By Nick Authenrieth
For those who missed the boat on 2006's critically acclaimed action RPG Marvel Ultimate Alliance, the good folks at Activision are offering a new reason to give it a whirl. Actually, make that eight new reasons. With the release of the Marvel Ultimate Alliance: Gold Edition for the Xbox 360 on May 22, players can take control of 8 brand new characters who've joined the ranks of the illustrious original company of over 20 playable characters. Current owners of Ultimate Alliance connected to Xbox Live have had access to the characters for several weeks, and now Activision's spreading the love!
There are 4 new superheroes, including The Hulk, Hawkeye and Cyclops. The biggest boon to current owners of MUA however, may come in the form of Nightcrawler, featured in cut-scenes in the original but inexplicably absent from the roster of playable heroes. Gamers looking to get in touch with their dark side will have a blast playing as the game's 4 new villains. Dr. Doom, the hand that rocks the cradle of the game, is now available for gamers to wreak havoc upon legions of enemies. And not to worry, he brought a few friends to the party. Sabretooth, Venom and even Magneto are also included for gamers to bask in all their evil glory.
We talked with Chris Palmisano, the Associate Producer from Activision to discuss the unique abilities these eight new characters bring to the game and what his team enjoys the most. The first on the menu was Cyclops. "His Ricochet Blast is my favorite," says Palmisano. "He shoots beams all around the room that bounce from wall to wall doing massive destruction." Cyclops also brings his well-honed leadership skills to the table in the form of his Combat X-pertise boost, which reduces the damage taken by the entire team.
Hawkeye, unsurprisingly, has a variety of arrow attacks at his disposal. Palmisano tells us, "Hellfire Arrrow and Ice Pick are my two favorites." These moves either freeze or burn Hawkeye's enemies to a crisp. And Chris explains that The Hulk does what he does best: smash. "His Fury power makes him grow to twice the size of the regular model." Of the favorite Nightcrawler move around Activision--Bamf Flurry--Palmisano says, "The title is pretty self explanatory. Nightcrawler teleports around to the various enemies and unleashes some serious sword damage."
From the villains' side of the coin, Dr. Doom's Mask Of Doom enables him to fire laser blasts from his, well, mask. On top of that, Palmisano adds, "His best power is Doom Bots, where he summons a bunch of Doom bots to come through the game world and deal massive damage." Magneto's Magnetic Explosion summons a blizzard of unidentified scrap metal, raining destruction down upon enemies. "The visual effects on Magnetic Beam make it really stand out," Palmisano says of Magneto's power to grab objects and toss them. And adding insult to many, many injuries, both Magneto and Dr. Doom can take to the skies with their powers of flight, similar to original characters Thor and Iron Man.
Also on the supervillain roster is Sabretooth, who as basically a giant, scarier version of Wolverine, uses his Disembowel ability to savagely tear into the rank and file of robots, demons and aliens. "Talon Concussion is our favorite because of how it affects the enemies after the attack lands," says Chris of the fanged one. Speaking of fangs, Venom, who's enjoying a bit of a renaissance these days, swings like Spider-Man but hits like the Hulk. Chris mentions that "Symbiote Flail is a really awesome area of effect power that uses his tendrils." In addition, his Symbiote Sludge power fires off pieces of his costume to glue his enemies to the floor like linoleum tiles.
As if that weren't enough to get any Marvel or video game fan excited, each of these new characters comes with extra costumes as well, each of which offers the character its own unique abilities. Players get a chance to use modern, classic and other outfits from some of their favorite comics. Hulk's Joe Fixit outfit boosts his power stats, while Magneto's Xorn costume boosts his health. Venom's Marvel Knights costume increases the power of his tendril attacks, while Sabretooth and Nightcrawler's Age of Apocalypse costumes give Sabretooth more experience and Nightcrawler more health. Dr. Doom can even take on the guise of his heir, Kristoff in an outfit that serves as a combo booster. Cyclops and Hawkeye both have nifty Ultimate outfits to enhance their respective max energy.
So on May 22nd, get ready for a whole new gaming experience with Activision's Marvel Ultimate Alliance: Gold Edition for the Xbox 360. If you can't wait that long, and we know how hard that can be, try the original and unlock the 8 new characters via the Live Marketplace. Your own personal, customizable Marvel Universe just got a whole lot bigger!
Bonus! Download eight Marvel Ultimate Alliance wallpapers featuring the new heroes and villains!