THE YEAR 2000 saw the release of the first liveaction movie based upon the popular Marvel comic book series X-Men. Nine years and three movies later, fans finally get to see the movie they have always dreamed about: a dedicated spin-off for everyone’s favourite X-Men character, Wolverine. And who better to develop the accompanying game than Raven Software, the developers of the popular X-Men Legends games, as well as the critically acclaimed follow-up Marvel Ultimate Alliance?
Raven Software knows how to satisfy the Marvel fan base well, as X-Men Origins: Wolverine captures everything that makes him so popular: specifically his no-nonsense, badass attitude and the ability to slice anything he sees fi t. This is certainly not a game for the kiddies, as it’s bloody, brutal and realistic unlike any other X-Men game before it, resulting in an R18 rating.
The game follows the plot of the movie, set 20 years prior to the original X-Men movie. It chronicles the shady past of Wolverine and his initial encounters with Sabretooth and the tyrannical William Stryker. You will encounter other characters from the movie as well as enemies exclusively represented in the game.
You could say that X-Men Origins: Wolverine plays a bit like Heavenly Sword mixed with Tomb Raider, only with a claw-brandishing mutant man as the lead in lieu of femme fatales. As I mentioned before, this is a very violent game and will see you slashing your way through countless baddies level after level. Refreshingly, the game is not only hackand- slash combat; there are also various puzzles for you to solve that vary the gameplay somewhat. There are elements of stealth gameplay as well, although they are kept fairly brief. It’s nice to see such a variety of gameplay.
It was also great to see that the developers made good use of all of Wolverine’s skills and abilities for the player to fully utilise during the game. Such abilities include his heightened agility, his keen sense of smell, the power to heal rapidly, and obviously the destructive claws that burst out of his knuckles. Again, this is a strong point of difference from other action games that allows for a lethal repertoire of moves. Where else could you lunge at an enemy 100 metres away from you?
The level of detail in the animation is quite impressive, especially to how Wolverine’s character model looks and how he reacts with the environment and other characters onscreen. Slowmotioneffects highlight wolverine’s brutality as he severs limbs, with the blood spilling throughout the screen. He can also use the environment to his advantage, including impaling an enemy on a spike embedded on the floor. As nasty as it sounds, it could also happen to you, prompting you to bash a button to escape.
Graphically, the only levels that stood out were the jungles in Africa and the snowy fi elds of Canada. It was disappointing to see the interior levels dip in quality, as the majority of the game is spent indoors in dark, shadowy environments. At least Wolverine really looks like Hugh Jackman. Not only that, but you can even see the battle scars he suffers as bullets puncture his skin, not to mention that you can see his rapid-healing ability in action!
What I didn’t like about this title is its lack of extras to prolong the lifespan of what is a very short game. The only bonuses are the chance to unlock his classic yellow and black costume, as well as others from his illustrious Marvel history. I would have also liked some sort of multiplayer aspect just to keep the game fresh. Despite this, X-Men Origins: Wolverine exceeded my expectations and was very enjoyable to play. Just bear in mind: this is not a game for the squeamish.