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Iron Man (PC)

Iron Man (PC)

One of this year’s biggest movies is set to be Iron Man starring Robert Downey Jr. and of course with a blockbuster this size comes the obligatory game tie in. Unfortunately while the film is entertaining and fun, the game ends up a mish-mash of instantly forgettable proportions.

You are cast as Shellhead and there are around 14 levels containing characters which were not in the movie such as Controller and Whiplash. Equally so, the game plot has very few similarities with the movie and when you combine this with the appalling audio quality it is a less than satisfying escapade.

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One of the key elements of both movie and game is the Iron Man suit, and you have access to the configuration before each mission. There are power systems, auxiliary systems, weapons, mobility enhancements and repulsors at your disposal. All of these improvements are unlocked by earning money as you progress in the game. While playing the game, the mechanics are simple, you press the D-pad and then distribute power from your heart to make one key aspect of the Iron Man repertoire more powerful, for example if you want to deliver more killing power you can enhance the weaponry systems. The same principle can be applied for speed, health regeneration and a plethora of other facets.

So far the game sounds actually quite appealing, and if I hadn’t already played it extensively I would agree (who says we guys have an easy job?!). Let me make it clear, this game is appallingly bad. Before every level you are treated to a shoddy cutscene reminiscent of the Playstation 2 era, this is followed up by a brief introduction to the coming battle. Objectives appear on screen, you deal with them, more appear, you deal with them, level ends. Watch and repeat, well until the will to live becomes secondary. Couple this with the fact that every level is without a checkpoint system and that you are constantly attacked by swarms of respawning enemies and you can begin to see why I loathe it so much. The secondary objectives also appear to be virtually impossible to complete, so it is quite often easier letting millions of people die when a nuke is fired so you can take out the (primary objective) bad guy to complete the level. I hardly sound like an awe inspiring hero to legions of kids across the world, but let me explain.

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This is the basic failing of the game, the total reliance of the coders on a simple (and game destroying) respawning mechanic. If you kill 5 enemies, another 5 replace them almost immediately, making progress difficult and extremely frustrating. This totally kills any form of enjoyment taken from the cool suit system. If you combine this with the fact that even the enemy defenses repair themselves then you are beginning to understand how frustrating the whole experience ends up being. This is a shame as the Iron Man character is actually pretty cool, he can fly, hover and has a huge plethora of weaponry at hand. The control system is intuitive, the shoulder buttons control hover and flight and the face buttons control the secondary weapons and melee attacks. There is certainly no problem manipulating our heroes actions, however the question is, "Why the hell would we want to?"

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The graphics are shoddy, with Iron Man being the stand out character in the game, his suit is well created and the lighting reflects from it in a believable manner. That said, many of the backgrounds and enemy designs lack imagination and flair and end up being utterly nondescript.

The audio is decent with plenty of appealing ambient sounds and explosions to liven up the game experience. Perhaps it is because everything else in the game is so terrible that the audio appears to be better than it actually is? At the end of the day however nothing would be able to redeem the lacklustre level design and mind numbing game play.

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One of the levels in particular took me several hours to beat as I was determined to complete both the primary and secondary missions. The only way to do this was to pop up, shoot a full array of weapons, duck back down in time to heal and repeat…. about 40 times, meanwhile moving forward at a snail’s pace. It is extremely hard to feel like an awesome superhero when you have to act like a coward hiding from apparently unlimited respawning idiots.

Iron Man is a lame attempt to get money from kids who have enjoyed the excellent and entertaining movie. The game is repetitive, banal and half hearted and the coders have clearly tried to compensate for the poor level design with respawning units which will drive any sane person to the joys of alcohol. The storyline does not follow the movie in a cohesive manner and the cutscenes are embarrassingly bad. This is a game to avoid at all costs and I hope to god that the next game I have to review for Gaming Heaven hasn’t been coded by a bunch of mentally challenged monkeys.

If you want to come down after Grand Theft Auto 4, this is the ideal remedy.
Iron Man himself is the only redeeming quality, however he is surrounded by deformed enemies and the cutscenes look 10 years old.
Nothing more than average, however in this game they seem wonderful.
(Not an Average)
Can I turn this off yet? Please?

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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