Title  : X-Men: Wolverine's Rage
Platforms  : Game Boy Color
Publisher  : Activision
ESRB Rating  : Everyone
Game Rating  : 7.8
Review by  : Dain Neater

The X-Men are always ready to go the distance to bring the criminals down and save the world. This time out, things get personal when Wolverine, alone on the streets of New York, stumbles across a plot against his life. Thus begins, X-Men: Wolverine's Rage, a journey that will take our hero across the globe to battle his way through everything from gun-wielding mercenaries to killer-grenade launching robots in order to confront and destroy the mastermind behind the plan, Lady Deathstrike. 

Wolverine's Rage for the Nintendo Game Boy Color is an old school action platform game from Activision. It isn't going to win any awards for gameplay design and innovation, but it does offer a fun, portable gaming experience. 

The boys and girls at Digital Eclipse have put together a game that consists of four main areas split into five levels, including a final boss area. To help proceed through the game, every two levels a password is given that you can use to start at the last level you cleared. While this is a handy feature, it will shorten the lifetime of the game if used. 

It must be said that Digital Eclipse did get the most important element of the game correct. Wolverine's controls are right on, and this alone saves the game from becoming just another poorly done action title with a great license. The standard controls are the 'A' button to jump and the 'B' button to punch and claw. Repeatedly tapping the B button while pushing either left or right on the control pad will unleash Wolverine's deadly Bestial Rage. Few enemies can stand up to this fury, and even Wolverine himself will take damage from its use. 

This game has a large amount of jumping in it; it is imperative, in this type of game that the controls are precise and fortunately they are. Anything less and the game would have quickly become tedious and overly difficult. Even grabbing ledges and swinging Wolverine up to a platform is done intuitively and with ease. 

There are plenty of enemies to dispose of, but unfortunately, each area has only two different ones. A little more variety in enemies would have been appreciated. Scattered throughout each level there are hidden various items such as extra lives, bonus points, and healing items. While there are also some items strung about the levels that you can destroy, doing so rewards only points. It would have been better if the things Wolverine got to smash with his claws revealed something of value. 

One interesting twist in this game is that, as in the comics, Wolverine has the mutant ability to heal. Provided that he does nothing else, our heros health will regenerate. This ability can change the tide of the battle in each level if used properly. Fortunately, the time limit set on each level keeps this ability from completely unbalancing the game and making it far too easy. 

Rage is a bit schizophrenic in the graphics department. The levels look quite boring, almost as though the designers tried to do too much on the Game Boy Color hardware. The results look muddy and confusing to the gamer. Contrary to the world around him, our hero Wolverine looks great. In fact, this is the part of the game that really shines. The animation of Wolverine is as good as I have ever seen on any 8-bit system. He fluidly stalks across the screen, looking quite menacing. 

As good as Wolverine looks, he also sounds great. Digitized samples used for his claw attacks are impressive, as are the grunting sounds he makes as he jump attacks an enemy. It would have been nice if his enemies were given the same treatment. The background music in this game isn't exactly bad, but it is repetitive and quickly wears a bit thin. Luckily, you can turn off the background music in the options menu. 

Overall, Wolverine's Rage is a decent addition to the Game Boy Color library. The game's great controls and impressive animation are enough to keep the game fun despite unimaginative level design and boring enemies.


This article is copyright (c) 2001, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.

Original publication: Gamebits, 02-Jul-01