Tag Archive: gambit


Dr. Doomed from the start

Right next to having superpowers of their own and fighting alongside their favorite characters, the next best thing for most comic-book fans would be actually assuming the role of their most beloved superheroes. Personally, I’d probably like to be one of the X-Men. Wolverine, Iceman, or Colossus, if possible—I’m not picky.

The guys and gals at Gazillion Entertainment zero in on this concept with their free-to-play PC game, Marvel Heroes. Driven by Diablo-style action-RPG mechanics, the game sees players starting off by choosing one of five heroes who most comic fans would consider B-list: Hawkeye, Storm, Scarlet Witch, Daredevil, and the Thing. By beating the game—or spending some cold, hard cash—you can unlock other heroes or purchase a variety of costumes for these characters.

Unfortunately, if you’re like me and get tempted into picking up the ’90s X-Men cartoon version of Cyclops or Wolverine after a few story chapters, you’ll soon realize that the starter characters represent core classes—and no matter what hero you choose, the powersets are basically the same, just with different animations.

Considering the differences between the heroes in the Marvel universe, this was frustrating as a fan. After all, I was willing to shell out the cash—only to find out there’s no need beyond cosmetic preferences. To add insult to injury, each purchased character starts at level 1, so if you want to immediately use them, the game recommends that you start the entire adventure over again, no matter what point you’re currently at.

A couple of saving graces here, however, are the story and comic-book-still cutscenes. Written by Marvel super-scribe Brian Michael Bendis, the tale incorporates some of Marvel’s most famous story arcs from all their major comic lines into one tidy package. The basics, though, boil down to this: Dr. Doom has a Cosmic Cube, and he feels like messing with reality, because that’s what megalomaniacal bad guys do. I’ve also got to compliment the top-notch voice acting in the cutscenes, including instantly recognizable pros like Nolan North as Deadpool, Steve Blum as Wolverine, and Keith David as Nick Fury.

After choosing your characters, it’s time to actually play the game. And by the time I got a third of the way through the campaign, I’d already grown bored. Instead of offering any kind of variety or difficulty, the game simply threw more and more enemies at me—or gave them an insane amount of health—in the hopes of slowing me down. But it’s not like I was actually doing anything. I played as Hawkeye for most of the game after wasting my money, so all I had to do was get a decent distance away, hold the Shift key in order to ground my hero, and then hold another button to attack. Sometimes two. If I played as the Hulk or Thing, the only thing that changed was my distance relative to the target. The enemy spawn times are also horribly balanced, and I’d regularly clear an area of Hand ninjas or HYDRA goons, only to have them reappear nanoseconds later.

One decent aspect of the gameplay, however, comes in the dungeons. If you turn on auto-grouping, you can enter any dungeon without the fear of being completely overwhelmed. Unlike a lot of other MMOs, when you enter a dungeon around the same time as other players, you can be automatically placed on a team with them. Of course, this can lead to the confusing dilemma of having six Hawkeyes on the same team (which happened to me a lot) and getting your particular avatar lost in the chaos, but if you’re a more introverted gamer, you don’t have to worry about pulling up an awkward chat window, begging for assistance, and dealing with complete strangers.

Normally, this is about where I’d wrap up my review, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the most disappointing aspect of my time playing Marvel Heroes: the technical side. I purposely waited as long as I did to put up my review because I was waiting to see how the game performed after some patches. While the game has seen several small patches and one major fix in the two weeks since the game went live, I’m still experiencing many gameplay-balance problems, as well as numerous technical issues.

Every 20 to 30 minutes, my game crashes or freezes for no apparent reason, and while I’ve reported this error on the technical forums, it remains unfixed after performing the recommended actions from the support staff. I’ve made sure my drivers are up to date, I’ve uninstalled and reinstalled the game launcher, and I’ve even turned down the specs to the lowest possible setting (my PC isn’t the highest-end gaming rig, but it should handle the minimum requirements no problem).

This left the support staff confounded—and me increasingly frustrated. So, I want to warn people before they play Marvel Heroes: In my experience, it just doesn’t work as well as it should. And after perusing the forums, I found that the error I encountered is actually pretty common. Then again, you get what you pay for—and the core of the game is free, after all.

So, if the game works for you perfectly, that’s great, but at the end of the day, fewer crashes still won’t make Marvel Heroes the most worthwhile of experiences unless you fall in love with its price tag.

Developer: Gazillion Entertainment • Publisher: Gazillion Entertainment • ESRB: N/A • Release Date: 06.04.13
4.0
While Marvel Heroes does some nice things, the Marvel license isn’t enough to cover up glaring technical and design flaws. As much as I wanted to like this game, I can’t recommend something that is, at its core, broken. In the end, you get what you pay for (or less, if you actually invested in this).
The Good Story that expertly reimagines some of Marvel’s greatest moments.
The Bad Constant crashing and glitches; uninspired gameplay.
The Ugly Expecting to get something for nothing—and then being surprised when what you get just isn’t that good.
Marvel Heroes is a PC exclusive. 
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Clash of the Classics

When I was just a boy, my friends and I would argue for hours on end on the playground about what superheroes would win in an imaginary fight when pitted against each other in all different kinds of wacky combinations. We didn’t just mix up teams from a particular universe, but came up with all kinds of scenarios that put our favorites against all manner of pop culture heroes and heroines. So, when games like Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel vs Capcom breathed even more life into these conversations, you can easily imagine why we were hooked.

Flash-forward nearly two decades, and these games have led to the production of one of the most successful and beloved fighting game franchises there is. Because of this, Capcom wanted to make sure that not only us older games didn’t forget our roots, but also show a new generation the foundations of what set us on our hypercombo-ing path.

Marvel vs Capcom Origins is no ordinary old-school compilation, though. Included with these two original games—which have also had some HD graphic upgrades—are 8-player online lobbies with spectator modes, replay saving, dynamic challenges that unlock levels, and points you can spend on unlockables like characters that were hidden in the originals, end movies, or concept art.

The best part of the dynamic challenges and unlocks, though, may be that they give both games an unprecedented amount of replayability. Plus, if you’re as big a fan as I am, you will absolutely geek out over the sketches and stills of your favorites heroes and villains, as well as the chance to easily unlock the hidden characters that we originally had to input an impossibly long code for—Dr. Doom and Thanos in Marvel Super Heroes and Gold War Machine, Hyper Venom, Orange Hulk, and Shadow Lady in MvC.

Another nice aspect of the game is that everything that made these fighters unique in the first place is still there so you can relive the experience as if it were 1995 again and you were feeding quarters into an arcade cabinet under pink neon lights. The gem system of Marvel Super Heroes (inspired by the Infinity Gauntlet story from Marvel comics) still allows you to enhance your players temporarily with the powers of Space, Power, Time, Soul, Reality, or Mind, and MvC still gives you dozens of assist characters and the Duo Team Attack where you and your partner can combine your hyper combos into one truly devastating maneuver.

Unfortunately, in terms of gameplay, the games are a little too demanding at times, as players who are used to modern fighters will quickly see the age on these classics. Sometimes a little clunky and even a bit frustrating, both these games—but especially Marvel Super Heroes—can feel stiff, and the smooth combo chains you may be used to from Marvel vs Capcom 3 are much harder to string together and pull off in these titles. It’s not that you won’t be able to get the hang of these characters eventually and have fun in the process, but if you play modern fighters like MvC 3 religiously and then expect to be able to jump right into these games, you might be caught a bit off-guard by the stark differences.

When all is said and done, Marvel vs Capcom Origins hits enough of the right nostalgic notes to make it a more than worthwhile purchase for long time fans. I mean, the game even offers zoomed out, angled camera camera views designed to replicate the experience of playing on an old wooden cabinet. Younger fans might be a little frustrated with the less than silky smooth controls, but they should still play in order to truly appreciate how far we’ve come with fighting games. They’ll even likely start creating fun memories of their own once they adjust to the outdate feel. All in all, Origins is a fine compilation that’s more than worthy of a download.

SUMMARY: Marvel vs Capcom Origins does a fine job of staying true to the originals, while the addition of dynamic challenges provide a new layer of addictiveness that helps to overshadow how much these games have aged in the past two decades.

  • THE GOOD: New leveling up and variety of unlocks compliment classic game play well.
  • THE BAD: Games show their age at times.
  • THE UGLY: Far and away, it’s Shuma-Gorath.

SCORE: 9.0

Marvel vs Capcom Origins is available on XBLA (Xbox 360) and PS3 (PSN). Primary version reviewed was for XBLA.

A decent haul this week saw a couple of new number ones permeate the pile and make things interesting for this week’s Pullbox!

Note: Due to EGM’s presence at Gamescom, the Pullbox will be put on hiatus next week.

DC – Batman and Robin #12 – The new villain Terminus finally reveals himself to Batman and looks to not only destroy the Dark Knight and Boy Wonder, but all of Gotham as well!

This book was one of the most anti-climactic ends to a story arc I’ve read in quite some time. Not only did Batman easily dispose of this new villain, permanently, but the entire sequence with the bomb played out way too much like The Dark Knight Rises and it makes me wonder how much comics and movies go hand-in-hand nowadays. At the very least, we know now Batman can hopefully move on to a villain with a little more gravitas than the awful Terminus and get this book back on track after this issue jumped off the rails. Not pleased with it at all right now.

DC – Deathstroke #12 – Lobo is ready to wipe the Earth from the galaxy baby and only Deathstroke is in his way! How Lobo escaped in the first place also surfaces and it makes Deathstroke realize he has a lot more problems on his hands than just the last of the Czarnians.

Now this is how you finish off a story arc. The end battle between Deathstroke and Lobo was epic and Deathstroke’s finally few pages of dialogue really helped you see the inner workings of the character more than anything else up to this point. The art is classic Rob Liefeld meaning you either love it or hate it, but considering how much action this book had in it, I think he was the right guy for the job. The big question now is to figure out where Slade goes from here after collecting one of his biggest bounties in quite some time.

Marvel – Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe #2 – Deadpool has a new voice inside his head calling the shots and it spells disaster for the entirety of the Marvel Universe as no one is safe as Deadpool hasn’t just broken the fourth wall, he’s shattered it!

I really thought I would be enjoying this spoof spin-off of Deadpool’s usual over the top antics a lot more, but it may in fact be too crazy even for him as it moves away from the goofy and into the dark comedy realm a bit, and I’m not really sure how I like that. The Avengers, Spider-Man, Dr. Doom, and The Incredible Hulk all fall victim to Wade Wilson in this issue and do so far too easily for my liking. I mean, I’ve wanted to shoot Spider-Man in the head for a long while, too, but this left a surprisingly poor taste in my mouth, even if Spidey’s gruesome demise was at least awesome to watch. I’m still not sure how to feel about this one, but I’ll definitely be picking up Issue Three to see just where it can go from here.

Marvel – Gambit #1 – Out of the bayou, off campus from Wolverine’s school, and on a mission to get himself into some old school trouble, Remy LeBeau, best known to the Marvel Universe as Gambit, is looking to cause some trouble with some very interesting characters.

I really didn’t know what to expect from this comic, but a cross between the spy gadgets you might get in an Ed Brubaker book crossed with the crazy thieving scenarios of something like the movie Entrapment, but with a Marvel twist (and no Catherine Zeta Jones in spandex unfortunately), left me just scratching my head in a perplexed, and definitely not entertained sort of way. The coolest thing about Gambit is his power and we barely saw even a glimmer of that in this book and then the entire ending was like diving off a cliff into three feet of water. It made no damn sense and didn’t make me want to do it again. A disappointing start for this new book and yet another Marvel #1 in recent weeks that just left me asking ‘why?’.

Valiant – Archer and Armstrong #1 – The top 1% of America is actually part of a sadistic religious cult who trains children inside an amusement park and only lets the one who can rise above them all out into the real world. His mission is simple: destroy the evil that cannot be named, but who conveniently hangs out in a dive bar in New York City as is actually named Armstrong. What the…

So, yeah, my summary is exactly what happens in this first issue of this new series from Valiant Comics. And as crazy as it sounds, wow, it was really good. It got off to a slow start and I admit it gave off a weird vibe, but by the time I finished it, I seriously cannot wait to see what happens next in what could turn out to be one of the most enjoyable odd couples to watch as Archer, the boy who rose above it all, and Armstrong, a tank of a man who doesn’t seem all that bad but is branded evil by this religious cult, will have to work together in short order I’m sure. Take what you will from the comic’s clear political statements, the point is the comic is well-written, thoroughly entertaining, and setting itself up to be something that could be a regular here in the Pullbox. Do yourself a favor, and pick this up.

X-Men #10 Review

Originally Published: April 27, 2011, on Comicvine.com

The X-Men and Spider-Man wrap up their expedition in the sewers of New York City as they try to stop Dark Beast and his mad experiments on Dr. Curt Connors and the unsuspecting citizens of Manhattan.

The Good

Any story arc with Dark Beast in it is a win for me because he poses a threat on so many levels to the current X-Men. This is also an ideal time to have him re-emerge in the X-Men’s lives since we know he will be a major player in future X-Force issues, even though we don’t know the details on that as of yet.

The banter back and forth between Emma Frost and Spider-Man was also very well written as they are burdened with the task of rescuing the rest of the X-Men after they fall under the spell of Dark Beast’s lizard transformation device.

The Bad

This arc started off so strongly, with a brief spike at the Dark Beast reveal, but has been on a downward slide ever since with this final issue hitting rock bottom. Most of the issue is Emma and Spidey crawling through the sewers trying to regroup and escape from the barely coherent Lizard X-Men. Although the banter was entertaining, it just felt like filler before we got to what was a short and quick resolution with Emma freeing the original Lizard, Curt Connors.

Due to the cramped quarters, you also never really see Wolverine, Spidey, or anyone else with any speed or agility really ramp up and let go in the limited fight scenes. If anything, Spider-Man felt like an unnecessary addition to this entire adventure and was there simply because it is his turf and he’s had experience with the Lizard before and reminded me why I don’t particularly read most Spider-Man comics anymore.

The Verdict

Although the banter was well written, there was far too much of it and made this comic feel like it was dragging two pages in. To sort through all that filler and end on such an anti-climatic resolution on top of it just left me shaking my head.

Spider-Man was nothing but useless aside from acting as foil to Emma and this entire story arc felt like a cheap way of bringing Dark Beast into everyone’s mind before he makes his impact on the Age of Apocalypse storyline with X-Force coming in June. Even if you’ve been reading this arc, I’m tempted to tell you to steer clear and hope for better things next month.

Originally Published: March 29, 2011, on Youtube.com/RCars4885

I come to you once again with your weekly geek fix from my mother’s basement! This week’s episode sees me review X-Men #9 from Marvel and the downloadable Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime from Atari. My hot chick pick of the week is Nancy Patton and this week’s theme is Ray Parker Jr.’s Ghostbusters movie theme.

Originally Published: March 22, 2011, on Comicvine.com

Likely set in a possible alternate future where Professor Xavier has passed on and mutants are just as alienated as ever from their human counterparts, X-Men Destiny looks to revolve around the choices you will make as a new mutant and a new member of the famed superhero team.

Not much else had been released up to this point about the highly anticipated RPG from Activision and developer Silicon Knights aside from you will choose to be one of three new mutants who will be critical to the X-Men’s future and that the game will have a Fable or Bioware RPG feel to it as the choices you’ll make will greatly affect your fate.

Today though, new details and four new screenshots have been released confirming both Colossus and Gambit will be in the game along with information about the first mutant of the three you can choose from.

The first new character for X-Men Destiny is a 15-year old girl named Aimi Yoshida (not revealed if related to Sunfire in any way) whose bio reveals that she was smuggled out of Japan by her mutant parents before the entire family could be rounded up and incarcerated in the new mutant camps. Not a good sign for the future if there are mutant concentration camps. Anyway, Aimi arrives in San Francisco hidden on a tanker ship. She is too young and frightened to appreciate her parents’ motivations for sending her away, and instead feels only the bitterness and anger of abandonment.

She is described as small in size but strong in mental focus and that Aimi is the mutant ability expert. She specializes in efficient mutant power usage and her fighting style is very acrobatic and graceful.

This unfortunately leaves out what exactly her powers are or if there is an option of you being able to choose what your powers are at the beginning of the game. Maybe Aimi and the other characters are simply like choosing a particular class at the beginning of any other RPG. I’m sure more details will be revealed as we approach the loose Q4 2011 release date for this game. Let us know what you think of Aimi as a character and what you want to see in this X-Men RPG by commenting below!

-Ray Carsillo