The X-Men have been kidnapped by Arcade. Is Spider-Man a bad enough dude to save them? That is the plot of this extremely difficult and relatively unknown game, published by LJN. Play as Spider-Man, Wolverine, Gambit, Storm and Cyclops as you run, swim, claw and shoot your way through more than ten different levels in several wildly different settings. Though hard, this game has dramatically different styles of gameplay for each character, each with their own powers and skills taken straight from the cartoon and comic books, which gives the game some much needed flavor.
This game hosts a wide range of gameplay styles and mechanics, though they all stick to a 2-D plane. Each character has their own unique abilities to help them travel through their two unique stages and defeat the evil mastermind Arcade.
Spider-Man's mechanic is his spider sense and web swinging, which he uses to traverse through levels which are designed after a concrete jungle. He can also climb walls, like any spider can. Oddly, the spider sense mechanic is only used in the intro stage, where you collect flashing red beacons to open the way to the exit. His levels are designed like a normal platforming game, but can be a bit maze-like, filled with robotic enemies that shoot lasers at you for the most part. At the end of the first stage he fights N'astirth and Shocker, and the second stage is ended after you defeat Carnage and Rhino.
Wolverine's stages are set in some sort of toy factory, where you defeat toy soldiers, clowns, jack-in-the-boxes that fire machine guns, and planes. Wolverine's unique mechanic is his claws, which he can extend and retract on demand, though there is no use for retracted claws outside of some very special circumstances not found in normal gameplay. At end of the first stage you'll meet Apocalypse, who you must punch to death in order to continue. The second stage is an extended chase sequence featuring Juggernaut, in which you must defeat him by the end of the level or he pushes you into a pit. There are several traps such as anvils and 1-ton weights that will do more damage to him than your fists, and it usually will take the entire level in order for you to do enough damage to defeat him.
Falling into a mine shaft, Cyclops must make his way through the gem filled levels in order to finish his portion of the game. His unique mechanic is his laser, which he can shoot in six directions in order to take out the blue cat-like guards and laser shooting aliens that heavily defend the mine. There are several long mine cart sequences, in which you must avoid or explode what could only be landmines. The boss of each stage is a Sentinel that shoots lasers as you, and after you defeat the Sentinel of the second stage you face Master Mold, a boss with no movement frames.
Arcade's challenge for Storm are two long mazes in which you must blow up doors, water tanks and marine life in order to escape. Her unique mechanic is her health, which is a shared entity with her breath meter. She also has special powers like a tornado and smart-bomb like explosion that will clear a room full of enemies or doors quickly. Storm's boss is a bunch of orbs that shoot lasers at you, and you must destroy them all to move on.
Get ready Gambit! A giant spiked ball is on the loose, and only you can outrun it! Gambit must toss cards, use bombs and collect stars as he dodges and outruns Knights, Pawns, and several robots of unknown origin in his stage. There are some sick skulls drawn for the background art, and at the end of it you fight Gambit's true nemesis, a card. The second stage is a vertical autoscroller, which has multiple dead ends that will kill off any player foolish enough to go right instead of left. Card management is a real concern here, because you must destroy orange blockades with several cards, leaving you with few to work with. The end of Gambit's stage features a beefy Black Queen who shoots energy balls out of her face.
Those brave enough to get all our heroes out of Arcade's trap will then go through one last final stage with each character, working their way through a platforming section to get to a green laser that traps and transfers them to the final boss, Arcade. Of note here is Storm's section, which is a traditional platformer unlike her earlier stages. She plays like a floaty version of Cyclops, and shoots thunderbolts from her head instead of lasers. The final boss is Arcade himself, hidden inside a giant robot, and only Spider-Man is able to fight him. Defeating Arcade will free the X-Men and let them escape, only to discover that it was merely a clone of Arcade, and he has planted a bomb in the building! Finish the game for yourself to find out if they make it out safely! After it's all over, you get a game over screen and a chance to enter your name into the leaderboards which have no doubt already been filled to the brim by you and your friends.