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Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

Developer: Raven Software | Publisher: Activision
Players: 1+ Player Game | Release Date: 10/24/06 | Genre: Action/RPG

marvel.jpgA few years ago, I was pleasantly surprised with the release of X-Men Legends. Featuring some of the best X-Men characters, gamers were given a very enjoyable Action Role Playing Game. Developer Raven Software next decided to improve the gameplay and gave us X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse. This sequel fixed many of the issues that plagued the first game while still giving players a lengthy quest to satisfy the superhero hidden deep inside their subconscious. For their third Action RPG, Raven Software and Activision decided to branch out and include more characters within the Marvel Universe. The end result is Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and it is another very fun game that can be found on just about any console you own.

The biggest change to Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is that the player now can choose many new members to their party. These include Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Thor, Deadpool, Moon Knight, Luke Cage, Blade, Dr. Strange, Ghost Rider, Silver Surfer, some other X-Men members, the Fantastic Four, and Iron Man. Being a big fan of Spidey, he is the only character I really care about. But having eighteen different superheroes to choose from definitely adds to the replay value and gives a great deal of variety to the player.

Players will find themselves in a struggle against the evil Dr. Doom. In order to get to him, Raven Software has made the process as difficult as possible by including many supervillains to stand in your way. Some of these will be familiar to you but some of them I am even not familiar with (and I consider myself a comic fan). Villains include, besides Dr. Doom, Ultron, Loki, Mandarin, Mephisto, Fin Fang Foom, Arcade, Blackheart, Super Skrull, and many more. Just as you have many heroes at your disposal, the opposition has many villains to well. But would you want it any other way?

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Anyone that has spent time playing either X-Men Legends or X-Men Legends II will be right at home with the gameplay in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. Players fight wave after wave of enemies until getting to the end of the level. Along the way you will gain experience, level up, find random drops of equipment to upgrade your stats, and more. Besides the standard kicks and punches, you also have special powers that are unique to each superhero. These powers can be utilized to quickly dispatch of any given foe. As you gain experience by defeating these foes, your characters will unlock more powerful attacks and be given health and energy boosts. But if you grow tired of fighting to level up, you can pay out money you collect, from defeating enemies, to level up your characters. This should speed up the process of keeping your characters at a highest level possible. Also, in order to keep your entire team around the same level, any character that you do not actively use will be about one level behind you. This also encourages you to freely be able to switch characters at any time without fear of them being behind your the group of active characters you tend to play the most.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is fun to play by yourself or with others. When playing solo, you can switch to any other team member by using the D-Pad. The computer Artificial Intelligence will control all other members of your team. However, nothing is more enjoyable than playing a cooperative game over Xbox Live. Even with all the different versions of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance available, we enjoyed the multiplayer in the Xbox 360 version the most.

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Players will find around twenty hours of gameplay time if they concentrate primarily on the main story. There are also multiple side quests that will add even more gameplay time to the title. Overall, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is a very good Action RPG experience. While it isn't the best game released in 2006, it is solid, enjoyable, and worth your money.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 12/01/06

Screenshots for Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

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