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Are you going to buy an Xbox One X This Holiday Season?

Hope to Receive it as a Gift

Game Profile
Midway Los Angeles
GENRE: Fighting
PLAYERS:   1-2
October 29, 2002
X-Men: Destiny

X-Men Arcade

X-Men Arcade

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

More in this Series
 Written by Ryan Smotherman  on November 25, 2002

Full Review: The third time is not the charm for Paradox.

Ahh yes, Marvel Comics' X-Men -- a domineering force within what's left of the faltering comic book community. Ever since their inception in the early 60's, those Homo-sapien Superiors have never received the short end of the stick on success, spawning countless merchandising and licensing deals in addition to their tour de force in the art soaked pages of their latest heroic adventures. However, like many of you know, their videogame renditions, which have been around as long as anyone can remember, have more or less been huge letdowns. Though the occasional gem popped up every now and then, game developers just can't seem to get it right, and the latest fighter from Paradox Development proves that some things just don't change.

Next Dimension is actually Paradox's third attempt to bring the X-Men into full 3-D fighting glory, with the first two, X-Men: Mutant Academy and X-Men: Mutant Academy 2, appearing solely on the Playstation One. The first two were mediocre titles at best, and for the most part, their latest stab at the franchise doesn't get much better. Next Dimension's story follows the humanoid Bastion, a long time X-Men villain who has been know as Master Mold and Nimrod, in his continued goal of eradicating all mutants from the planet. To do this he abducts the X-Man, Forge, with plans on using his powers to create any mechanical device he can dream up to put an end to the latest human evolution. The premise here sounds promising enough, but don't get your hopes up. Like just about every story mode found in fighting games, there's nothing to write home about here. Some fairly well-done cutscenes move the story along well, though, you never quite feel as if the one-on-one, one round battles you fight are actually part of the story progression, and you'll find that you usually end up fighting the same opponent on multiple occasions, but usually with different fighters, thanks for the ability to select from a variant of X-Men characters at certain points throughout. However, sometimes you are forced to use a certain character during parts in the story, which can be fairly annoying. The other modes available in the game don't stray too far from the standards either ? you'll find the typical Arcade, Versus, Survival, and Training modes in tact, and at your disposal.

The actual gameplay had potential, offering a good array of mainstay fighting game elements. These include things like interactive, multi-tiered levels, the ability to move around in full 3-D, and a robust combo system complete with a good deal of Super Attacks. Unfortunately, the game's sluggish pace and horridly bad unresponsive controls can make playing Next Dimension a pain. I can honestly say that I've never playing such an unresponsive fighting game ? it takes a long time for your character to respond to the actions that you press, resulting in an extremely frustrating experience. Characters in the game are short on standard techniques, but it's more than made of for in the Special Attacks, which each of the characters have four of. These amazing attacks can be used once your power meter reaches a certain level, and thankfully, these meters increase fairly quickly, allowing you to use them multiple times throughout any given bout. As you'd expect they take full advantage of the character's mutant abilities ? Wolverine can heal himself and go on berserk attacks, Storm will use a ton of different weather related maneuvers, Cyclops will put his optic blast to good use, and so on and so forth. Other basic techniques can be found throughout the gameplay, such as counters, throws, and recovery moves, but once again, thanks to the game's sluggish nature, these are extremely hard to pull off, and they're some thing's that have been done much better in fighters before this.

The actual character roster is fairly impressive and should make any X-Fan ecstatic. Including long time favorites like the aforementioned Wolverine, Storm, and Cyclops, are all the other X-Men you'd expect to find, such as Beast, Gambit, Rouge, Psylocke, and Phoenix (a.k.a.- Jean Grey). Other good guys include Nightcrawler, Cyclops' brother, Havok, and Forge, while the villains come in the form of Magneto, Sabretooth, Mystique, Toad, Lady Deathstrike, Juggernaut, two different forms of Prime Sentinels (male and female), and even Bastion himself. All in all, a nice line-up of characters that are depicted pretty well, complete with a plethora of different unlockable costumes.

Visually, X-Men: Next Dimension looks extremely plain and is flat out dull on the eyes. While the characters, for the most part, do resemble their comic counterparts, they're not very detailed and their movements aren't especially fluid. The art direction in general doesn't suit my specific taste, as it's very reminisant of that horrible X-Men: Evolution cartoon. Environments aren't much better either, and are really lacking in polish and pizzazz. As you'd expect they cover a wide assortment of X-Men locales, including different parts of the X-Mansion, the Danger Room, Asteroid M, etc., and while they do a good job at portraying these areas, there's nothing special at all going on here. All in all, Next Dimension is barely a step above its PSOne counterparts on the visual front.

Continuing on with the senses, the audio in the game doesn't help matters much either. The voice acting is boorish and barely audible, and the game's soundtrack is uninspired and virtually non-existent. I knew something was wrong when I first loaded it up and noticed the game didn't have any music playing on the title screen. What's that all about? Likewise, the game's sound effects aren't the greatest either, though, some of them do sound nice, like Cyclops' optic blast for example. The one good thing about Next Dimension's sound is Patrick Stewart's continuing role as Professor Charles Xavier. He does a lot of voice acting throughout the game, mostly narrating, and it's pretty top-notch stuff.

Bottom Line
While X-Men: Next Dimension is for the most part a very dull fighter, with horrid visuals and sound, I did find a little enjoyment in it; mostly because I'm a long time X-Men fan and it's just fun to take these characters into battle. But X-Men fans are probably the only people who'll find anything remotely interesting about the game. For everyone else, you might want to look in the direction of Dead or Alive 3 and the recently released Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance for your fighting game fix. Next Dimension just doesn't have the goods, and it seems almost as if Paradox needs to take the franchise back to the drawing board, cause the game is a letdown on virtually every level.

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