RELEASED: May 2, 2008
AVAILABLE ON: DS
DEVELOPER(S): Artificial Mind & Movement
I don't think anyone ever really thought of making an Iron Man game again after the commercial and critical flop that was the 1996 game Iron Man / X-O Manowar in Heavy Metal - yeah, still a cool title. There was that one low-budget Iron Man game for the Game Boy Advance, but it doesn't really count since it was just another heartless by-product of the Marvel Comics spike created by the overwhelming success of Spider-Man and X-Men, with zero advertising and low gameplay value; I'm surprised they didn't make some sort of game out of everyone on Marvel's roster at that time. Iron Man's international success just exploded upon the arrival of Jon Favreau's 2008 film, starring the already fantastic Robert Downey Jr. in his landmark role. The film was hailed as one of the greatest superhero movies ever made, even noted as one of the best films of 2008 by the American Film Institute. It originally premiered in Australia on April 14th, 2008, and in the United States on May 2nd - that very same day, three different video games were released with Sega as the publisher; one for the PC, PlayStation 2, PSP and Wii, one for PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, and finally, one for the Nintendo DS. Surprisingly, the DS version got the most credit out of the three different versions of the license... which wasn't much. The movie's greatness might help you to bear the game... but forget the movie and you've got yourself a mess a bit too close to that last X-Men game for the DS.
Stark don't approve
Billionaire weapons industrialist Tony Stark is kidnapped by terrorists during a demonstration in Afghanistan. What seems to be a random attack against any foreigners turns out a masterplan, as Tony has been targeted on purpose to build a WMD for the terrorist forces. Instead of just following up on threats, Tony starts work on a high-tech battle armor with a fellow hostage, which he then uses to escape the camp. Upon returning home to the United States, Tony ceases weapons development, much to the dismay of his devious business partner, builds a much more advanced version of the suit and begins harvesting terrorism all around the world as a colossal and witty problem solver known as Iron Man.
|Well, the first step is making a good|
game. The second is quitting with
these damn half-baked stills.
I guess the graphics are OK, nice 3D for a 2008 DS game, right up 'til horribly outlined movie stills come along to spoil what could've been a breakthrough in cutscene design. The music is of the (very) standard orchestrated fare of superhero games, there are no heavy guitars or even some variations of rock classics to be heard here. The best part about the sound is hearing Robert Downey Jr. speaking Tony's lines, at least some of them - the cutscenes are text-only. Doubled with those horrible stills, no less.
Now the first level doesn't feel all that bad, or the short periods you spend on the ground in general. Sure, the controls are bad, but not bottom-end awful. You use the touch screen for the flamethrower, but at least you can turn around by using standard controls, so you don't necessarily have to aim the flamethrower with that damn poking pad. You can also punch with Y, X, B or A instead of taking the DiScomfortable way out by poking the punch button in the left corner of the screen. After I was done with the first level, I was nearly going to give the game a lot more credit than I thought, at least a lot more than I gave X-Men - The Official Game, which mostly suffered from horrible touch screen gameplay.
|Sorry boys, my upgrades aren't ready|
for tanks. Come back next level.
The flight scenes are where the touch screen rears the ugliest of its heads. First of all, the Y, X, B and A buttons don't mean shit anymore. As long as you're using your basic, lame weapon, it works fine, but you won't hold for long with that squirt gun. The more powerful weapons have a cooldown period after each shot, and these ones you need to aim, carefully at that, before shooting them at a target. It's extremely hard to dodge from harm's way by using the standard pad and trying to aim at those targets all the while getting bombarded from every fucking direction. The enemies are quite weak, but pack 'em up and you're in trouble. Even if you do survive, you'll be hurting - Tony's shields will be back up, but your hands might be in need of medical treatment.
The numbers aren't helping Iron Man 2, but I guess I have to head into that game as soon as my playing hands have healed to take another beating, just to get this over with. Perhaps Iron Man wasn't quite the most horrible experience I've had, on the DS or in general as the on-ground gameplay's almost (and relatively) entertaining, but it goes to show that some superheroes just aren't video game material, not even at their potential best.
+ Robert Downey Jr.
+ Mediocre, yet tolerable gameplay as long as you're on ground (the minority)
- The cutscenes
- Less than mediocre and completely intolerable gameplay as long as you're in the air (the majority)
< 4.5 >