The Nerd: I remember one time in school, I had an X-Men coloring book, and the teacher looked over and said, "Hmm. X-Men, huh? There's women in there too, aren't there? That's kinda sexist." And I said, "Well, what's wrong with being sexy?" Nah, I didn't say that. But I've always remembered that, because it's a good point. I guess "X-People" just doesn't sound as good.
The Nerd: Well, anyway, here is the NES X-Men. (holds up the NES X-Men cartridge) Say that three times fast: NES X-Men NES X-Men NES X-Men. (The Nerd's tongue is twisted) Well, anyway, with a concept like X-Men, you'd expect a great game. Or at least a fairly decent game. All the characters and powers and shit, how hard could it be? Well, we are doomed from the very start. Take a look. (The Nerd points at the LJN logo on the NES X-Men cartridge) Somebody makes an X-Men game for Nintendo, why in the love of fuck does it have to be LJN? You take one look at that logo, and you just know there is no gold at the end of that rainbow, because this, my friends, is the unholy stamp of death. And I'm about to do the unthinkable.
(The Nerd drinks whiskey from a flask)
The Nerd: I'm about to stick this abomination in my Nintendo. Rather stick your dick in a piranha's mouth!
(The Nerd puts the game into the Toploader)
The Nerd: Here we go: Marvel's X-Men. Is that the official title? The label calls it The Uncanny X-Men. I'd say screw that. File it under "X" for X-Men, plain and simple.
The Nerd: First, you select a stage. Couldn't there have been something a little more interesting than just plain text? Any other game would have some kind of visual. Then you select two characters. Even if you're playing a one-player game, the CPU feels needed to join the fun.
The Nerd: This is the most sensitive select screen in the history of games. You have to gently tap the Select button, or else it flashes through all the characters faster than you can say, "Fuck." Here we go.
(The game starts)
The Nerd: Wow. Look at this mess. It's all coming back to me now. This is one of those games I rented from the video store, and wasted one of the weekends of my sad, pathetic life. Look at this: Cluttered pixels, scrambled textures, shit flying everywhere, it's a disaster. The characters look like stiff mangled colored shapes that barely represents who they're supposed to be. Cyclops looks the same as Storm. All they did was recycle the same character and color them all differently. They all play the same too. There's minor differences. Some can take a little more abuse than others or go slightly faster, but these differences are barely noticeable. The only major difference is that some characters shoot, and some don't.
The Nerd: The ones that don't shoot are stuck with this indefinable lunge attack. Look at it. What is he doing? If you pause it, you'll see it's the same position as when he's walking. It just jabs forward. It's embarrassing. And what character would you pick? Would you pick a character that shoots lasers, or would you pick a character that just goes around nudging everything?
The Nerd: So here's my strategy, and I think you'll agree: You pick a character that shoots, and for the CPU, you pick a character that nudges. Then, as soon as possible, you let the computer get killed. Yes, the sooner that worthless bitch bites the dust, the sooner you can be free. Because the computer does nothing to help; it just wanders around and runs into walls. You end up getting stuck having to wait for its stupid ass. You can do better if you play the game blindfolded. That's no exaggeration.
The Nerd: Clearly, nobody tested this game. How could this have passed? And whatever you do, don't ever give the computer a character with a projectile. Because, look, it's like giving a kid ten pounds of sugar and a Super Soaker. It goes apeshit! And it never, ever stops.
(the CPU who controls Cyclops shoots his laser like crazy and the Nerd is waiting patiently for the CPU to die, and fortunately, it does)
The Nerd: Oh, thank God. All you want is the computer to die, so you can get some peace and quiet. When you're playing the two-player mode with a real life human being, it's fine. But when I'm by myself, why do I have to pick two characters? It's a complete waste.
The Nerd: The stages are just jumbled bullshit patched together with a disarray of madness. It is a Nintendo game and you're supposed to use your imagination, but had the game been designed well, you would, at least, know what you're doing.
The Nerd: Right here, I can't pass through these tiles, even though they appear the same as all the other tiles around it. If all this clutter at least have some consistency, it would be somewhat acceptable.
The Nerd: What's this right here? A hot dog in a bun? Or more like a pig in a blanket? And what's all this? Where am I? Spaghetti Zone?
(the enemy hits Iceman and Iceman can't move and the enemy keeps on hitting Iceman)
The Nerd: Okay, what's happening now? I'm frozen? What the hell?
The Nerd: Oh, that's nice. Isn't that fair? That's like tying my hands behind my back. And how can I be frozen with a character that's called Iceman? I'd be better off with Iceman from Top Gun.
The Nerd: Now what's this shit? A laser barrier? (Walks right into it and dies) Aw, fuck. (Game Over) I've had enough of this shit.
The Nerd: Well, after that disgrace, I'm happy to say there's an alternative. Yup. Another X-Men game on Nintendo. (The Nerd holds up the cartridge Wolverine for the NES) Just called Wolverine. They didn't call it X-Men 2 or anything like that, because I imagine trying to distance it as much as possible from that other piece of shit. Because the NES deserves one good X-Men game. And I bet this one's gonna be much better, because after all-
(The Nerd looks at the LJN logo from the cartridge and becomes surprised)
The Nerd: What?! Are you fucking kidding me?! Both of them? They made both of them?
(The Nerd drinks a flask of whiskey)
The Nerd: Oh, my God. You think with a franchise like X-Men, they'd give somebody else a try.
(The Nerd drinks whiskey again)
The Nerd: I don't wanna play this. I really don't wanna play this. But I might as well get it over with. It's like getting a needle: It might not be too pleasant, but it'll be over before you know it.
(The Nerd sticks the game into the Toploader)
The Nerd: This is the Wolverine title screen. Looks promising. And here's the game.
The Nerd: Well, it's a side-scroller, and, as you may predict, you can only play as Wolverine. That's fine. I'd rather have one character done well than have a bunch of shitty characters that are all the same.
The Nerd: Wolverine looks more defined. When he punches and kicks, it actually looks like it. So we're almost there, but isn't there something missing? Something you'd expect Wolverine to attack with? His claws, right? Yeah. Well, the Select button brings out the claws. From there on, you can just slash everybody like you'd expect. You may be wondering, "Why in the Hell would you not want to have the claws out the whole time?" Well, guess what? I'll tell you. Every time you use your claws, it drains your life. So that kinda defeats the whole purpose, right? So just forget the claws, it would be nice to use 'em, but you can't.
The Nerd: The ducking is incredibly delayed. When you push Down, it doesn't just duck like any other game, it goes into this little animation. It's unnecessary, and it makes it hard to avoid getting hit by something.
The Nerd: For power-ups, we have burgers. Yeah, what else could they be? They're fucking burgers. And we also have bottles, which could be anything, but I'm gonna assume they're beer. That sounds about right. It's an X-Men Barbecue: Burgers and Beer. (Wolverine swims to get the burger. He does get it, but also gets hit by the propeller. Both the burger and the propeller are in the same place! What the fuck?!) Oh, fuck you, how cheap is it to put the burger right on top of a-a propeller?!
The Nerd: What's up with the vocabulary? I've heard of an extra life or 1-up, but Free Game?
The Nerd: But now, it's time for the enemy roll call: we have green rotary dial telephones, Silver Surfers in flying wheelchairs, Silver Surfers air-guitaring, John McClane from Die Hard, the Grim Reaper throwing skulls, Frankenstein monsters wearing metal masks with visors like Geordi from Star Trek, and bubbles. The hit detection is so bad. I tried to punch the bubble, but I can never hit it before it hits me. Don't mean to burst your bubble! Huh-huh!
The Nerd: The boulders are another thing that's a pain in the ass. They deliberately follow wherever you go. Not only is it annoying, but it doesn't make any sense. Are these boulders self-aware? Do they know where you're standing? Or is there an evil elf inside the hole chucking shit down at you?
The Nerd: The levels are designed to be as frustrating as possible. There are so many times where you need to jump down, not knowing if you're gonna land on a platform, or just fall to your death. You just gotta take a shitty guess.
The Nerd: When you get hit, there's no recovery time either. One simple mistake can drain all your life in only a matter of seconds. It's as cheap as it gets.
The Nerd: The graphics are okay, but uninspired. These platforms remind me of those things from the casino stage in Sonic 2.
The Nerd: You go around jumping on hoverboards, and these things which look like blue candy canes, but the swimming stage is when I really start to lose my mind. It's confusing at first that you use B to swim, when in most games, it would be the same button you use to jump.
The Nerd: But the hard part is where you have to dodge these little propellers. It's worse than Ninja Turtles where you can't touch the electric seaweed. But that's not enough. They have to send bubbles after you too. Look at this: It's fucking impossible. Almost dead, gotta get the beer. (Wolverine touches the propeller.) (Grunts angrily) Had it up to my ass with this piece of shit! In conclusion, this game's way better than the other one, but it's still a pile of donkey dicks.
The Nerd: The X-Men game I remember most fondly is the arcade by Konami. Some versions have six players and a double panoramic screen. It was extremely monotonous, but satisfying as all Hell.
Magneto: X-Men! Welcome... to DIE!
The Nerd: Welcome to die? Okay....
The Nerd: It was a classic style beat 'em up, and one of the best in that category. Only problem: it was never released on a home console. It suffered the same fate as Konami's Simpsons game. (Shows footage of "The Simpsons Arcade".) Some might say these games would have been butchered on their home counterparts, but if you look at how well Turtles in Time fared on the Super NES, it only raises the question: "Why the fuck not do the same to X-Men and Simpsons?" But oh well, at least we got a couple decent X-Men games on Sega Genesis. But there's a few things about them which are fucked up. Let's take a look.
The Nerd: Well, the first game, you see it's a side-scroller again, but with good graphics, and a selection of characters to choose from. One minor thing I don't like is with Wolverine, you still have to get out your claws. What's the big deal? Why are the claws so taboo? Fortunately, you don't lose health when you use 'em, so it's a step in the right direction.
The Nerd: Another thing that's really weird is the stage select code. On the title screen, you do the code like normal. But after that, you'd expect to see some kind of stage select screen. But, no. Instead, the game starts up like normal. You have to walk over these panels in the background, which now suddenly represent the stages. You have to go through the effort of counting the one you want, crouch down and hit C, and then it warps you to the desired stage. If you know the code, what's the point of having to do all that shit?
The Nerd: But the worst thing is that there's a stage where you're supposed to reset your Genesis. Yes, you actually have to hit the reset button to beat the stage. But how are you supposed to know? All that happens, there's a big computer in the air. You destroy it, and walk around like a dumbass trying to figure out what to do next. If it would've said "Reset Your Genesis!", or at least some kind of fucking clue, that would be okay! It would still be weird, but at least you would know what to do. Not to mention, if you are playing it on the Sega Nomad, you wouldn't be able to do that, because it has no reset button. And the reset button on my Genesis Model 2 is broken. Good thing I have more "Genesises". "Genesises"? Is there a plural for Genesis? Should I say "Genesi"?
The Nerd: At last, we have X-Men 2: Clone Wars. Hmm... Clone Wars. George Lucas have anything to do with it?
The Nerd: You pop the game in, turn the power on, and before you know it, you're playing the game. That's it. No title screen. Not even the Sega logo. That doesn't happen 'til after you beat the first level. You don't even get to pick a character. It just randomly selects it for you. What kind of game does that?
The Nerd: Other than that, it's pretty damn good. It's side-scrolling action on the Genesis at its best. And guess what? Wolverine's claws are out. Now doesn't that kick ass? We went from having no claws, to having them hurt yourself, to just having them retractable, to just having them. It took us a long time to get there, but this one finally got it right.
The Nerd: When it comes to X-Men games, that's the one I recommend, but the two NES versions, (the Nerd holds up the two "X-Men" games on the NES) stay away. Stay away as far as possible. They suck. They suck balls. This one (Wolverine) sucks my left ball, this one (The Uncanny X-Men) sucks my right ball! WELCOME TO DIE! (the Nerd uses heat vision to destroy the games)