I never really used to be into comics all that much, but since University the obsession has taken off for me in a big way. I’ve gone from idly leafing through old copies of The Incredible X-Men, to actively reading all the comics from the Civil War and House of M crossover events, all the way through to actually collecting some lesser-known comics.
Happily, this burst of interest on my part was swiftly accompanied by a buzz of activity in Hollywood. Thus, we’ve had the awful Spiderman films, the awful Superman Returns, the awful Hulk films and now surprisingly un-awful Iron Man film.
It had, I thought, all turned out quite nicely for me – until I realised I had to play the video game adaptation of the Iron Man film, of which there isn’t really anything remotely nice to say.
Like a Man of Steel
You’ve probably read the comic, seen the film or at the very least watched a bit of the trailer, but either way it’s common journalistic courtesy to assume that you aren’t all that familiar with the game and need to be bought up to date on the story.
Ok, here goes.
The Iron Man franchise tells the story of Tony Stark, a millionaire engineer genius who has become a superhero after a brush with death leads him utterly disillusioned about his legacy as a war profiteer and arms manufacturer.
Unfortunately, this little close encounter with the reaper also leaves him mortally wounded – his heart is eventually replaced with an oh-so-subtle glowing ball which can never decide if it wants to be visible through his shirts or not.
Never a man to let himself stop looking on the bright side (despite his rampant alcoholism) though, Stark combines his misfortune with his new vision and forms a suit of powered armour that runs in part off of the power source of his new heart. The new suit has a bullet-proof (nay, practically missile-proof) hide, built-in thrusters for flying between all the usual holiday hotspots and, naturally, frikkin’ laser beams as well.
Wearing the somewhat iconic red and gold suit of steel (actually a titanium gold alloy), Stark adopts the persona of Iron Man and sets out to protect the innocent, fight the good fight and destroy all the stocks of weapons he used to design, build and sell.
Naturally though, not all goes to plan and what Stark originally came up with as a means to save lives and stop wars is stolen from him and turned into an enhanced weapon which poses a very real threat to both the world at large and himself. It’s down to Stark/Iron Man to save the world in a very real sense.
At least, that's the plot of the film and, while the game does play along very similar lines for the most part, there are a few extra adversaries added in along the way for bulk – like the Maggia Corporation who try to raid Stark Industries for their last inventory of super-weapons.
Now true, we could go along and point out the idiocy of this and the hypocrisy of Stark's one-man war, but that would be a little bit stupid. This is a game based on a comic after all and, given that in the first few minutes the main character has already had his heart ripped out and replaced with a glowing ball, we'll forgive the outlandishness of it all.