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X-Men Origins: Wolverine [X360]

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Hands-On

"We slice and dice with the best there is at what he does in an extended look at the upcoming movie-licensed game from Raven."

At one point, Wolverine was running around in daisy dukes. It wasn't intentional, this sartorial mockery of Marvel's most badass mutant. Rather, it was a somewhat ironic function of his mutant healing powers or, more specifically, how those powers were implemented by developer Raven Software in the upcoming movie-licensed video game, X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

You see, there are several layers to the Wolverine character (portrayed both in the film and the game by Hugh Jackman), starting underneath with a skeletal system, a layer of muscle, skin, and finally clothing. Any damage inflicted on Wolverine causes damage to one or more of those layers; for example, if he takes a ton of damage, you'll be able to see his adamantium-fortified rib cage. Of course, even grievous injury means little to Wolverine, whose mutant healing power lets him recover from bodily harm. The implementation of those healing powers means that you can watch Wolverine's body literally repair itself automatically, growing new skin and muscle over previously ruined areas. Wolverine's clothes can also be torn apart and, once his shirt or jacket is ripped off by bullets, it stays off (you're welcome, ladies). For a while during the development of the game, the same could be said for Wolvie's jeans--taking damage to his legs would result in increasingly shredded pants, until eventually the Marvel icon would end up running around in shorts that would make an exotic dancer blush.

Needless to say, the sight of Wolverine sprinting around in booty shorts would do little for his reputation, so it wasn't too long before the developers decided to make Wolverine's pants not subject to the wear and tear of the rest of his body. Thus, now Wolverine wears pants that are nearly as unstoppable as the man himself.

Nevertheless, indestructible knickers or not, you can expect Wolverine's mutant healing powers to be tested to their fullest in the game. In a plot line that parallels and expands on the origin story from the upcoming summer blockbuster, you'll follow Logan as he hops around timelines, from the pre-adamantium days to his time doing black-ops missions for Weapon X and dealing with his relationship with Victor Creed (aka Sabretooth). Along the way, you'll fight tons of enemies bent on taking down Wolverine with extreme prejudice.

Raven producers are quick to point out that the Wolverine from this game is authentic and true to character. If by "authentic," they mean "incredibly violent," then consider this Wolverine the most authentic ever seen outside of his comic-book origins. Enemies are dispatched in myriad bloody ways in this game: stabbings, whirlwind attacks, dismemberments, decapitations, and even slicing bodies in half.

It's gleefully gory stuff and, especially in the game's early goings that find Wolverine in a jungle setting working for Weapon X, there's more than a few "I can't believe that just happened" moments. Like when Wolverine leaps onto a helicopter in midair, smashes the cockpit glass, grabs the pilot, and holds his head up to the spinning blades. Or, when crossing a rickety bridge while bad guys hack the support ropes, Wolverine barrels through a mess of enemies in the style of a running back. Or when duking it out with a redneck version of the Blob in an Iowa grocery store. And let's not forget the Sentinel fight.

Logan's wearing the latest in wilderness survival fashion: a wife-beater, dog tags, and a big honkin' belt buckle.

Logan's wearing the latest in wilderness survival fashion: a wife-beater, dog tags, and a big honkin' belt buckle.

Although we didn't get a chance to fight the Sentinel, we did get a good idea of how this multistage boss battle will unfold. When you first start the battle, you're given a clue as to the Sentinel's weak spot, a massive malfunctioning foot that is Wolvie's first area of attack. Running up and clawing away at the foot with the face buttons will cause some basic damage, and eventually the massive Sentinel will pick up Wolverine with its hands. Escaping is, as you might imagine, simply a matter of clawing your way free, at which point Wolverine will continue his assault on the Sentinel's feet.

If you cause enough damage, the boss battle will enter its second stage, with the Sentinel blasting into the air with Wolvie in tow. Clever sound design is on display in this stage; when the camera is up close, you can hear the roar of the Sentinel's thrusters with deafening clarity. At one point, though, the camera moves to a point further away and the thrusters have a distinctive staticlike sound, reminiscent of a Space Shuttle launch. As the Sentinel makes its way skyward, you'll be maneuvering Wolverine around the bot's body and causing as much damage as possible. Eventually, you'll do enough damage to send the Sentinel careening back toward the earth and you'll guide a free-falling Wolverine to finish the Sentinel in midair by diving toward it (avoiding the random debris as well), clinging to the robot's chest and looking to tear it apart just a bit more. Eventually you'll both crash to the earth, and it's probably not spoiling things to note that Wolverine's killing blow is a satisfying one.

Posted on Apr 07, 2009



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