Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Raven Software had previously established themselves as creators of fun superhero co-op games with the previous X-Men Legends titles. But while the X-Men does have a large, diverse roster that could easily take up multiple games with new characters each title, they’re all pretty narrow. At some point, Raven and Activision were going to have to think outside the Xbox and feature all of the Marvel universe, and in 2006, they put out Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
Ultimate Alliance is basically a massive Marvel event comic made interactive, on the scale of Fear Itself, Infinity, or Avengers vs. X-Men. It brings together big and noteworthy characters of the Marvel universe for an adventure that puts players in the shoes of their favorites. Ever wanted to play as Wolverine and Storm alongside big universe heavy hitters like Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk? Ultimate Alliance was the game for you. Wished Deadpool could slice robots with Blade and see Thor throw his hammer at MODOK? Ultimate Alliance let you do that. Dr. Doom brought together various villains for the Masters of Evil to steal Odin’s power, and in return, Nick Fury calls on every hero imaginable to combat this threat.
Ultimate Alliance is pretty much the same X-Men Legends formula–pre-rendered cinematics, loading screens that look like a comic book cover, four player dungeon crawler, five act structure–and applies that to the overall Marvel Universe. It maintained the classic, fun dungeon crawler feel from the previous X-Men Legends games. There were still some issues held over from the previous games–the camera was annoying, the story was nothing besides an excuse to string together characters from the Marvel Comics, some enemy types had cheap attacks–but it delivered on the gameplay and star power. The sequel, not so much. Sigh, if only they made a third game…