Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects
Originally written on November 4th, 2005
It’s been a long time since there has been a fighting game that features the characters from the Marvel Universe. Marvel vs. Capcom and X-Men: Children of the Atom are some of the greats, but they were part of the previous generation of fighters; the 2D animated side by side style made famous by Street fighter. It took a few years for the Marvel gang to get itself into a 3D setting and their first outing is not quite what was expected. Originally dubbed Marvel vs. EA, Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects pits ten heroes and villains from the Marvel universe against seven totally new creations from Electronic Arts.
First off, Marvel Nemesis is misleading. Every commercial and screenshot gave the impression that the game was a standard 3D fighter like Dead or Alive or Mortal Kombat: Deception. If you were looking forward to that type of gameplay, you’re going to be quite disappointed. Although there are times during the storyline mode that you do square off one on one, the battles take place from a three quarter overhead camera view and more often than not, the camera view is a great distance away from the combatants.
During the storyline missions, you will play through two or three missions to complete a chapter. Usually at the end of the chapter, you will have to face off against one of the main characters. During the storyline missions, you will repetitively have to fight swarms of generic aliens as they teleport into the area where you are. The missions require you to complete a specific objective which usually includes defeating a certain number of enemies, defeating a number of enemies in a set time limit or destroying a number of objects around the vicinity, like bombs or computers.
The storyline mode does get very monotonous very quickly but once you complete one chapter with a character, it will unlock another that you can play through with a different character. Each of the characters have their own moves and attacks although they are very limited for each person. Each character has a mobility attack which will allow them to hover, run up walls or in Spider-Man and Venom’s case, web zip. Each character also has a rage attack which is just a stronger attack then the regular punch or kick. For Wolverine, it pops out his claws, for Elektra it pulls out her sais and so on for everyone.
Along with those attacks, each character has a throw attack and a finishing move that can only be used against main characters when they have very low stamina. Although the finishing moves can be an easy way out of a fight since they don’t have to be near death to pull it off, it really is cool to see the deadlier side of the characters emerge. Watching Elektra jab a sai into Daredevil’s chest and then one into his face to finish him off or seeing Spidey tell you that you just got an “ass kicking” is just not something you see every day.
In each of the environments you find yourself fighting during the lone battles, there will be numerous objects scattered about that you can use to your advantage. You can pick up things like fuel cans and furniture, as well as cars and trucks, if you are strong enough to do so, and toss them across the board to smack your opponent in the face. Each time you complete one of the storyline chapters, you will unlock a character that can be used to fight in the versus mode which is just as it sounds, one player versus another. As much fun as it is to play the versus mode, being forced to unlock half of the characters by playing through the storyline mode is unforgivable, especially when many people were lead to believe the game was a 3D fighter to start with.
The visuals of Marvel Nemesis are not the bright and colorful hues you would expect being the game revolves around comic characters. Most levels are dark and have a very ominous feeling of dread to them. The character models themselves are spectacular to look during the game play, but up close during the cut scenes, they are blocky and undefined. The shadows that appear (or don’t) during the game will leave you scratching your head. Seeing someone carrying a barrel over their head, where the player has a shadow but the barrel doesn’t, just makes you go “huh?” The cut scenes that introduce each of the imperfects are done in a blend of live action and animation and then mixed in a film noir style that just doesn’t come off as anything impressive, but rather confusing.
Ultimately Marvel Nemesis fails as a 3D fighter in the traditional sense but succeeds in taking a chance and adding a new spin to the genre. It’s great to see the characters of both the Marvel Universe (especially the under used Iron Man) and the EA created Imperfects beating the snot out of each other in the disturbingly violent ways never seen before. Unfortunately being forced to play through the storyline mode is what really brings this game down.
It can be over looked if unlockables are your thing, since there are quite a few during the storyline mode other than just the characters. There are comics that are narrated, as well as alternate costume. Toss in the online play via Xbox Live, which allows you to play quickmatch or optimatch against other Live players, and when you twist that all together you have yourself a pretty interesting, but sadly not very good, attempt for EA’s first Marvel outing.
Title: Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects