X-Men Legends

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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Alone, you are mighty. Together, you are legends.
Professor Charles Xavier

A series of console video games developed by Raven Software and released by Activision. Two games were made, X-Men Legends (2004) and its sequel, X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (2005). Both games featured Marvel Comics' X-Men traveling all over the globe to save the world by defeating of one of their most powerful villains - Magneto in the first game, Apocalypse in the sequel.

Gameplay in the majority of both games had squads of four X-Men (and their allies), chosen from a large roster of avialable characters, controlled by up to four players. Some sections used fewer than four characters (since this left the players in excess of the available characters with nothing to do, it was much less frequent in the sequel) and some sections required or banned the use of specific characters (especially early in the game, before the entire roster was unlocked). If there were fewer than four players the computer would control any extra characters, with the players able to assume control of any character not currently contolled by another player at will. Each character had an array of powers that could be unlocked and improved as the game progressed, and could also pick up equipment that boosted their abilities.

The first game largely revolved around Allison Crestmere, codenamed Magma, the Point of View character, being recruited into the X-Men, while the team tries to defend humanity from a devastating attack by Magneto and his minions, the Brotherhood, while simultaneously protecting mutantkind from Gen. William Kincaid's Sentinel robots.

The second game abandons the POV character mechanic (which, in the first game, led to long stretches of Magma wandering around the X-Mansion alone, giving only one player anything to do) and has the X-Men teaming up with the Brotherhood to prevent the evil immortal mutant Apocalypse from becoming invincible.

Followed by the Marvel Ultimate Alliance series, also developed by Raven Software.

Tropes used in X-Men Legends include:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The X-Men travel to the sewers to deal with the Morlocks, a hidden community of mutants. Like in the comics, the Morlock tunnels are extensive, mazelike, and often cavernous enough for a boss fight.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The games liberally combine elements from decades of comics, the Ultimate line, the cartoon, and the movies, along with some things they just make up.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Apocalypse's plan in X-Men Legends II is to kidnap and steal the powers of 4 mutants with harmonic DNA, which when placed in one individual amplify each other. The mutants are Polaris, Quiksilver, Emma Frost and Sabretooth.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Team members follow the player-controlled character faithfully - which can result in disaster if the PC flies too carelessly over an open pit.
  • Battle Couple: A Double Date team bonus goes to Cyclops & Jean Grey with Gambit & Rogue.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The first game has three major villains, all of whom have their own goals separate from one another and all of whom are defeated in the final chapters: Magneto, Gen. William Kincaid, and Shadow King. In the end, Kincaid is the storyline's primary and most despicable villain, and the Final Boss to boot (using a Master Mold).
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Colossus' insane Russian boasting can be very entertaining.
  • Bonus Dungeon: In the second game, characters could gain access to an extradimensional prison from which they could free Iron Man, who would then become a playable character. (And no, Iron Man doesn't really have anything to do with the X-Men).
  • Brainwashed and Crazy - In the second game, Beast and Angel are captured by Apocalypse and brainwashed into helping him, resulting in the game's versions of Dark Beast (Beast's Age of Apocalypse counterpart) and Archangel. However, defeating them also undoes the brainwashing.
  • Brother Chuck - Despite being the main character of the first game, Magma is nowhere to be found in the second. It could be that that really, really dangerous move near the end that she seemed to be okay from just took a while to take full effect...
  • Cel Shading
  • Character Customization: As characters gained levels, you got points to put into their powers and abilities. Since most powers couldn't be used until you put at least one point into them, this could lead to things like Nightcrawler being unable to teleport or a flightless Storm.
  • Composite Character - Dark Beast See "Brainwashed And Crazy" for details.
    • And really, about most of the playable characters in both games, a good deal of the Brotherhood, plus Apocalypse in the second game could be deemed as Composite Characters as they've combined the Ultimate looks, but the personalities, background, and powers of their classic selves, though there were quite a few expections. Sabretooth combines three different versions of his character as his powers and personality of his classic version, and yet in the second game, he cares for Blink ala the Age of Apocalypse version.
    • Magma from the first game is a composite of Magma's powers and physical appearance with Kitty Pryde's personality and general "newcomer to the X-Men" character type. Developers wanted to use Kitty Pryde as the viewpoint character for the first game, but her intangibility powers would have been difficult to provide an appropriate level of challenge for.
  • Crisis Crossover/Enemy Mine - In Rise of Apocalypse.
  • Demoted to Extra - Emma Frost. Playable character in the first game, NPC in the second. Still, that's better than some other characters who were playable in the first game (such as Jubilee) who don't appear at all in the second game. Probably to make room for the Brotherhood characters.
    • Beast himself suffered from this in the first act until he's captured and Brainwashed and Crazy, then returned to this after being defeated, which also undoes the brainwashing.
    • Poor Magma only ever gets mentioned in a trivia question in the second game, despite being the main character from the first.
    • Psylocke doesn't even get mentioned in the second game.
  • Dream Land - In the first game, the team has to enter Professor X's mind on the Astral Plane.
  • Elemental Punch - Many characters have powers with this effect, including passive skills and temporary buffs.
  • Fastball Special: Colossus can throw Wolverine at enemies... and it's also possible with Beast and Rogue.
  • Flipping the Bird: Wolverine flips off Sabretooth with his middle claw in the opening of the second game.
  • Flying Brick - Rogue and Iron Man (if you enable the power up ability).
  • Game Within a Game: The characters could go to the Danger Room and play through several mini-game-like training scenarios.
  • Guest Fighter - Iron Man as a secret character in the second game, where he is unlocked by finding all of his armor and bringing the pieces to his alter ego Tony Stark, who has been kidnapped by Apocalypse's forces and put in a cave, but unfortunately without a box of scraps. The second game also features Deadpool.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Jubilee in the first game. Her previous comic and animated incarnations were a fairly attractive teenage girl (though in the comics she'd once bemoaned not having the Most Common Superpower. When she appears in the game, she's got an "Ultimate" style costume consisting of black skintight long pants and tanktop, black gloves, as well as her tradmark shades and yellow jacket. She also seemed to have...filled out.
  • Hub Level: The X-Mansion in the first game. The second game had the characters relocating their base of operations from one section of the game to the next, with locations like Genosha, Muir Island, and the Savage Land.
  • Hurricane of Puns - Iceman gets into full Mr. Freeze mode ("I didn't think I could get any cooler!", "I'm too cool for school!" "X-Men, get over here or I'm toast!")
    • Storm can get this way as well, such as "Having an early fall?" after using a whirlwind power.
  • Innocent Innuendo: In the second game, Colossus compliments Scarlet Witch's intelligence and beauty. He's just being nice, but before he knows it Magneto is beaming at the thought of a powerful mutant that wants to be his future son-in-law. Hilarity Ensues as he has to explain this mess to Kitty Pryde, still not sure exactly what he did wrong in the first place.
  • Instant Armor - Iceman and Magma can make instant armor based on their elemental abilities after getting the armor upgrade. Storm and Jean Grey get elemental/psychic shields that can be shared with the party.
  • Kill Sat - Beast's Xtreme attack, Orbital Bombardment, smites enemies with a laser from a satellite.
  • Large Ham - "COMBO!"
    • The playable characters themselves will indulge in some hamminess when they call the name of their super attacks. "SAVAGE RAMPAGE!"
    • Also when they level up. The Scarlet Witch comes to mind ("MORE POWAH!")
      • Not to mention Storm. ("I FEEL AS STRONG AS A HURRICANE!")
    • Magneto, throughout both games. (At one point, during a cutscene, as Mags is yelling his usual Humans Are the Real Monsters speech, Wolverine asks, "Does he ever shut up?" Cyclops shakes his head.)
    • Colossus' Lzherusskie talk can be very entertaining. ("YOU WEEL LOOSE!"}
  • Limit Break - Your mutants' super moves, which consume X-Tokens instead of EP.
  • Lost Forever - Just about everything in the first game since you cannot return to an area after finishing a mission, though most items are right out in the open. The second game is a bit better about it, but a few collectible items can still be missed.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The "Teamwork" scenarios in the Danger Room seem to be based purely on whether your computer-controlled team-mates feel like using their powers today.
    • That's what the "call for help" button is for. Hit it as you're performing a mutant power and chances are good you'll get one of the needed combos. Still falls under luck-based as bad timing or obstacles can get in the way.
  • Mythology Gag/Shout-Out - Many references are made to the comics. For example, during a mission in NYC in the first game, you rescue a little boy who turns out to be Bishop.
    • During the boss battle with Sabretooth & Avalanche in the first game, including Wolverine in your team will result in the A.I. directing Sabretooth & Wolverine at one another until one dies.
  • Narm - Peter Lurie's voice for Sabretooth is kind-of ridiculous. Can cross into Narm Charm at points though, and it does get toned down when he reprises it for other projects.
  • Nerf - In the first game, Magneto was the penultimate boss and had more than enough power to provide a challenge for your four-mutant team; in the second, Mags became a playable character, and his powers were toned down so he would not be a God-Tier character.
    • Weirdly, this is an accurate representation of his powers in the comics. Whenever Magneto makes a Heel Face Turn, it's always accompanied by him being powered down by some contrived plot device, simply so he doesn't curb stomp the rest of the X-Men's rogues gallery, few of whom even approach his normal power levels.
    • Storm was also toned down a bit in the second game. For example, her lightning bolt came directly from her and not the sky, meaning she could no longer hit enemies not in her line of sight.
    • Jean Grey was also nerfed. No more clearing rooms with boosted Psychic Scream. At least not without the proper equipment.
  • One Woman Army - Storm. Jean Grey in the first game, though with more than a little Glass Cannon. This is mitigated with their respective personal shields.
    • Deadpool qualifies, if you play a New Game Plus file - As he only unlocks after completing the game once, he's already as strong as the rest of the characters are at the end of the game, and as he's one of the few characters to feature a mix of close and long range attacks, you can play a large portion of the game with a party consisting of just Deadpool.
  • One-Scene Wonder - Ed Asner has only five or six lines as Healer, but it is one of the best performances in the game.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All - Focus, which increases the amount of energy you have for special attacks and how quickly you regenerate energy, because most special attacks do a fixed amount of damage. In the second game, characters whose attacks are X% of melee damage (typically, X>100) also need Striking.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation - The second game is a loose adaptation of the Age of Apocalypse, forgoing time travel and the death of Charles Xavier, basing some characters strictly on their A o A selves (Abyss and Colossus' brother, Mikhail Rasputin are lackies of Apocalypse like in A o A, as opposed to—respectively—a hero and a threat in his own right in the traditional Marvel Universe), basing others on their classic selves (Sebastian Shaw, Selene, Bastion) and making Dark Beast a brainwashed Beast.
  • Purposefully Overpowered: In the first Astral Plane mission Professor X joins your team of Jean Grey and Emma Frost when he's at level 40, almost three times the rest of the characters' levels. When other chracters do about 20-40 hit points with a single punch, he does about 240 points, over 700 if he gets a critical. This makes you feel nice and safe with such a powerful character, until you lose him halfway through the mission when Shadow King abducts him.
    • The first game is somewhat similar to the first X-Men movie: a young mutant girl whose powers attract the attention of both the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Magneto wants to use Allison's powers for world domination, while the X-Men want to help her control her abilities.
  • Pungeon Master: Iceman.
  • Rivals Team Up: Magneto and the Brotherhood are the villains in the first game, playable characters in the second.
  • Sequel Hook: The first game ends up with Apocalypse looking at the X-Men through a monitor.
  • Sleeping Single: Cyclops and Jean Grey have separate bedrooms, though even the movies mention that they sleep together.
    • Possibly another Mythology Gag? Even in the comics before they got married, they still had separate rooms, as shown in a good few issues before then. Then they married and took over the boathouse down by the lake - which made things interesting when the mansion was blown up and it was the only place on the grounds with an intact roof...
  • Skill Point Reset: Available for increasingly steep prices in the second game.
  • Spiritual Successor: The games were very similar to an earlier X-Men arcade game. It also provided the template for the Ultimate Alliance games and was the likely inspiration for much of Justice League: Heroes.
  • The Un-Reveal / Interface Spoiler: After you find the first secret items (dramatic emphasis) in the game, Professor X states that these are the key to locating a certain individual who will help the team greatly. He chooses not to reveal this individual's identity, leaving you to discover it for yourself once all the secret items are uncovered. So you look at the pause menu and it tells you how many Iron Man armour pieces you have thus far...
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle - The first game ends with Magma emphatically declaring that she's an X-Man... Until the camera pulls back, and reveals that the player was watching that on another screen that was also being watched by Apocalypse.
    • The second game ends with the X-Men & Brotherhood going their separate ways, and Beast trying to figure out why Apocalypse's machine failed, since Beast's calculations were correct. The other X-Men tell him not to worry about it, and get in the Blackbird & take off, the camera following it... Until it reaches the top of a pyramid that was just off-screen in the foreground, and the silhouette of Mr Sinister can be seen, laughing evilly.