N-Gage Review: X-Men Legends

Taking the gameplay from the home versions, X-Men Legends becomes a solid conversion for the N-Gage. With the great interface, it has the makings of a superb title. Sadly, combat is dull, aggravating, and not particularly fun. It's the only thing holding back this semi-RPG/semi-action title.

With a unique concept, X-Men Legends puts players in control of four characters at once. This team-based play is great for Bluetooth multi-player, though not so much for single players. The AI is ridiculous, and never has the intelligence to heal itself. Instead, you'll need to break away from fighting, dig into a sub menu, and individually heal those that are hurt.

The ¾ viewpoint offers a constant and quite visible view of this dungeon crawler (minus any dungeons given the subject matter). Everything is sprite based, and while it's easy to lose characters in a thick battle, they are otherwise clearly defined. Using the full range of the console, the interface allows for multiple menus to be pulled up with a single button press. Swapping characters, selecting special moves, and changing formations is done through a wonderfully designed interface.

It's the combat portion of X-Men Legends that's a disappointment. There are no combos, only single strikes and limited-use special moves. All it involves is tapping away on the five key. There's no real power behind them, and the brief flash when an enemy is hit is hard to see. Collision detection feels sloppy and loose. It seems like this is a case of mistaken identity.

It wants to be a full RPG with various special attacks, stuns, and basic slashes. It's a mix that fails to generate much excitement, and this might have worked better turn-based. As it stands, there's too much going on to actually concentrate on causing damage. There's nothing on-screen to provide the player with information pertaining to the other X-Men, and you'll need to exit for a status report.

For the N-Gage however, this is a superb technical showcase. The amount of voice work should be impossible on such a tiny medium, but the MMC card holds more than any other title. This limits the music, and the stages consistently reuse too many objects. That's likely because of the voice work taking up so much space, but Patrick Stewart is worth toning down other sections.

Fans will enjoy leveling up their favorite characters and destroying countless objects (though why are smelling salts inside an office chair?). They may even find themselves wrapped up in the combat if they're more strategically minded. However, X-Men Legends presents itself as something it's not, and the overwhelming combat situations can be ridiculous. The cheap feel of the action doesn't help.

(** out of *****)

Comments (1)

oliver:

great example of a game that could have been pulled off on the N-Gage but is just dull

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