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Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

The most superhero-tastic game ever made!

Why now? Why now?! Why do we have to wait so late for perhaps the most comprehensive, action-packed superhero game on Xbox? Well frankly, if we had super powers, we'd be lasering Activision's arse off just about now goddamit. Okay, ranting over.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance boasts, at the time of writing, somewhere in the region of an 'orgy' of heroes. Nah, it's a damn swarm of them. From Spider-Man through to the likes of Heimdall and Uatu (precisely!), there isn't a character unaccounted for.

Playing the game is just as satisfying as trying to remember all the character names. We played through with the Human Torch, Iceman, Wolverine, and Captain America, and it's a 'marvel' (sorry!) how broadly defined and interesting each character is.

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We've always had an aversion to the patriotic goon Captain America, but watching him decapitate people with his shield is superb. Each character has the standard and hard attacks (press B to charge up the hard attack, you know the score), but on top of this, a click of the right trigger brings up a sub menu containing a four further attacks, each specific to the character.

The Human Torch belches fire at his enemy or virtually explodes on screen, but these 'drop down' powers can be beneficial to the other members of your squad. Iceman can freeze everyone's fists, turning them into frozen battering rams capable of causing more damage - always handy when there's an isometric wonderland at your disposal.

From flying nuclear platforms above the Earth to Atlantis, gruesome hell realms and Dr Doom's laboratory, there's a wealth of Marvel environments to trample underfoot.

It's also pleasing to see some kind of boss battle almost every ten minutes (well, for every good guy there's a bad guy waiting in the wings). Bullseye, Scorpion, Nuclear Man, and Fing Fang Foom (who? Precisely!) were all thrown our way within the first 20 minutes, often with one acting as the official end-of-level bad guy. The level of visual detail is also something quite pleasing - Marvel fans are likely to go ballistic.

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