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Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects Review

by Doom


In the past couple of years, the impossible has happened: video game companies have made video games starring comic book characters...and they've been good, specifically Marvel comics characters. Spider-Man 2, X-Men Legends I & II, The Punisher, Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, Ultimate Spider-Man...in fact, the only game that hasn't been a hit has been the Fantastic Four movie game and that's based on something involving Nip/Tuck Doom and Tim Story so it doesn't count. This leaves us with the only other major Marvel video game, Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects. Unlike all the others, this one is a fighting game. Sounds good, because there have been several good fighting games with Marvel characters made by Capcom several years ago. BUT WAIT! IT'S MADE BY EA! OH SON OF A BITCH THIS IS GOING TO BE A PIECE OF SHIT.

The planet Earth has been subject to an alien invasion. In comics, the Skrulls, the Kree, even the great cosmic entity Galactus can be beaten in three issues with old-fashioned Avengers/FF/X-Men clobberin', or in the last case, with the help of The Watcher, but since EA is a great corporate entity, this invasion is much more brutal. As a Marvel character of choice the player has to defeat generic looking aliens in generic locales such as abandoned bridge, abandoned street and abandoned mansion. The playable Marvel heroes are: The Thing, Human Torch, Wolverine, Storm, Daredevil, Elektra, Spider-Man, Venom, Iron Man and Magneto. Why would you put Venom in when there's no Captain America, Hulk, Blade or Silver Surfer? It furthers my argument that Marvel Nemesis is an extension of the 90's extreme movement. The character choices otherwise aren't too bad, but they are bland as you've got two characters that are Spider-Man, a massively overpowered Iron Man, and Storm and Elektra, who're wasting space with their weak attacks and bad control issues.


Someone gave the idea to EA that instead of having Marvel's greatest heroes fight Marvel's greatest villains, EA should come up with their own villains who are totally unique in every way with kickass extreme origins. What we have here is a failure to be creative. A year or so ago I created parody characters [of the 90's Image Comics hilariously bad fake darkness and bloodsploitation characters] called Deathkill, Bloodgun, Explosion Face, Knifemouth, Atomic Skelecop Blood, and so on. They were specifically over the top dark with 'twisted' origins in a merchandise-friendly sort of way. Now? I'm scared. I'm scared that soon Knifemouth and friends will no longer be ideas in my mind but characters with full merchandising plans after seeing EA's 'characters' for Marvel Nemesis. Not since that piece of shit Twisted Metal Black have I seen such an attempt to be 'edgy' and 'dark' in the 16 year old who listens to Emperor sense. First, all the characters have Marvel-like powers that not only correspond to characters in the comics, but also to Marvel characters in the game, obviously so EA didn't have to program a lot of unique characters, because if EA's anything, EA is 'not unique'. Johnny Ohm is basically Electro, Brigade looks like a mechanical armed Hulk, Solara is the Human Torch with a vagina, The Wink is Nightcrawler, Fault Zone is Avalanche with a horrible Russian accent, Hazmat looks exactly like Lady Deathstrike, and Dr. Van Roekel is [insert mad scientist at Marvel here]. What difference do they have from previously stated characters? Pseudo edgy origins. OH YES, ORIGINS INVOLVING TERRORISM AND THE IRAQ WAR! HOW RIBALD! According to what I've read, though EA created them, Marvel owns them. Why would Marvel want a bunch of derivative crap villains. They have enough of those already. Besides, the worst enemy Marvel Nemesis can throw at the player is still the camera.

The only element that is as nonsensical and stupid as the characters would be the storyline. As stated before, alien invasion somehow stronger than previous invasions [how the fuck do generic villains kill Captain America, The Punisher, and The Hulk?! Especially killing the Hulk in one laser blast?!] ravages Earth or New York City. The reason for this, I'm told, is that those aliens were invaded by another group of aliens, and thus...they needed to invade another planet to defend themselves. The leader of this invasion, Niles Van Roekel, is also the 'genius' behind the Imperfects, the freaks who try to be antagonists to the Marvel heroes but fail miserably. In the end Van Roekel is killed. It's hard to understand the story while playing the game due to the low quality of the cutscenes, the utter uselessness of the missions, and the general bad writing involved in such a formulaic piece of shit.

It's the Human Torch! With tits!

The story mode presents a variety of missions for each character, and by variety I mean about 3 different types for over 50 missions. There's 'beat up a bunch of generic enemies', 'destroy something', and 'beat up Imperfect or mind-controlled Marvel character'. Additionally, EA gets creative with twists to that established formula; 'beat up a bunch of generic enemies within time limit', 'beat up a certain number of generic enemies', and 'destroy something within a time limit'. What innovative gameplay! The game's not exactly long in actual length, but it is long for people who don't like repetitive gameplay, and thus I gave up halfway through when I had a fucking escort mission where Spider-Man has to protect two helicopters from being hit by generic enemies. Everything is so fucking repetitive that it even uses the same three fucking environments every time, so often you play the exact same missions as you did before, only with slightly different characters. I'm going to let you guess at the environments, but you'd be right if you said that all the environment's names began with 'abandoned'.

If you want to have a good fighting game, you have to have great controls that make it fun to play as well as easy for anyone to play without being an incoherent button masher, so it sucks for Marvel Nemesis because its controls are incredibly bad. On the Xbox controller there are four buttons that you use, right? Theoretically in a fighting game at least two should be used for actual fighting moves, so of course EA only utilizes one of them. X is attack, Y is block, A is jump and B is grab/throw. Oh, and R is used for special attacks, for example as Wolverine your X + R attack is your regular attack, only with CLAWS. Because it makes total sense for one of your base moves to be a special attack. The largest problem with the controls, however, is how slow they are. In fighting games, controls are supposed to be quick so that you don't say to yourself "This is too slow, fuck it, I'm gonna go pull some legs off a some bugs". In Marvel Nemesis, this is not the case and often fights between your character and a crappy EA character last 3 minutes or more, because combat is slow and laborious.

There's of course multiplayer, which could have saved the game even though it had a horrible single player mode. Unfortunately, multiplayer has the same weaknesses that single player has: repetition. The locations that the arenas take place in are abandoned street, abandoned mansion, and abandoned bridge. Oh, and abandoned exterior of a power plant. Can't forget THAT one. The fights are boring because they take way too fucking long. The characters are slow so it can take over 4 minutes just to win one round. It also has Xbox Live Support, which means at this very second Tommy Tallarico is masturbating all over himself at the thought of being able to play shitty Xbox game No. 257 with other jackasses.

Graphics are noticeably terrible, not only in the completely bland reused environments, but also in the designs of all the characters. The cannon fodder villains have blades for hands, how original. The Imperfects, looking somewhat stylish on the intro screen with Jae Lee art, range in design from 'things Todd McFarlane would design' to 'things Rob Liefeld would design'. The Marvel characters don't look much better. Elektra looks like a strange version of Lara Croft and The Thing looks like the Creature from the Black Lagoon. I might as well bring up the voice acting now, too. It's terrible. None of the characters sound like they should; The Thing sounds like cement mixed with Patty and Selma mixed with a shovel.

Unlockables are plenty, however. So plentiful that you have to slog through the entire story mode to get them all. There's the characters that you can only play with in multiplayer if you beat every level of the game, and then there's the worst unlockable I have ever encountered in anything. Most video games based on comic books tend to have collectible comic covers, yes? Well, Marvel Nemesis does one better: it gives you parts of two comics that you can unlock by beating levels, #1 of Ultimate X-Men and #1 of Ultimate Fantastic Four. Instead of being able to view it page by page, you're treated to a video version of it - that means the panels move in succession while a narrator doesn't recite the dialogue in the comic, but instead makes narration that has nothing to do what's in the actual comic. GREAT IDEA, EA.

Raul Inglis writes this mess. I'm assuming he also was responsible for Johnny Ohm saying "It's mind over matter. I don't mind and you don't matter." and the torrent of horrible Russianized dialogue for Fault-Zone. How hard would it have been to get a comic book writer to script it? And I mean ANY comic book writer, even Chuckles Austen would do a better job than the hack that EA hired. Mark Millar wrote the back story for the game, true, but I'm assuming that was during the time he almost died from Crohn's and just scribbled some phrases onto a napkin and said "Go with it. Now leave me alone, I'm dying." Raul Inglis wrote the script to Crash, neither of the good ones but one that starred Michael "Consistently Downhill" Biehn, as well as being the director for two episodes of Beast Machines. I am surprised that EA hired a writer for this shit, I would not have been surprised if they forced some spineless temp or intern to write the whole thing on some dry Thursday afternoon. "You! Replacable 150 pounds of flesh!" "Yes?" "Write a script for Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects!" "But I don't ha-" "DO IT OR I'LL BUY OUT YOUR FAMILY" "O-okay, I'll do it!" "You have 2 hours."


You'd be better off if you just bought Marvel vs. Capcom 2, because it's much better than Marvel Nemesis and it's also much cheaper than "EA tries to be creative but fails miserably". Bad story, horrible mechanics, boring gameplay, shoddy designs and originality on the level of Rob Liefeld.

How many needles of black tar heroin to make this game good?: 15
What made up George W. Bush word would best describe this game?: hackaboo
Most uncomfortable moment: One of the advertised features on the Marvel Nemesis website is "Using certain cheat codes, Solara, Electra, and Storm swimsuit cards are given."