Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Iron Man (Wii) Review

It's that time of year again. Summer. And you know what that means (or rather, what it would mean if Britain's weather were remotely predictable): skimpy clothing, ice-based beverages, and the usual slew of Hollywood blockbusters and their respective game tie-ins. Today we're taking a look at Sega's Iron Man videogame for the Wii. Does it live up to the character's legacy, or even the recent film on which it's (loosely) based? Read on to find out!

Iron Man (the movie) is currently faring quite well critically, as evidenced by its average rating of 78 on Metacritic. Unfortunately, as you're probably painfully aware, the quality of a film very rarely equates to the quality of its videogame counterparts, at least not when you want it to. We'll jump straight to the point and tell you that Iron Man is no exception. In fact, if it weren't for the pre-rendered cut-scenes featuring animated versions of the film's various actors, Iron Man would share almost nothing with its silver screen complement. The story has been significantly altered and the 'awesome' factor of seeing a man fly around in a metal suit firing lasers out of his hands is almost entirely diluted due to a number of oversights on the developer's part, which we'll get to shortly.

The game itself is split into around a dozen missions, each of which is preceded by one of the aforementioned cut-scenes. Unfortunately, none of these are particularly good at explaining what the heck is going on, nor at building any sort of emotional bonds between the characters and the player. The result is a rather sterile experience that boils down to simply shooting everything that moves and calling it a day. The developers have tried to spice things up by introducing some of Iron Man's better known nemesis' from the comics - Iron Monger and Titanium Man for example - but the end result leaves more than a little to be desired. Not only are said characters barely introduced before you're asked to pump them full of lead, but dispatching them is no more entertaining than the rest of the game's rather mundane encounters.

Screenshot for Iron Man on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Mundane is quite a strong word, so let's clarify that. Within the scope of each level Iron Man can either run/hover or fly around while utilising his repulsor beam, gatling gun, and missile launcher to dispatch enemies. Movement is handled with the Nunchuk's analogue stick and aiming with the Wii Remote. It all works well enough for the most part, and boosting around at high speeds even feels pretty good, but it doesn't take long for the game to start showing its true colours. First of all, most levels are very small and the larger ones are extremely linear. Try and move outside of the area you're supposed to be in and you'll be greeted with an invisible wall and/or an audio message telling you to return to your objective. Of course, all games have to have boundaries, but these are simply too constricting. On more than one occasion we found ourselves attempting to strafe around enemies only to end up coming to a dead stop for no good reason.

The issue of lacklustre environments is further worsened by a frankly appalling draw distance, which the developers attempt to hide with sand storms, snow storms and fog (all of which are the same particle effect coloured differently). This would be less offensive if the parts of the level you could see were particularly attractive, but they're not. Iron Man's character model is decent, but enemy foot soldiers all look the same, vehicles are often indistinct, buildings are blocky and forgettable, and the overall colour scheme is just dreary. Not only does everything look rather boring, but most of it is completely non-interactive. Only an extremely small selection of objects can be destroyed, and everything else will simply take everything you throw at it without a scratch. You'd be hard pressed to tell that this game uses the Havok physics engine if its logo wasn't printed on the back of the box.

Screenshot for Iron Man on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

It's not that we're unaware of the Wii's hardware limitations, but other games have already proven that Nintendo's little white box can do much better than this in the right hands. Even looking past all the aforementioned issues, though, Iron Man still suffers from one unforgivable problem: it's really not that fun. There is nothing satisfying about killing a footsoldier in a single shot only to see him (or her) vanish with nary a death animation and re-appear out of nowhere moments later. Vehicles have the added bonus of context-sensitive finishing moves (such as destroying a tank with its own ripped-off turret), but because these are more time consuming than launching a couple of missiles, the novelty is likely to wear off rather quickly. Furthermore, despite certain enemies' reluctance to take damage from anything other than Iron Man's fists, melee attacks have been foolishly linked to the Wii Remote, which you may recall also controls the camera. We're sure you can imagine how well that works out...

Screenshot for Iron Man on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The game's developers have tried to make things more interesting through the use of power distribution and upgrade systems for Iron Man's suit. The former allows players to divert power in order to enhance their armour, propulsion, or weapons. This might have been useful if the game was remotely challenging, but most of the time there is little incentive to tinker with these options making it something of a moot feature. The latter improves certain aspects of your suit depending on how often you utilise them. For example, if you spend a lot of your destroying enemies with rockets, you'll find your explosive arsenal improved after each mission. It's a nice touch, but by the time you've fully upgraded your system you will probably have finished the painfully short single-player mode, and there's very little incentive to play through again.

Screenshot for Iron Man on Wii- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

With the exception of a few irritating camera issues, game-killing glitches, and the like, everything works as it should. The problem is none of it's all that fun and it probably won't be long before you're bored stiff.

Graphics

Very poor. A terrible draw distance is augmented by obnoxious fog effects. Iron Man's character model is nice, but enemies all seem to blend together and the game's environments are dreary and indistinct.

Sound

A select few sound effects are constantly reused and there is little in the way of background music. Voice acting is fairly decent, but it rarely accurately matches up with the CGI cut-scenes.

Value

There're only a few hours worth of gameplay available here at best. Concept art can be unlocked by sifting through each level to find and destroy 5 ammo dumps, but it's not really worth the trouble.

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Mediocre

About this score

Iron Man is your classic film tie-in; it reeks of under-development and simply isn't worth your time or money. The gameplay isn't nearly fun enough to get you hooked, the graphics are unimpressive, the levels are monotonous and combat is repetitive. Plus, even if you do somehow manage to enjoy the game, it will only last you for a few hours even on the harder difficult settings. We recommend you steer clear.

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16.05.2008

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Developer

Artificial Mind and Movement

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Maybe the DS version's better...but then again, I'm not holding my breath! Fans in the UK haven't been flocking to this, choosing the PS3/360 versions instead. Wonder if those other console editions are better?

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

From what I hear they're supposed to be even worse (if you can believe that!), but at least they look pretty.


Cubed3 Staff < Retro Editor :: Previews Editor >

Yeah 360 one is no better dull, dull, dull you will get more entertainment value typing "Shit" into google images.

XBL Gamertag: James2t3

Blade2t3 said:
Yeah 360 one is no better dull, dull, dull you will get more entertainment value typing "Shit" into google images.
Acctually that is quite fun... Another crappy movie game... sigh... no interest



Yeah I downloaded the 360 demo and didn't really enjoy it much...didn't give me high hopes for the Wii version to say the least.


twitter: @bensoutham
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Shame, as it could have incorporated Project HAMMMER-style motion-smashing fun, plus cool motion-controlled flying sections, like the paper plane mini-game in WarioWare!

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I've played the 360 version (just the demo) and it's pretty dull too.


  • Welcome to the NHK

It looks.... sick.


My Life & blog: Random Thoughts, Photos, stuff, videos and links
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I thought it was a DS game when I looked at the screens...

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Dear god! Doesn't seem like the most amazing game in the world, big shame.

Good review though Karny Karn Karn

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

I don't know about buying it cuz I am broke and I have'nt seen the movie.But my friend has it.Is it wi-fi enabled?

mOojc said:
I thought it was a DS game when I looked at the screens...
they actually do have it 4 DS.And ya that does look like a DS game or PSP game.

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