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X-Men: Legends
Preview By: Siou Choy
Developer:  Raven Software
Publisher:  Activision
Genre:  RPG
Est. Release:  Winter 2004
Posted:  9-2-03

Are you set for this?  Probably the first ever RPG game based on a comic book is in development by Activision.  The obvious choice for this first foray into the unknown?  Forget all those dreams of a Killraven reunion or Luke Cage, Power Man in virtual space, and think “safe bet”.  Who will they choose?  Hold your breath for the big shock… no, it’s not Brother Power, the Geek, or even Prez, it’s (oh, the shock!) X-Men: Legends, slated for release late next year for all three systems: Xbox, GameCube and Playstation 2.  Until now, comic book licensed games have exclusively been the province of fighters or old school 2D platformers.  An RPG should be a welcome change for those of us who like a little thinking with our action.

Once again, if you’re expecting something out of your fanboy fantasies, don’t hold your breath: screen shots appear to indicate that X-Men: Legends will be based on the Ultimate X-Men (i.e., younger, more uniformly dressed), rather than their more distinctive, colorful traditional counterparts.  Hell, I miss Mark Millar already, but visually speaking, Ultimate X-Men’s bland, Matrix-inspired uniform leather outfits leave more than a bit to be desired.

X-Men: Legends will let you guide your favorite characters (if in their nigh-indistinguishable “ultimate” counterpart versions) through various team-based missions.  Using certain characters allows you to develop their skills and “level up” as is standard for the base RPG paradigm.  Like most games out there, there are certain advantages to using one specific character over another, both in general and in a given situation.

It seems that Magneto never learns (sigh).  Which, of course, doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense.  His real world analogue Malcolm did, that’s why they shot the man.  But, anyway, getting back to the strict denotation of this nonsense, our pal Eric is still trying to get mutants to obtain their “rightful place in the hierarchy”, at the expense of everyone else, naturally (gotta love social Darwinism).  The X-Men have no choice but to stop our misguided pal from taking down all us “mongrel races” (could the analogy be any more ham-fisted?  Is anybody out there listening?).

There are 15 playable characters in the game, including Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Iceman, Angel, Storm, Colossus, Psylocke, Nightcrawler, Gambit, and Forge.  Most will have to be unlocked as you progress in the game.  You have the option to play the game RPG standard (i.e., all by your lonesome) or its more “modern, enhanced” version (i.e., with two three of your bestest buddies in a “cooperative multiplayer mode”, for so long as ye both (or all, if you’re a fan of Joe Smith and his pal ‘Moroni’) may care).

Playable stages in the game include Xavier Mansion, the Danger Room, Department H, and the Muir Island Research Complex (gee, I hope Proteus doesn’t escape…).

Raven Software is developing X-Men: Legends for Activision for release sometime next winter.

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