Monday, January 3, 2011

Bringing out all the stops

Konami recently re-released the classic side-scrolling arcade brawler X-Men, originally released in 1992, as a downloadable game for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. I spent an inordinate amount of my childhood playing arcade beat-em ups, so seeing it recently on a friend's PS3 brought back memories.

Back in the arcades, X-Men was conspicuous for its famously massive cabinet. The full-scale version of X-Men was quite the spectacle, with up to six simultaneous players and a giant double-wide screen composed of two adjacent monitors. Even the fact that the one at my local arcade had one monitor that was noticeably brighter than the other, which sort of made it look like half of the onscreen action was taking place in the standard Marvel universe and the other half was set in some darker, grittier alternate timeline, could not diminish its majesty.

And, of course, who could forget the six classic X-Men you could play as?

Cyclops, their heroic leader, whose very gaze can lay villains low with his devastating optic blast!

Storm, who commands the might of the elements themselves!

Wolverine, with the fury of a beast and claws that can cut through anything!

Nightcrawler, a mutant whose monstrous appearance belies his noble spirit, gifted with superhuman agility and the power of teleportation!

Colossus, a man made of living steel!

Dazzler, who... OK, who the hell is Dazzler?

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