|System: PS2,PSP, PS3, X360, Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Secret Level||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sega||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|
by Cole Smith
Let's clear something up right now. The song Iron Man by Black Sabbath was not written about the Marvel comic character Iron Man. Although it's being used for the movie, it's about an entirely different fictional character. The Iron Man in the song more closely mirrors Dr. Doom, the arch nemesis of the Fantastic Four.
I'm sure the Sabbath boys concocted this tune during a state of altered consciousness. And why do you think I assume the writers were a little out of their heads when they wrote this song? Consider some of the lyrics: "Can he walk at all? Or if he moves will he fall?" If these guys weren't out of their minds when they wrote that line, then they must not have made it past grade seven. In any case, the music rocks, the Iron Man movie rocks, and the Iron Man game sucks - at least it does on the PS2.
Iron Man is bar none my favorite superhero. What I like about Iron Man is that he's not really a superhero in the traditional sense. Like Batman he doesn't have super powers. Iron Man is a suit. All the powers are contained within the suit. Anyone can wear that suit. The main protagonist is Tony Stark, and although he's the head of a huge company, he still possesses the frailties of a human being. The fact that he's an alcoholic shows that Marvel wasn't afraid to explore such situations in the storyline. It shows a lot of depth makes the character that much more believable. Unfortunately that kind of depth is missing from this game. Even the actual "game" is missing from this game. It's a total disappointment to fans of Iron Man as well as fans of gaming in general.
In the PS2 version, the storyline is at best "based on" or "inspired by" the movie version. In other words, it's not followed very closely. There are characters and situations that were not featured in the movie at all. That's fine. I don't need to relive the movie. I've seen it already. But is it wrong to expect more? Either the game should supplement the movie in terms of storyline, or it could be just a really great arcade game with a focus on action. Sadly, Iron Man for the PS2 does not address any of these concerns. It's like the video game equivalent of some weirdo at the party who just sits and stares at everyone - and nobody knows who invited him.
In a nutshell, Iron Man for the PS2 lacks the depth of the PS3 and X360 versions. It's been dumbed down. This version could be construed as Iron Man's slightly intellectually-challenged cousin, TinFoil Man. The game consists of a series of linear missions. It has some neat concepts but doesn't realize them. I looked forward to flying and shooting like a fighter jet, but you can't even do that in this game. Sure, you can fly, but you can't shoot at the same time. When you want to launch an assault, you have to hover. So it's basically like being on the ground. The flying mechanics are stiff and awkward. There is no finesse flying: it's reduced to a series of vertical and horizontal moves. No fun at all.
There are seven different Iron Man suits, each with slightly different characteristics including weapons, flight, and armor. Weapons consist of lasers, missiles, guns, and my favorite, the repulsor. It's probably the most fun and easiest to use. It's shot from Iron Man's hands, and is not only accurate but makes easy work of baddies. It's actually this kind of "easy" that is to the game's detriment. It's not very challenging in that most of the enemies can be targeted and destroyed almost instantly upon sight, and they don't put up much of a fight. It's a good feeling to be so indestructible, until you realize that the game will be over much sooner without giving you much of a workout.