Monday, July 27, 2009

Hero of the Week #9: Iron Man

IRON MAN (Marvel)
Real Name: Tony Stark
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #39 (March, 1963)
Group Affiliation: Avengers (Former)
Gaming Credentials: Captain America & The Avengers (1991); Marvel Super Heroes (1995); Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems (1996); Iron Man & X-O Manowar in Heavy Metal (1996)Marvel vs Capcom 2 (2000); Invincible Iron Man (2002); Tony Hawk's Underground (2003); X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (2005); Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects (2005); Marvel Ultimate Alliance (2006); Iron Man (2008); Incredible Hulk (2008); Iron Man: Aerial Assault (2009); Iron Man 2 (TBA); Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (TBA); Marvel Super Hero Squad (TBA)
Infinite Wars Cumulative Ranking: #3

When it comes down to it, Sega's announcements for Iron Man 2 at San Diego Comic-Con were less than impressive. After a mediocre outing with their first game based on the comics/movie license, they definitely needed something to endear themselves to an audience critically scrutinizing any sequel.

Recruiting rising comics talent Matt Fraction into the team is a pretty good way to instantly grab the attentions of comics readers and "graphic novel" poseurs, but when his role is minimized to writing dialogue, you really have to wonder if they aren't setting themselves up for another chrome-lined work in the vein of Piero Manzoni. Granted, this piece of shit will let you grapple with machines and menaces, fly around, and shoot stuff, but like last time, it's shaping up to be an ironically hollow experience.

Sega's first outing with Iron Man was more Michael Bay than Jon Favreau

As discussed in the article partly inspired by the announcement; one of the glaring chinks in the armor of these types of games is the omission of valuable extentions of the license.
Granted, due to the game's ties to the film franchise, there might be a bit of a gag on exactly what they're allowed to strive for, but it's impossible not to think of a game like Marvel Ultimate Alliance which overcame similar failings of plot with sheer volume of reference to the icons of the Marvel Universe. One need only look over the past year of Iron Man comic stories (such as Fraction's, World's Most Wanted) to find more than enough material for multiple games, rather than the thinly woven storyline derived from a single summer film and a couple of Sega developers.

Despite this rather uninspiring announcement, you can't fault the strength of the Iron Man stock.
Marvel's golden avenger returns in the upcoming digital release of arcade beat 'em up classic, Marvel vs Capcom 2. The character will also be front-and-centre with the rest of Marvel's major icons in games making good use of the "universe" of properties, Ultimate Alliance 2 and Super Hero Squad. All this -- plus a massively anticipated feature film sequel, following on from the unexpected success of the 2008 hit, in theatres next May!

Over in the comics, the character's been scraping himself off the boot of the man who ousted him as Director of SHIELD and effective lord and master of the Marvel Universe, Norman Osborn. You and I, of course, know Osborn as the dastardly Green Goblin, but to the rest of the world he's Iron Patriot -- a once smeared industrialist who saved the world from Tony Stark's sloppy management and cowardly treason and became the leader of the Avengers and HAMMER (a replacement intelligence agency that actually is fundamentally corrupt)!
This Dark Reign has forced Iron Man to go on the run, fleeing Osborn's powerful allies whilst visiting various stations across the globe to recruit what tools he can, and delete sensitive materials Osborn hopes to use for his own evil ends. This has even meant deleting portions of Stark's own memory which was partially digitized when he underwent the "Extremis" treatment, which rewrote sections of his DNA to allow him to Matrix-up and communicate remotely with his armor and various electronic systems. Techno-telepathy, you might call it.

As overwhelming as those paragraphs of information might sound, they themselves contain the blueprint for a fantastic Iron Man game! Ranging from unique gameplay options, and the classic format of a gauntlet of opponents to storm through, the latest comics have everything you need for a satisfying dose of Iron in your gaming diet.

Secret Wars on Infinite Earths: The Comic Book Fight Club is updated with varying consistency, promising a feature fight for every Friday on the calendar (even if sometimes they're late). The site acts as an information resource, discussion site, review blog, and a Hulkbusting good time. 

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