Wii

North America

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

by Daniel Bloodworth - October 6, 2006, 10:00 am PDT
Total comments: 16

Wiggle it… just a little bit.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance is the successor to the X-Men Legends series, using the now-familiar set of beat-em-up attacks, special powers, stat building, and co-operative four player gameplay. However, now the X-Men are joined by a host of other Marvel heroes, including Elektra, Captain America, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four. The Wii version also features a new gesture-based control scheme for all of your characters' attacks.

When I first heard rumor that Marvel Ultimate Alliance would require players to use gestures to attack, I was so skeptical that I groaned out loud. Getting my hands on the actual game however, I was surprised to discover that not only does the gesture system work; it makes so much sense that I now prefer it over the standard button combos used on the other platforms. For example, in X-Men Legends II on GameCube, you would have to press A-A-B to do a pop-up attack that knocks your enemy into the air. On the Wii, you perform a pop-up by simply flicking the remote upwards, which is not only easier to remember, but just feels right for that specific attack. The overall result is that in the heat of battle, you experience a more intentional and instinctual sense of control.

There are five specific gestures used in Ultimate Alliance. Flicking the remote left or right will do a basic attack. Flicking it upwards performs a pop-up. Flicking it downwards executes a stun move. Thrusting the remote forward deals your opponent a knockback. And shaking the remote quickly left and right causes your character to unleash a flurry of quick attacks. (The developers like to call this gesture "wiggling".) To round out the basic controls, the analog stick on the nunchuk is used to move your character, the C button jumps, and the Z trigger is used to guard, roll, and grab.

To access your character's superpowers, you hold the B trigger on the remote to bring up a dial of powers that rotates around your character icon. You can then use the cross pad to scroll through the powers and execute the one you want with the A button. Xtreme powers and some other moves have to be dialed-in this way, but your main superpowers can also be accessed simply by holding the B trigger and using the same five gestures.

From what I've seen so far, Mr. Fantastic has some of my favorite powers with his body-stretching abilities. Thrusting the remote forward shoots his elastic arms across the screen with force. Wiggling sends his arms spinning like propellers to get in rapid hits, and flicking downward causes him to roll into a ball that can zip around the screen and knock into enemies.

Gesturing is also used in sections of boss battles that are reminiscent of the Quick Time Events in Sega's Shenmue or Capcom's Resident Evil 4. In a snowy outdoor level, you come against a towering ice monster that periodically slams his fist into the ground near your party. There are also smaller creatures (that are still quite a bit larger than you) carrying spears. In order to defeat the main boss, your team has to take out one of the smaller enemies, and one of you has to grab the spear. You then wait for the ice monster's fist to hit the ground so that you can stab it with the spear and climb onto its fist. This sets off a sequence of gesture icons that you have to follow in order to use repeated spear stabs to climb up the monster's arms and onto his back where you can pierce the back of its neck. Take too long to perform any of the gestures, and the monster will shake you off with ease.

Stealing weapons seems to be a more common occurrence in this title as well. In addition to the spear-wielding baddies, we came across sword-slashing demons in a hell-themed level. If you time it right, you can press the Z button to climb on the creature's back, take the sword right out of his hand, and stab him in the head. After that, you get to keep the sword, which is powerful enough to take out whole groups of minor enemies with a single swing!

To finish up, there are some humorous and bizarre level concepts this time around. There is a pinball themed level, with electrified bumpers that you have to avoid while fighting, and a carnival level with all sorts of wackiness. Your team will have to drive bumper cars to defeat one group of enemies. Clown after clown after clown emerges from a tiny clown car. And you'll have to follow Jean Grey into an arcade machine, where you have to conquer the crocodiles, logs, and other dangers of the classic Atari 2600 version of Pitfall. When one player fails, the next will pick up from the screen he died on to keep going until the team makes it to the goal. I may need to brush up on my Pitfall skills, but I'm quite sure those old crocs weren't prepared to have The Thing jumping across their heads.

Talkback

couchmonkeyOctober 06, 2006

MUWAHAHAHA. It's all coming together. If even liscenced ports can play better on Wii...*shakes head* Wii FTW.

trip1eXOctober 06, 2006

So what about the camera control? I had read the nunchuk gyros were used for this. Does this work awesome or no?

Launch Purchase... MUAHAHAHAHA!

Too bad I doubt my roommate is into the comic universe... maybe, but I could always just use the general dorm room anyways and passerbys would wanna play their favorite comic book heroes.

4-player co-op? Alternating multiplayer in the Jean-Grey-Pitfall Stage? Urhsome.

~Carmine M. Red
Kairon@aol.com

ShyGuyOctober 06, 2006

Where did you play this?

Activision held a press event recently, but reporters were embargoed until today, friday, to release the info.

~Carmine M. Red
Kairon@aol.com

zakkielOctober 06, 2006

Ian, wasn't this the genre you were most convinced would be shortchanged by the Wii?

CericOctober 06, 2006

Sweet. I was excited about this game from the get go but now that a PGCer says its good I'm even more excited.

Any news on whether or not we get the costumes?

Ian SaneOctober 06, 2006

"Ian, wasn't this the genre you were most convinced would be shortchanged by the Wii?"

I think I said fighting games. This isn't a fighting game, is it? It sounds like a beat-em-up. Hell a good beat-em-up only uses two buttons, attack and jump and you press them together to do a super move.

Still it is encouraging to see gesture based anything getting a positive impression. The concept makes me groan out load too. Still this is mapping a button combo to a gesture which is going to be superior. I'm more concerned about mapping a single button press to a gesture. Going from a combo to a gesture is easier but going from a single button to a gesture is more complicated.

zakkielOctober 06, 2006

I would assume at least some of those moves were originally single-button. And with the number of moves, this definitely falls into "fighter" for me.

Ian SaneOctober 06, 2006

"And with the number of moves, this definitely falls into 'fighter' for me."

I would consider a fighter to be a series of fights usually one-on-one but possibly with small teams. It's done in such a way that it's almost like a made up sport. When you're walking around beating up hordes of baddies it's a beat-em-up like Double Dragon or Final Fight.

If this is a fighter, then so is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time for the Super NES.

That said, I'm looking forward to some good time-killing mindless fun from this game. The Gauntlet series has lost most of its appeal for me, so this game is just what the doctor ordered.

~Carmine M. Red
Kairon@aol.com

BloodworthDaniel Bloodworth, Staff AlumnusOctober 06, 2006

Quote

Originally posted by: trip1eX
So what about the camera control? I had read the nunchuk gyros were used for this. Does this work awesome or no?


Since we were playing four player, all of us had control over the camera, so it's a little hard to tell.

GoldenPhoenixOctober 06, 2006

The game looks interesting, and in response to Ian's comments about fighters, I think I have to agree. Then again I could be proven wrong, and if I'm not it isn't like the fighting genre is that big anymore.

ShyGuyOctober 06, 2006

Smash Bros rules the fighting genre now. Soul Calibur, Virtua Figher, Tekken, DOA, and KOF have all stumbled in their most recent iterations.

The Soul Caliber brand is still strong. Not so sure about whether the others are quite as pristine...?

Either way, it's worth noting that there are no actual traditional fighters planned for release on the X360 in the next year or so... yet.

~Carmine M. Red
Kairon@aol.com

WanderingOctober 07, 2006

Sounds good. I'll have to remember to give this a rent.

Quote

Still it is encouraging to see gesture based anything getting a positive impression. The concept makes me groan out load too. Still this is mapping a button combo to a gesture which is going to be superior. I'm more concerned about mapping a single button press to a gesture. Going from a combo to a gesture is easier but going from a single button to a gesture is more complicated.

I think Madden sounds like a good proof of concept. Juking or whatever only took a single button press, but people are saying it's easier to remember how to do it with motion control. I think once we get used to motion control, we'll wonder how we ever remembered what buttons to press on old controllers. As we stare vacantly at our screens, making small, ritualistic gestures with our hands, we'll wonder how anyone ever played games any other way.

Share + Bookmark





Marvel: Ultimate Alliance Box Art

Genre RPG
Developer Vicarious Visions
Players1 - 4
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Release Nov 14, 2006
PublisherActivision
RatingTeen
jpn: Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Release May 17, 2007
PublisherActivision
Rating12+
eu: Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Release Dec 22, 2006
PublisherActivision
Rating12+
aus: Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Release Dec 20, 2006
PublisherActivision
RatingMature
Got a news tip? Send it in!
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement