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June 15 2008
Iron Man - PS2 Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
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Battle near the Aircraft carrier.
So we have a little disclaimer here. We've ripped of much of the review we did for the PS3 version of Iron Man from Sega (reviewed here). Despite having different developers (the PS2 version was developed by Artificial Mind and Movement, the PS3 version by Secret Level) these games have near identical content and gameplay. So, onto the PS2 review...

There is no denying that one of the biggest surprises of this Summer's movies (it's Summer in America) has been Iron Man. Opening weekend saw the second biggest non-sequel take of all time behind the original Spider-man and the movie has now amassed a whopping $US539 million in ticket sales worldwide with the key, and major, territory of Japan still to see a release. As expected there is a game released to cash in on the movie, and that game is being released through Sega. Does this game match the brillance of the movie? Read on...

Iron Man is the story of Tony Stark, a billionaire industrialist and inventor who had it all. But during a routine weapons test in the Middle East, Stark was captured and forced to construct the ultimate weapon. Instead of following his captors’ demands, Tony built his own devastating weapon – a powerful suit of armour that provided the key to his heroic escape. From this point forward, Tony Stark became more than a man. He became Iron Man.

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Battle near the tank.
Sega's Iron Man is a third person action game. Interestingly this PS2 version of the game actually starts as Tony battles his way out of the caves, while the PS3 version started outside the cave. I actually preferred the start of the PS2 version as it fills in a bit more of the story. Tony Stark / Iron Man has numerous weapons at his disposal including a flame thrower, rocket launcher and gun, and he has the ability to take to the skies. Not only can Iron Man hover, but also fly, and use afterburners for extra speed. Requiring energy, the suit or armour will drain if you use the afterburners for too long. They do replenish after a period of time, and the suit also self-repairs after sustaining damage. As you play through the levels you can slso use the D-Pad to prioritise where your energy is used including weapons, melee, thrusters or life support. This should certainly add a little more depth to the game.

What really shocked me was the lack of cohesion between this game, and the actual Iron Man movie. After blasting out of the cave and finishing that mission which is the opening scene in the movie you jump straight into the next mission which is located back in the United States. There is no sign of a rescue, or transport back to America. Hell, there's not even a "Hey Tony, welcome back to America... "Here's your burger" (if you've seen the movie you'll understand!). Was it that Marvel didn't trust Secret Level and PS2 developer A2M with some of the main plot points from the movie? We somehow don't think that's the case as other aspects such as the suits and characters look like they are from the big screen version.

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Inside a, ermm, building.
In terms of actual gameplay the flying is certainly the most entertaining as you tear around the skies through cities, and over desert locations. It looks pretty nice and the frame rate holds pretty steady. Sadly the actual mechanics of flying seem a little off. It's hard to see what's happening around you, and you will spend quite a bit of time looking at your radar to dodge missiles from behind. Sadly, when you're running around on the ground the game falls pretty flat. Generic texturing, poor enemies, a lack of destructable environments all reduce the enjoyment and, to be honest, the action seems dull.

The One Man Army game mode seems rather pointless as you try to beat the clock to complete a series of tasks. The rewards include new Iron Man suits and so on. Why bother though... Perhaps of most concern is the length of this game. With only 13 levels this game is short. To give you an idea most missions have a 'goal' completion time of less then 15 minutes, and some early levels much less. We got through this game in a few short hours. But what about multi-player? Surely that will keep the game playing right? Well you're out of luck on that front too. There's no online or, for that matter, offline gameplay at all.

It's always a bad sign when developers and publishers don't put out press materials (screenshots) for games prior to release, or even after release. There's nothing to be found on Sega's press, or public, web sites. Anyway have a look at the screenshots, then I'll tell you about the graphics in the game, and then I'll let you in on a little secret.

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Gliding down the corridor!
As with the PS3 version of Iron Man this game sucks balls visually, even more so here. We know that this is last generation technology, but we never honestly believe this late in the systems life that we would be looking at more impressive PSOne titles! It must be said that like the PS3 game though the modelling of Robert Downey Jr. and the Iron Man suits are nice enough, but its all down hill from there. You won't even have hit gameplay before you'll notice problems. The opening cut scene in the cave jerks and stutters along at a frame rate well in the single digits. When you hit the gameplay it's not much better. As we've mentioned when you fly around the game looks nice, but when on the ground everything looks pretty dull. Walk up to someone and torch them with the flame thrower and they crumple to the side. Actually, shit, not they don't on the PS2 game as soon as you torch them they disappear. The developers couldn't even get them to collapse to the ground before they vanish!

So what was this secret I'm talking about? Well, believe it or not, these screenshots are from the Nintendo Wii version of the game - the PS2 game looks ever worse!

Audio is also pretty average with weak effects and forgettable music. At least the limted amount of dialogue from Robert Downey, Jr. and Terrance Howard is entertaining enough - but this is ruined by the horrible (Read: non-existent) lip synching in the cut-scenes.

Iron Man is the surprise box office hit at the cinemas this (American) Summer and we have to say it far exceeded our expectations. As the PS3 version was so bad, this PS2 version seems technically more polished on the older system, but that's still not saying much. Sadly this game from Sega is a dire cash-in that should be avoided at all costs.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version).
GRAPHICSBy god is this game bad. Poor textures, vanishing enemies, little detail.
SOUNDThe game has music, effects and speech. Sadly, most of is sucks.
GAMEPLAYThe flying sections can be fun, but the action is dull, and repetitive.
VALUENot only is the game short, but even with unlockable content you won't go back.
OVERALLIron Man in video game form is quite a mess. You're better off saving your money, or seeing the movie a few more times. One to avoid unless you must have the movie tie-in/cash-in game.

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