I recently purchased Iron Man on GamersGate for $4.95 on special. I’m just glad I didn’t spend too much on it.
Loosely based on the excellent film about the gold and red avenger, Iron Man is a mix of hits and misses. It doesn’t fail totally as a game is the best that can be said for it, especially in comparison to a lot of movie adaptations that have come out as of late. The game loosely follows the movie through the introductory stage, as you escape from the clutches of the Five Rings thugs in the first generation armor. From there it veers away from the movie, adding in multiple missions that were inferred on screen against arms dealers and their perversions of Stark Industries weapons. Along the way, you face a rogues gallery of the comic hero’s foes in a variety of locations as the skeleton of a story unfolds– enemies such as Whiplash and Titanium Man. It might sound cool, but the problem is that this story is largely invented, and as a whole, falls flat in comparison to the gravitas of the film.
However, games aren’t all about story, and there are positives to be found. Each mission gives you the chance to choose your suit from the ones that you’ve unlocked, then add upgrades from the technology that you’ve used the most. This leads to having to use the suit against crunchy opponents in order to get unlocks- leading to grind. The controls, while a bit less touchy than the 360 version of the game, leave a bit to be desired as it can be difficult at times to control your hero; the camera makes this no less of a task. But after you master this, it becomes a guilty pleasure flying around in the suit, destroying enemies. The tougher enemies make the faults of the engine more evident, as it becomes difficult to locate where attacks are coming from, much less target these enemies for a coherent response. This makes the game at this point more about rocketing to the enemy, then stabilizing as you find the target and hovering to take the target out- which is not very fun. Thankfully, you won’t have to do this too often- the harder enemies are far and few between, and even if you do manage to get in over your head, you get a mini-game to restart Tony’s heart, and if you fail, you use one of three backup batteries. I’m all for making the game less frustrating than the 360 version, but this tilts too far in the opposite direction, removing all remnants of challenge from the game. This lack of challenge thankfully means that you have to look at the awful textures less- the graphics look like a game from 3-5 years ago, and the sound isn’t much better. There are also graphical glitches at times- pretty unforgivable since this is a port.
In the end, playing the game is fun for the first couple of levels. Then everything just sort of blends together and leaves you with a dull memory after you’ve turned it off. Again, it doesn’t fail totally as a game- but that’s about the best that can be said of it. I don’t regret the purchase at $4.95- I got a few hours of enjoyment out of it. But I’d not recommend paying any more than that.