February 25, 2006
X-Men II: The Fall of the Mutants!

It's been a while since we had a game review, kiddies, so here it is -- a lengthy examination of X-Men II: The Fall of the Mutants. In addition to an introduction that touches on the similarities and differences between this early X-Men game and the more recent X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse and a ton of screencaps, there's also a strategy guide of sorts to help out readers who are eager to play the game for themselves! And I totally recommend doing so. As noted in the review, you can get it from Home of the Underdogs, a gaming site with tons of abandonware games available for download. If you're running a newer computer, you'll have to use VDMSound or DOSBox (apparently folks prefer the former, though I've had far more success running old games with DOSBox). Both are commandline programs, though, so while VDMS integrates itself into the Windows shell (I can't speak for other OSes!), you'll probably want to use a frontend like D-Fend for DOSBox. Anyway, enjoy the review, and good luck getting the game up and running! And, um, excelsior!

-posted by Wes | 12:42 am | Comments (13)
13 Comments »
  • If you REALLY want to make a computer-game and edit sprites. You should check out http://www.gamemaker.nl and download gamemaker. It won't let you alter this game, but it makes it VERY easy to make your own. It's great!

  • Also, I'm curious about what you didn't like about the X-Men movies. Was it the over-simplification of the character's origins perhaps? (ex: Mystique not being Rogue or Nightcrawler's mother, Sabretooth not being Wolverine's old enemy etc.)

  • agustinaldo says:

    Myself:

    1-I hated the fact that full-fledged characters like Artie, Colossus, Shadowcat and Jubilee were turned into paper-thin screen filler.

    2-I hated in X2 that Pyro couldn't use his mutant power to barbaque those cops.

  • Wes,

    Bravo! My hat is off to you—you sadomasochistic, self-loathing, darkly philosophical, dollar store shopping, Teen Titans watching, bizarre food concoction creating creature of the night! In all seriousness, this one a great article; I had a lot of fun reading it, even more so I’d imagine being a self-proclaimed “comic nerd” myself. I dig your sharp wit, attention to detail, etc. I’m going to stop kissing your ass now. Great article…

    - Brian

  • Wes says:

    Tetsu: I may have to look into that Gamemaker program! It sounds pretty cool, though I'd probably rather spend the time learning to make Flash cartoons at this point. :)

    As far as my dislike of the X-Men live action films goes, I very much agree with agustinaldo's first point about important characters being relegated to shallow mutant power cameo appearances, and even the main characters (Wolverine and perhaps Rogue notwithstanding) got very little in the way of personality development. Matchups between longtime rivals (Wolverine and Sabretooth; Wolverine and Deathstrike) were reduced to meaningless claw vs. claw battles. Essentially the movie was about people calling themselves X-Men and sporting the X-Men's powers, but it's like the film's writers didn't care a lick about making this an X-Men movie. Pretty lame. The cardboard stories didn't help either: "Hey, let's turn EVERYONE into mutants!" "I'm gonna KILL ALL THE MUTANTS!" "Haha, I will reverse this scheme so that it KILLS ALL HUMANS instead!" I realize that these schemes appeared in the comics -- and they didn't make much sense there either -- but even in that media the writers made more of an effort to explain the characters' motivations. The film's writers obviously had very little concern in that department, though, because they cared more about scripting mutant power cameos so the fanboys could jizz their pants.

    I watched X2 again the other day just to see if my opinion of it had changed, but it still pissed me off just as much. The supporting X-Men barely had any lines, and I'm supposed to be upset when Jean Grey dies? Please! Yet the characters cry about it for several minutes before showing up in the White House and making thinly veiled threats. Opportunity for change and growth my ass -- when you show up unannounced and make everything dark and have creepy lightning flashing, you're not trying to solicit positive and willing cooperation. I thought the X-Men were supposed to be heroes? Ugh.

    That conversation about faith and anger was pointless and shallow and irritating as well.

    agustinaldo: I didn't so much mind that he didn't fry the cops, but I hated the film's bratty Pyro altogether. Give me the comic or game version anyday.

    Brian: Self-loathing is a compliment?

  • the Jax says:

    Dude, Underdogs rules! Some of the best classics are there, like God of Thunder, Adventures of Willy Beamish, Chex Quest (of which I still have the disc)...oh DOS, how I miss thee. I do also recommend DOS-Box, but I will have to try out D-Fend when I fire up X-Men 2. And now I know all the secrets!

  • steve says:

    The 7 minutes x-men trailers did show Wolverine move. It is cool. cannot wait until it coming out

    x-men will be a good movie. cannot wait until it coming out. Do you guys think there will be another x-men?

  • Wes says:

    The above comment was flagged for moderation because of the multiple links, but I went ahead and approved it because I'm not terribly sure if it's spam or not (if it is, it's probably the most convincing spam yet). But assuming you're real, steve, this was a review of the old PC X-Men game, whereas I think you must've thought I was talking about X2 because that's the only way this comment would make sense. (And although X2 did show Wolverine's healing factor in action, was utterly stupid because Wolverine's skeleton is coated in impenetrable adamantium and therefore the bullet should've bounced off of his forehead anyway. And the reason for his getting shot -- because he couldn't put down his "knives" -- was pretty dumb in the first place because he could've just retracted the damned things.)

    As far as your contention that X3 will be a good movie, at least given what I've seen, I completely disagree. Will there be another X-Men flick? I certainly hope not. :P

  • Hanno says:

    Thank you for this great review, I'm trying to get through this game now. The only problem I have is, that I did not figure out all the keys yet. Can anyone provide the keyboard controls for this game?

  • Wes says:

    That depends -- are you playing via a standard keyboard or via a laptop keyboard? If the former, you'll be using the right number pad. The number keys move you in eight directions (or you can use the arrow keys to do the same, but you won't get the helpful diagonal movement). In side combat, if your character can fly, 7 and 3 (or Home and PgDn) move them up and down, whereas 9 and 1 (PgUp and End) are attacks. Enter makes you turn around in side combat and toggles mutant powers on the map, and the + key makes your non-flying characters climb obstacles in side combat and switches your battle formation on the map.

    On a laptop, things are slightly different. You can still move via the arrow keys, but you'll be relying on Home, PageUp, End, and PageDn for diagonal movement, rlight, and attacks. Here, Home and End handle the left diagonals and flight; PageUp and PageDn take care of the right diagonals and attacks. The Enter and + keys have the same functions as described above.

    As far as I know, the other keyboard commands are still the same. Pressing 1-5 in side combat switches to the corresponding character (1-3 allow you to choose an area at the beginning of each stage). S lets you save your game, R lets you restore a previously saved game. C camps on the map (which allows you to regain mutant powers). L lets you change the leader -- just press it, followed by the number of the X-Man you want to head the charge. E and two numbers lets you switch the position of two X-Men. And Esc lets you exit and area or quit the game, depending upon whether you are on the map or at the area selection screen.

    Oh! And to do the team-up thing in side combat, press J when you're on the screen of the X-Man you want to move, then press the number of the character you'd like to assist.

    Have I missed anything? :mrgreen:

  • Wes says:

    Hm, I guess I did miss something! Press T to show the time, I believe -- not that it's all that useful. P pauses (I think), and you press Y or N to answer prompts. For example, when you walk over a portal/stairwell/ladder, it'll ask you whether you want to enter or not.

    Yep.

  • Hanno says:

    Thanks for the help, I defeated adversary :)

    By the way, did anybody manage to play through the prequel?

  • Aaron, Rochester, NY says:

    X-Men II, awesome game (for the time). Love all the Paragon games. For beating the Adversary, use mutatns with psychic powers. They can hit him repeately before he is close, and there is no aiming to miss with. Your review is spot on though, even though I haven't played this game in 10 years I remember so much. Man the bosses were hard to find sometimes.

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