Retro Coin Op Synopsis
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 together 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, SimpsonsThe 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.