Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

Marvel Ultimate Alliance
Ultimate alliance.PNG
Developer(s)Raven Software[a]
Barking Lizards Technologies (GBA)
Publisher(s)Activision[b]
Director(s)Dan Vondrak
Designer(s)Keith Fuller
Programmer(s)Dan Edwards
Artist(s)Dan Hay
Writer(s)Robert Love
Composer(s)Mark Griskey
Chance Thomas
Cris Velasco
EngineVicarious Visions Alchemy
Platform(s)Xbox
Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 2
Xbox 360
Game Boy Advance
PlayStation Portable
Wii
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Release
Genre(s)Action role-playing
Mode(s)Single player, multiplayer

Marvel Ultimate Alliance is an action role-playing video game developed for PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox and Xbox 360 by Raven Software and published by Activision. The game was simultaneously ported to the PlayStation Portable and Wii by Vicarious Visions, and to Microsoft Windows by Beenox. A significantly different Game Boy Advance version was also created, developed by Barking Lizards Technologies. The game was initially released on October 24, 2006 in North America for most platforms, with PlayStation 3 and Wii ports following shortly thereafter, as well as international releases. The game was planned for release on Nintendo DS and GameCube, but these releases were cancelled. Japan was only able to see a Wii and PS3 release. It was released on July 26, 2016 for PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows, and on July 28, 2016 on Xbox One by Zoë Mode.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance is set within the fictional Marvel Universe and features many of the superheroes, supervillains, and supporting characters that appear in publications by Marvel Comics. Ultimate Alliance is the third Marvel title to be developed by Raven Software, and features similar gameplay to their previous Marvel titles, X-Men Legends and X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse. A sequel, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, was developed for multiple platforms by Vicarious Visions, n-Space and Savage Entertainment and released in 2009. A second sequel, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, is being developed by Team Ninja as a Nintendo Switch exclusive in 2019.

Gameplay

Players can select teams of four from a range of more than twenty-two playable characters (although some characters are not initially available and need to be unlocked), allowing them to create their own superhero teams or recreate famous teams from the publications. Bonuses are also available if forming certain groups (e.g. the Avengers, Defenders, Fantastic Four, Marvel Knights, X-Men). The game also has alternative endings, dictated by the number of optional missions the player completes. Also included are trivia, artwork, and "simulator discs", which unlock non-story related missions for characters. Each character also has a variety of costumes that offer different advantages.

Consoles, PC and PSP

The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions are virtually identical, with no major differences. Both platforms include Colossus, Moon Knight, and five additional comic book missions. Activision released eight additional downloadable characters on the Xbox 360 via the Xbox Live Marketplace on April 26, 2007 in a set of packs: a Hero Pack, consisting of Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Hawkeye, and the Hulk, and a Villain Pack, which includes Magneto, Sabretooth, Venom, and a playable Doctor Doom. Both packs are also available in a bundle pack for 800 MSP, which also adds 12 new achievements to the game.[4] The Gold Edition was released for the Xbox 360 in May 2007 which includes the standard game bundled with all downloadable content.[5] The Platinum Hits version was released for the Xbox 360 in September 2007. The set includes all the Gold Edition of the game and a bonus DVD.[6] As of December 2009, the DLC was removed from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace by Activision, meaning the only way to play as the downloadable characters was to purchase the Gold Edition or the Platinum Hits version. The Xbox 360 Games on Demand version now bundles the full game with all previously downloadable content.[7]

The Wii version has a few features unique to its version including specific motion-sensitive controls for normal moves, motion-sensitive controlled special attacks (the attacks are unique for each character, but not the motions), and access to any special move at any time. This version contains no online play but has a local multiplayer mode in which up to four players may play at once. It also features the characters Colossus and Moon Knight, as well as five additional comic book missions.

The PC version is customizable, and many characters (including those exclusive to all other versions) and their modifications can be obtained from community sites for play within the game.[8] The PC version's graphics vary depending on the customization of a user's settings. The PC version also features "intuitive mouse controls" and works with a gamepad.[9] A number of custom characters (including Jean Grey, Psylocke, Scarlet Witch, War Machine, Vision, Dazzler, and Punisher) are available.[8] The re-release version of the game which came to Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows via Steam initially released without the DLC featured originally on Xbox 360. On August 30, 2016 an updated was released on these three systems which contained the eight downloadable characters previously featured on the Xbox 360.

The PSP version features simplified graphics, different characters, and extra features including the four exclusive playable Marvel characters Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Hawkeye, and Ronin.[10] Other things unique to this version are 6 exclusive comic book missions including one which contains Swordsman, an exclusive prequel mission, and three exclusive single-player gameplay modes.[11] Added features include online play, microphone support (voice chat), and online-recordable player statistics.[11] The PlayStation 2 version of the game has the same features as the next-gen versions of the game, albeit without Colossus, Moon Knight and the five bonus simulator missions. In August 2007, a Greatest Hits version was released which included a bonus DVD containing a making-of featurette. The Xbox version of the game has no changes from the standard PlayStation 2 edition. However it is possible to play as Colossus and Moon Knight via a glitch which can be accessed through a series of steps.[12]

Game Boy Advance

The Game Boy Advance version of Ultimate Alliance features significant differences from the other console versions. Most notably, the basic gameplay takes the form of a side-scrolling fighting game with minor RPG elements, such as the ability to alter the player characters' stats. The graphics are simplified for this system and the selection of characters has also been reduced. Some additional gameplay modes were added into this version of the game including a S.H.I.E.L.D. Simulator, Time Challenges, Scavenger Hunts, and a Survival mode.[13] Teams for this port consist of three characters and a striker, a non-playable fourth character who can be summoned to perform a powerful attack directed toward on-screen enemies.[13]