The 1990s was a decade of emergence for X-Men as a major multi-media franchise player. The characters had a huge hit show on FOX TV. The toys were were everywhere, and there were many more awesome video games of Marvel’s merry band of mutants. Unfortunately, in the last 10 years, the video games branded around the X-Men have been quite poor. For this list, I will take a look back at my favorite video games based on the X-Men franchise. In the interest of a streamlined list, I am focusing strictly on X-Men branded games and not crossover-branded games, or Wolverine only games.
HONORABLE MENTION: X-Men (SEGA Genesis Version)
This game tends to get a fairly negative response, but I am a fan of the game. I remember how much fun it was to get to play as the X-Men in a full color video game for the SEGA Genesis console. The game only had five playable characters, but other X-Men characters had fun cameos to offer support during the game. All the environments and locations were faithful to X-Men lore, and I felt this game got the ball rolling for better X-Men games that would follow.
5. X-Men Legends
Veering out of the 1990s a bit is X-Men Legends. At this point, the X-Men were a more viable brand for video games–thanks in part to Bryan Singer’s live-action movies. X-Men Legends was a surprisingly effective action RPG game. The game had a nice variety of playable characters, all of whom had their own special and unique abilities. The series later spawned a sequel and eventually initiated the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance games.
4. X-Men: Children of the Atom
Before X-men vs. Street Fighter, before Marvel vs. Capcom, there was X-Men: Children of the Atom. This game marked the very first time Capcom produced a video game using Marvel-licensed characters. Basically, it was a Street Fighter fighting game using X-Men characters. The graphics and designs were amazing. The fighting was fast-paced and awesome. The game really started an avalanche of awesome Capcom fighting games that later on utilize Marvel characters. However, my personal favorite will always be Capcom’s Marvel Super Heroes.
3. X-Men: The Arcade Game
There is just something about a good old fashioned arcade beat ’em up video game. The X-Men happened to get a most awesome one in 1992. This game featured six playable X-Men characters. Friends could play up to six at a time for an all-out brawl between the forces of good and evil. The boss fights in the game were so much fun and actually quite challenging as the game progressed. The game took players all across the X-Men lore. The super attacks, which you could use to clear a room of baddies, were very satisfying.
2. X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse
Think X-Men in the style of Mega Man X and that is a good approximation of what is available with X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse. This was an X-Men developed by Capcom for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. I love platform, action-adventure side-scrolling games. X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse combined that with a bit of a style taken from the Mega Man X series along with some special moves from the Street Fighter franchise. It was a surprisingly fun, effective combination. More than anything, I really enjoyed and appreciated the graphics and character models. The game really captured the fun essence of the classic 1990s X-Men animated series.
1. X-Men 2: Clone Wars
X-Men 2: Clone Wars is really my favorite X-Men video game, going back to the good old days of 1990s–when the SEGA Genesis was still a pretty cool console, before PlayStation really took over. I found X-Men 2: Clone Wars infinitely more playable and much easier to get into than the first X-Men video game for the Genesis. The game had seven playable characters, including Magneto, who was an unlockable character in the game. Graphics and animation for the game were fantastic for its time. Not to mention, the game was just fun to play. Later console generations were not able to capture the style of that was necessary to make great X-Men games.