Have You Played… X-Men: Ravages Of Apocalypse?


Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

I went to the games shop and stared at the box several times a week for the best part of a year. It was the 90s, I read X-Men comics and watched the X-Men Saturday morning cartoon and there was a PC in my house. An X-Men FPS was beyond my wildest imaginings. Yet I could not play X-Men: Ravages Of Apocalypse. In fact, I have never played X-Men: Ravages Of Apocalypse, and because of that it still remains, in my mind, The Greatest Videogame There Ever Was.

I could not play it because I did not have a licensed copy of Quake – only the shareware version. XROA was a Quake total conversion, you see, but sold at retail and, improbable as it might sound now, with the blessing of Marvel Comics. Comics sales were strong at the time, but this was decades before Marvel became the mixed-media titan it is now. In other words, they weren’t anything like as fussy when it came to licensing.

So, no full Quake, therefore no Ravages Of Apocalypse, therefore only the box. The rear of which showed various X-Men rendered in blocky, 3D Quake-o-vision, which at the time seemed like a god-damned miracle. Hell, looking at screenshots today, it does a remarkably good job of capturing the essence of the 90s Blue and Gold teams with the crudest of 3D – this perhaps speaks to the punchiness of those costume designs (as embarrassingly 90s as they may be) as much as it does to what, I’ve realised over the time, is the sheer charisma of the Quake engine.

I have heard few good things about Ravages Of Apocalypse in the years since. I ignore them, just as I ignore the game itself, and the fact that I could very easily go and play it if I so wished. I do not want to play a grindy mod with lousy level design that involves repeatedly shooting Quake monsters reskinned as evil clones of the X-Men. Extraordinary to think about now, that Marvel would give the endless murder of Wolverine, Rogue, Cyclops, Storm at al the greenlight like this.

Instead, I cling onto the game it always was in my head: a world-class shooter in which I could choose which X-Man (or Woman) I wanted to play as, with the ability to deploy their merry mutant powers at will, and amazing boss fights against Apocalypse, Mr Sinister, Magneto and all the rest. For as long as I don’t actually play Ravages Of Apocalypse, that game can still, in theory, exist.


  1. Carra says:

    No. But I did watch the Saturday morning X-men cartoons. Those were great!

  2. comic knight says:

    I have played this. It was a forgetable experience.

    • Jalan says:

      Not alone there.

      Even after playing the “fixed” version that was dumped off free, the overall experience of it was far less than what I’d gotten from something (vaguely, yet not quite) similar in the likes of Batman DOOM.

  3. Rizlar says:

    Misread the title as ‘Revenge of the Apocalypse’, which seems like a much better name.

  4. PaceCol says:

    Comic sales were strong in the 90’s? Only when compared to the nosedive they are taking now.

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      Phasma Felis says:

      The early mid-’90s were the peak of the comics bubble before the crash. Quake hit just about at the top of that peak. So, yes.

    • dethtoll says:

      I wouldn’t be too quick to declare comic sales dead. The last couple years were among DC’s very best, after all.

      It’s more a matter of a fluctuating market and an industry that has struggled to modernize.

  5. int says:

    I remember Angel was pretty overpowered, flight and all.

  6. Spacewalk says:

    Hahaha yeah, I played it. If I’m remembering correctly in its initial incarnation you couldn’t play as the X-Men, that was added in a later patch, so you were stuck playing as the Rob Liefeld inspired guy with the morphing guns which really took the sheen off it. Also that fucking Wolverine clone who just wouldn’t fucking die no matter how many times you took him out which makes it the most accurate depiction of Wolverine in a vide game ever.

  7. JackMultiple says:

    As an aside, your game ogling philosophy is exactly my philosophy. When I used to ogle a shrinkwrapped game in the store, and even if I bought it and carried it home in a bag, it COULD be the greatest game I ever played… AS LONG AS I NEVER ACTUALLY PLAYED IT. I have some games in my collection that have I have never played. AND THEY ARE AWESOME! They go to 11! Don’t even LOOK at it, don’t even POINT to it.

  8. thaquoth says:

    As a Quake TC it just works like any other Quake mod/mapset would with a modern source port. I would recommend Mark V, as it is rather splendid.

    It’s not all that great though. Movement feels great (because Quake) but the weapons are weird, the enemies are kind of a chore to fight, and the levels are rather boring. As far as commercial Quake TCs go, Malice is where it’s at.

    • kwyjibo says:

      Malice is better than both Armagon and Dissolution. It is excellent.

  9. April March says:

    Heads-up, you mispelled ‘et al’ as ‘at al’. Pretty sneaky error, that.