X-Men: Madness in Murderworld. (game software) (evaluation)
by Russ Ceccola
One of the most popular titles in the Marvel Comics lineup is X-Men. It was only a matter of time before these mighty mutants made their way from the comic pages to home computers. It is only fitting that Paragon Software, the publisher of Amazing Spider Man and Captain America in Dr. Doom's Revenge, put together a title revolving around the popular characters. And what a great game it is!
In X-Men: Madness in Murderworld, you control a group of the more popular X-Men in Marvel Comics' history. X-Men are mutant superbeings who possess different powers. They were discovered by Professor Charles Xavier, a mutant himself himself who has taken up the job of teaching the X-Men how to use their powers for the good of mankind. In this scenario, Xavier has been captured by the evil Magneto and another dastardly criminal named Arcade. Arcade designed a dangerous amusement park called Murderworld, where the Professor is being held captive. It is up to you to help the team of six X-Men find and defeat the various villains in the Murderworld complex and save the professor.
You control the X-Men with a joystick and select their actions, other than fighting and moving, with a set of icons found at the bottom of the screen. The rest of the screen is taken up with a side view of the currently active mutant in a particular location. The icons are Status, Change to a different mutant, Drop object, Take object, Inventory, Micro-cerebro (check for nearby evil mutants), Use object, and Use special mutant power.
The game is easy to control but really taxes your explanatory skills. There are over 100 rooms in the game, and many possible paths will lead to success. The X-Men in the game are Nightcrawler, Storm, Cyclops, Colossus, Dazzler, and the most popular mutant, Wolverine.
There are simple puzzles in X-Men that mostly involve using the right object in the right location. Other puzzles require the special power of one of the X-Men. For example, to get through bars, you can become Colossus or Wolverine and use their special power, strength, and adamantine claws, respectively. The best part of the game is being able to assume the role of one of the X-Men. I'm told that in the next Paragon title featuring the X-Men, you'll be able to form a team using any of the many X-Men of past and present. What a game that should be!
X-Men should easily satisfy the many comic book fans who have computers. One problem that should have been corrected is how quickly your power goes down when you're fighting an evil mutant or other creature. There are potions in the game that will restore power, but there are not enough of them throughout the different levels of Murderworld. Other than that, I recommend X-Men without hesitation. Now if I could only get to use some of those powers in the real world!