X-Men Legends II Hands-On

We take a look at this Marvel-licensed brawler before the start of CTIA 2005.

While the first X-Men Legends appeared only on the N-Gage as an isometric action role-playing game, X-Men Legends II will be available for mainstream mobile phones. This version is technically a stat-driven RPG, but its side-scrolling perspective and button-mashing gameplay make it much closer to a beat-'em-up.

This is a sad day for Magneto.

X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse takes place after the events of the first X-Men Legends, when Magneto and the Brotherhood have joined forces with Professor Xavier's X-Men to battle Apocalypse and the Four Horsemen. The old maxim, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" certainly applies here, as Magneto can fight right alongside Wolverine, despite the years they've spent embroiled in comic book conflict. In X-Men Legends II for mobile, you command a modest squad of two X-Men, but you only control one of them at a time. Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Magneto, and Juggernaut are immediately selectable for play. You can switch between characters on the fly by pressing the 0 key. Each character has his own health and mana meters, which can be replenished with potions. Mana is regained slowly through standard attacks, however.

In exchange for a small amount of mana, your X-Men can perform character-specific special attacks based on their mutant abilities. For instance, Wolverine heals himself--hey, it's not flashy, but it's tremendously useful. Cyclops, of course, rocks out with his optic blast. Additionally, you can perform more-complicated specials through the use of fighting game-style button combinations. Your X-men gain experience by defeating their enemies. After a time, they'll level up and earn stat points that can be invested in their various abilities, which increases their efficacy. If you're thinking that this is standard RPG fare, you'd be right.

The game played fairly smoothly on our LG VX7000.

You'll find that these stat-building components are on the periphery of the Legends II experience, though. At its core, this is a beat-'em-up game in the spirit of brawlers like Gameloft's Nightmare Creatures, with which Legends II bears a distinct visual similarity. (Is that the exact same "Go" icon?) Given the high production values of that title, that's not necessarily a bad thing. In the sequences we've played so far, walking around and hitting the attack key is usually enough to get by.

X-Men Legends II looks to be a fairly conventional action game, albeit one with an interesting RPG veneer. We're excited to see a final build, at which point we'll tell you if the stat system provides enough depth to set this game apart from the crowd.

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