Final Glimpse: More mutants than you can shake a genetically-engineered DNA strand at.
There's no question that X-Men: The Last Stand
, the third chapter in the hit series, will be one of the biggest movies of the summer. To capitalize on the huge money train of all things mutant, Activision and developer Z-Axis are frantically putting the finishing touches on X-Men: The Official Game ? yes, this is the ?Official Game?, so don't be fooled by imitations!
TOG will bridge X-Men 2: X-Men United
and The Last Stand
, detailing events that take place between the two movies. The story will start just a few short weeks after the end of X2
. The X-Men return to Stryker's Alkali Lake compound to salvage the Cerebro knock-off, only to discover that the evil forces of HYDRA have the same idea and are already there. Over the course of the game, we will see the reasons why Charles Xavier's X-Men and Magneto's mutants are going to butt heads in The Last Stand
, and learn more about Wolverine's burning desire for revenge, Iceman's struggle to fit in as the new member of the team, and find out why Nightcrawler won't be appearing in the new film.
Die-hard fans will be pleased to know that the story won't be written by some lame pencil-necked wannabe ? no, the developers are as devoted to recreating the spirit of the comics as the filmmakers. This is why Chris Claremont, the man who wrote for The Uncanny X-Men
for 16 years and created many of the classic tales (including the famous Dark Phoenix story arc that has influenced the films) and Zak Penn, who wrote both X2
and The Last Stand
, have collaborated on the story.
Similar to the previous X-Men games, TOG will be an action brawler where you will get to kick some evil mutated butt. This time around, however, you will be able to play as Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Iceman, an interesting mix since they are completely different from one other. For example, Wolverine likes getting up close and personal, relying upon powerful melee attacks and his special regenerating health abilities to go toe-to-toe with the baddies. As he fights, he can fill up a meter that will allow him to enter a powered-up fury mode that increases damage and gives him new attacks. He can also pounce on enemies, head-butt them, and of course slash them with his Adamantium claws. When he takes too much damage he will be able to retract his claws and enter a healing mode, but will be defenseless during this time.
Iceman, on the other hand, will prefer ranged combat by shooting ice balls and ice beams that can freeze enemies and douse fires. He can also create an ice shield for protection. But his coolest ability is his ice slide, which will enable him to ?fly? around at up to 70mph and perform slick evasive maneuvers.
Nightcrawler is looking like the most fun character to play, thanks to his teleportation ability that lets him suddenly appear behind opponents to attack. He will also be able to teleport to new, otherwise unreachable areas, but you won't be able to go anywhere you want; instead, you will be limited to certain ?hotspots? on the map. He will also be able to perform amazing acrobatic jumps, flips and leaps, and temporarily crawl on walls like ol' Spidey. Like Wolverine, he will be able to fill up a meter to use a special ability, which in his case is the Shadow Meld, allowing him to blend in with the shadows and darkness to become virtually invisible.
As cool as playing as three X-Men sounds, you should know that you will have a limited ability to choose your characters; in some levels you will be able to pick whoever you want, but in others you will be forced to play as a specific character. This was done mainly because the game's 28 levels will be split into three sections, each tailored to the appropriate character's abilities. For example, Wolverine's levels will be pure kick-butt combat, while Nightcrawler will focus more on stealth, acrobatics and hacking into computer systems. Iceman's levels should be fast-paced since he will always be in motion ? a necessity when you fight against enemies like a giant fire dragon wrapped around a nuclear power plant.
As you play, you will be able to earn upgrade points to boost character attributes, like increasing the amount of time Wolverine can stay in fury mode. You will also have the help of NPC characters like Professor X, Cyclops, Storm, Beast and Colossus.
And you will need all the help you can get because your enemies won't be pushovers. For example, the annoying Sentinels that X-Men fans know and hate will leap from the comic pages into the game. These tough mechanical pack hunters will come in at least two forms, a big ass Giant Sentinel that is slow but will dish out a huge amounts of damage, and the smaller, faster but less damaging Flying Sentinel. Wolverine's not-so-good buddy Sabretooth will also make an appearance.
But worst of all for everyone's favorite clawed Canadian, Lady Deathstrike returns from the dead and in serious need of a manicure. Since she has the same healing abilities as Wolverine, you know she's going to be one tough cookie. In one battle between the two Adamantiam rivals, they will be inside the eye of a tornado; if you get smacked into the ?walls? of the tornado, you'll be swept up and dumped back into the eye suffering from some serious damage. Ouch.
Graphically, the game looks good with the characters accurately resembling the movie stars and sporting a nice level of detail. Iceman's ice slide is especially cool looking (no pun intended). Much of the audio effects from the films will make their way into the game, including the distinctive metallic snikt!
of Wolverine's claws and Nightcrawler's teleporting bamf!
Highlighting the whole experience will be the musical score of video game vet Chance Thomas, who composed the music for the Unreal, Lord of the Rings and King Kong games.