Epic one-on-one versus fight game with a limited story mode. Classic super hero characters, super hero powers, and all new super villians. Could have risen to be a bit better, but well worth a playthrough.
INTRO VERSUS MODE STORY MODE MOVES & ABILITIES GRAPHICS SOUND GAME MECHANICS REWARDS WHAT WOULD A FIGHTING GAME FAN SAY? CONCLUSION
INTRO: The story -one of many- in Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects is that an alien invasion strikes Earth, devastating New York, and several hero's got killed like Captain America, The Hulk and The Punisher. An alien super villain amasses an army by creating robots and he selects individuals -the Imperfects- and gives them unique and specific powers. This is a fun one-on-one versus fighting game with various single player super hero story campaigns, super hero powers and all new super villains.
Unlike other comic book based video games of the era (2005) which feature single player super hero campaigns, Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects is a 3D versus fighter unlike any other and about as good as you could want it to be. The single player campaign serves to explain the theme and character origins and adds a way to test your hero skills but alone is not a reason to get this game.
Among the super powers are strength, projectiles and flying. Flying powers or levitating and web slinging take players far from opponents unlike any other type of fighter. The super powers are incredible eye candy moves and varied and there is plenty new here to the genre including large dynamic multi-tiered fighting levels filled with interactive destructible elements.
VERSUS MODE: There are 18 characters and 7 levels to choose from in versus mode. At the character select screen, character Attributes can be viewed that detail strength, durability and speed.
A story element is that a device placed on the back of a characters neck is used to make them loyal to the alien overlord Niles Van Roekel. All Imperfects have them and when playing versus you can choose from two character costumes with the other being a darker style of costume, i.e. an alien type of costume that is black and green. So both the classic Marvel characters and new Imperfects are all playable and have this costume option.
The fight options include timed rounds and lives rounds. With the lives rounds you can go from 1 to 9 lives and the time rounds can be set to last from 1 minute to 99. The AI makes for a good opponent and you can set the difficulty level to easy, medium or hard. When one loses a round and the next round begins the other does not regain health. Not a typical restart on an even level of health per round. It is possible on some levels to knock players off the side to win.
STORY MODE: The story mode plays out with you using mostly the classic Marvel characters to fight aliens of similar types with names like devastator and mauler. Each of the bigger ones have a specific power like those the Imperfects have. The smaller ones will just punch you and there are also alien hover space craft that shoot green balls. Some can be killed with one or two hits, others three or four, really it is how you hit them and with what power you use to do so. Hitting them with or into explosive elements in the environment makes for another tactic to use.
In some chapters you simply have to destroy alien power producing things, keep aliens away from helicopters before they destroy them, make it through a corridor or alley ways and a street alive before having a boss fight, which almost exclusively take place in the versus arenas. At times you play as an Imperfect. Paragons story is fleshed out and you play as her. She is like Boba Fett from Star Wars and her genes are used to create new super alien clones but you never fight them.
Some story chapters are hard to win with the large amount of enemies to dispatch of, and other chapters not so much cause with some practice (or repeated restarts due to losing) it becomes just a walk through. It is short but enjoyable, and at least it is there to have some fun with beating multiple enemies which puts the full range of super hero abilities to work in a fast paced way.
Characters visit the same areas as others did as part of their story mode, and this sort of thing is done several times over in the limited size levels. Plus story mode is not only short per character, but jumps around among them; you don't play one and only one, you engage story mode and it presents you with who you can play. You can't choice to play Iron Mans story unless you have a save game file to load and there are only 4 save game slots available and if you start a new campaign you will lose all rewards you previously earned. So replayability is an issue.
It would of been a lot better if story mode had a replay menu or mission select screen to replay characters story line's. It is sort of surprising there isn't one given how the Rewards menu is laid out. Maybe they wanted to conceal the brevity and recycling of most of it.
Basically a shoe horned add on to the versus element of the game, comprised mostly of revisiting the versus locations with more depth in levels; in that you will visit multiple roof tops instead of just the Daily Bugle roof top. The levels are well designed with functional destructible and exploding elements to throw around or get knocked into.
MOVES & ABILITIES: Attack, Block, Pick-Up/Throw, Jump, Mobility Move, Super Power and the right analog stick controls the camera. Virtually all of the buttons have multiple uses depending on what other button you hold.
Characters have a health bar which does not regenerate and there is no way to regain health. There is a super power meter bar that can be refilled either over time or by holding a button which leaves you vulnerable as you stand still in a pose. Characters also have a Rage meter that builds up as you fight and when full pressing R1 activates Rage which gives you infinite super power for a short time. Works well at creating come backs letting you throw endless fire balls.
Every character has a finisher move that stops game play and procedes with a cut scene of the finishing move. Every character has an aeriel grab that is different, and ends with the other character hitting the ground hard.
Every character has a super power block that takes the shape of a full ball of energy, or webs, or in Dare Devils case he whips his weapon around himself fast, anyway the character is surrounded in a circle force field to block any attack until a meter runs out or you let go. This is a useful thing for deflecting thrown objects or deflecting super power projectile attacks back at the attacker. There is also a normal block and when doing so you can shove your opponent backwards if you engage an attack.
Every character has a mobility move. L1 is called the mobility move button but the triangle button also performs a dodge side step. Every character also has a super power mobility move that include flying, swinging and flashing around which can best be described as teleporting a few steps.
Some characters climb on walls and then can leap out towards an opponent with an attack. A few walk along walls short distances as a mobility or evasive move. Every character has the same stomp move to hit downed opponents.
Not every character can pick up cars or rip parking meters or poles out of the ground, but all can pick up and toss barrels and small objects like benches and computer terminals. And all can kick or punch small objects towards you.
You can swing poles and parking meters like a bat or you can even hurl it at your target. You can catch thrown objects and then hurl them back. Hit someone with a weakened barrel and it will explode. You can pick up a car and jump around then throw it, and some characters with high levels of strength can punch or kick cars and other large objects at you. Magneto can do it without even touching anything.
Of course there are the super powers of flight and projectiles. Most characters shoot things like fire balls or lightning bolts and fly or levitate around. Spider Man and others swing around while 5 of the 18 are grounded. See below.
Web Slinging - Swinging Spider Man, Venom, Hazmat and Dare Devil Flying - Levitating Iron Man, Storm, Human Torch, Johnny Ohm, Magneto, Solara, Niles Van Roekel Teleporting Paragon, The Wink Just Plain Old Long Leaps The Thing, Wolverine, Fault Zone, Brigade, and Elektra
The Wink, Fault Zone, Wolverine and to some extent; The Thing do not have projectile abilities. The Thing does a hand slap that produces a concussive blast of air but not at all like a fire ball or web shot of other characters that can be thrown multiple times. Some even have 2 forms of projectiles like Iron Man who has a rocket and a ball blast. Storm produces a bolt of lightning that strikes down from the sky. I can't say enough about the moves in this game each character is different but similar and it is awesome! Add in the level dynamics and it's well balanced.
GRAPHICS: The character detail is very stylistic but at times have odd flashy plastic wrap look to them during cut scenes. During game play this is not an issue. This is a PS2 game. The graphics are not top notch for the system but are close enough. You will not really care much about a jagged blocky edge here or there. An example is the characters feet, otherwise graphics are good overall.
This is a dark comic stylized game with a comic book theme to loading screens, and menus and those sorts of things. The environment is explosive and cracks are left on streets and walls. The walls and objects disappear or become transparent if you get close in combat and the camera needs to zoom in. Certain hits produce a cut scene of the player flying across the map which is very cool, like a movie scene!
You can knock down the letters of the Daily Bugle versus arena and the surrounding walls will dent as things get thrown into them, eventually buckling and then collapsing and falling away. Light poles that have been uprooted will produce an electrical fire of sorts at the base. Check out the fire of Human Torch, the teleporting of the Wink or the lightning and cloud of Storm, very cool. Plus the lady's have sexy walks.
SOUND: Very good. The character voice over acting is top notch and all characters have opening and closing dialogue lines if they win in versus mode. Environmental sounds and menu sounds are very good. The intro scenes and movies and all that also have great sound.
GAME MECHANICS: The overall experience of fighting with super heroes is great fun and never been done before in this style of one-on-one super hero fighting. That being said a sequel or remake would of been great but it was canceled.
It's very frustrating to be involved in such an epic fight; punching barrels and box's and throwing cars at your opponent and then be doing the same single button attack when you get close. Another action button is needed a kick button or another punch attack button. Flying or swinging around and swooping in to attack and being way off is a frustration that you will learn takes timing and skill to pull off. Aeriel kicks are another move that require timing and skill. Aeriel grab attacks are also hard to pull off. They require perfect mid air timing.
A button to press and hold to lock-on would of been good for this. It is disappointing to the point of uselessness trying to land a flying jump kick or mid air grab while swooping down from above or flying around. Venom and spider man do it easily with their webs but others lack the ability to line up and follow through. You will need effort and practice to time the moves correctly.
There is a close in distance recognition system (rubber banding) of sorts but characters will sometimes confuse a barrel for the other character and you will not face what you want to and hit the barrel, which then explodes. (It's a fast paced game) You auto target by facing an opponent. As long as you are facing your opponent projectiles will hit dead on whether fire ball or environmental object being thrown.
REWARDS: As you progress through the game you unlock content. There are three options in the Rewards menu: Movies, Comics and Cards.
Movies The 9 movies are live action voiced over documentary style origin shorts that you encounter as intros during story mode.
Comics There are two comics of some length each with nine chapters that can be played individually or you can play all. One is titled, The Fantastic Four, and the other, Tomorrow People, both by Stan Lee the famous creator of Spider Man. These are comic books brought to life or motion, voiced over popping and scrolling comic book style stories. Everything else in the game is based on designs and artwork of comic artist Jae Lee. Click the link the the Links section in the side bar of this review to see the 6 actual comics the game was co-created in conjunction with called Marvel Nemesis: The Imperfects. I would of liked to have seen these comics in the game but whatever.
Cards 40 baseball style comic cards, and images of some of the ladies of the game. Things like how the Imperfects came to be individually are explained here, and there are cards for each alien you fight and more. It's traditional game "manual" story stuff in-game on cards.
WHAT WOULD A FIGHTING GAME FAN SAY? The dynamic of the super hero moves make this a game to play. Multiple options of how to block, use a special move, a power move, an evasion move, aerial grabs and throws, the game does a lot of things right.
Traditionally, I guess you could say super hero battles don't involve much hand to hand combat, Spider man is about as close to an ideal character given his punch combinations that make it appear that you are doing more then pressing one button; that is if you are not using a jumping attack or using your web, or your super power.
Depending on the character, the resulting action from the single attack button is a punch, punch, punch, or punch, punch, kick which then sends your opponent flying across the level. You will chase down your opponent a lot after they fly across the level.
Use of the super powers and throws breaks the punch, punch repetition. The depth of the repetitive moves vary from character to character. Spider-Man, Elektra, and Dare Devil have several string punch, punch, kick hits where as The Thing and Wolverine are punch punch.
Players used to juggling moves will enjoy the stomping and super power beat downs. Rushing attacks knock players back. Upper cuts and spin kicks are present on a limited character bases.
There are combos in Marvel Nemesis but not in a traditional fight scenario that is satisfying to throw down with because it becomes repetitive and you are left trying to make fights interesting with your super hero powers instead of the fun coming from kicking ass it comes from creating the fight; making them fight your battle and using the environment.
Ultimately not a bad idea but lacking in depth for true fight fans looking for depth in character moves aside from super powers. Pressing back attack or forward attack will not change anything the attack button does. That's why there are super powers and interactive elements that go boom. The large dynamic multi-tiered fighting levels are a great setting for this type of fight game. Marvel Nemesis is well worth a play through.
CONCLUSION: There used to be an Online Mode but it is no longer available. Some players may become frustrated by several of the environments that are strewn with barrels that explode when a character makes too much contact with them as in being hit into them or accidentally hitting them. Plus cars and other stuff explodes and the resulting explosion sometimes causes a pin ball effect; launching characters around the map, crashing into other exploding objects in the environment. It's cool but can get frustrating. All the objects also respawn on the map so you have to deal with them.
Story mode is a fun way to put all of a characters powers to use in a fast paced enemy filled bid to survive as a super hero. In versus getting knocked off a map then flying back before getting to far out and dying is cool.
Plus it's just plain fun to remove a parking meter from the street and knock your opponent over the head with it, but choose the wrong character and your almost certainly out of luck if your opponent plays and counters you well with their super powers and abilities. Plus not only does your health go down when you are getting beat, your super power meter bar does to, so it is wise not to get into a losing situation.
There are the cool camera views when certain actions occur, and the balance of all characters against overall game play is good fun.