|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS2, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Artificial Mind and Movement||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sega of America||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 2, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The flight mechanics are a little screwy as well. To acclimate you to using the analog nub paired with the face buttons as well as holding down the L trigger, the game includes a tutorial during the second level. It's too bad it reminds one of Superman 64 - you fly through a bunch of color coded rings, trying to adjust to the mechanic. Flight tends to work okay most of the time but suffers from hiccups. You tap, then hold L to make Iron Man fly straight ahead, but sometimes the game misinterprets this, and you merely boost ahead for a couple feet and stop.
Underneath it all there are some interesting design choices that play out well. During any level, Iron Man can divert power to any of his three core areas: weapons, armor or thrusters. You can take a balanced approach and spread out these values (by pushing the left or right directional buttons) in an even manner or go all out in one direction - throw it all toward armor and boost your defenses or unlock more powerful lasers like the unibeam. There is also a heart reboot mini-game. If you take too much damage during any mission, you'll have to jump start Iron Man's heart. An EKG screen pops up, and if you time button presses correctly, Iron Man will get back into the action. This is a nice feature, as you can utilize it multiple times - it essentially allows you to have a plethora of in-mission lives to spend before you are thrown back to the start of the level.
Even though the game is running on a portable platform, the graphical budget seems like it could have been spent better. While the game does have decent pre-rendered cutscenes, the actual in-game 3D graphics leave much to be desired. There is a considerable amount of environmental draw-in during the outdoor levels, and the scenery is rarely different - you'll see plenty of enemy bases and barren mountains. To help balance the presentation equation the audio is much better. The score does an admirable job, there's plenty of decent sounding weapon fire, and the voice acting is better than one would expect.
As you progress through the game's monotonous missions, you'll continually unlock bonus content. This content is split into three areas: armor selection, videos, and mini-games. The armor selection is a missed opportunity for sure. Instead of allowing these different suits to give Iron Man new abilities, it's more cosmetic - they're merely a color swatch. Unlockable from the beginning, the videos section feels self-congratulatory. It's just an assortment of trailers and clips from various Marvel properties. While the mini-games section should hold the most promise, it's not great either. There are two kinds of games: speed kill and death race. The former has you going through previously played levels killing as many enemies as you can before the time runs out, and the latter has you flying through rings while enemies attack you - neither a mode you want to actively pursue.
Iron Man represents the latest in the line of failed movie-to-game adaptations, but there is an alternative consumer route: take the money you would have spent on this portable mishap and purchase a ticket for the theatrical release of the movie. You'll have a great time at a fraction of the price.
CCC Freelance Writer