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

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Hope to Receive it as a Gift


Game Profile
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
Xbox
PUBLISHER:
Activision
DEVELOPER:
Midway Los Angeles
GENRE: Fighting
PLAYERS:   1-2
RELEASE DATE:
October 29, 2002
ESRB RATING:
Teen
IN THE SERIES
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 September 23, 2002

First Impressions: A contender for fighting game of the year, or another waste of the X-Men license? You be the judge.


Videogames based off Marvel's most popular super-hero team, the X-Men, have been around since I can even remember. But asides from the 2D Capcom fighter, X-Men: Children of the Atom, and few of the more noteworthy side-scrolling titles from the 16-bit days, most of the games have by and large been a big steamy pile of trash. Prime examples of how bad gameplay can make a good license go horribly wrong (X-Men: Arcade's Revenge anyone?). The most recent take on those popular super mutants was Activision's 3D fighters known X-Men: Mutant Academy 1 & 2 for the original Playstation. The first was your typical first attempt at a new franchise and it borrowed heavily from the recently released X-Men movie, making for a fairly poor game. But the second was actually a pretty decent fighter that expanded upon the original in many ways. Well, the developer of both of those X-titles, Paradox Development, are back for their third attempt with X-Men: Next Dimension, and the title has gone Next Generation, soon to appear on an Xbox near you.

Looking to add even more depth to their fighting titles, this go around Paradox Development seems to be putting a lot of emphasis on the game's story; subsequently meaning an in-depth story mode will be included (other modes in the game include your standard Arcade, Versus, Survival, and Practice modes). It goes like this ? an evildoer known as Bastion (must be new character cause I've never heard of him) is broken free from imprisonment by the dreaded Prime Sentinels, mutant-naps Forge, and plans to use his mutant abilities to create a device that will destroy every mutant on the planet (apparently he has issues with his father). But naturally there are super-heroes, or super-mutants if you will, around that will eventually foil his plans and save the Earth. The story mode doesn't seem to be too different from what we've seen before. You'll select your hero, fight a bad guy, watch a cut-scene and then move to the next villain. However, when you move to fight your next opponent you are actually given a choice of characters to choose from, so you get to use a diverse range of personalities throughout the adventure. Speaking of characters, check out this whopping list of 24 playable characters featured in the game ? 2 different Prime Sentinels, Bastion, Beast, Cyclops, Forge, Gambit, Havok, Juggernaut, Lady Deathstrike, Magneto, Mystique, Nightcrawler, Phoenix, Psylocke, Rouge, Sabretooth, Storm, Toad, Wolverine, and four hidden characters (judging by the game's trailer these appear to be the Fantastic Four).

Gameplay in Next Dimension seems to borrow heavily from a wide range of popular fighting titles. Imagine this ? two punch and two kick buttons control the action on screen (Tekken), full 3D graphics and the ability to move around in 8 different directions (Soul Calibur), massive multi-tiered levels (Dead or Alive 3), and a variety of very impressive super attacks that utilize a special mutant energy bar that increases throughout the bout (any of the latest Capcom fighters). If anything the fighting system seems proficient, if somewhat unoriginal. The attack buttons can be used in conjunction to create some incredible combos, and with four different super attacks per character, the excitement level should be pretty high. We'll let you know how it turns out once we get our final release version.

Visually, the game won't set your retinas on fire, but it gets the job done. Character models are adequate, if not impressive, and resemble the characters very well. Not to mention the impressive visual showcase that comes through when mutant abilities are put to use. However, hands down the most impressive graphical aspect of Next Dimension are the 8 expansive fighting arenas. They are spread out through a variety of X-Men inspired locales, from the X-Mansion in Westchester, NY to the Danger Room to a post-apocalyptic future, and feature huge amounts of interaction and multiple sections to fight through, adding even more elements the game's overall gameplay.

The audio is also coming along very well. Character voices seem to match their personalities well and we even get Patrick Stewart reprising his role as Professor Charles Xavier, as he narrates you through the game's story mode. Sound effects in Next Dimension aren't too out of the ordinary but they definitely get the job done.

Final Thoughts
Featuring a wide assortment of X-Men related characters, a potentially worthwhile story mode, and gameplay that borrows successful aspects from a variety of fighting titles, fighting and X-Men fans alike should definitely be looking forward to checking this game out come October. Paradox Development certainly has experience having worked on the Mutant Academy titles, and it's looking like they've put it to good use in their latest venture. Of course, that doesn't guarantee that Next Dimension will be a sure fire success. But if Paradox can pull out all the promises with very few snags, we could have one great fighter on our hands. Look for our full impressions soon after its release.


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