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Marvel Ultimate Alliance

Product: Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Company: Activision/Raven
Website: Official Game Site
Estimated Street Price: $59.99/Ł39.99
Review By: Brian Kvalheim

introduction

Captain America, Spiderman and the Thing! What more could you ask for besides "The Greatest American Hero" Bringing all your favorite Marvel super heroes together on the small screen to battle it out with the all to familiar villains that you grew up with. In X-men fashion, this game tackles the the RPG next generation of console gaming with some new graphics, online and offline co-op game play and all your favorites. Bring a friend, get our your wireless controller and have a comic retro party.

The Features

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is an all-new action role-playing game (RPG) coming to Xbox 360™ and Xbox® this fall. For the first time ever, the world’s largest army of Super Heroes is under your control. Create four-member strike teams, choose from over 20 playable characters, and interact with more than 140 legends in all. Become your favorite heroes and change the fate of the universe.

  • In Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is an all-new action roleplaying game (RPG) coming to Xbox 360™ and Xbox® this fall. For the first time ever, the world’s largest army of Super Heroes is under your control. Create four-member strike teams, choose from over 20 playable characters, and interact with more than 140 legends in all. Become your favorite heroes and change the fate of the universe.
  • Army of Super Heroes: Choose your favorite Super Heroes from favorites like Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America, Blade, Daredevil, Elektra, and The Thing. There are over 20 playable heroes in all. Create your ultimate dream team and partner, battle, and interact with more than 140 total characters from the entire Marvel universe.
  • Varying storyline: Control the fate of the Marvel universe. The missions you accept, the objectives you complete, and how you interact with other characters throughout the game will have a direct impact on how the story plays out.
  • Online co-op and competitive modes: Converge in battle, online or offline, against the world's most evil Super Villains. Switch between cooperative and competitive mode to partner or challenge up to three other players.
  • Total team customization: Use a universal team upgrade system to balance your heroes' powers or customize each member to maximize their effectiveness. Create a team name, team icon, and establish your team's reputation as the story progresses.

Gameplay

Don't confuse this IP title as an RTS, as this is an RPG at heart. I haven't found to many comic book or movie IP games titles that have satisfied my tasted until this title was released for the Xbox 360. As I write this review, Superman Returns has just been released on the Xbox 360 which appears to be a very solid title. Two IP's in a row with good game play? Yes indeed. Game play is generally overhead as you make your run through the map looking for the bosses. Once in a position to take out a boss, the camera changes to put you in a third person shooter point of view.

Pay attention to the numerous tips and tutorials as you make you way through the halls. Sometimes you will find hints on how to take out a boss, sometimes you won't, leaving you all alone. There are numerous hidden attack points in walls and floors. Look for items that require you to push them off ledges to break through glass, floors and walls to discover hidden content, as well as your mission direction. I am confident I have missed numerous Easter eggs as well as achievement potential by not spending the time blowing up and attacking every wall through each map. Be prepared to spend countless hours looking for these secrets.

You cane choose from numerous heroes, having up to 4 heroes on your screen at a time. You can even switch between heroes as they die off, keeping you in the game. You can revive your character at different checkpoints and mission endings through out the game. From Spiderman to Spiderwoman, you will find limitless powers abound. The controls are nicely mapped to the Xbox 360 wireless controller and very easy to use.

From magic, to grabs to melee, the action through out the game is non-stop. Every corner, room and doorway has an enemy AI to attack. There is character leveling and customization, with 20 playable characters and over 100 characters in all.

Co-op gaming online is ideal, but split screen offline is also fun. Offline requires you and your partner to remain in the same area at all times (read: Star Wars Lego's titles). That can get annoying as you find yourself wanting to progress to a different part of the map as your buddy is properly fending off villains with ease. Go online, and you get the whole TV real estate itself, as gaming intended.

Graphics & Sound

Sound and graphics are a huge strong point for this title. The soundtrack keeps you fully engrossed in the game.We are talking comic book soundtrack, movie style. It is never repetitive, and matches each mission and fight perfectly. The digital optical 5.1 surround sound made great waves throughout as I inflicted damage on the bosses. The sounds of running through the halls, or walking through the intermission lobbies are all recorded to a "T", making it an interactive comic book game.

Review Quotes
"From magic, to grabs to melee, the action through out the game is non-stop. Every corner, room and doorway has an enemy AI to attack. There is character leveling and customization, with 20 playable characters and over 100 characters in all."

Shadows, glares off the floor, stainless steel walls and character details are shown off with great pride in this title. Watch out for the realistic fire, as I swear they video taped fire and just ripped it into their game. As the fire comes raging through the map floors, your body ripples in the heat as you walk by. The colors are vibrant, yet the maps are metallic dark.

Final Comments


 

By far my favorite comic book character game. They have paid attention to detail, and seemed to touch on multiple genre's of game play all in one title. Map sizes are decent, including underwater missions that look beautiful in HD. The game has longevity potential for those sporting the Xbox Live Gold membership. Even if the Marvel side of the comic book universe is not your bias, you would be doing yourself a great disservice by avoiding this title.

 

How It Grades
Controls: 85%
Gameplay: 93%
Presentation: 95%
Graphics: 90%
Multiplayer: 85%
Sound: 95%
Interface: 80%
Lastability: 90%
Price/Value: 90%
Overall: 90%
Specs & Package
Overall Score 90%
Version Reviewed Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (NTSC)
Release Date 10/24/2006
In The Box? 1 Marvel: Ultimate Alliance DVD-ROM
1 Set Of Instructions
The Good Points Great Graphics, Character Powers
Large Open Environment, Online and Offline CO-OP
The Bad Points Difficult in game map, too inline, controls can be complicated
Xbox Live! Online Play Enabled? Yes
Widescreen Support Yes
PAL 60 Support (Europe) Yes
HD Resolutions 480p
720p
1080i


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