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Marvel Super Hero Squad - PSP - Review

While big brother (or sister) is playing the more mature and harder Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, the younger gamer won’t feel left out thanks to THQ’s release of Marvel Super Hero Squad … a game based on the kid’s animated show called “The Super Hero Squad Show.” With an impressive lineup of cutely rendered heroes and villains, Marvel Super Hero Squad for the PSP makes for a considerably flawed yet still somewhat fun brawler.

 

The game has a story mode called Adventure Mode that tells a story that fits right at home with the animated series. It seems that Doctor Doom is at it again as he is attempting to craft the Infinity Sword from the shattered blade’s several fragments called Infinity Fractals. Gathering his legion of villains, Doom goes about his search only to find that the Super Hero Squad is here to put a stop to his evil plans. The heroes will fight to stop Doom from carrying out his mission as they go through a number of location that include familiar spots like the Savage Land and even Asgard. 

The Super Hero Squad begins with its basic members that include Wolverine, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Flacon and the Silver Surfer. As you progress in Adventure Mode, you will unlock other heroes like Spider-Man, Captain America and the X-Men’s Storm. The story follows your chosen hero and his or her partner through a number of levels that will have you facing off various enemies and even participate in boss battles.

The good news is that the game does each individual character’s abilities right so Wolverine is great at slashing away with his claws and Iron Man can blast his way out of trouble. Even the Silver Surfer has a muted version of the Power Cosmic. While the powers and abilities aren’t as accurate as those seen in the Marvel Ultimate Alliance games, they do add variety to the battles. Even younger gamers will realize that the difference in powers can make for an interesting partnership. Including a powerhouse like Hulk with a brawler like Wolverine makes for a great team up that compliments each another.

 

Unfortunately, the bad news is that Adventure Mode is all over the place when it comes to the level design. Sure, you get to see interesting places within the Marvel Universe but there are times when you won’t know where to go to complete the mission objective Ms. Marvel asks you to carry out. Let’s take the first level that pits you against AIM agents and their vehicles, fail to destroy one vehicle and the exit opens up only to restart the mission if you decide to take the exit. There are even times where I didn’t even know where to go next, which would most likely frustrate younger gamers.

Adding to the game’s faults is the camera that doesn’t often offer the best view in the house. There are times where you’ll have to move in circles in order for the camera to get a view of the enemies shooting at you. The biggest crime, however, is the fact that in a game that offers you a partner; THQ didn’t include any multiplayer options. Ok, I can forgive the lack of online multiplayer but not including co-op via Ad Hoc is inexcusable.

At least the game does the brawling fun against the bad guys right. You’ll have a blast taking on against the Lethal Legion that Doctor Doom assembled. The lineup includes characters like Abomination, Sabretooth, Magneto, Modok, Mole Man and Juggernaut just to name a few. Villains have a special attack so battling them isn’t a walk in the park. You can even play as a villain in the game’s Battle Mode that simply allows you to select any character and location just to brawl.

The game sports some decent visuals but for those that don’t know the animated show they will find the cute versions of the good guys and bad guys rather silly. Still, there’s something about seeing Doctor Doom in a bathrobe and holding his coffee mug as if he just woke up from a nap downright adorable. The backgrounds are also quite colorful so different locals have a lot to look at during each mission. Sadly, the visual effects are seriously lacking.

 

At least the soundtrack is fun to listen to throughout the game despite the fact that the music is recycled often in this game. The voice acting is handled well, although none of the characters sound the way you would expect if you’re not familiar with the show. For those who are the characters sound just as good as on the show. 

Marvel Super Hero Squad for the PSP is missing a few things that could have made this a stellar action title for the young Marvel fan. Granted, there are a number of fun things about the game but the flaws are just too noticeable that even older gamers will find themselves frustrated by this game. Still, this game is worth the rental and a good starting point for young gamers still not old enough to really appreciate the difficulty level of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. 

Review Scoring Details for Marvel Super Hero Squad

Gameplay: 6.0
If you’re not familiar with the show you can certainly appreciate the fabulous lineup that includes a team that contains Iron Man, Hulk and Wolverine. The story mode is kindly lengthy but the levels can be erratic and the camera definitely does not help. The lack of multiplayer fun just disappoints.

Graphics: 6.5
The character models are super cute just like in the show and kids will love it. The backgrounds look good even on the PSP, although the visual effects could have used some razzle-dazzle.

Sound: 7.0
The voice acting is just like in the show so expect everyone - including the bad guys - sound just as cute as they look. I never thought it was possible but Doctor Doom sounds so not menacing. The music is also quite nice but it is recycled throughout each few levels.

Difficulty: Medium
Even the youngest gamer will get by in Adventure mode as they go up against weak thugs as well as Marvel’s best villains like Doctor Doom or Abomination.

Concept: 6.0
There are more than enough heroes to play and unlock and even some villains you can use in the game’s Battle Mode. Adventure Mode takes you through some familiar Marvel universe locals. The lack of any multiplayer whatsoever is very upsetting.

Overall: 6.0
Marvel Super Hero Squad has a number of fun moments that work on the PSP but missing co-op and a few gameplay issues make this game a miss. That said, however, young gamers would still have a blast taking their favorite Marvel character through this decent action game. Do consider this a rental for fans of the show.

Above Average

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