Iron Man 2 (DS) Review
The first Iron Man movie game on the Nintendo DS was very naff. Conforming to the typical movie game cliché, it wasn’t very good. Iron Man 2 is a very different beast with a storyline that doesn’t really stick to the movie and two very different gameplay mechanics. Iron Man 2 will see you parading around the globe with Tony Stark, Iron Man himself and his lovable partner War Machine. The game is a familiar beat-’em-up that’s fun to play but eventually gets repetitive.
I said before you have to play with Iron Man and War Machine; that’s because their participation in the game is mandatory. Iron Man is controlled the old-fashioned way with the D-pad and buttons, and has a wide range of tools for destruction. You have the suit’s ability to fly as well, so taking off and beating up and shooting people will be necessary.
War Machine has his trademark honking big Gatling gun as well as the ability to fly, but is a lot slower to move around. You move War Machine around with the D-pad but use a combination of buttons and the touch screen to shoot around in all directions. Both characters start off with a rather meagre piece of kit which is soon upgradable depending on the amount of unpredictable and repetitive robots you get thrown up against in the course of the game. The differences between the characters are distinct and it’s good to see that there is some difference in the levels instead of just the game cheaping out and making you do the same levels twice for no good reason. You’ll need to play through each level as one character and then through it again with another to progress onto the next stage.
The side-scrolling element of the game isn’t the entire game. There are a few shoot-’em-up inspired flying scenes with both characters that see you flying in between obstacles and shooting your way to the other end of the stage. The game, at points, is very difficult, however the scheme that is used for checkpoints works well in the context of the game. If you die, you go to a minigame that requires you to line up the cells in the suit in order to power up and continue from where you died. You can only do that three times before you’ll have to do the entire level over again. End-of-level success is measured by a grade score, with the more enemies you kill and the higher score you get means more you can unlock.
In fact, there is a lot in this game to unlock. While you can upgrade both your suits with new powers, weapons and defences, there are also plenty of new suits for both characters to play with. As well as new weapons, there are comic books and artwork to collect for the completionists out there. The upgrading elements are very light, but it does add another level of depth to the game.
The main problem with the game isn’t the controls or the characters, but the fact that it’s all but the same thing over and over. The enemies you fight are the same and apart from the ones just floating around the level, you’ll be drawn into fights with anywhere from 10 to 30 enemies and you can’t progress until you’ve beaten them all. It feels very forced. However the combat is fun enough to a point – jumping and flying around, and shooting and beating up enemies as Iron Man is very fun. War Machine I am indifferent towards. I like big guns and explosions, who doesn’t? But it feels like a chore to play through the game as him. Apart from the main single-player game and its unlockables, there are some fights to unlock in the training room as a brief distraction.
The game’s story is told through cutscenes with the usual “static face syndrome” we’ve come to expect from the DS. At least the characters’ faces are the same from the movie and the humour matches closely to the characters we all know. Tony is still a smart arse. The game’s music is decent but nothing special, but the sound effects that come out of Iron Man’s suit start off sounding like a toy blaster, though improves with upgrades later on.
Graphics arent anything special but probably the best 3D the DS can do.
Two different ways to play that eventually merge into the same thing over an over.
Decent but nothing stands out.
Decent sized single-player to play through, plenty to unlock and explore.
Had fun with this one but towards the end it started to grate – luckily it wasnt too long.