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X-Men: Mutant Academy (PSOne)

The X-Men, the most successful comic book characters of all time, go for another round in the ring in X-Men Mutant Academy. After a seemingly thousands of games using the X-men name, Marvel has relieved Capcom of the X-Men license long enough for Activision to take a stab at making them fight. Its been done to death by Capcom, but at least it's been done well; does X-Men: Mutant Academy live up to what Capcom did with the license? Well, yes and no, Activision has published this round of X-Men fighting with mixed results.

Well, it's X-Men, I'll give you that. However, if you take out wolverine, replace him with ODB, then add some naughty rap music you have Wu-Tang Shaolin Style. Yes, the Thrill Kill engine is back for the third time, albeit with some revisions. Some of these being improved graphics and the ability to jump.

All the characters from the movie, and then some, are available to play as. Ten playable characters are featured: Wolverine, Cyclops, Gambit, Storm, Beast, Phoenix, Magneto, and Sabretooth, Mystique and Toad. All of the characters are well balanced and complement each other. For example, Wolverine may have strength and speed but he lacks ranged attacks that make him a target when fighting on the perimeter.

Special moves are easy to use, but the lack of combos is very upsetting. Regular moves are relegated to the standard street fighter method: light kick, medium kick, fierce kick, light punch, medium punch, and fierce punch. A combination of these and the directional buttons, in conjunction with three different super power meters, allow you to do super moves. You could technically get through arcade mode with random button mashing, but the controls are a bit unresponsive at some points so its hard to know whether you are going to get your hits off or not.

Once you've played arcade mode to death, you can test your skills in survival mode. Additionally, Cerbro Mode provides fans with loads of X-Men bonus material including "X-Men: The Movie" trailer and clips, behind the scenes movie photos, classic comic book covers and bonus cinematic scenes and art.

The Bottom Line: Activision has delivered another X-Men fighting game, and although it is without the polish of the Capcom games that bear their name, X-Men: Mutant Academy is a solid fighter that will have you coming back for a while to come.

SOUND: 6.5/10
- Sound effects and soundtrack is pretty banal, but they do the job

GRAPHICS: 7.5/10
- Fighting is fast paced and good-looking, and is facilitated by high frame rates.

CONTROL: 6.5/10
- A bit unresponsive at times, but super moves are easy to use.

- There are a lot of options and a good amount of extras.

FUN: 7/10
- This game is a fun, solid brawler. The fighting arenas are a bit small.

OVERALL: 6.9/10
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