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Review: Iron Man - Nintendo DS

by Steven Williamson on 7 May 2008, 11:00

Tags: Iron Man, Sega (TYO:6460), PC, Xbox 360, PS2, PSP, DS, PS3, Wii, Action/Adventure

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Fly around and shoot stuff

If you’re unfamiliar with Marvel’s super-hero, or you haven’t seen the critically- acclaimed film currently showing on the big screen, then the DS version will leave you with more questions than answers.

It would have been nice to know why and how Iron Man’s Tony Stark ended up in his super-powered exoskeleton and why he is so intent on taking on an army of soldiers, tanks and helicopters in his cleverly engineered metallic suit, but the game assumes that you already know the details, or simply don't care.

Instead the storyline is ditched in favour of cartoon-like stills, digital voice-overs from the likes of Robert Downey Jnr. and brief nonsensical text-based introductions that do little to engage you in its subject matter and give purpose to the game's eight main missions. I wasn't expecting an in-depth back story, but give me something to feed off!

A brief trip to wikipedia however has cleared up the mystery. The basis of this tale involves a group of terrorists who have kidnapped the experienced engineer, Stark and are trying to force him into building a missile for their own deadly deeds. Instead though, the self-made billionaire builds the heavily-armoured and weapon-ladened metal outfit, calls himself the Iron Man (big-head, eh?), and attempts to escape from his captors.

The game begins in a cave complex deep in the terrorist’s stronghold, where armed with a flamethrower and proudly sporting your new Iron Man costume, you run through corridors and across bridges burning soldiers to death, whilst you smash open crates to pillage them of their power-ups and use your powerful melee attack to blast open locked doors. As the game progresses you get to use other super-powers, such as EMP blasts, that make any mechanical vehicle or turret stop working for a few seconds.

Like any competent Super-hero, Iron Man can also fly. So, equipped with afterburners you take to the skies and glide across mountains, military compounds and other indistinctively bland settings, destroying radar towers and weapon caches as you attempt to see off the defending terrorist threat, which consists largely of an excessive amount of tanks and helicopters. All of your efforts eventually lead to a battle against a big boss at the end of each level, which generally takes the form of a larger vehicle where you have to find its weak spot to destroy it and watch out for patterns in its behaviour before moving in for the kill.

In each level, there are power-ups, such as shield regenerators and more powerful weapons, such as the Unibeam which obliterates everything in its path. Once you complete all of the objectives and defeat the big boss you get a rating based on how many enemies you’ve killed and how many structures you’ve destroyed. Based on your performance, you’re awarded research points which you can then spend on upgrades to your suit, such as shield enhancements, afterburner upgrades and weapon enhancers that increase the damage that you can inflict.

There's nothing new or innovative about the game-play in Iron Man, it's simply a re-hash of ideas brought together in an adequate, albeit lazy, manner

Read on overleaf...