Marvel and Playdom’s popular Facebook game Marvel Avengers Alliance has held several special missions since it launched, but I think this latest one may be my favorite.
The game, which has been around since early 2012, allows players to control a SHIELD agent and team up with various Marvel characters, sending them on the hunt for silver as they fight through the ranks of Marvel’s baddest villains. In addition to the regular game, players are also treated to special limited-time operations every so often, which are sometimes based on storylines from the comics — recent ones drew from "Dark Reign" and Infinity.
And as cool as the Infinity one was (it introduced Thane before the comic did), the current one can be summed up in one word: Arcade. Ok, two words: Murderworld!
Inspired in part by Marvel's Avengers Arena comic, the mission sees Arcade putting up a barrier around New York (featuring his own gigantic face) and declaring it the new Murderworld. He breaks up your team into groups -- heroes and "villains" -- and tells them if they want out, they'll have to battle to the death. For each round, you choose which side you want to play, with each chapter featuring a different set of characters. For instance, the first chapter sees heroes like Hulk, Hawkeye and Daredevil taking on Red Hulk, Moonstone and Elektra, while chapter two pits Emma Frost's good mutants against Magneto's "evil" mutants. The final chapter sees the mystical heroes going at it with their villainous counterparts, which is where this mission's reward hero -- Runaway Nico Minoru -- comes into play.
Although I'm not quite done with it myself, there are several reasons why this one has stood out from previous missions. One, of course, is Arcade and the whole Murderworld concept. As a longtime fan of the X-Men, I may have a slight bias, but he seems to lend himself very well to a game like this. It also helps that his part has been extremely well written, bringing his psychotically entertaining personality to life in the game. Second is the choice you have for each operation -- want to go the hero route, or would you rather play as villains? The game has slowly been allowing you to recruit various villains -- ok, actually villains who have crossed the line between good and evil in their careers, like Elektra, Magneto, Constrictor and Juggernaut -- for awhile, and it's cool to see them put to use like this. Third is the boss fights they've thrown in this time, which let you unlock a second character, Moonstone. By visiting your friends (and yes, it's a Facebook game, so you know there's some sort of social aspect going on) you get to fight a supped-up Arcade, a la the guy we saw in Avengers Arena. These fights have been a lot of fun, as he floats around with a psychotic smile on his face and throws giant pinballs at you.
I've still got several tasks to do before I finish, but bravo to the team who put this one together -- Murderworld truly is a lovely place to die.