Do You Remember? X-Men Arcade Game

Backed by a techno theme song, Marvel Comics’ band of misunderstood mutant superheroes stormed into arcades in 1992. Konami had built a mini-franchise using licensed characters in side-scrolling fighting games—Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons—and with an X-Men cartoon series hitting the small screen that fall, the comic book superstars seemed like a no-brainer for video game adaptation.

Expanding on the four-player action of its earlier games, Konami allowed six X-Men to enter the fray at once—metallic strongman Colossus, weather controller Storm, blue-skinned teleporter Nightcrawler, optic-blasting Cyclops, the dazzling Dazzler, and the ferocious Wolverine, whose adamantium claws and bad attitude had made him a fan favorite for years. To accommodate this large roster, two video screens were connected for a wider view and more room to move.

Each hero had the standard jump and attack buttons, which could be used in tandem for powerful combo moves, but each also had a devastating “Mutant Power” button, which unleashed Cyclops’ optic blasts, Storm’s typhoon, Wolverine’s “Berzerker Slash,” etc. That kind of screen-clearing power came with a price, however, taking away three units from your character’s life bar or using up one of your character’s precious “power balls.”

Long-time X-Men foe Magneto was once again the starring supervillain, launching a reign of terror with the help of several end-of-level bosses: Pyro, the Blob, Wendigo, the White Queen, and Juggernaut. Each was a powerful threat, but even getting a chance to face these mutant monstrosities was a formidable challenge. Mutant-hunting robot Sentinels, mutated lizards and plants, laser cannons, and other threats appeared on screen, dozens at a time, as our stalwart X-Men charged through the city streets, to a tropical hideaway, through a dark cave and on to Magneto’s outer space fortress, Asteroid M.

At heart, X-Men was no different from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons, or even Final Fight, but the addition of six-player capability and famous comic book/cartoon (and eventually movie) superstars made the game impossible to resist. X-Men was another winner in Konami’s licensed action line, and the heroes continued to star in games and on television for the rest of the decade.

About Mickey Yarber 237 Articles
Editor-in-Chief Sometimes referred to as the Retro Rambler...I was born in the '70s, grew up in the '80s, and came of age in the '90s. I love to share all the fun stuff from those years via my Retro Ramblings column.

1 Comment

  1. This one didn’t appeal to me as much in arcades, because the Fox Kids cartoon was my entryway into X-Men, and I didn’t like these designs as much. Would find out later this game was based on an unsuccessful first attempt, the “Pryde of the X-Men” VHS tape that always seemed to be sold at Blockbuster, but never available as a rental for some reason.

    I’ve wanted to play it more with the benefit of hindsight and a growing interest in the franchise, but things never quite lined up right. It got a re-release for the briefest of time on Xbox Live Arcade (and PS3?), but I unfortunately couldn’t afford that or Simpsons during their short-lived tenures there.

    I’d love to see Konami and Disney team up for something that has this and Simpsons, since I don’t think they could go all-out the way they did with TMNT’s Cowabunga Collection.

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