Whenever a blockbuster film is released in theaters, there’s a good chance that a game version is on the way as well. Such is the case with Iron Man 2. The sequel to 2007’s smash hit starring Robert Downey Jr. as the titular superhero has been tearing up the box office since its release some weeks ago, and garnering itself a fair amount of critical acclaim as well. Unfortunately, the console iterations of the hit movie haven’t been doing nearly as well critically, as GameZone’s own review will show you. Now, we have gotten the chance to check out the handheld DS version of the game.
Iron Man 2 for the DS is a departure from its console brethren, opting for a 2D side-scrolling approach to the action instead of a full-roaming 3D one. The game utilizes simple moves and combat elements, the DS’s stylus and touch screen, as well as the ability to play as either Iron Man or War Machine, each with their own set of controls and gameplay mechanics. Iron Man 2 features some variety by allowing you to play as two distinct heroes, but unfortunately feels like an overly simplistic affair with spotty combat.
Iron Man and War Machine each have unique feels to them and make for some nice diversity in the gameplay. Iron Man can fly through environments with ease, shoot energy bursts out of his hands, and punch and kick enemies. War Machine on the other hand, utilizes heavy-duty weaponry including shoulder-mounted machine guns and missiles.
As Iron Man and War Machine have their own distinct combat styles, it makes sense that they’d have their own set of controls. Iron Man utilizes the D-Pad and face buttons for movement and attacks, as well as flying, while War Machine incorporates the stylus/touch screen into the mix, allowing you to track enemies on your lower radar and drag the stylus over it to aim and take them out. You also have the ability to level up your abilities and shift between a defense, offense, and special power focus by tapping on the touchscreen.
The controls are varied, making for unique moments depending on who you play as. Unfortunately, whether you hop in the metal boots of Rhodey or Tony, you’re going to run into some fun-draining issues. Using the stylus to aim works well enough, but moving War Machine is a slow and cumbersome. Even though he has a dash function, this can lead to more frustration as it chucks you into your enemy’s path instead of away from it. Additionally, playing as Iron Man has its own share of issues. Your attacks are very underpowered, and your enemies are capable of wiping you out in a few powerful blows, making the combat more frustrating that it has to be.
The whole affair becomes very repetitive before too long. Although the Iron Man/War Machine team-up makes for two different ways to play, either of them will grow stale as you fight the same enemy types in the same environments.
Graphically, the game won’t dazzle you, but it takes appropriate advantage of the DS’s hardware capabilities. The environments move along on a 2D plain but are composed of 3D textures. The character models look good and are well animated. The music is decent, but also not outstanding in any way.
Iron Man 2 is not a bad DS game, it’s just not a terribly good one. The controls can be frustrating, and the whole experience becomes far too repetitious as you go along.