After I planned X-Men for this week to make up for my lack of planning when I missed the monthly order on DCBS for this month, I wondered how to fit a single title into a week’s worth of articles? Then, I came up with a brilliant idea. What better way to promote “New Decade, New Games” than with a discussion of decades old games? And, so, to start this week of X-Men, I bring you the 1992 classic X-Men arcade game.
Luckily, what’s old is new again and my generation gets to call the shots on retro. Therefore, arcades are back (mostly in the form of barcades, but kids are welcome at the one around here) and I don’t have to explain to kids these days what it means to wait your turn in a crowded and sweaty mass of people for your turn to get your ass kicked by the local Mortal Kombat II expert.
About the Game
This game came out the same time as other games like it. You take a popular IP like X-Men, The Simpsons, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, slap a few of the characters on to a cabinet with 4 controllers, make it look like the cartoon of that same IP, and people played it for hours. My personal shame is I spent my future kid’s inheritance one quarter at a time and this game swallowed many of those quarters.
I have no idea even what genre they called it. Simply based on the mechanics, I’d call it a side scrolling beat ’em up because that’s what happens on the screen. You walk sideways, beat ’em up, then walk sideways some more, then beat ’em up, etc. Eventually, you arrive at a boss that takes more coordination (and often more quarters), and guess what. Yep, you beat ’em up, too. Take a look at my expert game play in the video below.
So What’s Fun About That?
Honestly, not much. Playing the game by yourself takes away most of the joy of these games. You want to play with at least one other person. Preferably, you find 3 other friends to play, but the magic of the arcade is that you can meet people and make friends very easily around these arcade cabinets. Because you are there face to face, it makes it much more difficult to throw random insults about the guy’s mother without getting your ass kicked.
Playing the game again verified what I remember. While fun solo, playing X-Men Arcade with friends is the way to go. I wonder if anyone has figured out a way to play over network on MAME. If so, reach out and we can beat up some baddies as the X-Men!