Assemble a team of 5 X-Men from a selection of 15 and eleminate the evil mutants while playing in a top down RPG style environment. When battles commence you have two choices for how the combat takes place, either Side Scrolling action, or Turn Based RPG style combat. In the Side Scrolling action fights, you can actually use each of the team members powers to kill your foes.
In X-Men 2, you may choose five members from a list of fifteen different X-Men, after which you pursue a pair of villains (specifically, members of the Freedom Force - most of whom were until recently part of The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants). After you capture them, they direct you to the next level. This sounds easy, but there is a large variety of foes standing between you and the bosses. There are healing items scattered throughout the levels, but many of them work only with specific characters, and finding the villains is extremely difficult.
The way to your destination is sometimes blocked by traps (which can be disarmed by some characters) and walls. In each area, there are two villains, the first telling you where to find the other. Each area is further divided into three levels.
There are two modes of combat: a turn-based one representing the enemies and allies with portraits and a real-time arcade side-view one where you control the currently active character. All characters have two attacks, a light and a strong one, and some can attack from a distance.
The player leads the X-Men around the maze-like levels attempting to find the villains within the limit of one game-time week per area, but inevitably ends up at a dead end. This is where certain characters' abilities come to use, such as breaking through walls, teleportation, or passing through solid matter. The game implements a day/night cycle, with the player's vision reduced during night-time.
The presence of random level generation and map editor gives the game high replayability.
The PC speaker sounds are okay, even though they occasionally cut out. The graphics are mostly good, although Colossus looks like a steel-skinned wrestler. There doesn't seem to be any discernable story apart from searching for the pair of kidnapped X-Men (Storm and Forge).
A good action/strategy blend, the RPG-style top-down view in this game is replaced by a side-scrolling view when combat starts. Many strategic elements are still present (choose a hero to disarm traps, etc.), but they pale in comparison to the fun arcade mode where you get to use cool X-men powers. The game is also highly replayable, since new mazes can be generated, and you can pick 5 heroes for any session from a pool of 25. Plus, you can download the scenario editor below to create your own scenarios. The bottom line: if you are fan of the X-Men, or crave a well-balanced superhero RPG/action hybrid, X-Men 2 is a must-have.
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