Marvel: Ultimate Alliance Review
I have no doubt that if I could go back in time I would be more into comic books, and I would also invest heavily in Apple and Microsoft stock. Anyway, not sure why I wasn't the first time around, I mean I was a geeky as you could get (yea, I still am) but somehow comics passed my by. Maybe it was because I thought they were all like Richie Rich or Scrooge McDuck. It wasn't until I was older that I found out how interesting some of the superhero comics were. Sure I know about Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man by I never gave them much thought. So that's my background on superhero comics. Why is that important? Just to let you know that even though I'm not a superhero comic fanboy I can still appreciate a good game based on those type of characters. The Activision release of Marvel:Ultimate Alliance for the Xbox, along with just about every other known system, is exactly that, a good game even if you don't know everything about the base material. But, boy, if you do happen to be a huge Marvel fan you are going to love this game. Why? Let's find out...
Marvel:Ultimate Alliance (MUA) is a hybrid action/RPG game with a big slant to the action...think along the lines of X-Men Legends II and you know what to expect. The huge difference in MUA is the sheer number of characters that you get to play and beat up. You will have the opportunity to play over 20 Marvel characters and for the hardcore Marvel fan you will get to see some of the overlooked characters. Sure you get Spider-Man and Wolverine but you were able to do that in other games. In MUA you get to play as Thor, Capitan America, Silver Surfer, Deadpool, Ms Marvel, Blade, Spider-Woman, and other heroes that don't cross into mainstream gaming very often...if ever!
MUA starts off with four Marvel heroes, Spider-Man, Thor, Wolverine, and Captain America, coming to the rescue of a S.H.I.E.L.D helicarrier under the captain of Colonel Nick Fury. Seems a dude named Doctor Doom has gathered a bunch of bad guys and created a club named Masters of Evil...apparently this is a pretty exclusive club to get in to as you need to be a high ranking villain. You're not sure what Dr. Doom's ultimate plan is but given the supporting cast he has rounded up you can only figure it's not going to be nice and that it's going to take a lot of good guys to save the day. Luckily you just happen to have a bunch of them at your command. While you start off with the aforementioned foursome, there are plenty of opportunities to mix and match the group to get your “ultimate” lineup. An interesting part in putting together a group is that certain combinations will increase different attributes of the group. For example if you happen to pick all the members of the Fantastic Four you get one type of bonus and if you select all females you get a different bonus. Part of the fun is trying out different combinations and seeing what happens.
For the Marvel fan you will notice all sorts of places from the actual comics like Atlantis and Asgard. Not only do you visit familiar places you will meet and interact with a ton of recognizable characters. Granted I needed to do a little research after playing to become familiar with some of the places and people, but that did not stop me from thinking it was pretty fun. Really the only characters I know that I didn't see where the Hulk and Punisher, who I believe couldn't show up to the party because of strange licensing agreements.