Tag Archive: war machine

Clash of the Classics

When I was just a boy, my friends and I would argue for hours on end on the playground about what superheroes would win in an imaginary fight when pitted against each other in all different kinds of wacky combinations. We didn’t just mix up teams from a particular universe, but came up with all kinds of scenarios that put our favorites against all manner of pop culture heroes and heroines. So, when games like Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel vs Capcom breathed even more life into these conversations, you can easily imagine why we were hooked.

Flash-forward nearly two decades, and these games have led to the production of one of the most successful and beloved fighting game franchises there is. Because of this, Capcom wanted to make sure that not only us older games didn’t forget our roots, but also show a new generation the foundations of what set us on our hypercombo-ing path.

Marvel vs Capcom Origins is no ordinary old-school compilation, though. Included with these two original games—which have also had some HD graphic upgrades—are 8-player online lobbies with spectator modes, replay saving, dynamic challenges that unlock levels, and points you can spend on unlockables like characters that were hidden in the originals, end movies, or concept art.

The best part of the dynamic challenges and unlocks, though, may be that they give both games an unprecedented amount of replayability. Plus, if you’re as big a fan as I am, you will absolutely geek out over the sketches and stills of your favorites heroes and villains, as well as the chance to easily unlock the hidden characters that we originally had to input an impossibly long code for—Dr. Doom and Thanos in Marvel Super Heroes and Gold War Machine, Hyper Venom, Orange Hulk, and Shadow Lady in MvC.

Another nice aspect of the game is that everything that made these fighters unique in the first place is still there so you can relive the experience as if it were 1995 again and you were feeding quarters into an arcade cabinet under pink neon lights. The gem system of Marvel Super Heroes (inspired by the Infinity Gauntlet story from Marvel comics) still allows you to enhance your players temporarily with the powers of Space, Power, Time, Soul, Reality, or Mind, and MvC still gives you dozens of assist characters and the Duo Team Attack where you and your partner can combine your hyper combos into one truly devastating maneuver.

Unfortunately, in terms of gameplay, the games are a little too demanding at times, as players who are used to modern fighters will quickly see the age on these classics. Sometimes a little clunky and even a bit frustrating, both these games—but especially Marvel Super Heroes—can feel stiff, and the smooth combo chains you may be used to from Marvel vs Capcom 3 are much harder to string together and pull off in these titles. It’s not that you won’t be able to get the hang of these characters eventually and have fun in the process, but if you play modern fighters like MvC 3 religiously and then expect to be able to jump right into these games, you might be caught a bit off-guard by the stark differences.

When all is said and done, Marvel vs Capcom Origins hits enough of the right nostalgic notes to make it a more than worthwhile purchase for long time fans. I mean, the game even offers zoomed out, angled camera camera views designed to replicate the experience of playing on an old wooden cabinet. Younger fans might be a little frustrated with the less than silky smooth controls, but they should still play in order to truly appreciate how far we’ve come with fighting games. They’ll even likely start creating fun memories of their own once they adjust to the outdate feel. All in all, Origins is a fine compilation that’s more than worthy of a download.

SUMMARY: Marvel vs Capcom Origins does a fine job of staying true to the originals, while the addition of dynamic challenges provide a new layer of addictiveness that helps to overshadow how much these games have aged in the past two decades.

  • THE GOOD: New leveling up and variety of unlocks compliment classic game play well.
  • THE BAD: Games show their age at times.
  • THE UGLY: Far and away, it’s Shuma-Gorath.

SCORE: 9.0

Marvel vs Capcom Origins is available on XBLA (Xbox 360) and PS3 (PSN). Primary version reviewed was for XBLA.

Originally Published: September 19, 2010, on ClassicGameRoom.com

I review Iron Man 2 from SEGA for the Xbox 360 from May 2010. Team up with your good friend War Machine to stop a plot for global domination with lots and lots of missiles.

Two Heroes, Two Reviews

Originally Published: May 7, 2010, on PlayerAffinity.com, ESPNNewYork.com, Lundberg.me, and Examiner.com

One of my staples here is that when there are huge summer blockbusters, especially ones based off comics, which have corresponding video games, that I do a double review. So, in keeping with that pattern, I present to you Iron Man 2. We’ll start by taking a look at the movie.

Taking place six months after the end of the first movie, we find the world loving Iron Man. It seems that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is on top of the world and no one, not Congress, not the US Armed Forces, and not rivals like Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) can take him down. Unfortunately, the thing that has helped Tony rise to the glorified status he has reached, is also killing him. The miniature arc reactor in Tony’s chest is slowly poisoning him and the more he uses his Iron Man suit, the faster the poison spreads throughout his body.

Meanwhile, a physicist named Ivan Drako (Mickey Rourke) is plotting his family’s revenge from the confines of a shack in Siberia. Drako blames Stark for his family’s poverty and will stop at nothing to hasten the process of Stark’s death. Using blueprints that Ivan’s father helped Tony’s father develop and researching Tony’s own work on the arc reactor, Ivan makes his own miniature arc reactor. Instead of creating an entire suit of armor though, Ivan designs a simple harness that can be hidden beneath his clothes and two energy conducting whips that can uncoil at a moment’s notice from the harness.

As Tony privately counts down his last days and races for a cure to the poison in his chest, he must also contend with rivals and enemies he doesn’t even know he has yet. It looks like Tony will be forced to call for a little help from his friends.

Iron Man 2 is a great new chapter in the canon that Marvel is creating with their motion pictures, but is not as good as the original Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark. There is no acting involved, he just is. The way he delivers his lines is brilliant and I can’t think of a better actor to personify a character. The humor delivered by Downey and several of the other characters like Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) though is a little dry and predictable at times.

A major problem I had with the movie was the development of Whiplash/Ivan Drako and how they took two villains from the comic book canon and combined them poorly into one. Whiplash was nothing but a common thug in the comics and the Russian with a vendetta who stole Stark’s technology was the Crimson Dynamo. I appreciate that Marvel was trying to modernize the character since the whole “Communist Russia” that inspired the Crimson Dynamo is gone, but they could have kept the character and only changed his history some. Plus, the huge red armor would have probably looked cool.

Continuing with my problems with the character development, let’s look at War Machine. Don Cheadle was a great choice to replace Terrance Howard and he pulled off the Yin to Robert Downey Jr’s Yang perfectly, even if I would have liked to see a little more interaction between the two. My problem was how War Machine came about. Justin Hammer took stolen armor and modified it? That’s so far off course from the comics I can’t even start to dissect where they got that idea from, but I hated it. And why in a movie full of AC/DC music, was the song “War Machine” off the Black Ice album not used?

Speaking of great casting, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow/Natalia Romonova. Wow. I loved watching Scarlett in a skin-tight black cat suit doing flips and kicking butt. Only thing I had a problem with, as a diehard fan of the comics, is that they didn’t go much into her background and they never once referred to her as Black Widow, but it was understandable because she was more of a minor character in this movie.

A minor gripe I have is the fact that the scene from the commercials where Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) kisses Tony’s helmet and chucks it out the back of the airplane has been cut. Is this just something to save for the DVD or was there a legitimate reason that you purposely cut a scene you were using in your major TV ads?

My final complaint is that the last fight scene was anti-climatic compared to the 20-minute slugfest from the first film. Although fun and entertaining, the best fight scenes came in the middle of the movie with the suitcase suit (which was awesome) and made the end scene look like they were tying up loose ends.

On the positive side, it was nice to see that all these extra characters that were introduced were not forced into the series, but were eased in. The casting was spectacular for all these characters, as well, from Garry Shandling as the primary US Congressman against Tony to Scarlett as Black Widow. Also, the special effects were top of the line as expected. I always “geek-out” whenever I see Tony use those three dimensional computer models with JARVIS, his suit A.I. and butler.

All in all, minor complaints aside, Iron Man 2 is a fun, fast-paced action/adventure/comedy that does its predecessor justice, but does not surpass it. Well done by Marvel overall and I would strongly recommend that any fan of the first movie check out Iron Man 2.

Iron Man 2 gets 7.5 out of 10.

I really thought that Iron Man 2 was a solid movie, so I was hopeful that the game wouldn’t be a total screw up.

What I’ve noticed from many recent games based on movies is that they try to extend the story portrayed in the movie, either as events leading up to the movie, or events immediately following the movie. Two recent examples of this that come to mind were Terminator: Salvation and GI Joe. Iron Man 2’s video game, a third-person shooter/action/adventure title developed by Sega, falls into the “after the movie” concept.

The game opens up with Tony’s archives building being attacked by robot drones. Immediately Tony and Rhodey scramble to the scene and try to quell the chaos with repulsor beams and mini-guns blazin’. For the most part they are successful, but after checking all his files, Tony finds that part of his original program for JARVIS, his electronic butler and suit A.I. program, has been stolen. Knowing what could happen if that A.I. fell into the wrong hands, Tony and Rhodey start following a trail of breadcrumbs to find the culprits.

A simple comic book plot that ties well into the canon that the movies seem to be developing, the villains in the game are new adaptations of classic Avengers/Iron Man villains. Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.), Roxxon, Crimson Dynamo, and Ultimo all make appearances in a much deeper plot than is initially revealed in the opening level of the game and is done in a way that makes sense for this new movie universe, but stray far away from the comics. For example, Tony Stark in this new universe now creates Ultimo, one of the most formidable of villains of the Avengers and originally created by Hank Pym. An interesting account of these classic characters, but purists will flip over this for sure.

So, the plot may be workable, but a story alone does not a great game make. This game from a technical standpoint feels rushed. The graphics look like they were something from the last generation of consoles. NPCs looked cartoony and out of place and the backgrounds were bland at best.

The audio was unimpressive also. The voice acting was solid, but the dialogue was uninspired and I was disappointed that only Don Cheadle and Samuel L. Jackson lent their voices to the game (I hereby declare my love for Scarlett Johansson). The music lent to the game from several rock bands was good, but they didn’t get any AC/DC, which is a clear theme for the movies. I think that is proof positive that this game was rushed to hit store shelves along with the movie hitting theatres.

The biggest downfall of this game though is the gameplay. This game is chock full of glitches, the controls felt unnatural (especially the flying where you’re constantly crashing into walls or obstacles), and made the game much harder than it needed to be. Mind you, the difficulty of the game was somewhat impressive, but it wasn’t because of a good enemy A.I., but because of sheer numbers and health handicaps when you up the difficulty. And even then, you only have eight missions that should take most veteran gamers only 8-10 hours to complete on hard. On easy, this game isn’t even worth a rental since there is no strategy necessary when playing (out of curiosity, I played a few levels on easy after beating the game on hard, and it was a joke, especially in terms of being able to procure a lot of the achievements). Plowing in headfirst will almost always win the day.

Another weakness of the game is the replay value. If you actually enjoy playing this game, there are new armors and power ups that you can acquire by repeating levels. Also, in four of the eight missions you can choose between playing as War Machine or Iron Man to get a different feel between War Machine’s offense heavy strategy and Iron Man’s defensive minded maneuvers. Some kind of multiplayer or co-op mode with both heroes would have gone leaps and bounds for this game and because of that there is really nothing to bring you back to this game. I don’t even think there is enough to bring you to this game once actually.

When you sit back and look at this game with a careful eye, you see the framework for a very solid third person shooter/action/adventure game. Unfortunately, it looks like Sega, either of their own volition or pressure from Marvel, rushed this game, plain and simple. Every element of this game seems incomplete, from the graphics to the gameplay mechanics. It seems that Iron Man 2 has fallen into another summer blockbuster pattern: the corresponding video game is usually nowhere near the quality of the movie.

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

Graphics: 5.0: The models for people and villains are solid, but a lot of scenery clearly has a poor polygon count and seems incomplete or very basic at points. A very rushed job by the folks at Sega.

Audio: 6.0: The soundtrack was solid, but a lack of AC/DC was disappointing considering how important it was for the movie. Also, the fact that only two actors from a star studded cast signed on to do the game is a joke, even when they’re actors of Samuel L. Jackson and Don Cheadle’s calibers.

Plot/Plot Development: 6.0: Not a bad story that works well with the new universe created by Marvel’s movies, but die-hards of the comics will want to throw a brick through their TVs and use the game disc for some skeet shooting.

Gameplay: 3.0: Chock full of glitches and a poor control scheme makes this game a chore to play at best. Add in an uneven difficulty system and only about 10 hours of gameplay on the hardest difficulty and you’re looking at something that should be put on the scrap heap.

Replay Value: 5.0: There are only eight missions in the game’s story and only four of those allow you to choose which of the two heroes you want to play as. There are some weapons and classic armor to collect and some very easy achievements to acquire via replaying a few levels, but beyond that there is nothing to keep you playing this game.

Overall (not an average): 3.5: A rush job all the way around, Iron Man 2 is horribly disappointing and maintains the status quo of good movies often make bad video games. Only the most hardcore of fans should even rent this. No one should buy.

Iron Man 2 is available now for PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, and PSP.

-Ray Carsillo