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The past few years have been very kind to comic book-based video games - but they weren't always skyscraper-swinging adventures like Ultimate Spider-Man. It used to be that every superhero game was a beat 'em up that threw waves of inept thugs at you while occasionally asking you to use the hero's signature power.
Oh, there's plenty of fist-meets-face action in X-Men: The Official Game, but each level is built just for a specific character. Iceman's missions are fast-paced races that involve his infinitely regenerating ice slide; teleporting, blue-skinned Nightcrawler uses stealth and shadows to slink around the enemy; and, of course, Wolverine is the unstoppable battering ram of claw-filled rage.
Each of the three mutants begins relatively weak. As you freeze, roundhouse and gore your way through the requisite cronies, you'll be able to pack on some extra muscle in the way of customizable upgrades. Wolvie can accelerate his healing factor or go all-out with strength, for example. They're very simple tweaks, but any nuances in a button-masher are welcome.
Our hands-on with the game revealed one thing - all console versions play the same, but the Xbox 360 game expectedly blew the others away in terms of visuals. Iceman's cool blue effects and Nightcrawler's teleporting hues hummed beautifully - on the other hand, the GameCube version was a chuggy, sloppy mess. There are still a few weeks to go, so we're holding out some hope there. As for how each of the starring characters play, and what you can expect on May 19, read on.