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Video Game / X-Men: Children of the Atom

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X-Men: Children of the Atom is a 2D Fighting Game, and the beginning mark for the Marvel vs. Capcom series.

Sometime around 1994, Capcom gained the rights to make video games based on the heroes of Marvel Comics, starting with The Punisher arcade game. This being the early 90's, with Street Fighter mania in full swing, they decided to start with a fighting game using the X-Men.

The game had six of the X-Men (Cyclops, Wolverine, Psylocke, Iceman, Colossus, and Storm) and four of their enemies (Silver Samurai, Omega Red, Spiral, and a Sentinel) taking each other on in a series of one-on-one battles, before fighting their way through the Juggernaut and facing Magneto in a final showdown. Akuma, from Super Street Fighter II Turbo, makes an appearance as a Guest Fighter Secret Character, thus paving the way for the eventual coming of Capcom vs..

The game featured a unique exaggerated and animesque style accompanied by massive screen-blasting Super Combos and the ultra-high jumps needed to avoid them.

Naturally, the game was a hit, and it was followed in 1995 with Marvel Super Heroes.

This game shows examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Colossus was actually a member of Magneto's Acolytes at the point in time in the comics when this game was released, and while the game's code shows references to this story arc were originally going to be included (he was going to have the option of choosing whether or not to join up with Magneto, apparently) they were ultimately Dummied Out and he decisively rejects Magneto in the final product.
  • Adaptational Superpower Change: In the comics, Silver Samurai generates tachyon fields, which he uses on his katana to allow it to cut through almost anything. He was completely overhauled for the game, where he instead has elemental powers related to Fire, Ice, Lightning, and can teleport and create shadow clones of himself.
  • An Ice Person:
    • Iceman sports his usual ice armor appearance.
    • Storm has cold and wind as part of her attacks.
    • Silver Samurai's Elemental Swords special can randomly freeze enemy fighters.
  • Another Dimension: "Mojo World", which is Spiral's stage, transports the player characters to... well, Mojo World. It's notable for being one of the only two stages not to show up on the world map (the second is Avalon, which is of course in space).
  • Ascended Extra: Sentinel is normally just one in a long line of large robotic enemies. Here it is a unique character that can stand toe-to-toe with all other characters.
  • Attract Mode: Sports one, as is to be expected from a game that originally debuted in arcades.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Storm's Hailstorm deals massive damage, but it has a long windup period, so it's fairly easy to stop the attack or at least block it.
  • Badass Boast: Akuma's "ending" simply has him declare himself to be the master warrior after beating Magneto and... that's it. Cue credits.
  • Barrier Warrior: One of Magneto's most frustrating moves. He can erect an electromagnetic barrier at will which makes him completely invulnerable.
  • Big Bad: Magneto is the final boss, is in control of the base and he doesn't follow the rules of the other fighters.
  • Blood Knight: Akuma is shown as this in his ending, in which he simply declares himself to be the master warrior to Magneto, revealing he fought through the entire rest of the cast simply to test himself against Mags.
  • Blow You Away: Storm uses wind attacks as a few of her specials, and combines it with An Ice Person for one of her Supers.
  • Calling Your Attacks:
  • The Cameo: Several:
    • The Acolytes Exodus, Delgado and the Kleinstock brothers Sven and Harlan all cameo in every character's ending. A fifth Acolyte, Anne-Marie, was to be included too, but she was Dummied Out for reasons unknown.
    • Forge cameos in Storm's ending.
    • Jean Grey cameos in Cyclops's and Wolverine's endings.
    • Master Mold cameos in Sentinel's stage, "Genosha", and depending on how long the match goes on, he is either destroyed or escapes.
    • Mojo cameos in Spiral's ending and as an ice sculpture in Iceman's ending.
    • Professor X cameos directly in Colossus's ending, as well as appearing as the last sprite in the credits roll. He's also in the background of Cyclos' stage, "The Danger Room."
  • Combat Tentacles: Omega Red uses tentacles when he fights and spams the screen with them during his super.
  • Cool Plane: The Blackbird, which is upgraded into something between this and Cool Airship. It is Storm's stage.
  • Creator Provincialism: Likely the reason why Psylockenote  and Silver Samurai were part of the roster despite there being more well-known and popular X-Men characters like Rogue, Gambit, and Sabertooth.
  • Deadly Training Area: The Danger Room, the X-Men's famous training area is Cyclops' stage.
  • Death or Glory Attack: Storm's Hailstorm Super takes up a lot of screen real estate but has a long startup time and can be stopped.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Virtually every ending has Magneto question why they fought him and ask to join his Acolytes. When they refuse, Magneto's response is always to leave him to his fate, which is blowing up with Avalon.
  • Diving Kick: Akuma's Tenma Kujinkyaku actually originated in this game and then made its way back to his home series in the Street Fighter Alpha series.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: Silver Samurai's "Bushin Shadows" X-Ability summons shadow clones.
  • The Dragon: Juggernaut is always fought second-to-last and has abilities and stats not found in any other fighter in the game.
  • Dub Name Change: Averted. Akuma is referred to as Gouki in all regions of the game.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: This game is often times a completely different animal from every Marvel fighting game Capcom would later make.
    • The game in general is (slightly) slower-paced and shows more Street Fighter roots in the combat; although it had chain combos, they were much more awkward (only a few characters had the series standard of "start with a weak attack and go into stronger ones"), and it had many restrictions placed in the combat system as a whole that prevent the game being played quite as crazily as later entries. If one puts a lot of time into the game, a lot of the craziness will be there, but it never quite feels like one of the later games.
    • In this game and only this game, you can chain normals into other normals even when they completely miss.
    • The Mana Meter is completely different. Missing with normal moves does not fill it like it does in every pre-MvC3 game (although special whiffs still fill it). Escaping throws and off-the-ground hits, normal abilities in all later games, instead cost meter here; this is particularly dangerous in this game because of how insane the throw damage is at times. Some characters wouldn't even just tech throws, they would instead counter throw the opponent during their throw attempt. Many characters have "X-Abilities" usable with only half of the meter, some of these (such as flight for Storm and Sentinel) later become standard moves.
    • Characters get dizzied insanely quickly; often any even small combo will dizzy. Marvel Super Heroes would also have a dizzy mechanic, and indeed dizzy combos were still possible, but they were made much harder and games after that would generally have only dizziness as something of a Combo Breaker mechanic used after utterly long combos.
    • Launchers and air combos share very little in common with later games. After hitting with a launcher, you have to input a regular super jump motion to cancel it instead of just tapping up, and they often hit at an angle making a follow-up much less straight forward to do unless you have the opponent cornered. Even after all of this, tying into the above about awkward chain combos, very few characters can perform the zigzag chain series air combos the series is famous for.
    • Although some of the later games have weight systems, it is much more significant in this game, making it so several combos only work on certain characters and the effects of launching are completely different.
    • There is no Alpha Counter-like mechanic; instead, you can perform your character's super move while they are blocking. The closest character who can do this is Akuma, under an X-Ability move called "Gou Shoryu Counter".
    • The characters have much fewer moves in general and many of the fighters that showed up in later games prior to MvC2 have completely different movelists. Wolverine for example only has his Berserker Barrage as a super, has a Healing Factor move all his later incarnations lack, and his chain combo type is completely different.
    • Characters who could fly (e.g Storm, Sentinel, Magneto) were still able to block while flying. Later games would not allow characters to block in flight mode.
    • When you perform a super, there is no screen freeze whatsoever, just a "X!" background flash whenever you do one. MSH added one, though the Super Move Portrait Attack the series employs wouldn't be added until X-Men vs. Street Fighter.
    • Several of the stages can actually change over time, such as breaking floors or having destroyable obstacles, actually significantly affecting the combat sometimes. MSH would make only one stage non-standard and all the other games would generally try to make battles on certain stages indistinguishable from one another.
    • There is a sudden death mechanic activated when a match is effectively tied at the end.
    • This is the only Marvel vs. Capcom game where the losing characters have a defeated portrait after the fight, akin to Street Fighter II.
    • As mentioned above, Akuma's sprite uses the more realistic art style employed in the Street Fighter II series, which clashes with the overall art design of the game. All of the subsequent crossover games featuring Capcom characters had them drawn in the newer art style seen in the Street Fighter Alpha and Street Fighter III series.
  • Elite Mook: Normally Sentinels are stock Mecha-Mook characters, but the one you play as is formidable enough to defeat the likes of Juggernaut and Magneto.
  • Gratuitous Ninja: Psylocke uses a lot of martial arts and is in her usual ninja leotard. She even appears in a standard ninja outfit during her pre-fight intro. Silver Samurai could be counted as a gratuitous samurai.
  • Guest Fighter: Akuma, as a Secret Character.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja:
    • Psylocke is a ninja that uses laser eye beams and dresses in bright purple.
    • Silver Samurai's stage also has background ninjas in bright purple that periodically Smoke Out.
  • Humongous Mecha: Sentinel and the even bigger Master Mold.
  • Humiliation Conga: Akuma gets a unique version of the credits where, instead of simply walking by, the game's fighters all scroll by in their dizzied states. A few of them, like Wolverine and Magneto, even do the Facepalm!
  • Immune to Flinching: Juggernaut in this game won't flinch unless struck by a barrage of blows or a particularly powerful one. This may very well be the Trope Codifier of this concept in fighting games, or at least where it started to get popularized.
  • Joker Immunity: Lampshaded in Cyclops's ending. Iceman wonders if Magneto survived, while Cyclops has no doubt, saying that he "always returns".
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Silver Samurai uses a katana which aids his reach.
  • Lady Macbeth: Spiral's ending sees her talk Mojo into launching a new show, "The Fall of Earth".
  • Life Drain: Omega Red could drain the health or super meter of an opponent, doing so would refill his health/super meter.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Sentinel, deals a lot of damage and has few lag frames with its attacks especially when flying.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: In every ending, Avalon explodes shortly after Magneto's defeat.
  • MacGuffin: As usual, Omega Red is hunting for the Carbonadium Synthesizer to stabilize his mutant death factor. His ending has him find it laying hilariously out in the open in a random Avalon hallway.
  • Mighty Glacier: Juggernaut is as unstoppably strong as he is in the comics, but he moves rather slowly and purposefully here.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Spiral has six arms.
  • Mythology Gag: Mojo makes a joke about cloning everyone in Spiral's ending.
  • Noble Demon: Silver Samurai has elements of this, as he speaks of his Undying Loyalty to Clan Yashida in his ending and laments having to fight Magneto, remarking that he would have been "a worthy ally".
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Akuma reuses his same sprite from Street Fighter II Turbo, which was from back before the Street Fighter series had switched over from a realistic art style to the anime-inspired one it used from Street Fighter Alpha onward. As a result, Akuma's sprite looks kind of jarring when standing next to the cartoonier, more anime-looking sprites that were newly designed for this game.
  • Palmtree Panic: Iceman's stage, "Ice on the Beach", is this, as it starts the players off on a block of ice sitting on the shore of a summer beach. As the match goes on, the ice block breaks off, sending the fighters out to sea.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Children of the Atom's storyline is a Lighter and Softer retelling of the Fatal Attractions story, reusing its basic premise and adding in a throwaway line in the manual about Magneto recruiting mutant villains to justify the presence of characters like Omega Red and the Juggernaut.
  • Prehistoria: There are dinosaurs including T-Rexes in the background of Wolverine's stage, Savage Land.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Spiral references this trope directly in her ending, telling Magneto it's Nothing Personal and that she's just doing her job. Is it her fault she enjoys it?
  • Puzzle Boss: If you study Magneto long enough, you will notice that he always follows a strict pattern which you can exploit.
  • Rocket Punch: Sentinel is capable of launching more punches at once than it has arms. It even says those two words.
  • Shock and Awe: Storm's primary form of offense, as well as several of Silver Samurai's attacks.
  • Shotoclone: Cyclops is like this but substitutes eye beams for a hadoken.
  • Shout-Out: Check the page.
  • Sidelined Protagonist Crossover: Street Fighter's Akuma is a Guest Fighter here but series main character Ryu does not appear.
  • Smug Super: Omega Red, as seen in his ending where he calls a squad of human soldiers 'insignificant vermin' and is outraged that they would attempt to harm their 'new master'.
  • SNK Boss: Magneto. His AI is complete bullshit and seeks to royally piss you off at the worst time possible. He can fly away well out of your characters' reach and assault them with an extremely fast, damaging projectile. He has another move where he sends in four magnetic balls that are unblockable and home in on you, and when he catches them he can do whatever he wants. His super hits off-the-ground and unlike in other games reaches the top of the screen vertically, plus does ridiculous damage and it's very hard to avoid it. He's really fast, does a ton of damage with just a few blows, he is really difficult to get inside of and just has everything, including a rapidly regenerating super meter and a shield that makes him completely invincible, as described above.
  • Space Base: Avalon, Magneto's space station and stage for the Final Boss fight with him. It was a pretty revolutionary stage for its day too, cycling through four different backgrounds to represent Magneto pulling the battlefield into different levels of Avalon.
  • Stripperiffic:
    • Psylocke actually has most of her body covered but her thigh-high boots and opera gloves combined with her leg wrappings make it appear she is more nude than she actually is.
    • Colossus is essentially in a male version of a leotard with shoulder pads and boots. His bare skin is less noticeable since he is only in his metal form in the game.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Depending on which ending you're watching, Silver Samurai can either cut Wolverine down in a Single-Stroke Battle or be himself cut down as Wolverine contemptuously remarks about what a pushover he is.
  • Turns Red: Juggernaut's super makes him stronger and tougher.
  • Underwater Base: In Omega Red's stage, "The Deep", the two fighters are set in a Russian base that starts on the surface of the ocean and then immediately starts descending into the depths. If the fight goes on too long, the glass walls will start to crack from the water pressure.
  • We Can Protect Mutantkind Together: Magneto extends offers to most of the X-Men to join him in their endings. Unsurprisingly, they all turn him down.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…: Many of Cyclops' moves in this game and the later ones he appears in are basically various forms of optic blasts.
  • Wolverine Claws: Wolverine has them as per usual.
  • Zeroth Law Rebellion: In Sentinel's ending in X-Men: Children of the Atom, after defeating Magneto, Sentinel returns to earth. Then, the complete Sentinel line is activated and they start to wipe all the mutants on earth. After the success of the mission... they start wiping out humanity, all under the simple prejudice of mutants being born from humans.