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Iron Man on Game and Player

Iron Man

Zach Hines  //  May 15, 2008

They went and made a Marvel saga boring.


t's a game based off a movie, which is based off a comic book. So in light of this, how do you think this review is going to go? I'm sad to say that yet another intellectual property has not made a smooth transition to the world of video games. It's a major letdown for me personally to have to say that too, because growing up, Iron Man (along with Colossus) was one of my favorite superheroes. Whereas the recent movie did him a great deal of justice when compared to the cinematic detritus that were the Fantastic Four and Ghost Rider movies, the game takes that justice and throws it on the ground, and then proceeds to stomp all over it. So where to begin?

Free-flying is fun, so, naturally,
is infrequent in gameplay.
On the gameplay side, which is where I had the most hope for this title, it disappoints the most. Iron Man is an exercise in extreme frustration. While the game does shine when Iron Man is flying through the sky like a missile with all the accompanying speed effects, it's the moment that you have to do something that this game falls apart. Here is, without really any exaggeration, the extent of the game's campaign: Something bad happens, wherein that something bad is represented by orange markers scattered across a fairly plain backdrop. You, as Iron Man, are tasked with flying around and blowing up said orange markers. Destroy one orange-marked objective, proceed onto the next, blow it up and repeat ad nauseam.

This in and of itself isn't horrible, it simply makes for a fairly bland game. Bland games are forgivable; they have an audience. However, it's when you combine bland gameplay with outrageously unbalanced amounts of enemy fire — that you have a recipe for a gaming aneurysm. The problem with this game is simply that you can't go more than 15 seconds with at least 10 rockets, 17 RPGs, 7 tank shells, and copious amounts of small arms fire pelting you the minute you are within a mile's range of the enemy. Tack on to this fact that every enemy you face has a sniper's aim, and you'll find yourself ducking around corners more than taking it to the bad guys. This is not how a superhero should have to fight, but you will. The game throws so much at you that you'll find yourself hiding and using guerilla tactics simply to progress.

The gameplay is not all bad, though. As I said, flying is fun — very fun. When you are given a brief respite (and I do mean brief) from what seems like an entire nation's army advancing on you, take to the skies. The flying mechanics feel crisp and responsive. Take what you can get, because this about the only saving grace for the gameplay other than some impressive contextual attacks Iron Man has. There are some neat armor upgrades you can unlock, but they make a very minimal addition to your abilities.

Graphically, Iron Man is about what I expected from a licensed game. The vast amount of the game's graphics went into crafting Iron Man's player model. His gold and red armor gleams in the sunlight as he flies, and his beam projectiles have a real kick to them. Aside from that Iron Man is, once again, very bland. Helicopters look like toys, tanks simply sit still, and the surrounding landscapes you fight in look half-realized at best. If the game were simply about you flying around in Iron Man's suit, there'd be no problem. Alas, this is not the case, and a wonderful superhero I grew up with is forced into a game of sheer mediocrity. Explosions look weak, and I'm not sure, but I think the cutscenes gave me cancer — they are that bad.

Want to see Robert Downey Jr.
as Iron Man? Go to the movies.
Audibly, Iron Man sounds exactly like what banging a piece of iron in a padded room would — annoying. Robert Downey Jr. and Terence Howard reprise their roles for the game, and by the sounds of it, you can tell they knew this game would suck long before it released. The only good sound in the game is merely a result of one of its failings, and that is the sheer din of being attacked by the entire population of China. It sounds like a war zone because it is. Unfortunately, you're on the losing end of it.

My belief that a licensed game (whether it's from a movie, a book, or whatever) cannot be good was only strengthened. Iron Man is not a good game. Its few bright spots are so faint up against the void that is the rest of the game, that they are almost completely lost. If you're contemplating going to your local video store to buy this game because you enjoyed the movie so much — don't. If you absolutely have to blow $60 on something Iron Man-related, then I would suggest that you go see the movie another five times or so. Iron Man for the Xbox 360 does exactly what the metal that bears his name would should it be cast out into the water: it sinks. It sinks to the depths of oblivion that is licensed games, never to return. Now we simply need but wait until the next of its kind comes along, and do it all over again.

Iron Man



Secret Level



NA Release

May 2, 2008


Play Mode

ESRB Rating

In Favor

  • Iron Man's suit
  • Flight mechanics


  • Repetitive objectives

G&P Rating

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