No. not ‘The-Arcade: Ireland’s premiere source for news, reviews and all things geek and gamer‘, I’m talking about the creepy Marvel comics C-list villain, Arcade. The story kicks off in Uncanny X-Men issue #123 coming to us from legendary X-Men scribes Chris Claremont and John Bryne in 1979.
Like all good stories, this one begins with The Amazing Spider-Man swinging through New York, worrying over his personal finances and fretting about a date. Classic. On his journey however, Spidey spots Colleen Wing and Cyclops and says a quick hello. Scott and Colleen are naturally unaware that they’re being spied on by one of Arcade’s minions though, which makes it all the more sweeter when said minion uses (and I’m not kidding) “a specially rigged garbage” truck to capture them. Having overheard the whole thing, Spidey realizes it’s none other than the dastardly Arcade, albeit a little too late. Ralizing that Arcade might be after the rest of the X-Men, Spidey decides to try to get in touch with them.
The Wall-Crawler’s hunch proves to be true, as Nightcrawler, Colossus and their dates are all gassed and taken prisoner, Poor ole’ Wolverine (who never seems to catcha break like EVER) is also roped into Arcade’s shenanigans and kidnapped by his lackey Ms. Chambers. As for Arcade himself, he decides to break into the X-Mansion personally and deal with Storm and Banshee with his trusty tranq-gun. So Spidey eventually calls the school only to have Arcade answer the phone and tell him he’s too late. Now trapped in a glass cage of emotion, Spidey smashes his way out of the phone booth in a blind rage.
When the X-Men come to, they find themselves in uniform (creepy) and placed in giant glass pinballs. Arcade introduces himself before sending the team on their way through his gigantic booby-trapped pinball machine. Having litterally been bounced and bashed around for a bit, each one falls down a different slot, dividing the X-Men into a different rooms. Cyclops lands in a room where he has to make the classic “three doors” choice. You know the one, as Arcade says; “You have three doors — one’s a way out — the other two lead to horrible deaths. The choice is yours.” Proving everyones opinion of him, Cyclops elect to do… nothing. Realizing Cyclops is literally too boring to die though, Arcade decides to motivate him a little, and sets the walls in to crush the one eyed X-Man.
But hey, it could be worse, Colossus ends up in a room where he is interrogated by a robot, disguised as a KGB agent named Alexi Vazhin who plays on Colossus’s loyalty to Russia while powerful blinlky hypnotic lights confuse him. Wolverine however ends up in a hall of mirrors where his warped refelctions seem to come to life (sort of, they’re robots)… and try to kill him. Poor Nightcrawler though is stuck in a room where he’s chased by remote control cars suped up with chainsaws. Arcade doesn’t do subtle. Banshee, still unable to use his powers, is trapped in a holographic simulation of World War II, with REAL jets. And last but not least, Storm finds herself trapped in a dark room with water flooding in. So as all this does wonders for her claustrophobia, she tries blasting her way out with lightning, onto to have it bounce back and smack her her in the face. Ouch.
Cyclops meanwhile decides hes’s STILL not to choosing any of the doors and finally blasts through one of the walls with his face lazer. This clears a path into the hall of mirrors and interupts Logan’s ‘theraphy’ as Cyke smashes a bunch of the replicating mirrors. Dividing untold years of bad luck between them, Cyclops and Wolverine destroy the last of them and the two X-Men head naively for the exit door, only to be attacked by Colossus who’s now brainwashed into thinking that he’s a Russian loyalist called the Proletarian. Those must have been some serious strobes. From Arcade’s control room, the X-Men’s dates, restrained in creepy present shaped harnesses can now only watch as Arcade howls with laughter at having Colossus under his control. The story is continued next issue, in Uncanny X-Men #124…
Ok technically no, Spider-Man saved no one. He watched Cyclops get kidnapped by a bin truck and did nothing to help, But he did make a phone call after and as crazy and quirky as this seems, the story went on to inspire one of the more challenging Arcade video game crossovers around, Spider-Man & The X-Men: Arcade’s Revenge. In this game, Spider-Man does save the X-Men. Sadly however the game itself is… not great. Released in 1992 for Super Nintendo, and then later for Game Boy, the Sega Game Gear and Sega Mega Drive. The game let you play as Spider-Man, Storm, Wolverine, Cyclops and Gambit. Sadly however due to its wonky and confusing controls it’s best remembered as just being frustrating more than anything else.
Have you played it? Let us know in the comments!