Teams of superheroes always provide the most interesting scenarios for me. Watching the interplay among the members of a group and the combining of distinct powers never fails to hold my interest. There have been many superhero teams over the years, but none top the X-Men. Who can possibly forget Cyclops, Storm, Iceman, and the most badass character of them all, Wolverine? Even their enemies are Hall of Famers, from Pyro and the Blob to Juggernaut and Magneto. Also, since a team is involved, co-op can easily be factored into a game featuring these guys.
With all of these outstanding ingredients, one would think that an incredible game is a sure thing, right? Well, not if those ingredients are handed to LJN, it isn't!
On the surface, The Uncanny X-Men seems to hit the right notes. Six members of the mutant team are playable; in fact, it is essentially the same line-up as the X-Men arcade game with the exception of Iceman subbing for Dazzler. There are five main stages that can be played in any order, like in the Mega Man games (with a sixth stage available after beating those five). Two player co-op is available for the whole game, and the best members of the rogues gallery made it into the game.
Even with all those things going for it, LJN still managed to screw it up. Of the six mutants you can use, three shoot and three punch. The trade-off is that the punchers can take more of a beating than the shooters. The problem is that it is nearly impossible to judge when any punches connect. I got slaughtered every time I tried to use one of these mutants. The five stages all look like they were thrown together with no thought at all; I couldn't find my way through any of them. Also, I hope you managed to bribe a friend to play, because you do NOT want to play this alone. The one-player mode hands the control over to the computer, and incompetent and stupid aren't strong enough words to describe the partner AI. I've seen the computer-controlled characters walk right into instant death traps in EVERY GAME!
As if pissing off the players wasn't bad enough, The Uncanny X-Men has to annoy and repulse them, too. The stage select menu is plain text. What, you were expecting visuals like in the Mega Man games? That would require too much effort! The actual stages redefine the word ugly. Each stage is a different shade of monochrome with tiled textures perfectly positioned to give the viewer a migraine. The characters look like little plastic army men with the only differences being the two colors used for the character and the color of the beams fired. Meanwhile, the sound must've been designed by Satan. The sound of Cyclops' eye beams surely ripped apart my eardrums! Seriously, from an aesthetic standpoint, I saw more effort in Action 52!
The Uncanny X-Men is clearly a game designed with the mindset that people would buy it just for the name. The game spits in the faces of all the fans of this mutant league. No one under ANY circumstances should play this game! More fun can be found impaling the cartridge with Wolverine's adamantium claws than playing it.