Arcade Mode

        I think today I’ll take a break from bosses. Now, it’s still video game related of course, but more about a particular feature of one than a character in it. Just to change things up a little. So today I’ll be talking about Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and its Arcade Mode.
        To start with, Ultimate Alliance is rather unique game in that you control a squad of four super heroes at once- or rather, you control one directly, and the others are AI assisting you. Luckily, these are not the dumb kind. They aid you in battle, use their abilities, if not to their fullest, at least supportively. You can also swap between heroes freely with the control pad. In many cases, I found myself thinking the game was quite easy, simply because most of our enemies are regular minions and we’re a pack of four superheroes. I suppose that may be the point- it wouldn’t be very believable for them to have trouble with mere minions and the like.
        Bosses are a bit tougher to deal with, but usually not by much, because they generally come either alone, or in pairs. Very rarely do you face off with more than that, and it is exactly twice that you face four supervillains for your four heroes.
        However, the missions are something of a change of pace. To unlock the various missions, one must find the CDs littered throughout the game, each of which is another mission, and take them to a computer in the hub level. They come in two varieties. There are the versus missions, which act as mini-levels where you face off against the villain it is named for after a short trek through a simulated level based on one of the areas in the game, with the same enemies.
        The more common variety, however, is the hero missions, where you play as the named hero, and that hero alone, going through a short adventure as them, with it beginning with them narrating their origin story. This makes these missions a good way to both learn about the character’s backstory, and their in-game abilities.
        Since you are alone, the enemies that normally wouldn’t be much trouble can now be far more annoying, or, in the case of Murderworld levels, near impossible to get through. However, this does raise a question. Normally other players, up to four, can control other heroes in your team. Does this mean they just sit and watch in Mission Mode?
        Nope! There is Cooperative Mode, which is exactly like it sounds, and Arcade Mode, where they control the enemies. As the hero moves into a populated area, the other players are given control over one of the minions there, of course meant to stop the hero. They can use regular attacks, and whatever other abilities the creature has, same as with the heroes- the minion just has a lot less of them and much less health. However, with a competent player they can conceivably last a lot longer than usual.
        Also, if the playable minion is slain, don’t think your friends are out of the game- they are put in control of another one, if any are around, after a few seconds. They can also switch between enemies freely. That’s another thing about Mission Mode; there tends to be far more enemies, and even if you do clear out a room, they always spontaneously reappear if you linger too long, which you shouldn’t, because there’s also a time limit, even if it is quite a long one, at around fifteen minutes at least. The only exceptions are Mephisto’s Realm and Krull, which have fixed amounts of enemies.
        This of course all comes to a big finish with the level’s boss, also under the second player’s control. What that boss is depends on the mission, naturally, but the level enemies are always the same, generally based on the level itself throughout the rest of the game, but there are some exceptions. First is the Helicarrier level, which features three regular enemies; Ultron Warriors, Ultron Strikers, and Doom Bots.
        The Warriors have no special skills aside from a slightly stronger punch, but are perfectly capable combatants. Strikers, on the other hand are the opposite, having no physical attacks aside from a weak punch, but they in turn can levitate freely and fire out a spread barrage of energy blasts. The Doom Bots combine the two; just as capable as Warriors, but they can also fire lasers out of their eyes to hit from afar and produce a stronger glowing punch.
        Next is the Omega Base, populated by AIM Troopers. They can fight up close, but tend to stay back and shoot with their guns. Some have shields, some do not. Shielded enemies are protected from frontal attacks, so they either have to struck from behind, or you can remove the shield. This is a bit more of a dangerous proposition with a player controlled Trooper- while you struggle to remove the shield, they can do the opposite, leaving you open for attacks.
        AIM Reavers are floating robots which cannot do normal attacks, but they can fire out lasers, flying forward while spinning to attack, float upwards and glow, which I believe may make the surrounding enemies stronger, I’m not sure. However, if a hero grabs them, they can literally rip them apart with one move, in much the same way as removing a Trooper’s shield. Finally there are the Super Soldiers, which are big, do not flinch from most attacks, and are quite powerful. They only have one special ability though- to grab the hero and throw them.
        Next we have… Murderworld. Ugh. The most common enemy here are Clowns, which, aside from regular physical attacks, can also fire a blob of poison at you, or throw a poisonous explosive. There are tons of these guys, and they spam that attack constantly. Not to mention the way they laugh as you hit them… I do not care for this level at all. Murder-Bots, as their name implies, are also dangerous, capable of ramming you with buzz saws, shooting with guns, and if their health is low enough they will try to self destruct. There are also androids which mimic one of the heroes, at least in appearance. They primarily fire lasers to attack. They would be more dangerous in normal gameplay, since they could conceivably fool you into thinking they are an ally.
        Next is Mephisto’s Realm. The first enemy is Mephisto’s Pet, a flying demon that strikes by slamming into the hero or shooting flame blasts. They cannot be thrown. Demon Leapers either head butt their foes or leap onto them, doing constant damage as they do, though they can be knocked off.
        Demonic Souls are very odd enemies. They can throw fireballs, use a firey punch, and strangest of all, grapple with the hero. If they succeed in this, they will swap bodies for a time. As in, the hero will control that enemy, and they will control the hero’s character. Any damage will still happen normally, so attacking your old self will only hinder you. Luckily, this is a temporary issue.
        Lastly there are the Fire Giants, which carry giant blades with them. These can be taken from them, but it’s a sort of quick-time event to do so. It is a good idea to do it though, as they will crush any enemies you come across, the giant itself included. As for its attacks, it can shoot fire in all directions o knock foes away, and shoot out fire as it swings its sword. It’s sheer size and power makes up for the lack of variety.
        Next we have Asgard. It actually only has two enemies. The Loki Troll fights with a large mace, the stealing of which should be the first priority of the hero. It can swing normally and do a jumping attack that can knock the hero over. The second enemy is actually from Mandrian’s level previously in the game, the Clay Guardian. These have more health, I believe, but less offensive power- only being able to do a quick double punch on the hero. These enemies may be underwhelming, but they make up for it with sheer numbers- more enemies appear in this level than in any other, thanks to the lack of walls.
        Last but not least, we have Skrull. The first enemies are Galactus Punishers, large and bulky fighters with a double-hitting attack and a shockwave stomp. Next is the Skrull Deviant, who has a axe slam attack, which leaves them with the weapon stuck in the ground momentarily, and a spin slash. Last we have the Commandos, who has a roll closer and punch, fire from their gun, and do… some kind of magic attack that I am not sure about. It doesn’t effect allies, it doesn’t hurt you, or heal itself. I don’t know what it does.
        And that’s it, really. I just wanted to talk about this bit of the game because the idea of playing as the villain is always fascinating to me, and in this case it makes more a lovely change of pace from the rest of the game. I hope you all enjoyed this as much as I did.

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