Game Reviews

Iron Man 2

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| Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2
| Iron Man 2

As far as superheroes go, Iron Man is a bit of a cheat.

He doesn't possess any special powers aside from a way above-average IQ and incredibly deep pockets, but using these talents he - or rather his alter ego, Tony Stark - has successfully managed to secure a membership to the exclusive superhero club.

This skulduggery is neatly replicated by the iPhone adaptation of shiny new Hollywood action blockbuster, Iron Man 2. While it masquerades as a third-person adventure with interesting controls and high production values, it's a hollow experience at its core.

Suited and booted

The setup is typical: a virtual D-pad controls Iron Man, while attacks are levelled using buttons on the right side of the screen. These include repulsor lasers, missiles, and the all-powerful unibeam. It's also possible to get up close and personal with your fists, should you feel adventurous.

Iron Man also has the ability to hover and fly thanks to thruster jets strapped to his metallic suit of armour, and being able to effortlessly dart through the considerably large environments is enjoyable to a point.

Problems surface when it comes to gameplay, unfortunately. There's a stifling lack of originality on display here. Iron Man merely moves from one checkpoint to another, fighting samey enemies or rescuing innocent bystanders by tapping symbols on the screen.

System malfunction

Occasionally you have something which deviates from this tiresome blueprint - such as escorting a friendly unit from one point to another whilst fighting off the unwanted attention of antagonists - but on the whole it's fight, move, fight, rinse, repeat.

It doesn't help that combat feels disjointed. Iron Man's projectile-based weapons auto-target, but only when your foe is in your direct view. You often find yourself under attack from off-screen enemies that can't be shot at until you clumsily drag them into your viewfinder using a second finger.

It's an attempt to mimic the twin-stick approach favoured by so many home console games, but it's not executed well.

Beauty is only skin-deep

Iron Man's visual sheen is similarly inconsistent. The main character looks fantastic, boasting a high level of detail and a gorgeous metallic lighting effect.

However, other units such as enemies and civilians are markedly less impressive. This unfortunate disparity is apparent when you're engaged in hand-to-hand combat and the screen is packed with foes.

Perhaps expecting too much from Iron Man 2 is naive. This is, after all, an adaptation of a blockbuster summer action flick - so high-brow entertainment was never on the agenda.

There are elements of creativity - the ability to upgrade your suit after each mission grants the story a certain degree of momentum, the addition of War Machine as a playable character is welcome, and the use of Black Sabbath's legendary "Iron Man" song is clever.

But the asphyxiating absence of innovation combined with an unsatisfying control interface render Iron Man 2 a lightweight experience.

Iron Man 2

Tony Stark's high-tech robot suit may boast an alluring sheen, but the core gameplay in Iron Man 2 is rusty and uninspiring