Hey Rocket ManWhen the "Iron Man" video game was released in May, I wasn't looking forward to it. It seemed like that there were a ton of superhero movies coming out, meaning that a slew of video games would soon follow. Unfortunately, most of these titles are either bad or even worse. I had hoped "Iron Man" would be different. Well, it is. It might not be entirely successful (to say the least), but Sega's adaptation at least tries to escape the usual formula. Instead of just a regular beat-em-up or a poorly thought out open-world adventure, Sega gives us a game that has parts of some really above- level games like "Battlefield," "Ace Combat 6" and "Hulk Ultimate Destruction." This sounds like the making of a great game, but don't get too excited. While Iron Man's shiny red and gold metal plating armor isn't riddled with the usual malfunctions, it still has a lot of flaws.
Some of the flaws are apparent right from the start. After the first cut scene, the game kick starts into arms tycoon Tony Stark's escape from a Middle Eastern terrorist compound in his prototype metal suit. It's a sub-par level that rapidly exposes the worst aspects of the game like fiddly controls, a loose targeting system and repetitive fighting animations. To make things worse, you're tethered to the ground and surrounded by canyon walls for the duration. It can be understood why some of the game's various issues proved difficult to solve. With the likes of hovering, flying, close-combat abilities and three different weapons systems to control, there was bound to be a bit of trouble getting it all mapped onto a controller. Sega's approach makes the game very difficult to come to grips with. For the first hour or so you'll struggle with the basics of flying and hovering. With more time after you'll still find it hard to keep fast moving targets in your sights. Gamers looking for a simple and casual game won't like this at all.
The second level isn't much better. You're out in the city trying out your suit and beating up on drones when the new, peace-loving Stark Industries is attacked by one of your old foes. Defeating troops, tanks and drones is like playing a scratched CD; it grows pretty tiresome. To top it off, the helicopter gunship that passes as a boss is just a big yawn. By this point, it seems like you might just write off "Iron Man." By the third level, however, something clicks into place. Instead of a small map, you get a large desert battlefield with several enemy installations guarding caches of stolen Stark weapons. There are more defensive emplacements to destroy and tanks to battle, and the missions begin to feel like more epic. In a bigger playing field, the game begins to find its feet; the scale of the destruction and the focus on flight seems to make sense. There's even a tactical element that allows players to work their way through the defenses when they engage targets. The following levels, with assaults on enemy strongholds and a formidable flying fortress run along similar lines. With this, Iron Man seems to somewhat redeem itself, coming across as less than a total disaster.
Still, "Iron Man" is too complex for the casual audience that laps up comic book movies and too unpolished for the more hardcore gamer who might enjoy the open battlefield style of game play. As a result, it's hard to imagine anyone buying this game would come away satisfied.
This Iron Man belongs in the scrap heap. Besides, it's a shame that a game can make Gwyneth Paltrow look so unattractive.
Iron Man★★✩✩✩Rated- T for Teen. Publisher- Sega
Platform- Playstation 2 and 3, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, PC Retail- $29.99-$59.99