By Lex Eskobar
Tony Stark makes you feel he’s a cool exec with a heart of steel. But, as Iron Man, all jets ablaze. Or at least they’re supposed to be. Sega’s latest movie to game release is a step in the right direction but does it truly make you feel like the man in the technologically advanced iron mask?
Released the same day as the Iron Man motion picture, Iron Man the game plays out in an alternate reality and with a much broader story, however, the extra plot doesn’t always feel logical or important enough to merit the addition.
Graphically, Iron Man is in a good place on the next-gen consoles; Tony’s armor is nice and shiny and the levels have enough detail to make them look very realistic. Also, the suit gets damaged as you take hits and that is a nice touch.
The levels are also quite large which aids the flying in the game as it gives a sense of open area combat and maneuverability. The audio is decent, using music that sounds like the score from the film (admittedly, I am not sure if it is or not.)
Unfortunately, Iron Man starts to lose altitude when it comes to the game’s controls and overall feel. As far as game controls go, Iron Man is all over the place. Understandably, Sega wants you to feel like you are controlling a superhero and they attempted to give players use of the majority of Iron Man’s abilities. The problem is the controller is making use of every button, and in some cases you are being asked to press buttons halfway down rather than all the way, doubling the button’s functionality. Many times, I found myself hitting the wrong buttons at crucial moments in the game.
The feel of the game is another problem. Iron Man is a heavy metal kind of dude, but in this game he feels absolutely weightless. Whether it’s on the ground or in the air, Iron Man feels like he is just a placeholder being pulled along fully rendered maps taken from the movie. Bionic Commando on the NES had more weight to him than Tony does in his latest adventure.
The levels are ridiculously difficult with tons of enemies firing at you from all sides. The targeting system is quite awkward and doesn’t truly lock on to anybody. Rather than hitting a button to lock on, you have to move your target cursor onto an enemy and then stop moving to stay locked on before you fire a weapon. The melee combat is a total waste of time since you are constantly taking damage from missiles, guns and various other weapons. Your best bet is to stay airborne and at a safe distance, constantly firing missiles at everything and everyone. The game does reward you for saving civilians but there is basically no penalty for failing to do so. So, if you want to advance to the next stage fast, your best bet is just to engage the enemies.
This game is a step in the right direction but Sega really needs to address some issues before they make another Iron Man game. Having played some awesome games in the past that featured the Red and Gold guy, I know it can be done. I would have liked to see a battle with the Hulk, since the Hulkbuster armor is available in the game. I also would have enjoyed some space combat. The game’s difficulty also lowered my enjoyment. Thankfully when you die, you come right back to life and don’t have to start from the beginning of a stage.
This game makes for a good weekend rental but beyond that I would recommend saving your money for that next bag of green and maybe a different game. I am giving Iron Man 1 out of 5 pot leaves.