Tag Archive: prototype

Originally Published: April 18, 2011, on Comicvine.com

I normally would have a “Comics to Video Games” article ready for you folks right about now (and don’t worry I’m working on the next one), but I was reading an interview the other day with Ian Flynn, a writer best known for his current run on the Sonic the Hedgehog series published by Archie Comics, and found out he’s going to be the main writer behind a new monthly Mega Man comic book series.

This latest video game series from Archie Comics comes out in the beginning of May and it will chronicle the Blue Bomber’s run through his nearly dozen games, starting with Mega Man 1 playing out across the first four issues, and will answer the big questions, like how no one was able to figure out when Dr. Wily was up to no good. It’s not like he had ten giant skull shaped fortresses built. Oh, wait. Hmmm. Also, I wonder if there will be any mention of Mega Man Soccer in an annual or something.

Anyway, this got me thinking about the flood of both monthly and limited series comic books we’ve seen in recent years based on video games. City of Heroes, Halo, inFamous, Gears of War, Prototype, and even DCU Online, which of course is a comic based off a video game based off of comics. So what’s with this sudden influx of video game based comics at our local retailers?

Now, comics based off of video games are nothing new. After all, Sonic, has had his own ongoing series for nearly twenty years now. But to see so many new comics based on games is a little off putting. An idealist might say comics are simply being used as tools to help flesh out stories that can’t be fully told in a 15-hour game. But what if they are really being used just as promotional items to bolster game sales instead? Or are comic companies trying to jump on the bandwagon of a popular game franchise in the hopes of making a profit, knowing that the key comic book and video game demographics are one in the same? Or maybe it is a little of all of the above?

Can ongoing video game comics also hurt the base franchise as there could be unintentional limits placed on the game developers? There would have to be constant communication between both the game developers and the comic book writing and editorial teams in order to ensure that what is being done in the comics isn’t radically different from what is happening or going to happen in sequel video games upon their release.

If Josh Ortega kills off someone in the Gears of War comic, he had better let Cliff Bleszinski and Karen Traviss know so that person doesn’t show up in Gears of War 3, otherwise there are going to be some mighty ticked off Gearheads out there. And what if Cliff had planned on making that character a major player in the Gears universe? How much say does the original game creators have when it comes to forwarding the plot of a comic that is being looked at as canon? It just seems that adding more moving parts to such a complex and detailed story might come off as limiting from a creative standpoint, especially while the main series is still really ongoing and even while just trying to flesh out previously mentioned references from the original property (like the Pendulum Wars for Gears).

And this brings us back to my inspiration. Mega Man. Does doing a comic that follows, for the most part, a story we already know lessen the mass appeal of a comic? Why should I read something I’ve already played through several hundred times? Can you really flesh out a character that much with a few thought bubbles while it’s blasting another foe into oblivion? If anything, it might take away from those original gaming experiences, especially from the old NES days, where the player was left to their own devices to fill in gaps in a protagonist’s personality and whatnot. So are original stories that add to and build on top of already existing canon the only real option in that case to ensure a profit will be made and to protect a property?

Despite this, does every new video game need a comic book? I read the six-issue limited series for Prototype and I felt what I got from that comic was not worth the price I paid as a lead in to the actual game. In fact, the comic ruined the game experience some as it spoiled a lot of the game’s surprises. The same goes for the Gears of War comic. Some issues have been great, but I didn’t need a one-issue back-story on Tai. I don’t need a character that is dead to be fleshed out. It just reeks of trying to turn a quick buck if you ask me. It dilutes the potential of building the franchise naturally and feels very forced in some cases.

But I really don’t mind franchises diversifying, and actually enjoy seeing new adventures with my favorite characters that continue the story beyond the original product (you should see my Star Wars expanded universe novel collection). I do feel that there should be some sort of criteria before a franchise is expanded though like with a game based comic. Wait until the main story, in most cases nowadays the story being a trilogy, is complete before you start filling in the gaps. Imagine if a comic or novel like Shadows of the Empire in Star Wars, which takes places between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, had been released in 1981, right between Empire and Jedi. I think that it coming after the fact made it much more powerful and interesting. Similar to the games Halo: Reach and Halo 3: ODST. They were better stories because the universe had already been fully established and then writers went back to fill in the blanks.

So what do you guys think? Are you fans of video game based comics? Are there too many out there flooding the market? What should be the criteria for a game based comic to be published? And how much creative freedom should the writing and editorial teams have with long established characters like Mega Man? Will you buy the Mega Man monthly upon its release? Let us know with comments below!

Originally Published: January 10, 2011, on youtube.com/CGRUndertow

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed Prototype for the Xbox 360 from Activision.

Originally Published: June 25, 2009, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com), Lundberg.me, and Examiner.com

With super hero popularity at an all time high, one of the premiere super hero video game publishers, Activision, teamed up with DC and Wildstorm to create a brand new anti-hero and to put out a brand new game.

In Prototype, you fill the shoes of Dr. Alex Mercer after he wakes up on a morgue slab with amazing metamorphic abilities; the ability to change his body’s structure at the molecular level into almost anything he can think of. Along with enhanced speed, strength, leaping, and the ability to run straight up walls, Dr. Mercer must use his new found powers to piece together his lost memory and figure out the nature of a pandemic virus that turns those it infects into uncontrollable, zombie-like beasts.

Many people have already found out how good Prototype is considering it sold nearly 500,000 units combined for PS3 and Xbox 360 in its first week, but for those of you who haven’t and are looking for a solid action/adventure game, this is something you should probably consider picking up. The action is frenzied and there are always missions to complete and upgrades to collect. The experience reminded me of the Spider-Man 2 game from the last generation of consoles (also an Activision product), which was easily the best super hero movie/video game adaptation in a long time.

The bounty of powers and possibilities is obviously the biggest draw for this game. From making hammer-fists or blades come out of your arms, creating full body armor and developing limited flight, to absorbing your enemies into your body to regain heath, it’s hard to see how you couldn’t have fun with this on your quest to becoming the ultimate weapon.

The main drawback I felt for the game though was also the big draw; there might actually have been too many powers. All of those choices left a lot of room for experimentation, but usually you filtered out powers you never used and only used these powers during the missions in which you earn them. I never used the heat vision or the shield feature once you developed the full body armor; they were pointless.

Aside from the abundance of powers, there really wasn’t much to complain about with this game. Running up buildings could be difficult at times because it seemed Alex had trouble with any uneven surface; this glitch could be frustrating. But, when you have streets full of New York City residents screaming in terror as hive zombies emerge from infected buildings without any lag, it can be forgiven. Add in music that set the mood perfectly and your senses are kept constantly stimulated.

Unfortunately, again, aside from the powers, there isn’t anything that sets this apart from any other super hero game either. I was able to draw too many parallels to games that come before it. This prevented Prototype from feeling as if it was something truly special and original.

Although the game lacks multi-player, there are plenty of collectibles scattered around New York City and the opportunity to try and get gold medals on any and all challenges will keep you coming back for more. Plus, there aren’t many things I enjoy more in gaming than climbing to the top of a virtual Empire State Building and then flying off into the skyline.

Prototype is out now for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

Ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest.

Graphics: 9.0: The graphics weren’t overly flashy, but being able to have an abundance of Non-Player Characters on screen at once and having some awesome live-action cut scenes when absorbing enemies make this a visual gem.

Audio: 8.5: There isn’t a theme song that will stick in your head or anything truly memorable, but the music does a fine job of setting the mood. The SFX are all solid and the voice acting is top-notch with voice-acting vets like Phil LaMarr or big screen talent like Barry Pepper lending their talents to the game.

Plot/Plot Development: 8.5: The story is a little predictable in most aspects, however, a surprise ending and the overall mystery to the game makes this a memorable plot more-than-worthy of the super hero genre.

Gameplay: 7.0: A minimum of general glitches in terms of lag, but the difficulty with running up curved walls, switching between powers in the middle of battle, and aerial attacks make the gameplay only on par with most games of this nature.

Replay Value: 6.0: A lack of a multiplayer mode hurts this game, but it still gets an okay score because there are plenty of collectibles and the chance to replay side-missions for higher scores.

Overall: 8.0 (not an average):
The game really revolves around your powers and their development more than anything and this is a huge plus and downfall for the game at the same time. Even considering this dependency on your powers and not a great amount of originality, this game is still worthy of the super hero genre and deserves a look from any action/adventure fan.

-Ray Carsillo