does them while floating. Personally if I had that power I'd fly up and drop stuff on enemies, from where they can't hit me.

Or better yet, I'd fly over them and not fight anyone at all. 

It seems that every damn corner has another dinosaur around it. I'm really getting tired of the same fight over and over now.

One by one all my characters are killed by enemies and traps, until only Iceman survives. He puts up a brave last stand, but is eventually outmatched and easily dispatched.

Damn man, you could have told me that earlier. Then I would have known not to bother playing.

This is the last X-Men game I'll be playing for a while, because I'm getting pretty sick of them, but I'm hoping the next batch will surprise me. By being good I mean... not by somehow being worse. Next game.

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