What other superhero games can learn from Batman: Arkham Asylum

What Iron Man should learn

If you had control over a multi million dollar suit that could fly faster than a fighter jet, surgically take out terrorists and flame grill a mean bit of cheese on toast, what’s the first thing you would do? We’re guessing it wouldn’t be tampering with power outlets. But that’s exactly what Sega had us doing in Iron Man’s movie game. We suggest Tony Stark learn from the Bat and let us use his powers for something more exciting than electrical sabotage.

Take note Tony: we want to blow people to smithereens, use your rockets to reduce skyscrapers to rubble and have built in X-ray specs to look through Gwyneth Paltrow’s skirt. Batman lets us do loads of cool things with his gadgets in Arkham, like pulling concrete walls onto mental patients and using sonic batarangs to lure guards into traps. If Iron Man’s next game takes Rocksteady’s lead, and crafts interesting set-pieces built around his powers, Stark’s day could yet be saved.

What the Incredible Hulk should learn

Unlike most of his other heroic pals, Hulk already has a really good game under his belt, with 2005’s Ultimate Destruction. Developer Radical realised there’s only one reason you buy a game with a large, semi naked monster on the box, and it’s not to solve cryptic puzzles or sneak around science labs with Bruce Banner. Sadly, the bus-surfing, city destroying japery of Destruction is an immaculate blip on Hulk’s otherwise risible résumé of games.

The last couple of games have been hamstrung by the recent films. That’s why we’ve had to endure the previously mentioned stealth bits from the Ang Lee film tie-in and the dreadful story objectives of last year’s movie game. Destruction was a success because, just like Arkham, it had the creative freedom to do what it wanted. Future titles should follow this template and create original scenarios for the mean, green fighting machine that service good gameplay rather than crow-barred movie missions.

Sep 3, 2009

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