Video Game: X-Men Legends
aka: X-Men Legends
Alone, you are mighty. Together, you are legends.
— Professor Charles Xavier
A series of console video games developed by Raven Software and released by Activision. Two games were made, X-Men Legends
(2004) and its sequel, X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse
(2005). Both games featured Marvel
traveling all over the globe to save the world by defeating of one of their most powerful villains
in the first game, Apocalypse in the sequel.
Gameplay in the majority of both games had squads of four X-Men (and their allies), chosen from a large roster of avialable characters, controlled by up to four players. Some sections used fewer than four characters (since this left the players in excess of the available characters with nothing to do, it was much less frequent in the sequel) and some sections required or banned the use of specific characters (especially early in the game, before the entire roster was unlocked). If there were fewer than four players the computer would control any extra characters, with the players able to assume control of any character not currently contolled by another player at will. Each character had an array of powers that could be unlocked and improved as the game progressed, and could also pick up equipment that boosted their abilities.
The first game largely revolved around Allison Crestmere, codenamed Magma, the Point of View
character, being recruited into the X-Men, while the team tries to defend humanity from a devastating attack by Magneto and his minions, the Brotherhood, while simultaneously protecting mutantkind from Gen. William Kincaid's Sentinel robots.
The second game abandons the POV character mechanic (which, in the first game, led to long stretches of Magma wandering around the X-Mansion
alone, giving only one player anything to do) and has the X-Men teaming up
with the Brotherhood
to prevent the evil immortal
mutant Apocalypse from becoming invincible.
Followed by the Marvel Ultimate Alliance
series, also developed by Raven Software.
Provides examples of:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The X-Men travel to the sewers to deal with the Morlocks, a hidden community of mutants. Like in the comics, the Morlock tunnels are extensive, mazelike, and often cavernous enough for a boss fight.
- Adaptation Distillation: The games liberally combine elements from decades of comics, the Ultimate line, the cartoon, and the movies, along with some things they just make up.
- All Your Powers Combined: Apocalypse's plan in X-Men Legends II is to kidnap and steal the powers of 4 mutants with harmonic DNA, which when placed in one individual amplify each other. The mutants are Polaris, Quicksilver, Emma Frost and Sabretooth.
- Artificial Stupidity: Team members follow the player-controlled character faithfully - which can result in disaster if the PC flies too carelessly over an open pit.
- Ascended Extra: Bishop has a cameo in New York as a small child in the first game, as is a playable character in the second game.
- Badass in Distress: Magneto gets abducted by Sentinels partway through X-Men Legends. He very quickly breaks free, but he's really angry.
- Bait-and-Switch Boss: In the Infinite Factory, you're told that Sinister's super computer is in charge, and is implied that it will create a copy of Sinister to fight you. Instead you're forced to fight four holographic generators that costantly spawn evil copies of Storm, Ice Man, Wolverine and Cyclops.
- Bare Your Midriff: Almost every female outfit.
- Battle Couple: A Double Date team bonus goes to Cyclops & Jean Grey with Gambit & Rogue.
- Big Bad Ensemble: The first game has three major villains, all of whom have their own goals separate from one another and all of whom are defeated in the final chapters: Magneto, Gen. William Kincaid, and Shadow King. In the end, Kincaid is the storyline's primary and most despicable villain, and the Final Boss to boot (using a Master Mold).
- Blade on a Stick: Several enemies from the second game are armed with polearms of various types.
- Body Horror: The cyborg Sentinels are humans with Sentinel bits surgically attached. They're seriously creepy.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Colossus' insane Russian boasting can be very entertaining.
- Bonus Boss: Lady Deathstrike from the second game: if your main character is an X Man or if you have Wolverine in your party, she will attack you. If your main character is a member of the Brotherhood, he can just bribe her with money and let her go.
- Bonus Dungeon: In the second game, characters could gain access to an extradimensional prison from which they could free Iron Man, who would then become a playable character. (And no, Iron Man doesn't really have anything to do with the X-Men).
- Brainwashed and Crazy - In the second game, Beast and Angel are captured by Apocalypse and brainwashed into helping him, resulting in the game's versions of Dark Beast (Beast's Age of Apocalypse counterpart) and Archangel. However, defeating them also undoes the brainwashing.
- Brick Joke: In Act 1 of the second game, Mister Sinister muses on combining Nightcrawler's telportation ability with Cyclops' Optic Blasts. One of the enemy types in Act 4 is the Optic Ghost, an enemy who can teleport and fire Optic Blasts.
- Canon Immigrant: Emma Frost's costume in this game is a toned-down version of the stripperiffic outfit she was wearing in the comics at the time. The Astonishing X-Men creative team took this outfit and gave it a cape.
- Cel Shading
- Character Customization: As characters gained levels, you got points to put into their powers and abilities. Since most powers couldn't be used until you put at least one point into them, this could lead to things like Nightcrawler being unable to teleport or a flightless Storm.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome - Despite being the main character of the first game, Magma is nowhere to be found in the second. It could be that that really, really dangerous move near the end that she seemed to be okay from just took a while to take full effect...
- Psylocke doesn't even get mentioned in the second game.
- From the Brotherhood side, Avalanche is the only one in the first game not to return in the second.
- The Complainer Is Always Wrong: When Destiny makes a prediction in the second game that a team member will betray the others, Toad becomes paranoid and insists that the X-Men not do anything so that the traitor can't betray them any more. Everyone else tells him that they must fight Apocalypse and they can't let the prediction cause them to second-guess everything they do.
- Composite Character - Dark Beast See "Brainwashed And Crazy" for details.
- And really, about most of the playable characters in both games, a good deal of the Brotherhood, plus Apocalypse in the second game could be deemed as Composite Characters as they've combined the Ultimate looks, but the personalities, background, and powers of their classic selves, though there were quite a few expections. Sabretooth combines three different versions of his character as his powers and personality of his classic version, and yet in the second game, he cares for Blink ala the Age of Apocalypse version.
- Magma from the first game is a composite of Magma's powers and physical appearance with Kitty Pryde's personality and general "newcomer to the X-Men" character type. Developers wanted to use Kitty Pryde as the viewpoint character for the first game, but her intangibility powers would have been difficult to provide an appropriate level of challenge for.
- Crisis Crossover/Enemy Mine - In Rise of Apocalypse.
- Demoted to Extra - Emma Frost. Playable character in the first game, NPC in the second. Still, that's better than some other characters who were playable in the first game (such as Jubilee) who don't appear at all in the second game. Probably to make room for the Brotherhood characters.
- Beast himself suffered from this in the first act until he's captured and Brainwashed and Crazy, then returned to this after being defeated, which also undoes the brainwashing.
- Poor Magma only ever gets mentioned in a trivia question in the second game, despite being the main character from the first.
- Dream Land - In the first game, the team has to enter Professor X's mind on the Astral Plane.
- Elemental Punch - Many characters have powers with this effect, including passive skills and temporary buffs.
- Eleventh Hour Ranger: Psylocke is the last character to join the party in the first game, doing so when there are only three levels left. Unfortunately, you won't get much use out of her, since two of the three remaining levels are populated by Sentinels, who resist mental damage, which is the type of damage Psylocke specialises in.
- Enemy Mine: In the first game, Magneto and the X-Men temporarily team up to defend themselves when the Xavier Institute is attacked by a squad of Sentinels. Additionally Havok, who's working for the Brotherhood, teams up with Cyclops and Wolverine to investigate the disappearances of several mutants at the old Weapon X grounds.
- Face-Heel Turn: Havok of all people has joined the Brotherhood of Mutants. He eventually comes to regret that decision.
- Fastball Special: Colossus can throw Wolverine at enemies... and it's also possible with Beast and Rogue.
- Flipping the Bird: Wolverine flips off Sabretooth with his middle claw in the opening of the second game.
- Flying Brick - Rogue and Iron Man (if you enable the power up ability).
- Foreshadowing: Before he takes Xavier prisoner, Shadow King mentions that someone told him how to lure Xavier to his realm, but doesn't elaborate. It doesn't come up against, but the ending implies that person was Apocalypse.
- Game-Breaking Bug: The second half of X Men Legends 2 is prone to frequent crashing if the hero chest, used for storing unused equipment, is more than half full, since the levels get much larger from the Madri Temple onwards. Worst case scenario, you will no longer be able to load your save file.
- Game Mod: Lots, though they're only available for the PC version. For starters, you can add in the characters that were playable in the first XL 1, but not in the second game. This mean you can play as Beat, Jubilee, Emma Frost and Psylocke if you want. What's even more impressive though, is the sheer number of Character Mods, mostly for various X-Men and other X-Characters that didn't get a playable appearance in either of the XML games. (Though there's several other Marvel characters up for grabs also. You want to play as Shadowcat? Go ahead. Want to soar through the skies with Angel? You might eventually plummet to the ground via lack of energy at some point, but otherwise, feel free. Or perhaps you wished there were more villains to play around with? They got that covered too, with the likes of Mystique, Blob, Sebastian Shaw, and more. Everyone from the Marvel Ultimate Alliance games have been converted too, and if that wasn't enough, even The Joker's available! (But he's also the only finished DC character mod to date, so it's still mostly Marvel's playground.) The focus though, of course, is still on the X-characters, and there's still a lot of them; the only downside is that, due to limitations set by the Game-Engine, you can only have up to 21 playable characters in the game at a time, so if you want to use anyone else, you're going to have to swap part of the game's roster out. (Oh, and fun fact; there' so many mods, you can swap out the entire roster 3 or times over, if not more then that, and get a completely different roster each time.) However, there is a handy little program out there which supposedly makes choosing your roster easy, so long as you've downloaded the character you want. All in all, it's pretty darn impressive.
- Game Within a Game: The characters could go to the Danger Room and play through several mini-game-like training scenarios.
- The PSP version of the second game added bonus levels based on classic issues of the comics that could be unlocked by finding comics in the levels. Playing some of these levels unlocked PSP exclusive characters such as Cable and Cannonball.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Pyro and Sabretooth are playable characters in the PC version of the second game. They appear as NPCs, and are captured in the game by Apocalypse's forces. The problem is that the characters are still playable while they've been captured. In Pyro's case, the party breaks him out of prison during Act 1, though he is available before that, allowing the player to have Pyro rescue himself. More serious is Sabretooth's case, since he is the fourth and final mutant with Harmonic DNA that Apocalypse captures for his evil plan.
- It's also possible to do this with Deadpool once he has been unlocked, though it gets lampshaded this time given the kind of character he is. The two Deadpools argue over which is the real one.
- General Ripper: General William Kincaid wants a war against Mutantkind badly enough he's willing to drop a massive asteroid on New York.
- Giant Mecha: Master Mold, the last boss of X-Men Legends, which is piloted by General Kincaid.
- Government Agency of Fiction: GRSO, in X-Men Legends. They're apparently a weather research agency, but really, they're collecting data of Mutants.
- Guest Fighter - Iron Man as a secret character in the second game, where he is unlocked by finding all of his armor and bringing the pieces to his alter ego Tony Stark, who has been kidnapped by Apocalypse's forces and put in a cave, but unfortunately without a box of scraps. The second game also features Deadpool.
- Guest Star Party Member: Professor X in the first game. He only appears for one mission and is ridiculously overpowered, and after that he's never in the party again until near the very end where he briefly becomes playable in the form of "The Astral Gladiator" to take on the Shadow King in a 1-on-1 fight.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: In the second game, during the final part of the boss battle against Abyss he absorbs the characters inside his body... where you can detonate the bombs left inside himself and defeat him for good.
- Hotter and Sexier: Jubilee in the first game. Her previous comic and animated incarnations were a fairly attractive teenage girl (though in the comics she'd once bemoaned not having the Most Common Super Power. When she appears in the game, she's got an "Ultimate" style costume consisting of black skintight long pants and tanktop, black gloves, as well as her tradmark shades and yellow jacket. She also seemed to have...filled out.
- Hub Level: The X-Mansion in the first game. The second game had the characters relocating their base of operations from one section of the game to the next, with locations like Genosha, Muir Island, and the Savage Land.
- Hurricane of Puns - Iceman gets into full Mr. Freeze mode ("I didn't think I could get any cooler!", "I'm too cool for school!" "X-Men, get over here or I'm toast!")
- Storm can get this way as well, such as "Having an early fall?" after using a whirlwind power.
- Innocent Innuendo: In the second game, Colossus compliments Scarlet Witch's intelligence and beauty. He's just being nice, but before he knows it Magneto is beaming at the thought of a powerful mutant that wants to be his future son-in-law. Hilarity Ensues as he has to explain this mess to Kitty Pryde, still not sure exactly what he did wrong in the first place.
- Instant Armor - Iceman and Magma can make instant armor based on their elemental abilities after getting the armor upgrade. Storm and Jean Grey get elemental/psychic shields that can be shared with the party.
- I Shall Taunt You - Toad and Rogue have attacks goading enemies to attack them , with Toad's one even being called "Taunt".
- Jerkass: Marrow, who unfortunately for the X-Men is leader of the Morlocks.
- Kill Sat - Beast's Xtreme attack, Orbital Bombardment, smites enemies with a laser from a satellite.
- Large Ham - "COMBO!"
- The playable characters themselves will indulge in some hamminess when they call the name of their super attacks. "SAVAGE RAMPAGE!"
- Also when they level up. The Scarlet Witch comes to mind ("MORE POWAH!")
- Not to mention Storm. ("I FEEL AS STRONG AS A HURRICANE!")
- Magneto is another example. ("YESH! MOAR POWAH!!!!")
- Magneto, throughout both games. (At one point, during a cutscene, as Mags is yelling his usual Humans Are Bastards speech, Wolverine asks, "Does he ever shut up?" Cyclops shakes his head.)
- Colossus' Lzherusskie talk can be very entertaining. ("YOU WEEL LOOSE!"}
- Limit Break - Your mutants' super moves, which consume X-Tokens instead of EP.
- Lost Forever - Just about everything in the first game since you cannot return to an area after finishing a mission, though most items are right out in the open. The second game is a bit better about it, but a few collectible items can still be missed.
- Luck-Based Mission: The "Teamwork" scenarios in the Danger Room seem to be based purely on whether your computer-controlled team-mates feel like using their powers today.
- That's what the "call for help" button is for. Hit it as you're performing a mutant power and chances are good you'll get one of the needed combos. Still falls under luck-based as bad timing or obstacles can get in the way.
- Mythology Gag: Many references are made to the comics. For example, during a mission in NYC in the first game, you rescue a little boy who turns out to be Bishop.
- During the boss battle with Sabretooth & Avalanche in the first game, including Wolverine in your team will result in the A.I. directing Sabretooth & Wolverine at one another until one dies.
- Nerf - In the first game, Magneto was the penultimate boss and had more than enough power to provide a challenge for your four-mutant team; in the second, Mags became a playable character, and his powers were toned down so he would not be a God-Tier character. He's still listed as a Game Breaker, but still...
- Weirdly, this is an accurate representation of his powers in the comics. Whenever Magneto makes a Heel-Face Turn, it's always accompanied by him being powered down by some contrived plot device, simply so he doesn't curb stomp the rest of the X-Men's rogues gallery, few of whom even approach his normal power levels.
- Storm was also toned down a bit in the second game. For example, her lightning bolt came directly from her and not the sky, meaning she could no longer hit enemies not in her line of sight.
- Jean Grey was also nerfed. No more clearing rooms with boosted Psychic Scream. At least not without the proper equipment.
- Inverted with Nightcrawler— in the first game, his greatest asset to the party is as a CPU-controlled character who can Leap of Faith members out of danger as his actual offense is really weak, based entirely around teleportation. In the second game, he has an incredibly useful dash attack, can use teleporting as a double jump, and his Master of Chaos super is very handy in boss fights with a lot of mooks.
- One Woman Army - Storm. Jean Grey in the first game, though with more than a little Glass Cannon. This is mitigated with their respective personal shields.
- Deadpool qualifies, if you play a New Game Plus file - As he only unlocks after completing the game once, he's already as strong as the rest of the characters are at the end of the game, and as he's one of the few characters to feature a mix of close and long range attacks, you can play a large portion of the game with a party consisting of just Deadpool.
- One Stat to Rule Them All - Focus, which increases the amount of energy you have for special attacks and how quickly you regenerate energy, because most special attacks do a fixed amount of damage. In the second game, characters whose attacks are X% of melee damage (typically, X>100) also need Striking.
- Pragmatic Adaptation:
- The first game is somewhat similar to the first X-Men movie: a young mutant girl whose powers attract the attention of both the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Magneto wants to use Allison's powers for world domination, while the X-Men want to help her control her abilities.
- The second game is a loose adaptation of the Age of Apocalypse, forgoing time travel and the death of Charles Xavier, basing some characters strictly on their A o A selves (Abyss and Colossus' brother, Mikhail Rasputin are lackies of Apocalypse like in AoA, as opposed to—respectively—a hero and a threat in his own right in the traditional Marvel Universe), basing others on their classic selves (Sebastian Shaw, Selene, Bastion) and making Dark Beast a brainwashed Beast.
- Psychic Static: How Jean Grey knows there are camouflaged soldiers on the mansion grounds.
- Purposefully Overpowered: In the first Astral Plane mission Professor X joins your team of Jean Grey and Emma Frost when he's at level 40, almost three times the rest of the characters' levels. When other chracters do about 20-40 hit points with a single punch, he does about 240 points, over 700 if he gets a critical. This makes you feel nice and safe with such a powerful character, until you lose him halfway through the mission when Shadow King abducts him.
- Iron Man, but then again the game makes you really work to getting him.
- Pungeon Master: Iceman.
- Rivals Team Up: Magneto and the Brotherhood are the villains in the first game, playable characters in the second.
- Role Reprisal: Both X-Men Legends and its sequel featured Patrick Stewart of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame providing the voice of Professor Xavier. He originally played Professor X in the first X-Men movie in 2000.
- Sequel Hook: The first game ends up with Apocalypse looking at the X-Men through a monitor.
- Shaped Like Itself: A combo between Gambit's Charged Card and Sunfire's Atomic Charge leads to message... Atomic Atom!
- Sleeping Single: Cyclops and Jean Grey have separate bedrooms, though even the movies mention that they sleep together.
- Possibly another Mythology Gag? Even in the comics before they got married, they still had separate rooms, as shown in a good few issues before then. Then they married and took over the boathouse down by the lake - which made things interesting when the mansion was blown up and it was the only place on the grounds with an intact roof...
- Skill Point Reset: Available for increasingly steep prices in the second game.
- Spiritual Successor: The games were very similar to an earlier X-Men arcade game. It also provided the template for the Ultimate Alliance games and was the likely inspiration for much of Justice League: Heroes.
- Troll: In the second game, Juggernaut frequently riles up the X-Men during the mission briefings with insulting or insensitive comments. He goes too far when he starts hitting on Jean Grey right in front of Cyclops, causing Cyclops to lose his temper and fire a warning laser at Juggernaut.
- Toad occasionally joins in, but he is much more weak-willed than Juggernaut and will stop when another character calls him out on it.
- The Un-Reveal / Interface Spoiler: After you find the first secret items (dramatic emphasis) in the game, Professor X states that these are the key to locating a certain individual who will help the team greatly. He chooses not to reveal this individual's identity, leaving you to discover it for yourself once all the secret items are uncovered. So you look at the pause menu and it tells you how many Iron Man armour pieces you have thus far...
- Unexpected Character: The second game in particular used some very obscure characters as bosses. Most notable would be Grizzly, a Brainwashed and Crazy good guy who appeared in two comics before being Killed Off for Real, and Zealot, a one-shot bad guy who made the mistake of opposing Magneto's rule of Genosha and was Killed Off for Real at the end of his three issue arc.
- Though see The Unreveal, the addition of Iron Man to the second game was pretty unexpected, and pretty awesome.
- You Have Researched Breathing: As you level up, everyone need to relearn their innate mutant abilities: flying, Healing Factor, teleport, immunities and so forth.