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X2 | Wolverines Revenge | review | game | Lollipop

X2: Wolverine's Revenge

(Activision)
by Eric Johnson

Wolverine, hirsute possessor of preternaturally acute senses, super-accelerated healing, unbreakable skeleton, and those trademark adamantium claws, is the connoisseur's superhero. He's cool because he gets hurt, and feels the pain of his injuries while his skin, nerves, muscle, even brain and nerve cells regenerate. He's a scrapper, gruff and devoid of self pity, whose unique ability to survive tremendous physical punishment has tempted comic book writers to invent new ways of torturing him, showcasing his ability to survive, occasionally at the expense of his own psyche. In past issues of the X-Men, he's been bent, blasted, shot, stabbed, impaled, hit by cars, burned, electrocuted, brainwashed, disemboweled, and even crucified. Sporting some berserk rage issues, razor sharp claws, and impressive fighting skills, he can dish it out too. And he won't waste time philosophizing when confronted by someone who needs to be put down. Sound's a bit like an ideal video game protagonist, doesn't it?

Well, it just so happens that the short and furious one got his own video game to correspond with the release of the X-Men movie sequel, and the results don't do its dynamic protagonist justice. X2: Wolverine's Revenge follows him into northern Saskatchewan, seeking a cure for a virus that will kill him in 48 hours. Better than most previous attempts at bottling X-Men magic into a video game, Wolverine's Revenge has style and some nice features, but it's dragged down to mediocrity by a terrible fighting system which lacks the sort of balls-out, fast-paced action that compels you to keep plugging away at the game until you're done.

Combat is predominantly hand-to-hand, with or without claws, and since most of your adversaries use guns, you have to depend upon equal parts stamina and stealth to close the gap. Stealth mode allows you to track people following pheromone trails, kill silently, and evade environmental dangers. A rage meter steadily fills as you take damage, and once it fills up, Wolverine starts slashin' like a PCP junkie surrounded by cops, and for a few moments, the game reaches its full potential. Alas, those are fleeting moments, and most of the time, controlling him is a sluggish affair. He's unable to evade projectiles, unable to fight while crouching or jumping, and unable to string attacks together into combinations. Fighting is in no way dynamic or exciting, a cardinal sin for a game with great enthusiasm for its subject.

 


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