X-Men: The Ravages of Apocalypse

As yet another product better on paper than in practice, WizardWorks’ X-Men: The Ravages of Apocalypse is a total conversion of Quake, which you must have installed before playing this game. It promises a much-needed romp into comic-book fantasy but only delivers a whimper. It’s sometimes interesting and sometimes bland; either way, an inescapable sense of deja vu gradually drags the product into mediocrity.

4Loose plotting throws the player into the role of a genetically-enhanced warrior created by the mysterious cyber-boss Magneto to mash arch-rival Apocalypse and Apocalypse’s sinister ally. Cloned X-Men form the bulk of Apocalypse’s army, and you’ll have to cut through them in spades before dealing with the big guys themselves. This gives the perfect excuse to fight every character from the X-Men comic books without actually fighting them. In other words, it’s a Quake knockoff superficially wearing X-Men garbs.

The GLQuake-driven environment – it runs both under DOS and WinQuake – which range from the usual underground caverns to an attractive city, offer a number of interesting puzzles—assembling a doomsday weapon to take out Apocalypse, for example—and a number unsurprising hazards, key hunts, and dull find-the-switch obstacles. The Quake engine’s well-documented ineptitude with large open spaces becomes a problem later in the game, hurting the framerate in the city levels, while the imitation X-Men goons are dim and sometimes don’t react to the player’s appearance until actually shot.

12The new weapons and renamed powerups won’t surprise veteran Quake players, although a multiplayer option offering the refreshing ability to play as the X-Men using only their special powers reduces the need for a nuclear arsenal. Once the smoke has cleared, X-Men is left standing as an uneven product whose generally unoriginal gameplay isn’t consistent with its superhero theme. The main problem here is that building a shoot ’em up around X-Men seems misguided at best, making for a poor gaming venue overall.

System Requirements: Pentium 90 Mhz, 32 MB RAM, DOS/Win95

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