The X-Men games that are actually good

It’s a good time to be an X-Men fan. The stellar first season of X-Men ‘97 simply wrapped up, Insomniac Games is engaged on a Wolverine recreation for PlayStation 5, and the mutants are (sometime) coming to the MCU.

Nevertheless it’s been some time since there have been good choices for X-Men followers who need to recreation in that universe. Gone are the times of a number of X-Men arcade games and preventing games to select from, or film tie-ins. There have been lots of disappointing X-Men games ( you, X-Men: Future), however what concerning the good ones?

The Polygon workers has collected the X-Men games that are actually good, from the daybreak of the mutant age gaming to even just a few current releases that revive X-Men gaming. Most are not obtainable to play anymore, however they stay on in our hearts nonetheless.

X-Men (1992)

Ideally, you’ll be taking part in X-Men on an authentic arcade cupboard alongside three strangers, the 4 of you thrown collectively right into a makeshift household as you step into the footwear of Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops, Colossus, Nightcrawler or Dazzler. It gained’t take lengthy to beat — possibly 30-45 minutes, like an awesome episode of tv — and also you’ll stroll away victorious, having destroyed Sentinels and different basic baddies till you attain Magneto, who has kidnapped Xavier for some purpose (though in the event you’ve seen X-Men ‘97, you would possibly be capable to think about some good causes).

This recreation is an all-time basic for a purpose; every character has completely different particular talents, identical to the characters they’re primarily based on, and as simplistic because the beat-em-up mechanics could also be, it’s nonetheless probably the most correct and enjoyable diversifications that the X-Men have ever had throughout video games. Oddly sufficient, this model of the crew was actually primarily based on the failed 1989 cartoon X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men that acquired one pilot episode and no extra, however the X-Men have such distinctive visible designs that this half by no means actually mattered. —Maddy Myers

X-Men 2: Clone Wars

Picture: HeadGames, Inc./Sony

This may increasingly shock you, however there are few better-looking Genesis games than X-Men 2: Clone Wars. It’s stunning how richly detailed its 16-bit graphics are, and the way finely-tuned its motion feels. Headgames’ side-scrolling platformer has plenty of thrives unusual in licensed games on the time, from a chilly open that drops you into the sport as a random character the second you begin it to a surprisingly concerned story ripped from the recently-wrapped “Phalanx Covenant” comics arc. What’s extra, Clone Wars beat X2 to one in all its massive twists — halfway by means of the sport, Magneto joins the crew, and he seems freaking sick. —Joshua Rivera

X-Men Legends and X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse

Character select screen in X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse, featuring Wolverine, Magneto, Storm, and Bishop.

Picture: Raven Software program/Activision

Each X-Men Legends games had been squad-based motion role-playing games that absolutely leaned into the crew nature of the X-Men, permitting you to carry 4 of the mutants into missions directly. Each games’ fight had been easy however evocative, and efficiently leaned on the numerous talents of the completely different X-Men. The roster was fairly deep, too — the primary recreation had 14 playable characters (plus Professor X on particular missions), and the sequel added some from Magneto’s Brotherhood of mutants as effectively.

The foremost purpose these games really feel so becoming for the X-Men franchise to me is the team-based nature, a vital a part of the X-Men’s complete deal. And so they had been much more enjoyable co-op — I’ve many fond recollections of taking part in and replaying these games (and even simply the Hazard Room missions) with my brother rising up.

Extra shoutout to the additionally fairly enjoyable Marvel Final Alliance games, the successor to those games from Raven Software program and Activision, increasing the scope to the broader Marvel universe. —Pete Volk

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

In the video game version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Wolverine leaps at a helicopter with his claws out

Picture: Raven Software program/Activision

For many of video games’ brief historical past, a licensed recreation primarily based on a good film was hardly ever very good. A licensed recreation primarily based on a horrible one? A idiot’s errand. As the children say, X-Men Origins: Wolverine had no enterprise going this difficult. In an uncommon transfer, Raven Software program’s flagship PS3 and Xbox 360 model of Wolverine was an M-rated recreation considerably extra violent than the movie it was primarily based on, leading to a God of Struggle-inspired bloody hack-and-slash journey, mixing the film’s storyline with an expanded authentic plot. The consequence was a brutally satisfying online game, and sadly the tip of Raven’s glorious tenure on Marvel titles that kicked off with X-Men Legends. In just a few brief years, the studio could be altogether achieved growing its personal games as effectively, shifting into a brand new position as a Name of Responsibility assist studio. —JR

Marvel vs. Capcom 2

Hulk attacks in Marvel vs Capcom 2

Picture: Capcom

Beginning with X-Men vs. Avenue Fighter (1996) and touchdown with a thud on Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite (2017), the X-Men/Capcom crossover preventing recreation collection has had its ups and downs, and whilst I write this blurb, I’m second-guessing my very own try to pick the very best of your entire run. A number of entries have robust factors of their favor (we want not converse of Infinite). However you’ll be able to’t not vote for Rogue’s iconic divekick, which she first performs in X-Men vs. Avenue Fighter and which options its remaining look in Marvel vs. Capcom 2. It’s a transfer so beloved that it acquired a nod in X-Men ‘97. If you want to not only see but be Rogue when she’s punching individuals’s lights out — and who doesn’t? — you can’t do higher than Marvel vs. Capcom 2. —MM

X-Men: Kids of the Atom

Wolverine squares off against Juggernaut in the fighting game X-Men: Children of the Atom

Picture: Capcom

Merely put: Kids of the Atom walked so Marvel vs. Capcom may run. The developer’s first entry into what could be a wildly in style collection of Marvel preventing games is barebones in comparison with the 3v3 spectacle later games could be recognized for, however these bones are strong: It’s successfully a maximalist model of Avenue Fighter circa 1994, with longer combos, tremendous jumps, and new movesets that would proceed to be refined as its characters appeared in subsequent Marvel preventing games. However its most vital achievement may be in its character design: Devoted but idiosyncratic, the X-Men as rendered in Kids of the Atom are unmistakably Capcom designs, with only a trace of Avenue Fighter: Alpha’s anime inflection, but in addition pitch-perfect tributes to X-Men artist Jim Lee. The proof was within the pudding: Arcade gamers may struggle Avenue Fighter villain Akuma as a secret character, and console gamers may play as him themselves — and he match proper in. —JR

Marvel’s Midnight Suns

The Hunter, flanked by Wolvering, Iron Man, Blade and others, strides into the frame. Behind them, what looks like a kind of stargate.

Picture: Firaxis Games/Marvel Comics

I do know what you’re pondering: “Is this an X-Men game?” Wolverine, Magik, and Storm are in it — plus Deadpool, who at the least works with the X-Men typically sufficient, and Scarlet Witch, who is typically a mutant relying on the canon — so we’re letting this one in. Maybe extra importantly, Marvel’s Midnight Suns has the vibe of the very best X-Men tales. It is a team-up technique recreation, with super-powered characters all thrown unwittingly collectively in a wierd mansion. In battle, they’ll commerce barbs and one-liners; again at dwelling, they’ll romance one another and bicker. If that’s not quintessential X-Men, what’s? —MM

X-Men Cartoon Maker

X-Men Cartoon Maker, comprised of a series of X-Men cartoon tiles

Picture: Data Journey/Vivendi Common Interactive by way of /u 1auc377

X-Men Cartoon Maker shouldn’t be a lot a recreation as it’s a sandbox for creating your very personal episodes of X-Men: The Animated Sequence utilizing character fashions, sound results, and background photos from the unique present, plus a sound library of funky ‘90s instrumental tracks that largely appear becoming as backing tracks for struggle scenes and dramatic standoffs (for which the present was recognized, after all). Composing scenes and utilizing the rudimentary cartooning instruments does really feel clunky, however the finish outcomes may be uniquely hilarious. Try this high-effort piece of artwork uploaded to YouTube by one diligent X-Men Cartoon Maker fan for an instance of what you’ll be able to pull off. —MM

X-Men (1993)

Gambit and Rogue join forces to fight Juggernaut in a jungle in X-Men (1993) for Sega Genesis

Picture: Western Applied sciences Inc/Sega

Some might argue with my inclusion of this 1993 Sega Genesis unique primarily based on its grueling issue, however I’d prefer to make my case primarily based on the eye to element for every of the 4 playable characters and its really notorious end-game stunt. Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, and Gambit are all current, and every include distinctive, character-appropriate powers. Cyclops does his laser blasts, Nightcrawler teleports, Wolverine snickety snicks, and Gambit throws taking part in playing cards (I’m sorry Gambit followers, it’s at all times been bizarre).

You play as these 4 X-Men, trapped within the Hazard Room, and your “lives” are merely the 4 playable characters. Since every has distinctive talents, efficiently ending this motion platformer meant fastidiously budgeting your strategy to every degree and boss. Which makes the late-game stunt all of the extra wild: To be able to finish the Hazard Room simulation, it is advisable to “reset the computer” which you’d assume would achieved by urgent a button on the controller, presumably “press F to pay respects” fashion, proper?

Nope! You faucet the precise “Reset” button on the Sega Genesis! And in the event you press it too lengthy, it actually resets the Genesis and also you lose all of your progress. This was 1993! I applaud absolutely the sickos who made this recreation the stuff of schoolyard lore, and my apologies to everybody retraumatized by this reminiscence. —Chris Grant

Marvel United: X-Men

Box, cards and figurines for the Marvel United: X-Men board game

Picture: CMON

Whereas many will know CMON for its action-packed cooperative board recreation, Zombicide, the tabletop writer has a a lot newer collection referred to as Marvel United. The authentic recreation earned greater than $2.8 million on Kickstarter in 2020, solely to be adopted by Marvel United: X-Men with nearly $6 million in funding.

This card-driven motion recreation places gamers within the position of X-Men mutants like Wolverine, Jean Gray, Storm, and Cyclops as they go up in opposition to Magneto, Juggernaut and extra. The massive draw right here are the lovable, chibi-style miniature characters. The big-headed heroes are an absolute pleasure to color, and at $34.99 the sport is extraordinarily reasonably priced. —Charlie Corridor

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