Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters

This summer is going to be one for the superheroes. With Captain America and Thor coming to theaters and consoles, DC Comics is close behind with the Ryan Reynolds-fronted Green Lantern. Before the movie arrives in cineplexes June 17, the Green Lantern will suit up for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS and 3DS on June 7, 2011.

At last week’s WonderCon convention in San Francisco, we were shown two different versions of the Green Lantern games, titled Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters. The first is the PS3/360 build of the game, developed by Double Helix–the same studio behind Front Mission Evolved and Silent Hill: Homecoming. In this version, players take control of Hal Jordan (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) as he battles opposing forces on the Green Lantern planet of Oa. The Manhunters, cyborgs intent on destroying intelligent life, have been causing problems for the Green Lantern Corps.

The game is a fairly standard action title. Players can control either Jordan or Sinestro in drop-in, drop-out co-op (offline only). Attacks are basic, from weak and heavy punches to throws and combos. The game becomes much more interesting once you take the green “constructs” into account. The power ring can (among other abilities) conjure the physical form of anything the Lantern can imagine. In the game, these objects range from bright green baseball bats to gatling guns and more. There are 12 in total, and these constructs can be upgraded or switched out. Players have to be wise about using the power ring, though, as Jordon has a finite amount of willpower to work with.

Jordan can also go through on-rails shooting segments in space, breaking up the standard beat ’em up sections. The controls are a little finicky, and the shooting mechanics, either simple shots or missiles, aren’t anything remarkable. Hopefully Double Helix can make this dynamic much more interesting in the later stages.

We were also shown the 3DS version of the game. Surprisingly, the developer for Green Lantern on the Wii, DS, and 3DS is Griptonite Games, the same one that developed side-scrolling platformers for Spider-Man and Captain America. Like those two games, the 3DS and the DS versions of Green Lantern copy the exploration and level-based gameplay of its Marvel siblings. However, unlike Spider-Man or Captain America, Green Lantern can fly and use his power ring on command. With a sense of humor, the constructs are randomized. So when, for example, Jordan does a downward drop attack, at one moment he could encase himself into a giant anvil, and the next he’ll be inside of a giant hot dog or car.

Each of these constructs can be customized and upgraded, and Hal has special, extra powerful moves he can use, such as transforming his arms into giant blades or sending out a massive explosion. He can even summon fellow Lanterns (such as Sinestro) to assist him with more massive attacks. Jordan has a protective shield, and he can earn a scanning attack that highlights enemy weaknesses. To be clear, we’re describing the 3DS version of the game. The DS version has the same core, but the 3DS version has different art and a few other mechanics.

Like any other licensed superhero title, these Green Lantern games will either be good or bad. They probably won’t be super outstanding titles, but with the solid pedigree of their developers, fans will have plenty to like.