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Marvel Ultimate Alliance

The box art for Marvel: Ultimate Alliance.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is a 2006 game made by Raven Software and published by Activision. It follows the path of Marvel's most famed superheroes as they start out responding to various attacks and crises, but eventually uncover a plot by Dr. Doom to steal the god Odin's power to wield the ultimate power and conquer the world.

This is a good game with a few sequels; I really like the variety in characters that they have, and it was always fun figuring out how to unlock the remaining ones, like Daredevil and Black Panther. Some of them, like Ghost Rider, are simply unlocked through gameplay, and for each of them, you can unlock new moves characteristic of the...characters...that are incredibly powerful and can be customized by you yourself to build your perfect team.

This team can be made up from 1-4 heroes, and up to 4 players, as such, can play simultaneous, as there is a drop in/out function in the pause menu, which I love because I enjoy it when players can just jump right into the action with you.

The graphics for this game are...meh. For the age of the Xbox, which was when this was incepted, I suppose they're pretty good. The actual, real cutscenes, which are few and far between, are quite gorgeous, and I wiish they used them throughout the game for effect. The characters just didn't look as good as they could have, I don't think. The Xbox 360 Gold Version available these days could be remastered, but not having a 360, I wouldn't know. However, at least the representations of the characters were right on.

Speaking of representations, there are also unlockable costumes for each of the characters, which aer awesome, as you can make your team members look like they're from you're favorite era. Take Captain America for example: you can put him in a WWII outfit, or in his classic outfit, like he was in the earlier comic book days. I had a lot of fun with this and it made the whole experience more authentic.

What about the gameplay? Well, that's sadly one of the things that really kills this game. The gameplay is just way too unilateral. It was more like a beat 'em up with a couple of easy puzzles in between. Not to say it wasn't fun, but it just is not something a teenager will come back to play through over and over.

BUT, that's not to say the game isn't replayable, because as I said before, there are plenty of unlockables, as well as Comic Book Missions to find and complete. There's also a fun trivia machine in each different hub that will allow you to test your knowledge, if you're a fan boy, of the Marvel universe. So, if you're gonna go through this game once, there's enough to do, believe me.

So at the end, you must be wondering what my final verdict on this game is. My evaluation is that if you're going to invest your time in the Xbox or PS2 version, or any of the older consoles, it's only worth a rent, because while it is good, you won't want to keep it. However, for those of you who have an Xbox 360, you should try out the Gold Version and if you're a Marvel fan, get the game, because in its essence, it is very good and you'll enjoy having it if the graphics are better.

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