|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Griptonite Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 13, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Without so much as a wink or a nod, Daniel X borrows gameplay ideas from both the Metroid and Castlevania series. Early on in the game, Daniel will gain the ability to convert into a soccer ball, allowing him to negotiate tight spaces. Later, he'll be able to transform into an eagle, which makes it easy to zip through areas you've previously explored.
Considering Silerius V isn't a vast environment, there's ample backtracking weaved into the gameplay. There are one or two instances when you'll be forced to double back in a full circle around the entire map, and the whole process is just a little too transparent. You will, of course, be required to sift through re-spawning enemies, and without a checkpoint system, dying means starting back from your last hard save.
In spite of my many criticisms, I still had a good bit of fun with the game. When taking on one or two enemies at a time, the combat is completely satisfying, and though there are only a small handful of bosses (two of which are recycled), they're a fun, creative challenge. Enemy mosh pits notwithstanding, the game's level of difficulty felt more balanced than X-Men Origins, and the homage to the Metroid series is, for the most part, pulled off fairly well.
Like many of their previous offerings on DS, Griptonite has put together another good-looking adventure for the handheld. The character models aren't quite as detailed or interesting as those seen in past games, but the backgrounds are attractive and wonderfully functional for platforming. The animations are still an impressive sight on the handheld, but at this point much of the "wow" factor has now worn off.
Speaking of worn, the music and sound effects are also nothing new, really. For example, when collecting power-ups for Daniel, you'll hear the exact same cadence heard in Web of Shadows. The music works well as a backdrop for the gameplay, but there's definitely a strong sense of déjà vu in every fiber of the adventure.
As someone who hasn't read the Daniel X novels, I can safely say that The Ultimate Power is ultimately a decent game. However, the dialogue is generic, and I'm not quite sure fans of the books are going to find much to identify with here. If you've played either of Griptonite's Marvel-based games for DS, then you're basically in for more of the same. If you haven't, then this is a mostly fun romp that will keep you entertained for about a single weekend. It's a short adventure, clocking in at roughly five to six hours, yet it's one that lends itself to additional playthroughs. There are ample power-ups to attain throughout the actual story portion of the game, but not much else in the way of unlockables. If you're in the market for another solid beat'em-up on the go, it's probably a title worth checking out. Fans of Daniel X, however, will likely find themselves coming up short with the game.
CCC Freelance Writer