Did you know that in almost every single film Disney has made, there’s some sort of hidden perversion? A single frame of Jessica Rabbit revealed, a tower that looks like a penis on the Little Mermaid poster, and a dust cloud that spells sex in the Lion King are just a few examples of this fine tradition in family entertainment. The reason these little middle fingers to man in mouse ears exist is because animation crews are usually told well in advance of completion of the films that they will be laid off at the end of the project. Can you imagine that? Putting in long hours, slaving over a project knowing some jerk is getting rich while you’re looking for new work. It can’t be a good feeling.
[image1]I think something similar may have happened to the folks over at SEGA Studios San Francisco. You see, at the time of this writing, there is no studio in SF anymore. They’ve all been given their walking papers and are looking for new work. I can only imagine that Iron Man 2 is there derisive “screw you” to their old bosses. It’s really the only way to justify how bad this game came out and for it save face. Because this is one epically bad experience. There are so many impressively bad things going on here, it’s hard to know where to begin.
Visuals are craptastic. Nothing is rendered properly. Lines are visible between textures and nothing has been polished. Black Widow looks like a shaved caveman in drag, and it seems as if they just did a skin swap for Tony Stark and Rhodey’s models. Pixelation runs rampant throughout the entire game. It’s actually a huge step back graphically from the first game, which only had its looks going for it in the first place.
Controls are not mapped right whatsoever. The right analog stick functions as your camera and your target lock-on, which leads to very frustrating, spastic combat and the third-person angle they’ve chosen is extremely odd. The first level after the training mission is a total blunder as you try to protect a squad of helicopters from an onslaught of rockets and enemy helis. I can’t describe in words what an impossible task it is to control flight, attack, and lock-on abilities all at the same time. I constantly lost the first mission while trying to figure out just what the hell I was supposed to do to keep from getting overwhelmed.
[image2]Hand-to-hand combat has been added, but is rarely used and hardly useful. The poor controls don’t end with the missions either. Navigating the menu in between levels was very confusing and unintuitive. The process for upgrading and equipping your suits is more painfully tedious than filling out tax forms.
In an effort to clean up the combat, which was mostly just firing at green radar outlines off in the distance in the first one, they force you to get closer to your enemy. Only usually they expect you to get too close, while the enemy has no such problem. You will get blasted as you try to get within range, and you will hate the camera angles in close quarters combat.
The only thing I found cool and really the only redeeming aspect of gameplay was Iron Man’s ability to hack enemy robots and turn them in to his mechanical pals. Sure, they were useless and got blown up quick, but they were my robot friends.
As I’ve already mentioned the camera is a worse spaz than the guy with the head gear and asthma in the back of the class. It’s annoying and it gets even worse in the final boss fight. It’s like the game is more about instigating epileptic seizures than saving the world from evil.
[image3]Don Cheadle and Samuel L. Jackson reprise their roles from the films as War Machine and Nick Fury respectfully. Samuel L. has done his fair share of crap (anyone remember the Shaft remake?) but Don has only done quality work up until this point. This game is a blemish on an otherwise impressive career. It’s hard to tell what kind of a performance these seasoned actors bring as the overall presentation of everything is so bleh.
I could keep going on and on for days about everything there is to dislike about Iron Man 2, but there’s no use in beating a dead horse. Especially one as bloated as this. This could possibly be the worst hero game since Superman 64. There are two kinds of people who will pick this up: people with Iron Man bedsheets and folks who are a glutton for punishment. I can’t really say this is an improvement over the first, as every step forward has a corresponding step back. All I know is, I’m glad they SEGA SF won’t be around to do this to Iron Man 3.