Back in 1994, Capcom wasn’t exactly having one of it’s best years. Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo was getting swept under the rug by Midway’s Mortal Kombat 2 and SNK’s King of Fighters ’94, which makes sense, considering it was the eighty-fifth iteration of a game that most of us were already tired of.
So Capcom made a deal with Marvel Comics of all people, to do a video game based off of The Uncanny X-Men: The tale of a heroic group of mutants lead by Professor Charles Xavier, as they try to get along with us racist bastard humans, all while fending off the evil machinations of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and their super powered leader, Magneto, Master of Magnet…ism.
The game was called “X-men: Children Of The Atom”, and was surprisingly very well done. It was based off of the Fatal Attractions storyline, where the X-men are headed to Magno’s space station, Avalon/Asteroid M, where they plan to fuck his shit up and stop him from being a dick.
X-Men:COTA featured a great cast of characters, a new playstyle (which would later be adapted into the Vs. system that we all know and love), cool stage transitions and some kickin’ music. Most of these additions, such as super jumping and stage floors that break away as you fight were unseen before, making the game really stand out among the countless other fighters that were rearing their heads after the great Street Fighter II boom of the 90’s.
So yeah, X-Men Children of The Atom was a great success and both parties found themselves makin’ money with the best of them. So Marvel and Capcom decided to continue their alliance, making another game, this time incorporating characters from other Marvel brands.
Marvel Super Heroes: War Of The Gems would be based off of the popular at the time Infinity gauntlet storyline, which tells the tale of how many Marvels have been brought together by Adam Warlock to defeat the tyrannical titan Thanos and stop him from using the Infinity Gauntlet to bloat up Lady Death with more bodies. He REALLY loves Lady Death. That more than likely qualifies him as a necrophiliac.
While WOTG is often considered a successor to COTA because it improved upon it in a lot of ways, such as further refining what would eventually become the coveted Vs. system (that is still going strong, with games like Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom and Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 further evolving it, much like a ripened Pikachu, eagerly awaiting a delicious Thunderstone), it wasn’t technically a natural sequel, so much as a side story.
That would all change with Project X…
Project X started back in 2002 when a guy calling himself “Comedy Ha Ha” had the idea of making a true sequel to X-Men: Children of the Atom. He united with a small group of game creators and enthusiasts in order to make the game a reality by use of Elecbyte’s M.U.G.E.N. game engine.
Over time Project X went through various periods of leadership at various locations on the internet before eventually settling in the hands of a gentlemen known only as “X-Fields”. With a combination of old team members, many new additions and the blessing of those who have helped in the past, this new fan created game has slowly been coming to light.
December 11th, 2010 saw the release of the first public Beta. How is it? Pretty freaking awesome, actually. It’s hard to believe that this is only a Beta release, as it’s more complete than most M.U.G.E.N. projects that see full releases. You can tell that this game is a real product of love. There are tons of new characters and stages completely made from the ground up, including fan favorites like Mystique and Nightcrawler. How he’s managed to avoid being in EVERY SINGLE game that Capcom’s made with the Marvel license is beyond me.
Returning characters have all been overhauled. Some characters have new moves, while others play like completely new fighters. All of the character’s sprites have also been redrawn to match current costumes and designs. Where able, some characters even have their 90’s designs or X-Force attires as alternate colors thanks to some crafty coding.
The audio is pretty special. The storyboards have voiceovers, and the music deserves a special mention. WizzyWhipitWonderful (yes, that’s his name) did an amazing job remixing songs from COTA, and new songs fit right in with the rest. The theme song from the 90’s X-Men cartoon even sneaks it’s way into the game somewhere. The only thing that doesn’t make sense is the music that plays during the ending. It’s just so out of place and confusing.
Game modes are mostly standard M.U.G.E.N. fare. We’ve got single player and versus mode, which are best two out of three rounds, just like the original game. We also have survival, training, 4-man simultanous, and KOF styled team modes. There’s also a CPU vs. CPU watch mode, but you’ll never use that. As a testament to the talents of the game’s programmers, the game also has two bonus stages where you fight off a variety of sentinels (one which takes place on top of a moving aircraft), a “break the targets” styled intro level where you can test out your controls and special attacks, and a multi phase final boss battle (Think Onslaught or Abyss from MVC), complete with changes to the stage and BGM mid fight. These aren’t things that are normally possible with this game engine, without utilizing clever coding and a few tricks. The “rotating” portraits on the character select screen is another example of this.
Normally the M.U.G.E.N. engine tends to get a bad rap, probably due to an oversaturation of badly coded “evil-super saiyan-dark-ect.” characters, unbalanced copy-paste compilations of unmatching gameplay and sprites, or just flat out crappy creations. Every once in a while something amazing comes out. Something that really shows what the engine can do. Something that can cure cancer and make children smile. X-Men: Second Coming is definitely one of those projects. If you’re a fan of the X-Men, fighting games, homebrew gaming, or cheese fondue, you owe it to yourself to get over to infinitymugenteam.com and download this game. As of this writing, the full version has been released, by the way.