Updated: Feb 16
And the wind cried…SNIKT bub…
Platform: PS2, PC, Gamecube, Xbox
Genre: Hack and Slash / Beat ‘em up
Released: April 14th, 2003
Nostalgia factor: Mark Hamill voices the man himself; would you like to know more?
There was a time (I swear) when X-Men movies were pretty damn good. Just as the world was recovering from Y2K, comic book movies were proving themselves as viable cinema with the likes of Blade, Spiderman and X-Men releasing back to back. On the heels of this again was a massive multimedia push for Hugh Jackman…I mean the upcoming X-Men 2 with the above tie in videogame, Wolverine’s Revenge. Released on every platform that mattered and it’s our next Tie In game to be tackled, so let’s dive right in.
What Do I Remember?
Being able to experience the infamous Weapon X escape in the game’s opening was something my kid brain just couldn’t handle. Taking on iconic X-Men villains like, Sabretooth, Omega Red, Lady Deathstrike and even Magneto himself was a treat if horribly difficult in places. You’ll notice a trend with these articles in so far as, I adored this game. Unlocking every single alternate costume, played all the challenges and scoured every level for every scrap of lore and concept art I could find.
There’s nothing quite like being able to run around in Logan’s classic yellow and blue, 90’s cartoon, costume and turning enemy combatants into PG-13 rated swiss cheese. I also happen to love stealth and sneaking up on enemies to skewer them silently, while wonky, was violently satisfying. The game did an excellent job of making you feel like the ol’ canuckle head and very much opened the world of marvel in a way I’d never experienced before.
What I appreciated most about this game is that it felt like the first one (that I played) that cared about diving into the characters comic book history. Yes, it was a movie tie in with Hugh Jackman’s image slapped across the front, but it really was its own thing. It had a really unique comic book aesthetic for its time, it mined the best of Wolverines rogue’s gallery and it even had a separate button prompt for popping your claws.
I was obsessed. If there is anything I can say with certainty it’s that back then, I made the most of the game I was given and this one more than others we’ll be going through, really had it’s claws, pun very much intended, in me.
God damn is this game hard. For a mutant with the ability to heal from almost any injury you can be quite brittle. While the combat is quite button mashie, there’s a certain rhythm too it. Once you engage with an enemy it becomes almost Tekken-esque in so far as Wolverine will auto lock to an enemy and you have to read your opponents movement and claw the ever-loving mother out of them.
This can become a bit much sometimes once more than two enemies appear, which is very often. They’ll swarm you quite quickly and if you don’t take advantage of the deliciously animated strike system you’ll get wrecked quickly. Outside of this, I love the added touch of seeing your characters avatar, situated in the top left with your health bar react to getting hit. I’ve not seen anything quite like it in a game since.
What’s changed you ask?
My memory has served me well on this. The game is quite difficult in places, sometimes unfairly so, with certain enemy types just destroying you in seconds because they jumped you from off screen while you were locked to another character. Couple that with an extreme lack of checkpoints should you die you’ll have to restart the whole level and as you get deeper into the game that brings back another memory…spiking controllers out of rage.
Also, the stealth is very weak, I do appreciate more how it incorporates Logan’s tracking ability from the comics, but I’ve had instances where I’ve been caught because again the camera becomes fixed and accentuates blind spots.
So…. does it hold up?
Not quite so much, I wouldn’t say it’s a product of it’s time so much as the flaws that I had noticed even as a young buck first tearing through it are far more glaring now. I do think the amount of care that was put into this game is clear to see at every turn (they didn’t get everyone right).
A face only a professor could love
From the short and menacing looking Wolverine (sorry Hugh), a Sabretooth that actually has a personality and a story that respects its lineage. To the smaller cameos like Beast and Spiderman which hint at a larger universe that predates even the mighty MCU, if you’re looking for a unique take on an iconic character you won’t find much better.
But what do you fine folks think? Is my rose-tinted look back a latent mutant ability to withstand a mediocre game or do you agree and want to dive back in? I know I certainly will regardless so sound off in the comments below!
Due to a lack of available press kit resources, all gifs and screenshots are sourced directly from captured footage, gifs uploaded by me, right here.
Concept art image sourced here
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