This week has seen the release of Marvel Ultimate Alliance on the PC, PS4, and Xbox One. While not much has changed aside from some graphical stuff, it’s nice to have another co-op game on hand to play with your friends, and the original was really dang good. But there is one thing that wasn’t good, and that’s a “moral choice” dilemma that asks players to choose which two long time friends to save.
Spoilers ahead for Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
During the second act of the game, your Team travels to what’s basically Hell (it’s called Mephisto’s Realm, but c’mon, the guy is totally Satan) to rescue the X-Men Nightcrawler and Jean Grey, both of whom have been taken captive by Mephisto. His son, Blackheart, puts them both in cages and dangles them over a chasm, and your Team can only choose one of them to save. Will it be the Amazing Nightcrawler, swashbuckling swordfighter and teleporter, long time friend and fan favorite? Or will it be Jean Grey, telekinetic mastermind and one of the most powerful telepaths in the Marvel universe?
If you pick Jean, then Nightcrawler will fall to his death. His mother Mystique, furious at the loss of her son, puts Professor Xavier into a coma that lasts for several months before he dies. As a result, the X-Men disband forever. You may be thinking, “wow, that’s awful!” and decide to go and save Jean instead. That’s a good idea… until you learn that she comes back to life, full of Phoenix rage and chooses to take vengeance upon the people who didn’t save her. Either way, you’re kinda boned, no matter what decision you make.
The weird part of it is that, realistically speaking, it doesn’t have to be this way. Jean Grey can freaking fly, that’s a power that she’s had for quite some time now, and Nightcrawler can teleport. Even if you want to make the point that their powers are likely shut down in Mephisto’s Realm, what was stopping the Team from splitting into two groups to catch them as they fell?
It’s even weirder when you consider two very important things. The first is that Jean Grey dying is literally nothing new, and is in fact, built into her character at this point. If you take into account all the alternate universes, the cartoons, and the movies, she’s probably died and come back to life a total of like, 12-16 times, so her going Phoenix is more or less as common as trash day, even by the standards of 2007. As for Nightcrawler, well, that would be pretty sad, too…if it weren’t for the part where, if he dies as shown above, you can clearly see him at Xavier’s funeral, implying that at some point or another, he comes back to life (which is a given anyway; much like how everyone at DC has short-term Alzheimer’s, no one in Marvel can stay dead for longer than a year, max). So basically, Mystique just killed a guy for no reason. That’s just a dick move, Raven. Dick. Move.