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Nov 192011
 

The X-Men have had plenty of video game titles. Other than the old X-Men Arcade Game, the title I remember best is X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse for the Super NES, where the X-Men must go to the island of Genosha to rescue captured mutants from the evil entity Apocalypse.

You can choose between five X-Men heroes. They include Cyclops, Wolverine, Beast, Gambit, and Psylocke. First each character must get through his or her own level before moving on in this game. It at least gives the player an opportunity to see what each mutant can do.

Cyclops has powerful optic lasers and the boss he faces is a train he must blast without getting shot by machinegun fire above. The gunfire is constant which makes it difficult at times.

Beast is both strong and agile because he can smoothly walk on ceilings, which leaves me to think that Beast is a sneaky mutant. He must battle three Sentinels to get through this level and boy are they tough.

Wolverine has his sharp claws that can slice up enemies and can also be used to climb walls, which is both smooth and nifty, since he can also wall jump just as easily. The boss is a large Sentinel, which is actually easier than the other Sentinel bosses are.

Gambit is one of my favorites. He is skilled with a bo staff and can throw energy charged playing cards to take out enemies. Don’t worry, he has an unlimited supply and can throw them any which way. The boss in this stage is a helicopter. First Gambit must take out the four lasers and beat up the pilot, who is surprisingly easy, if the other enemies inside the helicopter don’t kill you first.

Then there’s Psylocke who has energy powered fists, speed in her strut, and amazing martial arts skill. Since she’s never been in any of the X-Men cartoons or movies, it’s difficult to picture Psylocke as a relatable character like the others. At one point I thought she was like Jean Grey, but Jean doesn’t have that fighting style. The Sentinel boss Psylocke fights is tough because it requires timing with every hit.

Those five stages are just the beginning. The rest of the game gets tougher, but now you have all five X-Men to risk getting through it.

This is a good game with plenty of challenge and excitement. I couldn’t help but notice that some of the special moves the mutants have are similar to the controls from Street Fighter 2.

Sep 162011
 

I remember first hearing about the X-Men from the X-Men animated series (1992-1997). As much as I enjoy watching these assorted mutants in action, the story lines are still difficult for me to follow because the pacing is so different. That soon changed when I saw the first X-Men (Widescreen Edition) movie.

As it turns out, mutants live among the human race and are discriminated against just for being born differently. To help the mutants feel safe and learn to control their powers, Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) the powerful psychic runs a mutant academy, teaching them all they need to know for the good of mankind.

The faculty includes Cyclops (James Marsden) who has optic lasers, Storm (Halle Berry) who can control the weather, and Dr. Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) the telekinetic psychic.

The newest mutants to join the school are Rouge (Anna Paquin), a young girl who can absorb energy from living things just by touching them, and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). He has sharp claws and can heal easily, which makes him a strong fighter. But never kick him in the groin, or he will take it personally.

As helpful as the academy is for the mutant community, it’s not enough for the humans to accept them as equals. That’s why there are also mutants that have turned renegade, led by Magneto (Ian McKellen) a very powerful mutant who can control anything made of metal. It’s a shame since Magneto and Professor Xavier used to be friends.

One of the main humans who is against mutants is Senator Kelly (Bruce Davidson) who only believes that all mutants are dangerous. Magneto captures Kelly and uses him as a guinea pig for an experiment he plans to use on the human race. Now Kelly is a mutant, but an unstable one. At least he now sees the error of his ways.

In order for Magneto’s master plan to work, he sets out to capture a powerful mutant to help him. For awhile Professor Xavier believes that Wolverine is the one, but he was wrong. Rouge is the primary target and Magneto successfully captures her.

With Senator Kelly’s help, Professor Xavier discovers that Magneto’s plan is to turn all humans into mutants and use Rouge to power the machine. Now it’s up to Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, and Jean Grey to go stop him and rescue Rouge. Together they are the X-Men.

After arriving, the X-Men must fight their way to Magneto by getting past some tough foes. They include Toad (Ray Park) a frog-like mutant with a whip tongue, Sabretooth (Tyler Mane) a roaring beast, and Mystique (Rebecca Romjin) a smooth model-esque shape shifter who can also copy any voice at will.

The battle scenes are real smooth. After getting past those tough mutants, the X-Men go to confront Magneto, but end up captured. As Rouge powers the machine with absorbed power from Magneto, it seems hopeless, but not if Wolverine has anything to say about it.

I liked this movie, not only for its smooth action, but also the gags with Wolverine. As for his relationship with Cyclops, it’s more than just the love triangle with Jean Grey. Cyclops also annoys him, but Wolverine gets even by always taking his motorcycle without permission.

The X-Men have also been featured among other Marvel superheroes in the Comic Book Land area at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. Here are some photos of the characters.

 

Nov 172010
 

After the X-Men trilogy, Hugh Jackman reprises his role once again in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Single-Disc Edition). It’s entirely focused on Wolverine’s back-story. He and his brother Victor (Liev Schrieber) fought many wars together over the past century or so. It didn’t take long for me to realize that Victor was Sabretooth, who was described to have fingernails like a bag lady.

Wolverine’s claws are much different in this movie. They’re his hand bones, but just as sharp as his new metal claws. During a fight with Sabretooth, he breaks off Wolverine’s claws. It was as painful as breaking fingers. That was when Colonel Striker (Danny Huston) gives Wolverine the anomantium, which comes with new claws. Wolverine could’ve at least put some clothes on before he took off.

Wolverine’s old friend Fred Dukes (Kevin Durand) is the Blob. I remember this character from an X-Men arcade game years ago, where you could choose between six characters. They are Cyclops, Wolverine, Colossus, Storm, Night Crawler, and Dazzler. The Blob was the level two boss. During the battle, he would constantly repeat, “Nothing moves the Blob!” It was really neat. Too bad he wasn’t like that in this film.

Remy LeBeau (Taylor Kitsch) is Gambit. He can energize objects and use them like grenades. Usually he prefers to use playing cards. Gambit is also pretty good with a bo staff. Even a young Cyclops (Tim Pocock) makes an appearance along with a female version of Colossus. I didn’t catch her name.

This movie was a great prelude to the X-Men trilogy. I wonder why Wolverine doesn’t wear his yellow spandex like in the comic books? Maybe he will, one day. You never know.

At MegaCon 2010, I met a cosplay Wolverine in yellow spandex.

Jun 092010
 

The classic cartoon series from the early 80s called Spiderman and his Amazing Friends (1981-1986) was how I first heard about the witty iconic superhero Spiderman. On this show, Spiderman teams up with X-Men heroes Iceman and Fire Star to defend New York City against various evil forces.

On occasion other “Marvel” superheroes make appearances. Ones like Captain America, the X-Men, and others I haven’t heard of before like Submariner, Dr. Strange, and Shanna the jungle queen.

Sometimes even Stan Lee himself provides some commentary in an episode. I recognize the voice. I also recognize Iceman’s voice as Frank Welker, the voice of Fred on Scooby-Doo.

This was a creative series about the adventures of Spiderman. I still prefer it to the three movie versions because it has plenty of excitement and less repetitive morals and drama. I know that Iceman was part of the X-Men movies, but does anyone know what happened to Fire Star?

There was also a Spiderman ride at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure theme park, which was also an exciting adventure that I prefer over the movie versions. It’s a combination of a thrill ride and 3-D action. This ride can be a little rough around the edges, but it’s not like a roller coaster at all. That’s another reason why I enjoy it.

You get to be in the thick of the action in a SCOOP vehicle as Spiderman takes on Doctor Octopus, Venom, Electro, Hobgoblin, and Hydro Man. He gets everyone wet. And the rock music that plays in the background, awesome. Was that Iron Man on a billboard?