X-Men movies have existed now for approaching seventeen years, and while they’ll most defiantly continue for a long time, they’ll do without the only actor who has appeared in all of them: Hugh Jackman. With Logan releasing this weekend and marking the end of an era for the X-Men film franchise, I thought it relevant to also put a cap on the X-Men film video game franchise as well by creating the definitive list of X-Men movie tie-in games. While some are only vaguely tied to films, such as the case with X2: Wolverine’s Revenge that more or less only features Hugh Jackman on the cover and Patrick Stewart as the voice of Professor X, this makes it a promotional game whether it really is or not. The same goes for X-Men: Mutant Academy, a game that doesn’t outwardly sell itself as a movie game, but with its cast of characters made up mostly of those from the film, unlockable movie costumes, trailers and release (it came out three days before 2000’s X-Men) qualify it as well.
10 X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (Wii)
Four unique versions of X-Men Origins were released across four unique SKU’s: Wii/PS2, PSP, DS and the Uncaged Edition for the PS3/Xbox 360. Of the four, the Wii version is by far the worst, qualified by its obnoxious motion controls alone. Even without the need to waggle a remote to attack however, your still left with a generic looking and playing brawler that lacks the ultra violence that the lead console game reveled in. Annoying QTE’s don’t help matters much either.
9) X-MEN: THE OFFICIAL MOVIE (GAME BOY ADVANCE)
It always saddens me that this game isn’t the hidden gem I feel like it could have been. Hailing from developer WayForward, who normally turns out quality games licensed or otherwise, X-Men: The Official Game is so frustrating to play. It lures you in with some gorgeous sprite work, a staple of WayForward games, but loses you quickly with bland level design, awful hit detection and bosses that range from cheap to snap your Game Boy in half frustrating. It’s interesting to note that all three versions of the game are tagged as “The Official Game” which means that they perhaps at one point were meant to be canon. If that’s the case, this game introduced X-23 into the X-Men film universe long before Logan did in 2017.
8) X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (PSP)
X-Men Origins: Wolverine on PSP is only marginally better than the Wii game because you can use buttons to attack instead of motion controls and there’s some interesting ideas like flashbacks to Wolverine’s time in Japan, something touched on eventually in The Wolverine film. That’s only hollow praise though as like Origins on the Wii, the PSP version isn’t terribly good either. Maybe the only reason it ranks above The Official Game on the Game Boy is because you can actually play through it without getting frustrated, though it will stir another feeling in you: boredom. This game too adopted a “T” rating and on a handheld that at the time had a God of War game that did character action much better, there’s little reason to track this down unless this is your only handheld and you want some Wolverine action on the go, regardless of quality.
7 X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (NINTENDO DS)
It’s almost not fun picking on the non-PS3/Xbox 360 versions of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but when that game fulfilled the promise of an “M” rated, ultra violent Wolverine game, it’s hard to look favourably at the watered down “T” rated games that landed on the other consoles and handhelds. Like X-Men: The Official Game on the GBA, Origins on the DS was to me somewhat of a let down, as the developer behind it, Griptonite, proved themselves capable of making some really fun super hero games in both Spider-Man: Web of Shadows and Shattered Dimensions. What makes this game the best non-Uncaged Edition origins game despite being another generic brawler, though this one is stuck strictly on the 2-D plane, is the option to turn on comic book costumes so you don’t have to look at Weapon XI “Deadpool” and it’s neat how when you close your DS, it makes the “snikt” sound.
6) X2: WOLVERINE’S REVENGE (GC/PS2/XBOX ORIGINAL)
X2: Wolverine’s revenge was the first ever 3-D solo Wolverine game that was made without the understanding of what makes a character like Wolverine great. I recall a panel from Ultimate X-Men, I don’t recall the issue where it features Wolverine, beaten up and surrounded by a bunch of dead guards he had torn apart by his lonesome; That’s the Wolverine we want to play, and one we thankfully got to in 2009 but sadly not in 2003. In X2: Wolverine’s Revenge, your claws are better off retracted in favor of clunky stealth mechanics and when you do get to actually fight something, that doesn’t feel particularly well either as this game features some of the worst crowd control fighting in a game. Wolverine’s Revenge is saved however by a story that you actually care about with cameos from both X-Men heroes and villains that make sense, and you can stomach the mechanics and poor check points to hear the first and only time Mark Hamill voiced the character of Wolverine.
5) X-MEN: THE OFFICIAL GAME (NINTENDO DS)
When X-Men: The Official Game was being marketed, not a lot of coverage was given to the two different handheld games that launched alongside with it, so when I slotted in The Official Game, I really had no idea what to expect. Early DS games were often plagued by developers not really knowing what to do with the at the time new touch screen, but in the case of X-Men: The Official Game, they did something very interesting and made this game feel more like a team game than most X-Men games. In the Game Boy Advance game you could swamp between characters on the fly, though they all more or less felt the same, while in the console game, each of the three playable characters are off doing their own solo missions. The DS game is the only one where you can both switch between characters and make it mechanically interesting. You move your three characters around the environment with the D-pad and switch between them with the shoulder buttons, but otherwise you’re using the touch-screen to do everything else and it works surprisingly well. What’s unique and well executed is how you use your heroes: Wolverine: Iceman and the DS exclusive Magneto’s ability together to maneuver the game and fight enemies. Certain enemies can only be killed by certain characters, metal obstructions require Magneto to move them and Wolverine’s healing factor heals the time. Check it out if you ever get the chance.
4) X-MEN: THE OFFICIAL GAME (GC/PS2/XBOX ORIGINAL/XBOX 360)
Nightcrawler has always been my favorite X-man, and the console version of X-Men: The Official Game makes the argument that Nightcrawler needs his own game. Teleporting around levels to platforms and behind enemies to catch them unawares and then swinging around poles like a certain Persian Prince make it worth tracking down this game for a third of it alone. The other two characters: Iceman and Wolverine don’t fare as well with the latter being the worst of the trio, but it’s made up for by the fact that Hugh Jackman himself is voicing the character and not phoning it in. “The Official Game” sub-title is the most applicable of all the three versions of this game as the plot bridges the events of X2 and the movie it launched alongside of, X-Men: The Last Stand, even as going as far to explain why Nightcrawler is absent from the movie. If you love the X-Men movies, this is required playing for the plot alone and for Nightcrawler fans like me, he’s never been done better justice in a video game.
3) X2: WOLVERINE’S REVENGE (GAME BOY ADVANCE)
In one of the rare circumstances where a handheld game is much better than the console game it launches along side of, I’ve been praising X2 on the Game Boy Advance for some time now. Hailing from Vicarious Visions, Wolverine’s Revenge plays like a long-lost Wolverine 16-bit game that was discovered and released that’s leagues better than the actual 16-bit games we got back in the day. A bit on the short side, though to be honest 16-bit action games were short as well, the game looks great, plays great and has some terrific boss battles that will really test your reflexes. The single best Wolverine game to play on the go, and another in a long line of great Vicarious Visions developed Marvel games.
2) X-MEN: MUTANT ACADEMY (PSOne)
When I saw X-Men: Mutant Academy previewed in magazines like EGM, I thought “oh great, another Marvel fighting game. Guys, I already have X-Men Vs. Street Fighter, why do I need this? Make a proper X-Men game!”. Coming off the high of seeing X-Men in theaters though, Mutant Academy was a game I absolutely needed to own and I’m so glad I got over my thumbing my nose at it. Its mechanics owe a lot to Street Fighter, which if you’re going to borrow, you might as well do so from the best, but with 3-D character models that were better than the ones in the pseudo-3-D Street Fighter EX series that was happening at the time; Mutant Academy plays much better as well. The roster of characters is small, made up mostly of characters from the film with the addition of Gambit, but the cast is decently balanced and not too overwhelming if you were a casual fighting fan who just wanted an X-Men game after seeing the movie, of which I was. While best played with a friend, there’s a lot to unlock as well if you play solo with everything from comic covers, character specific movies and alternate costumes inspired by the movie. Whether you’re a hardcore fighting game fan or just a casual one, X-Men: Mutant Academy is a game that should not be forgotten.
1) X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE UNCAGED EDITION (PS3/XBOX 360)
Was there really any other choice? 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past was a film that was created to erase X-Men Origins: Wolverine from existence, but I for one am happy for the existence of Origins if just for the creation of this game. As someone who grew up in the 90’s where X-Men was the single most popular comic on the stands, I always wanted to play an excellent Wolverine game, but after the okay NES game, the terrible 16-bit games and the frustrating X2: Wolverine’s Revenge, I had all but given up hope. Then X-Men Origins: Wolverine comes along and it gave me everything I ever wanted. Though comics were once upon a time marketed to kids, lets face it, Wolverine is not a character that’s kid friendly and the developers at Raven who made Origins understood that. There was no keeping your claws sheathed in X-Men Origins, instead the game encouraged you to brutally attack all those that got in your way and it rewarded you with buckets of blood and kills straight out of Mortal Kombat. Origins is not a perfect game by any means, it gets pretty repetitive in extended sittings, but it did for Wolverine what Spider-Man 2 did for Spider-Man and to this day I’m still not sure why someone hasn’t tried to make some type of sequel that builds upon its foundation.