Marvel Ultimate Alliance Assembling the Superhero Dream Team

I think most people have a favorite superhero, or at least a favorite superhero series. For many people my age, it’s X-Men, simply because of the incredible animated series that was on TV every morning before school. The great thing about Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is that it will appeal to the majority of Superhero Fans – unless you prefer SOMEONE from DC Comics or one of the few characters from the Marvel stable who is not included. Is the Wii version with gesture control the best version yet thanks to the console’s motion-sensitive controllers?

Ultimate Alliance is essentially a fairly simple Beat’em Up with some basic RPG elements. Dr. Doom has gathered an impressive collection of supervillains for an insidious Plan, and it’s up to the members of the S.H. I. E. L.D. (The Good Ones) to stop him. The villains are really a diverse bunch, with familiar villains like Ultron and the Mandarin accompanied by smaller characters like Arcade and Grey Gargoyle. That’s an impressive range in any book.

You and the rest of your four-person team run, Action and superpower through a series of levels, take out generic bat after bat, then swap out bigger boss-like characters working for Doom-the bigger bosses look great and even use a QTE system where you have to press flashing buttons You can switch between each character on your team on the fly and each has a choice of special moves that you can use to deal additional damage to the enemy.

On the Wii, much of the action now uses gesture controls, while some basic actions can be performed by simply pressing the A button. There are five gestures (push, lift, push down, push forward and shake) and the result is a game that takes a while to type. On other platforms, Ultimate Alliance was a very easy game to learn and play, which made the four-player mode ideal for playing with friends, but the Wii version is a chore compared to the game. All the more advanced movements and special strikes require a Gesture and, given the number of enemies you face, it quickly becomes exhausting.

The basic controls such as jumping, blocking and character movements are all handled on the Nunchuck and work well. The Nunchuck also serves as a control of the camera, with a tilt to the left or right that rotates the camera in that direction. It’s not great if you hold the Nunchuck at a slight angle, but it’s still a smart use of the controller. As with most games ported to the Wii, the motion controls are a decent effort, but they just don’t work as well as the standard controls in other versions of the game.

The game is a clear extension of what Raven did with the X-Men Legends games, but the variety of environments offered in Ultimate Alliance is much better. You can still move around some pretty dirty areas, but you can connect to some pretty fantastic environments like Atlantis and Skrull’s homeworld. It would have been nice if the wallpapers looked a little sharper, but they really don’t stand out until you look for them and interfere with the action-packed gameplay.

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