|X2: Wolverine’s Revenge|
August 1, 2003 | Nat Panek
First the bad news: Hugh Jackman does not lend his voice to the character of Wolverine in the new port from Aspyr Media, X2: Wolverine’s Revenge. Now, the good news: Mark Hamill does the voice instead! A stalwart of computer game voice work since the days of Wing Commander, Hamill portrays the character of Wolverine admirably, or as admirably as one can, given the limited dialogue involved, filling his voice with sarcastic grit. One can picture him sitting in a recording studio, chomping on a cigar. He certainly makes his voice sound like he’s been smoking for years.
Wolverine’s Revenge is a 3D, third-person hand-to-hand affair along the lines of Oni. Unlike that title, however, this one is all about the kung-fu; there are almost no useable weapons in the game besides Wolverine’s signature wrist-razors. It seems unfair at first, what with all those opponents pointing firearms at you, but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of smacking those weapons out of their hands with foot-long adamantium talons.
His Kung-Fu is the BestThe story may be familiar to fans of the X-Men franchise, but it’s fairly engaging nonetheless. Logan (as Wolverine is known in the non-mutant world) is minding his own business doing “clean-up” work as a shadowy undercover agent in Canada. After an unspecified screw-up, he’s sandbagged by his own employers. The next thing he knows, he’s waking up in a remote Canadian secret weapons facility suspended in a tank of goo with tubes and wires snaking out of his body and his skeleton freshly coated in indestructible metal. Understandably upset at this turn of events, he takes the first opportunity to strike back at his captors and escape.
This is where you, the player, come in. Using Wolverine’s mutant powers, you must fight your way out of the facility. In these first couple levels there is a handy built-in tutorial system (which you can turn off if you so choose) that clues you in to some of Wolverine’s abilities as opportunities for their use arise. For example, early on, you must navigate your way across a minefield. This is the perfect place to put Wolverine’s heightened senses to use. In this mode, Wolverine is able to detect the mines beneath the ground; in other situations, he’ll be able to track people by their footprints, detect tripwires and surveillance cameras, and “smell” nearby enemies before he can see them.
Wolvie’s most-used mutant features are, of course, those aforementioned talons that sprout from his hands (with a satisfying zing, I might add). It is possible to fight enemies without the claws, but bare fists obviously do less damage. Why would you ever retract the claws, you ask? For one thing, the only way Wolverine’s mutant self-healing ability can kick in is with the claws retracted. In addition, bare-knuckle punches are about twice as fast, making it easier to keep an enemy on his heels instead of in your face.