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Video Game / X-Men Legends

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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 (2005). Both games featured Marvel Comics' X-Men traveling all over the globe to save the world by defeating one of their most powerful villains - Magneto 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 available 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 controlled 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.

Playable X-Men

Followed by the Marvel Ultimate Alliance games, the first of which was also developed by Raven Software.

Provides examples of:

  • A God Am I: By way of Magneto's Blasphemous Boast as he covers the Earth in asteroids. No, seriously. The gravitas of Tony Jay certainly help.
    Magneto: And on the eighth day, I looked down upon creation and said...let there be darkness.
  • 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.
  • Adaptational Badass: Magma. While the character's always been pretty dang powerful as is, she's never been treated as being Phoenix-level powerful.
  • 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.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Team members follow the player-controlled character too faithfully - which can result in disaster if the PC flies too carelessly over an open pit.
  • Badass in Distress:
    • Magneto gets abducted by Sentinels partway through. He very quickly breaks free, but he's really angry.
    • Gambit is introduced having been captured by the Morlocks, requiring the other X-Men to rescue him.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The 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).
  • Body Horror:
    • The cyborg Sentinels are humans with Sentinel bits surgically attached. They're seriously creepy.
    • Many of the Morlocks you face have disfigured bodies and faces, which is why most of them harbor resentment to the more attractive X-Men.
  • Boisterous Bruiser:
    • Colossus' insane Russian boasting can be very entertaining.
    • Rogue gets in on the action too. "I'm large and in charge!"
  • Boyish Short Hair: Jean Grey, who has the hairstyle of her Ultimate incarnation.
  • Butt-Monkey: Toad, starting from his introduction when the Brotherhood leave him behind to face the X-Men. Extends to the sequel where Toad joins with the X-Men but is still mistreated, even when he constantly tries to help by warning of a traitor among their ranks predicted by Destiny. He's completely right and it ends up being Beast the whole time.
  • Cain and Abel: Juggernaut and Professor X, in the first game. Fortunately, in 2, he's happier to just be an irritating jerk.
  • 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: All of the characters make use of this, possibly to give them a more "comic book" feel.
  • 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.
  • Colony Drop: The game ends with Asteroid M plunging towards Earth, and the X-Men trying to stop this because of the devastation it would cause.
  • 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:
    • 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 exceptions. 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 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.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Due to the way damage works in the first game, characters are generally only good at dealing one type of damage: either physical, energy, or mental. As the game progresses, you will often encounter enemies that either resist or are outright immune to a certain type of damage, which really reduces the usefulness of bringing certain characters on missions. Psychics end up suffering the most since the last third or so of the game is populated mostly by Sentinel enemies, who resist mental damage. Thankfully, the 2nd game took steps to fix this and many characters are able to deal more than one type of damage.
  • Curse Cut Short: Forge is introduced yelling at a machine of his, gets as far as calling it a "piece of -" before noticing Magma's entered the room.
  • Damsel in Distress: Illyana Rasputin, who's gone into a coma for mysterious reasons. Turns out Shadow King did it to lure Xavier into the astral plane.
  • Darkest Hour: The last third of the game is incredibly bleak for the X-Men. Professor Xavier has had his mind trapped in the Astral Plane by Shadow King, Magneto has blotted out the sun by surrounding the planet with asteroids, and a government black ops group led by an anti-mutant psychopath is kidnapping mutants to turn them into literal killing machines. Thankfully they get to turn it all around.
  • Dream Land: The team has to enter Professor X's mind on the Astral Plane.
  • Elemental Powers: The first game has three: elemental, energy, and mental.
  • Elemental Punch: Many characters have powers with this effect, including passive skills and temporary buffs.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Psylocke is the last character to join the party, 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 specializes in.
  • Elite Mook: Certain powerful enemies will generate an aura that grants other enemies in the vicinity resistance to a specific damage type. Taking them out early in battles is usually the best idea.
  • Enemy Mine: 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.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Magneto since he's voiced by Tony Jay. Also, General Kincaid, Juggernaut...
  • Face–Heel Turn: Havok of all people has joined the Brotherhood of Mutants. He eventually comes to regret that decision.
  • Fantastic Racism: As always in an X-Men title. Some humans hate mutants, some mutants hate humans, and most of the Morlocks hate anyone who's not a Morlock.
  • Fastball Special: Colossus can throw Wolverine at enemies... and it's also possible with Beast and Rogue.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: If the characters are left standing around inactive for a while, they will directly address the player and tell them to get things moving.
  • Flying Brick: Rogue.
  • 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 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 XL1, but not in the second game. This mean you can play as Beast, 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.
  • 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, which is piloted by General Kincaid.
  • Gradual Regeneration: All of the characters recover their energy points to use their powers over time, with the effectiveness being based on their Focus stat, while Wolverine naturally is the only character who can recover his health on his own. Tissue generators will allow any character to slowly recover HP over time, while DNA generators increase the rate of energy regeneration.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: GRSO. They're apparently a weather research agency, but really, they're collecting data of Mutants.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Professor X. 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.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Jubilee. 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 trademark shades and yellow jacket. She also seemed to have...filled out.
  • Hub Level: The X-Mansion.
  • 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.
  • 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 respectively that can eventually be shared with the party.
  • 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:
    • Expect to be hearing a lot of "COMBO!" when you play the game.
    • 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, such as Storm. ("I FEEL AS STRONG AS A HURRICANE!")
    • 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' Husky Russkie talk can be very entertaining. ("YOU WEEL LOOSE!"}
  • Limit Break: Your mutants' super moves, which consume X-Tokens instead of EP.
  • Magic Knight: Jean Grey and Storm, especially in the first game, provided you level up Psionic Strike and Lightning Fury, respectively. If you do you will have two monsters on your hands who will make any Mighty Glacier obsolete.
  • Marathon Level: The assault on the GRSO research labs where the X-Men finally come face to face with General Kincaid, the main human threat in the game. First you have to breach the compound, then you discover the depravity of Kincaid's human-sentinel hybrid experiments and then you chase Kincaid through multiple rooms while he taunts you, only for him to ultimately get away in the end.
  • Mighty Glacier: Bruiser-type characters like Colossus and Rogue hit hard, but they attack and move pretty slowly.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black: Most characters wear black or other dark shades. The more colorful costumes from the comics are still featured as alternates (though even if the player changes a costume, it will not show up on the cutscenes).
  • 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.
    • In combat, Professor X will sometimes quip "give my regards to the dodo".
    • During the boss battle with Sabretooth & Avalanche, including Wolverine in your team will result in the A.I. directing Sabretooth & Wolverine at one another until one dies.
  • The Night That Never Ends: Magneto covers the entire world in asteroids, encasing it in complete darkness as a show of force to humans.
  • No-Sell: Cyclops and Havok zap one another with their powers, but their powers don't effect one another.
  • Only Sane Man: Healer, for the Morlocks. Eventually, this gets him locked up by Marrow.
  • One-Man Army: Storm. Jean Grey, though with more than a little Glass Cannon. This is mitigated with their respective personal shields.
  • 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.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Just about everything in the game since you cannot return to an area after finishing a mission, though most items are right out in the open.
  • Piñata Enemy: The game has Astral Fury in the Danger Room Scenario Graduating Exam 400. While the other enemies in that stage give 400xp per kill, it will give almost 300 TIMES that... and it's not much stronger than them! It makes the for an optimal area to grind on (especially if Cyclops and Storm are in the party, since they both grant leadership bonuses to exp).
  • Power Incontinence: Magma. Not a good mix with someone whose power, as the name suggests, involves large amounts of fire. The first game begins with her taking out a good several miles of city getting alarmed by Blob and Wolverine fighting over her.
  • 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 her powers for world domination, while the X-Men want to help her control her abilities.
  • Psychic Static: How Jean Grey knows there are camouflaged soldiers on the mansion grounds.
  • Purposely 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 characters 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.
  • Sequel Hook: The first game ends up with Apocalypse looking at the X-Men through a monitor.
  • Shoot the Medic First: The Morlocks have mutants who can revive their fallen allies. Any brawl where they appear can turn into a massive problem if they aren't taken out quickly.
  • Sleeping Single: Cyclops and Jean Grey have separate bedrooms, though even the movies mention that they sleep together.
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • The chaotic multi-player brawling in a twisty bird's-eye-view dungeon gameplay is definitely in the Gauntlet mold.
    • The games were very similar to the earlier X-Men (1992) arcade game made by Konami. It also provided the template for the Ultimate Alliance games and was the likely inspiration for much of Justice League: Heroes.
  • Timed Mission: In the last part of the USS Arbiter mission, the ship is on the verge of coming apart due to Blob's rampaging through the hull, giving you 15 minutes of Jean Grey using her powers to try and keep it together so that you can rescue a number of trapped crewmen. Running out time causes an anticlimactic Non Standard Game Over in which the player is unceremoniously told via a pop-up dialogue box that the ship has sunk with the X-Men on board. The kicker being that saving is possible during this sequence, and you can save with so little time left that it would be impossible to rescue any remaining crewmen in time.
  • Troll: Mystique's first appearance has her pretending to be Cyclops so she can punch Wolverine in the face.
  • Useless Useful Non-Combat Abilities
    • Knockback effects of any kind, which are mostly the specialty of brawler-type characters. It's almost always a better idea to simply beat enemies up.
    • Fear, one of Emma Frost's telepathic powers, which forces enemies to flee in terror. Can be frustrating and annoying since the player is forced to chase down enemies affected by it.
  • Violence Discretion Shot: At the end of Wolverine's Weapon X flashback, he corners the scientist, who continues ranting about how mutants are animals. Wolverine advances, the screen goes black, and we hear a scream.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: As you level up, everyone need to relearn their innate mutant abilities: flying, Healing Factor, teleport, immunities and so forth.