Iron Man takes flight, but only briefly


Iron Man has always had a flight problem in video games. The high-tech, high-flying superhero has peripherally appeared in several games, but he has never been able to truly soar.

That is not the case in Sega and Secret Level's Iron Man for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game, based on the summer blockbuster starring Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark, allows players to don the boozy billionaire's suit of armour and reach Mach speed, as well as blast foes with missiles, repulser shots and that oh-so-devastating uni-beam.

While the film devotes a bulk of screentime to Stark building the armour that makes him even more infamous, the game spends just two levels here, the rest focused on flying around and blowing stuff up. Interesting? Nope. Fun? Absolutely - for a little while, anyway.

Iron Man heavily relies on Stan Lee's original source material to expand upon director Jon Favreau's big-screen effort, taking gamers beyond the film's Middle East and Los Angeles locales. But with some of its playground-like gameplay, the plot never becomes an integral cog in this machine. Every level of Iron Man is open, allowing wannabe superheroes to seek and destroy robust battalions of enemy tanks, turrets and helicopters in any order they desire. But such action quickly becomes repetitive, interrupted only by brief tussles with foes such as Titanium Man and Whiplash.

The game's ability to alternate among flying, hovering and battling on the ground is overly ambitious.

The awkward control scheme ends up diminishing any joy of becoming an Iron Man who can rise more than 9.1 metres (30 feet) off the ground. Stark looks more like he is having a surface-to-air seizure than battling as a one-man army.

Upgradable enhancements and remarkable objectives give it a hefty amount of replay value, unless the arcade-like gameplay is completely off-putting from the start. Hardcore fans can try unlocking suits such as the Extremis and Hulkbuster, as well as an Ultimate and silver centurion suit, for the PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360 versions, respectively.