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Video Game / X-Men (1993)

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X-Men is a home console video game produced by Sega in 1993, based on the adventures of the Marvel Comics superhero team, the X-Men. One or two players can play as any of four pre-chosen X-Men: Cyclops, Wolverine, Gambit, or Nightcrawler (despite not being with the team at the time). X-Men is a Sega Genesis-exclusive game and in 1995 was followed up by a sequel, X-Men 2: Clone Wars.

In the game's storyline, Magneto has managed to infect the main computer of the X-Men's Danger Room with a virus, turning off all the safety measures so that all the simulated dangers become truly deadly. When the X-Men show up for what they think will just be a routine training exercise, they instead find themselves trapped in the simulation room and fighting its fantasies, trying to last long enough to find a way out.



  • Achilles' Heel: Most of the game's bosses have one of these.
    • Juggernaut, the miniboss of the first and third stages, can only be damaged by striking his helmet when he isn't moving.
    • Zaldane, the boss of the first stage, can only be damaged when she drops her energy shield to attack.
    • Sabretooth, the miniboss of Excalibur's Lighthouse, can only be damaged by basic attacks when he crouches.
    • Apocalypse, the boss of Excalibur's Lighthouse, can only be damaged when he attacks. This means the best idea to hit and kill him is by using Nightcrawler's collision teleportation (see Collision Damage below).
    • Mojo, the boss of Mojo's Future Crunch, only takes damage if struck in the panel on the back of his Spider Tank.
    • And finally Final Boss Magneto can only be damaged when he drops his Battle Aura, which he only does after floating from one platform to another. The player has to lure him into doing this, however, because left to his own devices he will happily stay in one place and wear the player down with spam of his Extra-ore-dinary attack (also detailed below)
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  • Actually a Doombot: Except for Asteroid M, the entire game takes place within the confines of a malfunctioning Danger Room. The enemies and bosses in these stages are just training simulations rather than the real deal.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • In a way, Cyclops. His optic blasts aren't a Hitscan like in most versions, but are instead less-practical (though still useful) Frickin' Laser Beams.
    • Wolverine is, as well. He's got the shortest jump of any of the playable characters, a major liability in a platformer, and he lacks any ability to strike foes who are far away. His healing factor (which works really slowly) is really the only thing he's got going for him.
  • And You Thought It Was a Game: At the end of The second level (a Shair space station), you meet Lilandra, who tells you this part isn't a simulation after all, and that she needed your help because her sister Deathbird took over the place with a coup. She then apologizes for the interruption and teleport you back to Earth. Though it's left ambiguous over whether this was part of the simulation- the player character who encounters her will comment that her explanation makes no sense once they're back in the Danger Room.
  • An Ice Person: Downplayed with Iceman. He is the only standard assist who does not attack enemies, instead generating ice platforms to help you cross pits or reach high places.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: There are no "lives" in this game per se — if you lose all your health bars with a character that character can no longer be selected. To offset this, you are returned to the Danger Room's main hub after each level, which acts as a Player Headquarters and is full of floating orbs you can destroy to replenish your character's health and mutant power bars.
    • If you manage to make it through Mojo's Future Crunch, any player characters you lost along the way will be revived for the final showdown with Magneto.
  • Arc Words: "Sometimes, you have to crush your enemies where they live!"
  • Assist Character: Archangel, Iceman, Storm, Rogue, and Jean Grey appear as summonable assist characters, though the first four can only be summoned once per stage. There are pickable items that allow you to restore them and summon them more than once, although if you haven't summoned them yet, the item means nothing to you. Meanwhile, Jean always appears to rescue you whenever you fall into a Bottomless Pit and can be summoned to help cross gaps (though not as well as Iceman), and unlike others, she doesn't need to be restored.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The Mojo boss is completely invulnerable to frontal attacks, and can only be damaged by attacking its Spider Tank from behind.
  • Auto-Scrolling Level: Not the entire level, but midway through the Shi'ar Empire stage the player hops on the outside of a Shi'ar space shuttle. It then moves from one space station to another as Mooks pile out of it to shoot you off the ship. The level also scrolls to simulate the moving shuttle and the player must beat the Mooks while also not falling into the Bottomless Pits of space or getting knocked off by asteroids.
  • Bad Future: Ahab's World is actually modeled after the classic X-Men bad future introduced in the Days of Future Past story arc.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Subverted. None of the X-Men have trouble with riding the outside of a space shuttle as it moves from one station to another because they are inside a simulation in the Danger Room.
  • Battle Aura: No less than three bosses make use of this:
    • Zaladane, the boss of the Savage Land, uses a Battle Aura while charging up her Energy Ball attacks. She is invulnerable to player attacks in this state, but the assist characters can still damage her.
    • Apocalypse, the boss of Excalibur's Lighthouse, uses a version of this combined with Pillar of Light. Unlike Zaladane's version, his makes him immune to mutant power attacks and assist attacks, forcing to player to attack him between pillar charges.
    • Final Boss Magneto is mantled in one for most of the fight with him, to show his magnetic forcefield. Like Apocalypse, he is completely invulnerable to attacks so long as it's up, and only becomes vulnerable for a few seconds after firing off one of his two attacks.
  • Big Bad: Magneto.
  • Bladder of Steel: A major factor of the game's Nintendo Hard status. There is no save system, nor does the game use passwords of any kind, forcing you to play through it in a single sitting. There is a secret level select code, but it's difficult to enter and won't work if a second controller is plugged in.
  • Blue Is Heroic: All four playable characters have shades of blue on their costumes.
  • Boring, but Practical: Nightcrawler never becomes unplayable unless you die as him, but his teleportation abilities still make him quite the Crutch Character. They were intentionally nerfed in the sequel to balance him out with the rest of the cast.
  • Boss Battle: In order — Danger Room simulations of Juggernaut, Zaladane, Deathbird and Sabretooth, a second fight with the Juggernaut simulation, simulations of Apocalypse, Ahab, and Mojo, and finally a showdown with (the real) Magneto.
  • Bottomless Pits: These can be found in just about every stage. Typically levels feature an outer section with bottomless pits galore and then an inner section (usually, though not always, pit-free) leading up to the Boss Battle.
  • Bottomless Pit Rescue Service: If you fall into one, Jean Grey will use her Telekinesis to pull you up (as seen in the trope page image).
  • Cain and Abel: Deathbird and Lilandra. In the Shi'ar Empire stage, Lilandra said Deathbird wants to kill her, so she teleported one of the X-Man (your character) to the Shi'ar space station to defeat Deathbird, without contacting the Professor first. It's not really her, but a hologram projected by the Danger Room.
  • Cameo:
    • Forge, Beast and Psylocke all appear in the game's cutscenes. The latter two characters would become playable in the sequel.
    • Fabian Cortez, who in the comics is Magneto's first right-hand man (and later The Starscream), is in this game the template for the Asteroid M Acolytes.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: Subverted. The second stage seemingly has Lilandra transport the player character from Earth to the Shi'ar Empire to foil yet another one of her sister's attempts to seize the throne. You're actually still in the Danger Room. The dialogue when you beat the level then end up back in the Danger Room sure doesn't make that clear, though.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: The Savage Land has numerous hidden caves with goodies behind the waterfalls.
  • Cherry Tapping: It is easy to take the Iceman assist to be the most useless of the bunch, as it is the only one that does not damage enemies note . But if a player knows how to use it right, they can skip by two whole Mini-Boss battles with it, not to mention bypassing more than a few of the game's more gratuitous Bottomless Pits.
  • Collision Damage: This version of Nightcrawler can weaponize his teleportation technique in this way. Simply put: if there's enemy(ies) in the gap between the place where Nightcrawler came from and his destination, they will take One-Hit Kill damage.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: the Shiar guards all wear metal armor of different colors. The weakest are the silver guards, the gold guards are the medium, and there are guards wearing a different shade of silver (probably meant to be platinum) which are the hardest.
  • Computer Virus: The plot is that Magneto has beamed a computer virus into the Danger Room from Asteroid M, causing the simulations to go haywire.
  • Cyber Space: Five of the game's six levels are technically this, being virtual simulations created by the malfunctioning Danger Room.
  • Cycle of Hurting: Nightcrawler can kill Apocalypse this way: every time he uses his "powering up" animation, Nightcrawler can stand next to him and go into "about to teleport" mode. After Apocalypse goes out of the animation, he will get damaged by Nightcrawler, and go back to powering up (this happens with every hit). If you are careful you can kill Apocalypse without taking any damage.
  • Death Dealer: Gambit's special attack, as usual.
  • Death from Above: Deathbird, not surprisingly. She alternates between diving attacks and Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • Demoted to Extra: Archangel, Iceman, Jean Grey, Rogue and Storm are all important characters in the comics, but in the game are reduced to just assists. Rogue gets a particularly raw deal, being the only one of the characters and usuable assists not to appear on the cover art (Jean Grey doesn't appear either, but she's different from all the other assists, being a Bottomless Pit Rescue Service who activates automatically and has unlimited uses).
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The Apocalypse boss at the end of the third stage. When playing on easy mode, the game ends after the fight with him.
  • Diving Kick: Nightcrawler can attack with a two-footed version.
  • Double Jump: Cyclops and Gambit can double jump, although hilariously enough, Gambit's double jump isn't all that high.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Classic style — the game simply ends at the Excalibur's Lighthouse stage on easy mode.
    Magneto: Amateurs can never beat me! Try being a hero!
  • Elite Mooks: The Acolytes of Magneto are by far the game's strongest enemies. Fortunately, they only appear in the final level.
  • Energy Ball: The Zaladane boss attacks the player with these. They're pretty slow though, so player characters shouldn't have much problems dodging them.
  • Extra-ore-dinary: Final Boss Magneto's standard attack summons four metal plates from offscreen which condense into a single ball and then home in on the player character.
  • Flechette Storm: When you summon Archangel as an assist he fills the screen with these, destroying any onscreen enemy. He makes three rounds too, making him perhaps the most effective assist for clearing out Mooks.
  • Flying Brick: Rogue's assist has her fly in and clobber the enemy with a super strong punch. Unlike the Archangel and Storm assists, she only attacks one enemy, and so is primarily of use against bosses rather than mooks.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • The Mooks in the final level are not holograms like all the other Mooks in this game, but they still vanish out of existence the same way.
    • The video screens of Mojo's leering mug also continue to appear in Mojo's Future Crunch after you've beaten the Mojo program itself.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Notably, everyone but Gambit can duck under the shots of the Shi'ar guards. For some reason he still gets hit.
  • Homing Projectile: Gambit's cards, when charged, will home in on enemies, an expansion of his powers unique to this game.
  • In a Single Bound: The Zaladane boss stage features a number of platforms, and the boss herself leaps between them willy-nilly while blasting at you with her Energy Ball attack.
  • Guide Dang It!: The fifth level, Mojo's Future Crunch, is an infamous example that ends with the player at a dead end being told they have to "reset the computer" but without any instructions as to how to do this. You have to figure this out while a timer steadily counts down to game over. The solution to the puzzle has you reset your actual physical Sega Genesis, specifically a "soft reset" where you just tap the reset button rather than holding it down since doing this will trigger a hard reset. Also because the later portable Genesis system, the Sega Nomad, had no reset button it was literally impossible to complete the level if you were playing the handheld.
  • Irony: The plot of this game centers around the Danger Room malfunctioning and trying to kill the X-Men. Flash forward twelve years to Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men and the Danger Room is revealed to have achieved sentience and goes on to do exactly that (the sentient Danger Room later takes a Heel–Face Turn and as of 2015 is a good guy).
  • Javelin Thrower: The Ahab boss hurls its Blade on a Stick at you between gratuitous servings of Teleport Spam.
  • The Juggernaut: The Juggernaut boss, obviously. Played with in that while its headbutt is its main attack, it will also punch you if you are foolish enough to get within melee distance.
  • Laughing Mad: Being completely invulnerable to attacks from the front, the Mojo boss will just laugh them off.
  • Lightning Bruiser: While all characters' attack strength isn't all that different, Nightcrawler is easily the fastest and the most agile of all. Unfortunately, though, he can't double jump, although he can make up for it with his teleportation technique.
  • Losing Your Head: Sentinels in the Ahab's World stage can be dispatched by attacking their head until it is detached from their bodies. Since they're robots, however, they will be back with reattached head several seconds later.
  • Make My Monster Grow: The Apocalypse boss, which stops every few seconds to increase its size. It only gets slightly bigger though, and shrinks right back down again whenever damaged.
  • Made of Iron: Apocalypse and Magneto both have a Battle Aura that makes them completely invulnerable to damage. The trick is hitting them in the moments when they make themselves vulnerable.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Sentinels of the man-sized variety appear as elite mooks in Ahab's World.
  • Mini-Boss: Juggernaut (who appears twice) and Sabretooth in the first and third levels respectively.
  • Nintendo Hard: Infamously so, to the point of making top ten hardest Genesis game lists to this day. The lack of a save system or passwords, the lack of proper Video-Game Lives or continues, and the game's somewhat awkward hit detection system all work together to make for one challenging game.
  • One-Hit Kill: The mutant power attacks of player characters will OHKO most non-boss enemies, while the assist characters' attacks are lethal to every non-boss enemy. They also do heavy damage to the bosses, making them an invaluable tool in boss fights.
  • Patrolling Mook: Most of the enemies in this game stick within a strict area of patrol, allowing a player to lurk just outside it if they are low on mutant power.
  • Pillar of Light: The Apocalypse program summons glowing blue light pillars around itself whenever it increases its size.
  • Power Floats: Storm in her assist, as well as Magneto in the final fight.
  • Ptero Soarer: The Savage Land level features a rare few of these which can be ridden if the player is adroit enough to reach them.
  • Rated M for Manly: Definitely gives this impression. All the playable characters are male. There are a couple female characters but they act more like summoned allies, doing damage or whatever and then disappearing. The soundtrack is suitably hard-hitting and macho.
  • Recurring Boss: The Juggernaut boss appears in both the Savage Land and Excalibur levels.
  • Reflecting Laser: Cyclops's optic blast when charged would bounce off floors, walls, and ceilings until it hit an enemy or left the screen. It also did more damage than an uncharged shot.
  • Regenerating Health: Wolverine has his Healing Factor, so he's the only hero whose health can replenish on itself, albeit slowly.
  • Skippable Boss: All the Mini-Boss battles (Juggernaut in the Savage Land, Sabretooth and Juggernaut in Excalibur's Lighthouse) are skippable if the player knows how. The second Juggernaut battle can be skipped simply by way of using Nightcrawler's teleport, but Cherry Tapping the Iceman assist is necessary to skip the first Juggernaut battle and the Sabretooth battle.
  • Spread Shot: If Cyclops uses his optic blast while doing double jump, his optic blast will be this. Magneto also wields a much more powerful version as his strongest attack.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The Mooks in this game get progressively stronger from level to level, going from the Savage Land warriors which can be killed with any basic attack to the Acolytes of Magneto who take no fewer than five basic hits to kill.
  • Teleport Spam: The Ahab boss is rather fond of this, popping in and out to launch its harpoons at you until either it's dead or you are.
  • Timed Mission: Mojo's Future Crunch is the only level in the game with a timer, as it simulates a place that exists thirty minutes before the end of time itself. Naturally, you don't get thirty minutes to complete the stage with.
  • Unstoppable Rage: If you force-activate Wolverine's claws when he's out of mutant power, he will go berserk and attack everything around him, including himself.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: If you're playing on a Sega Nomad, you can't beat the game, as the Nomad lacks a reset button, which must be pressed to progress past Mojo's Future Crunch.
  • Video Game Settings:
    • Bleak Level: Mojo's Future Crunch simulates a barren wasteland near the end of time itself, and it's by far the game's darkest and most forbidding stage. Even the normally hammy Mojo is made more menacing by being the boss of it.
    • Graffiti Town: Ahab's World is this, being a stage set in a Bad Future.
    • Jungle Japes: The Savage Land is the game's first level, though owing to the Nintendo Hard difficulty even it can be a little daunting for new players.
    • Lighthouse Point: The third level is Excalibur's lighthouse, which is haunted by solid Holograms of the player character and has not one but two Mini-Boss encounters (though both are potentially skippable) before a Boss Battle with Apocalypse.
    • Player Headquarters: The Danger Room acts as this, allowing the X-Men to heal between stages and for the player to switch between different characters freely (in the stages themselves players are limited to only a set number of switches, varying between 1 and 4 depending on the stage).
    • Space Zone: The Shi'ar Empire, which consists of two space stations and a shuttle you ride between them.
    • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Asteroid M.
  • Weaponized Teleportation: Nightcrawler, as explained in the Collision Damage entry above. Ahab also uses a similar technique, throwing his harpoons at you between rounds of Teleport Spam.
  • Weather Manipulation: Storm's assist has her float down from above and summon a screen-filling storm. It hits everything, and so is best for taking out those hard-to-reach Mooks.
  • Wolverine Claws: Take a guess who.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Averted, refreshingly enough. Wolverine is for once not particularly better or worse than any of the other characters — he deals the most damage (when his claws are out) and has a Healing Factor, but said healing factor is slow to work and he goes into a self-damaging berserker rage if you try to use his claws after running out of mutant power. Played straight with the marketing, though, as seen by the game's box cover above.


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