Marvel Ultimate Alliance

aka: Marvel La Grande Alleanza
Moby ID: 25209
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

Dr. Doom has united supervillains as the Masters of Evil. Now for the first time ever, over 20 Marvel superheroes including Spider-Man, Captain America, Wolverine, Ghost Rider, Blade and Silver Surfer have come together to stop Doom. Mix and match your choice of Marvel superheroes, in teams of four as you travel across the Marvel Universe to stop this threat. Certain teams such as The Fantastic Four and The New Avengers provide additional bonuses.

Some heroes must be unlocked first. The game also features RPG elements, such as leveling up. When a hero gains a level, they earn points you can use to upgrade their skills. You also collect Shield Coins, which can be spent on boosts for your hero team.

You explore various legendary Marvel locales, from Asgard, to Prince Namor's Atlantis, where you take on foes with punches, kicks and super powers. Super powers drain energy, however, so use them wisely. Combos can be achieved by combining super powers. Energy is restored by collecting blue orbs from fallen foes.

Boss battles are like the comics themselves: titanic battles that often not only test brawn but your brain as well. With over 20 playable heroes plus all the cameos, there are over 100 heroes and villains.

The game modes feature either single player, co-op, or online play. In general, Marvel Ultimate Alliance's gameplay can be considered an improved version of 2004's X-Men: Legends. The different versions are fairly identical. The PSP release has three more game modes, while Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 have additional levels.

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351 People (303 developers, 48 thanks) · View all

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 78% (based on 69 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 69 ratings with 3 reviews)

The World's Largest Group Of SuperHeroes Is At Your Disposal, Don't Muck It Up!

The Good
Following the success of X-men Legends, and its sequel, X-men Legends II: The Rise Of Apocalypse. Raven, and publisher Activision, have teamed up again to bring us Marvel Ultimate Alliance. With nearly the entire Marvel Universe at the gamer’s disposal, could MUA be the greatest superhero RPG ever made?

“Avengers Assemble!”

In Marvel Ultimate Alliance, the nefarious Dr. Doom has, formed, “The Masters Of Evil”. With Victor Von Doom at the helm, they plan to take over the world, and destroy the Marvel Super Heroes once and for all.

Meanwhile Colonel Nick Fury, of S.H.I.E.L.D. has brought together: Captain America, Spider-Man, Thor, and Wolverine.(And that is just the tip of the heroes at your fingertips.-MM) To counter the menace of Von Doom.

From the get go, you have about ten heroes to choose from and form a group of four. As the game progresses, you will be able to unlock more and more heroes to join your motley crew.(From a pool of over 20!-MM-) Some heroes you only have to encounter to join up. Others will take special requirements. Which range from rescuing them from peril, or finding hidden figurines of the character.

The quest will span various Marvel locals, from Tony “Iron Man” Stark’s tower, to the depths of Mephisto’s Realm to the heights of the Watchers citadel.

The game is split into acts. In each there are an allotted amount of missions. Anywhere from 2-5. In each act, you have a central hub to explore. Or have a chat with other non-playable inhabitants of Marvel Earth. Such as: Black Widow, or Hank Pym, AKA Ant/Giant Man.(Among others.-MM-) There are side-quest’s you can take from NPC’s. As well as a trivia game to play, in order to win additional experience points. Or find, and look at some hidden artwork, in the form of “sketch books”.

“Excelsior!”-Stan Lee-

With your team of heroes, you will of course have to do battle with tons of baddies, including super-villains. The battle/leveling system is basically a refined version of that found in the two X-Men Legends games. For those unfamiliar with those games, I will go over it….now.

In battle you basically have a strong/weak attack. Be it punches or kicks. You can grab foes and throw them, or beat the crap outta them. Jumping, aside from the expected result also allows you to perform a diving attack. Chaining weak/strong attacks, from combos, and will more often than not, finish off a foe faster. There are also super-powers at your disposal. From defensive ones, to attacks. Spidey’s web-shooters, and Silver Surfer’s cosmic bolts, to name a few. Heroes can also chain super-powers together. To create even more devastating attacks! With over 20 possible heroes, there is a megaton of combos available. Each superhero, also has an ultimate super-move. These are best saved for super-villains as they do massive damage, and are something to look at as well. Speaking of super villains.

Fights with drones are fun enough. But where the game really shines is during combat with a super-villain. These range from taking on Rhino, or Black Heart, to huge villains: (Literally and figuratively.-MM-) such as Galactus, and Dr. Doom. These battles like those found in the comic books are titanic battles. That not only test brawn but brains as well. As in many of these battles you must make use of a certain strategy in order to win the battle. For instance, when it is time to do battle with Galactus, the Silver Surfer will come you your aid. Playing as the “Sky rider Of The Space Ways”. You then have to successfully complete Shenmue-esque QTE’s. (Or whatever they are called in MUA.-MM-)

Experience Points or EXP is gathered and used as in most RPGS. However in MUA, it is a little different. EXP orbs are dropped by defeated enemies. Including bosses. When enough is gathered to level up, you can distribute points to power up moves. You cannot alter HP, Strength, etc, those stats as in most console RPGS are unalterable. But you can find items that raise DEX and so forth by plus 1. Superheroes not being used earn experience also, so that they do not fall too far behind.(Why can’t more RPGS adopt this?-MM-) You can also equip various items to boost stats. Speaking of boosts.

Forming certain teams also adds stat boosts. Teams such as The Fantastic Four, The New Avengers, etc. Another cool feature used in MUA, is special dialogue that can be viewed. For example if you have Spider-Man in your group and you encounter Mystero there will be banter between the two of them, that you would not see otherwise.

Other nice unlockables include alternate costumes for your heroes. These are gained by using a said hero. The various suits themselves, four for each hero. Can be assigned points to further boost the characters. There is also artwork to unlock, side-missions. Lots of great stuff.

The ending of the game. Is done very well. As seen in Arcanum: Of Steamworks And Magick Obscura. There is a general ending, plus the game shows you all the differences your superheroes made in the Marvel Universe. The first play you may miss some events. The more you do the better your ending will be. Which helps add to replay value. As does the kicking online modes.

Sound + The Vision

The graphics is MUA, are also based on the graphics engine seen in X-Men Legends. Only they are NOT cell-shaded. Thankfully. As cell-shaded graphics are over used in games today. Hell one of the only games it looked good in was Sega’s Jet Grind Radio games.

MUA gives us fully 3D characters and areas. As well as some nice matte-painting quality flat or static backdrops. Great lighting effects abound as well. In the end the graphics really capture the look of the Marvel license without making use of the overused cell-shading.

High quality sound and music also helps sell the game. The music is epic and fit’s the subject matter very well. The sound effects are also top-quality.

The voice acting was also a top priority of Raven’s list. As we have come to expect form the developer. Great voiceovers. There are even a few celebrities thrown into the mix.

The Bad
Evil Machinations

All is not well in MUA. I think that there could have been more playable heroes. Where is The Hulk? The Punisher? Just to name two. I understand that it would have been impossible to include EVERY SINGLE superhero. Here’s hoping for a sequel with more!

The fact that the ending is based on what you accomplished is awesome. But as with Arcanum it may piss off some people.

There are no healing potions in the game. Instead you heal by collecting orbs from fallen foes. Yet if you have a hero near death they will most likely not last long enough to be healed. This is more of a problem during boss fights. At least resurrecting heroes is free, unlike X-Men Legends.



The Bottom Line
“Save This City. Save It From The Hands Of Destruction.”-Lyrics from Spider-Man Vs. The Kingpin, Sega CD-

Marvel Ultimate Alliance, in the end is the better game when compared with the X-Men Legends franchise. Arguably this could be one of the if not THE greatest superhero game ever made!

Marvel fans HAVE to play this game. After all can you really pass up the chance to save the Marvel Universe?

Xbox · by MasterMegid (723) · 2007

Excelsior!

The Good
There have been a lot of games in the Marvel universe. According to MobyGames, eighty-nine as of this writing, seventy-eight of which predated this game. However, all the previous games had been lacking something. That something was Thor. For that matter, pretty much any character who isn't Spider-Man or one of the more prominent X-Men has been severely under represented. Thor is a constant feature of The Avengers and is hardly obscure, yet he'd never been playable before, even in Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. In fact, this is the first playable appearance for six out of the basic twenty-five characters. Plus, there are well over one hundred NPCS and a dozen locations, all drawn from Marvel comics. The sheer variety is one of the game's best features.

Not only do you get twenty-five characters (thirty-three if you’ll shell out an extra 800 MS points or buy the gold edition), but each of them have four different outfits (except Silver Surfer and Moon Knight). It’s like a tour of Marvel history.

The game is also a bit long by action standards (though short by RPG standards), weighing in around ten hours. At least, that’s longish these days. That estimate is just to beat the game on normal. There's more to do after that. You'll still have costumes to unlock, a hard mode to play and lots of characters to try out in search of unique conversations.

This was a pretty decent game on PlayStation 2, but the 360 adds even more. You get four new simulator missions and two extra characters, Moon Knight and Colossus, each of whom have their own powers and unlockable costumes. This means unlike some of the other platforms, you can put together a complete team of X-Men. In addition, you can purchase some of the characters conspicuously missing from previous versions, such as Hulk, to bring the roster up to an amazing thirty-three. Nothing else in the genre can rival that number expect maybe the LEGO Star Wars games.

This isn't just filler, either. All the characters are unique. Hulk doesn't play like Thing despite their similar powers, nor are there any duds. While some characters can be a bit more useful than others (flying is really handy), all of them get the job done once you learn what their powers do.

This is all put to good use. There are four characters out at any given time, with the AI filling in for any missing humans. When one of your party members knows an NPC they run into, there is generally a unique conversation with full voice-over. Some of these are rather humorous. I particularly like Dr. Doom's showdown with himself at the end of the game. You can also join characters up into teams, which get various bonuses. For instance, if you select all four members of the Fantastic Four, you get a 20 health per KO bonus. You don't have to choose an established Marvel team, though. Picking all women will get you Femme Fatale for a 5% damage bonus. There are more than thirty teams to find.

After selecting your team, you fight. You wander through 3D environments and punch and kick hordes of enemies. You also can hold down a modifier button to use your superpowers. Some of these are buffs and some are attacks and they are all unique to each character. Storm has weather-based attacks, Nick Fury has guns, Human Torch has fire attacks and so on. Since this is an RPG, as you defeat enemies (and do other things to get bonus xp) you level up, which gets you points to spend on improving your powers. Since this is a very simplified RPG, the game will assign points for you if you like and you can rearrange them at any time.

Standard attacks build a meter that, when full, can be used for a special extreme attack. Each character has a unique and visually flashy attack that does considerable damage. If more than one character has their meter filled, they all use their attack. This great for killing bosses and crowds and the meter fills quickly enough that you aren't afraid to use it when the opportunity strikes.

Each character (except Moon Knight) has four costumes. The second and third are unlocked by defeating enemies. The fourth is generally unlocked by beating a special side mission. The discs can be found lying around the levels. The costumes pull from all over Marvel history and chances are any you wanted are here. Each costume can be upgraded with cash that is acquired by defeating enemies and smashing barrels. It will have defense and two other attributes you can spend on.

Sound is cool. There's plenty of voice acting, which is mostly good, and the sound effects, while they seem to come from popular libraries, get the job done.

The Bad
There's so much in this game that you start commenting about what got left out. Where's Punisher? It's good to have Hulk added, but where is his rogues gallery? Where's She-Hulk, for that matter? Why don't you go to the Savage Land?

A wise man once said "punch, kick: it's all in the mind." That's also a good summary of MUA's gameplay. Most of the game is spent walking around hitting ABA, AAB and similar combinations. The powers are cool, but there is very little depth. So far, I haven't had to develop any more advanced tactics and I'm well into hard mode.

The game's main selling point seems to be excess. There are loads of characters, costumes and everything you could want. Unfortunately, the mechanics discourage you from using them. You have to form a team of four characters and your team can gain experience for fighting together which gets you team bonuses. What's the point of having thirty-three characters if you're supposed to pick four and stick with them and lose bonuses for not using your team and are penalized for changing its roster? (Though, to be fair, you can have more than four team members, but you are still penalized if you don't pick a small subset.) The costumes are fairly expensive to upgrade at high levels, and the cash is spent permanently, so again you are given lots of options, but not really allowed to explore them.

The four-costume concept doesn't really work for all the characters, anyway. Any of the X-Men have changed costumes so many times you'll have to leave half of them out (no Weapon X for Wolverine, for instance). Iron Man is the same way. Spider-Man's costume has been the same since introduction, but he's had lots of one-shot variants. On the other hand, the less marquee characters show serious signs of padding. Spider-Woman uses alternate characters who don't even have the same powers in the comics for two of her unlocks and a couple of Daredevil's are all but identical.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance's second selling point is four-player co-op. It is a major improvement in implementation over the X-Men Legends series, but does have some serious implementation problems. Most of these come down to that you are always essentially tagging along in one player's game. When playing single-player, one player logs in under their profile. Other players can't join in with their own profiles, meaning no achievements for them. You also can't take two players on a single Xbox 360 online. In the online games, everyone is playing the host's game. They can use characters and costumes they unlocked, but nothing else of your individual work is carried over. I can understand how the game requires level parity among characters, but there had to be a better way to handle this and the profile issues were entirely doable. The result is 80% of online games never get out of the second level.

Also, when online, all characters must stay on the same screen. That is, all players are seeing the same thing. Essentially, it's just like if you were all using the same TV, only you aren't. I can understand the need for a mechanic that keeps players from splitting up, but this method means that you may find yourself stuck behind stairs unable to go around because the end is off the screen. This happened to me fighting MODOK once and the rest of my team died because they didn't have Hulk to help them. Then, Hulk really couldn't manage by himself, either.

Some conversation situations aren't handled properly. Just in the first act, Hank Pym was referring to Captain America in the third person despite the fact he was talking to Captain America, ditto Black Widow and Mr. Fantastic. Colossus and Moon Knight don't have any unique conversations, which was disappointing. While all the basic characters and normal unlocks fit into the story of the game several of the purchased characters and special unlocks will meet themselves or otherwise not make sense in context. In itself, this isn't a problem. It's dealt with brilliantly in the case of Doctor Doom. However, you also have Hulk meeting Bruce Banner and saying nothing, Nick Fury staring himself down eye-patch to eyeball numerous times without blinking and Nightcrawler not noticing the difficult choice of saving his other self or someone else.

The AI can be a bit dodgy at times. While it can keep itself alive in combat, it isn't as good at avoiding environmental hazards. I had several teammates who died because they couldn't run from a crushing wall fast enough and also occasionally had them get caught in spinning blade traps or jump into the abyss.

There are a few bugs here and there. For instance, if you call for a portal while standing next to a barrier, it may appear on the other side. Then, you have to walk all the way back to an access point or wait for the timer to run out so you can use the portal again. You also have the all-too-common problem of characters who get stuck in scenery.

The Bottom Line
Many of those problems are nitpicks, but a few are significant. Fans of Marvel comics will love this game because there's so much Marvel in it. If you know who Beta Ray Bill is and are giddy at the prospect of unlocking him, this is the game for you. If you have three friends who want to play through with you, this is also an excellent choice. However, if your knowledge of Marvel is limited to being able to point out which one is Spider-Man, you'll probably get bored long before you finish.

Xbox 360 · by Ace of Sevens (4479) · 2009

You hold the power of Asgard in your hands

The Good
There have been Marvel video games ever since 1982, when Atari owners guided a red and blue stick figure up something that vaguely resembled a building and pretended it was Spider-Man. There have been dozens of games since then with Marvel, or at least Spider-Man and the X-Men well represented on every generation of gaming hardware. Other characters haven't necessarily fared as well. Here we have twenty-seven Marvel heroes, eight of whom have never been playable in a video game before.

Ultimate Alliance is an exercise in Marvelous excess. You meet over a hundred NPCs, go to about twenty locations and generally get a tour of most of the Marvel Universe. You have trivia games, alternate costumes, team building, loads of dialogue, including unique conversation between characters that know each other and so on. It's also great for four-player fun, though less-so on the PSP now that the online servers are down. You would need friends with their own PSPs and copies of the game. I won't repeat everything I said in my Xbox 360 review.

The PSP gets a bunch of exclusive new content, perhaps to make up for being graphically the weakest version. You get four new characters, online stat-tracking (now down), several new simulator missions including a new survival category and three new game modes.

The characters are Hawkeye, Ronin, Captain Marvel and Black Widow, all of whom have been under-represented, if represented at all in previous games. This means the PSP comes with more characters than any other version save the gold edition on Xbox 360, which came out a lot later. Unlike the exclusive characters on other platforms, all of them have their own set of comic missions added and Hawkeye's contains a new villain: Swordsman.

The new survival missions are pretty cool. You pick a character, then get dropped into constantly spawning enemies and see how long you live. It's not as great without the online records, but they are great for leveling and unlocking costumes. Luckily, since you don't exactly beat these, you aren't required to get them to unlock Silver Surfer as the Act 2 one seems nigh-impossible to find.

The new modes are uber-hero, where you only play one character at a time instead of four, but their abilities are maxed out, hardcore, where dead characters stay dead and hardcore squad, where dead characters stay dead and you can't swap your roster around.

The Bad
While it's not the game's fault, the PSP is the least powerful platform MUA was released on (except GBA, but that wasn't really the same game) and suffers for it. For the most part, it doesn't look worse than other PSP games other than perhaps being too ambitious. However, there are some odd glitches, like white seems at polygon edges, and the game suddenly chugging while it loads for no apparent reason.

This also seems to be the buggiest version. At one point, Ronin, who can't fly, was left walking about 20 feet above the ground. For some reason, Hawkeye, Ronin and and Captain Marvel had no extreme moves until I used them in comic book missions, even though they were way past the levels where they were supposed to get them. Sometimes, my team would stand around picking their noses instead of helping me fight. Spider-Man occasionally decided to do a back-flip instead of his extreme move. The normally nigh-unkillable Wolverine became completely unkillable and couldn't take damage when I was doing survival once. I eventually fell to my death and held the record for survival on that map online. It suffers from many of the same problems as the other versions, too. Your allies can stay alive okay for the most part, but aren't very good at navigation. Mr. Fantastic nearly died against a spinning blade trap while I was playing hardcore mode and Dr. Strange did die when all my characters got stuck in a corner while fighting Grey Gargoyle.

The new content sounds great, but most of it suffers from half-assed implementation. None of the new comic book missions have any voice-over. All the others do. While Black Widow and Ronin are incorporated into various teams, Hawkeye and Captain Marvel aren't. Hawkeye should at the very least be in Avengers and weapon specialists as he is the the Xbox 360 version and Captain Marvel should be in air force, power platoon and alternate identities. Also, unlike the Xbox version, Hawkeye has a very weak extreme attack.

Uber-hero mode is far too uber for its own good. Instead of a team of four characters, you only have one, but they are level 99 and have their attributes maxed. This seems like a trade-off that could still make for an interesting game. This would be incorrect. Your uber-hero is considerably more powerful than your normal four heroes combined. I let three fire giants and two leapers mob Ghost Rider, who's one of the weaker characters as far as defense goes, and was unable to lose even a single pixel of health.

Hardcore mode is clearly just tacked on without rally being thought through. Characters don't some much stay dead if they die as stay dead if they die and then you save. If your whole squad dies, you are just restored at the last save point with everyone intact. If they have made the game auto-save on character death, or at least had you respawn at the last save point with all dead characters still dead if you lost everyone, this mode might be meaningful, but it isn't.

Speaking of extra content, clearly Moon Knight and Colossus were meant to be in this game and were cut at the last minute to get us to buy multiple versions. (I suppose it worked. I have this one and the 360.) They are selectable through a glitch and are more-or-less fully functional with unlockable costumes, team memberships and such. Half the new PSP characters don't even have team memberships. Here we have a game based on a broad swath of the Marvel universe which is based around building teams and you can't even play as Marvel's best-known team, the X-Men, outside a bug exploit in certain simulator missions because you only have three of them. It's ludicrous.

The Bottom Line
This remains a decent game and some of the new content is good, despite implementation problems. It definitely loses a lot just by losing the feature of having three friends sit on the couch with you and all playing together, but that wasn't really doable on this platform. The gameplay remains repetitive. I gave up on playing through all mode about one act into hardcore. It's good for a fan of Marvel minutia, but RPG enthusiasts will find the character-building elements oversimplified. If you know that both Natalia Romanova and Yelena Bolova have gone by the name Black Widow and are excited about the prospect of getting to play as both, this is a good game for you. Otherwise, you may be better off with another game or one of the other platforms.

PSP · by Ace of Sevens (4479) · 2009

Discussion

Subject By Date
Whither Murderworld? Ace of Sevens (4479) Jul 4, 2008
PC version - mult players on same machine? grimbergen (433) Jun 29, 2008

Trivia

Characters

Some versions have exclusive unlockable characters. PSP has Hawkeye, Ronin, Black Widow and Captain Marvel while Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 have Moon Knight and Colossus. These characters do not appear on other platforms.

On April 26, 2007 additional characters for the Xbox 360 version were released on Xbox Live Marketplace. There was a hero pack with Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Hulk and Hawkeye and a villain pack with Dr. Doom, Sabertooth, Venom and Magneto or a pack with all eight at a reduced price. A Gold Edition was released with all the additional content on the disc.

References

In the game, the character Weasel asks the player to find out which of two hackers is trustworthy to help him hack into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s computer files for the player. The correct answer is C. B. Cebulski, who in real life is credited as the "Marvel Consultant" for Raven Software on this game.

Awards

  • GameSpy
    • 2006 – #5 Wii Game of the Year
    • 2006 – Wii Action Game of the Year
    • 2011 – #4 Top Superhero PC Game

Information also contributed by Benjamin Jones.

Analytics

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by MasterMegid.

Xbox One, PlayStation 4 added by mars_rulez.

Additional contributors: Ace of Sevens, DreinIX, Cantillon, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, Rik Hideto.

Game added November 29, 2006. Last modified May 14, 2024.