X-Men Arcade

Scroll with the punches

Regardless of the fact that the genre appears to have been almost entirely murdered by the advent of 3D, we still have something of a soft spot for the side-scrolling beat 'em up. There's something extremely cathartic about knocking the stuffing out of armies of different-coloured flavours of the same bad guy.


While Final Fight arguably nailed the genre on XBLA, this X-Men-themed duff 'em up does bring its own gimmick to the party, in the shape of six-player co-op. There is something satisfyingly chaotic about having six superheroes on-screen, all leaping and flailing at the waves of oncoming foes - even if it does mean that some poor sod is lumped with rubbish disco-mutant Dazzler.

The showpiece special moves, which deplete your health with each use, are clearly the most spectacular aspect of the game. If you're just playing to claw your way to the final boss, then strategy goes out of the window - with infinite continues, you'll find you and your friends are taking the health hit and spamming the specials until you're playing tennis with even the toughest of bosses.

If you can demonstrate a bit of self-control, though, or better yet actually risk failure by limiting the number of continues you get in the menus, this is definitely one of the better sidescrollers around. It doesn't have the crunching impact of Final Fight's piledrivers, but with varied characters, interesting boss fights and a reasonable price, it's worth getting.

The verdict

A game that certainly has the X factor

Xbox 360
Action, Beat 'em Up