Author: Ian Bonds

Iron Man – A Video Game History

Iron Man – A Video Game History

Today, the world will be purchasing the wildly successful Iron Man film on DVD and Blu-ray and to commemorate the event, we’re taking a look at the hero’s history in videogames.  While his feature film debut was acclaimed by comic fans and critics alike, his video game appearances, while many in number, are spotty at best. Let’s take a look at what ol’ shellhead brought to screens before Downey filled his tin boots.

Captain America and the Avengers – 1991 (Arcade, NES), 1992 (Sega Genesis), 1993 (SNES, Sega Game Gear), 1994 (Gameboy)

Tony’s first appearance was in the arcades in 1991 in a side scrolling beat ‘em up adventure.  He may not have gotten top billing, but he along with Hawkeye, Vision and (obviously) Cap roamed the US bashing baddies like the Wizard and Tornado in an effort to defeat the Red Skull.  It was pretty standard fare as far as action games go: just continue to the right of the screen, defeat miscellaneous thugs and continue to the boss characters.  The formula worked for the time (when brawlers like Double Dragon and Streets of Rage were all the…um…rage) but the home console ports didn’t fare as well. The first on Genesis wasn’t able to match the arcades sounds (not that “Avengers Assemble” and “Oh No!” needed to sound better when repeated ad nauseum) and the control was severely lacking. The SNES version a year later was slightly better graphically, but was still a bit maddening in the control department.  Oddly enough, the best version was on the lower powered NES…but that version only let you select Cap and Hawkeye, as the plot was changed slightly to have you rescue Iron Man and Vision from the grips of the Mandarin. Weird.


Hands-On:  ‘Spider-Man: Web of Shadows’

Hands-On: ‘Spider-Man: Web of Shadows’

As sure as the sun rises, sure as night follows day, sure as MJ loves Pet…oh, wait, scratch that one…um…as sure as humans breath in oxygen and expel a form of carbon, there’s sure to be a new Spider-Man video game. And unlike even vs. odd numbered Star Treks, the quality of Spider-Man games (or super-hero games at all) is sketchy at best.  Sure, you’ll occasionally hit a milestone gem like the game based on the Spider-Man 2 movie, but then you’ll follow it with duds like Spider-Man 3 and Friend or Foe.  Thankfully, the developers at Shaba Games have taken the mold from the good Spidey titles and built an even better game around some new ideas that make this feel like the best wall-crawling escapade yet. 

That’s right, I said feel.

I recently had an opportunity to play a preview build of Web of Shadows for Xbox 360, and let me tell you, as a hardcore Spider-fan, this is the one we’ve been waiting for.  As fantastic as the swing mechanics were in Spider-Man 2, this takes everything up a notch with quality camera control, new combat maneuvers, a great story, and, finally aerial combat.

Admit it…even if he is a nerd, Parker has some bad-ass moves.  The way he hurls himself through the sky, zipping along a webline is graceful, dynamic, and awe-inspiring.  The animation team at Shaba has done a wonderful job of upping the ante with his swing animation, and everything flows just the way you remember from past games.  That’s the good thing.  The even better thing is how you transition from swinging to fighting.  Even while gliding through the air, you can target the nearest enemy by clicking the left trigger, and the camera stays focused on your foe (unless you tap the right analog stick).  Tap the Y button and Spidey will shoot out a webline straight for his target, either pulling his foe to him or him to it.  With careful timing, you then tap Y again once the two are about to connect, and you’ll begin the attack sequence.  Under a flurry of blows, ol’ Webhead can punch, kick and web up his foes, bouncing from target to target with ease.  With a few simple controller taps, you’ll be ping-ponging between enemies at a fast rate, and scoring some serious upgrades.