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Hands-on with Sega and Marvel's Upcoming Thor Videogames

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Like Captain America, Marvel’s Thor is gearing up for a summer onslaught of a feature film and plenty of merchandise, including video games. There are four titles coming this year, with three of them prepped for the movie premiere this May. I’ve had a chance to check out what Marvel and publisher Sega have in store for the god of thunder, on every system from the 360 and PS3 to the DS.

Thor: God of Thunder (360/PS3): From the team that brought Rise of the Argonauts and Desperate Housewives: The Game comes Thor: God of Thunder, arriving on the 360 and PS3 as an action brawler. I know that the pedigree isn’t exactly outstanding, but my time with the title indicated this could be a passable licensed title appealing to fans of the comics and movies.

The game mostly takes place in the world of Asgard, so Thor won't be spending much time on Earth. While assets and plot elements from the film will be intact, this is a completely different storyline. Thankfully, some of the voice actors from the movie, including Chris Helmsworth, will lend some credence to the game. It’s a fairly standard brawler title, though Thor can use the power of lightning, wind and thunder to different effects, such as miniature tornadoes or thunder sonic blasts. Bosses seem like a big deal, with each level (that I played, at least) ending in a massive fight with characters like the fiery Surtur brawler troll Ulik.

Thor: God of Thunder (Wii): The Wii version of Thor is in the mostly capable hands of Red Fly Studio, a group known for their work on Mushroom Men and the Wii ports of The Force Unleashed II. Like Thor for the 360 and PS3, the Wii version has its own unique storyline and gameplay methods. Thor must travel through regions of Asgard and Earth to defeat evil baddies.

Controls aren't exactly top-notch. Basic attacks can be performed with the A button and heavier attacks with waggle. Performing super moves require a press down on the D-pad and a directional motion. The controls are odd and never feel particularly intuitive. Visually, Thor is substantially worse than the 360 and PS3 versions, but that’s to be expected. I don’t know if Red Fly is going to surprise with this one, but for the time being it’s a barely tolerable Wii downgrade.

Thor: God of Thunder (DS): If I’ve been disparaging toward the Thor titles, it’s only because one of them has me really excited. WayForward is the team working on this side-scrolling platformer, and it’s clear that a lot of love went into the sprite work for this game. Everything here is old-school sprite animation—some of the smoothest I’ve seen in a long time—and the seven layers of parallax remind me of the beautiful games on the SNES and Genesis.

Combat is actually very fluid, ranging from screen-destroying super moves to Thor throwing Mjolnir in eight directions. The game is also a two-screen platformer, with Thor jumping from the bottom to the top screen. This is especially prominent in the boss battles, which fill up both screens, with Thor moving between top and bottom. It’s pretty fun, and the animations keep things sharp.

Thor: God of Thunder (3DS): Neither Sega nor Marvel had anything to show for Thor on the 3DS. Hopefully we can have some official hands-on with the game later this year.

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Ben PerLee
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