Captain America: Super Soldier Review (DS)
Captain America has been around since the 1940′s taking down Nazi’s and saving the world. It’s kinda what he does. When it comes to licensed super hero games it seems he’s been on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to games. Sure he’s made appearances in some other games, but he hasn’t had the starring role nearly as much as someone like Batman or Spider Man. Now, thanks to the fact that he’s got a new movie he’s now taking the spotlight in the video game world as well.
What You Need to Know
Captain America: Super Soldier follows the basic plot of the new summer blockbuster. You’ll play as Cap himself as he tries to take down the forces of Hydra, led by Red Skull as they attempt to create super soldiers of their own. You’ll go through various levels in traditional platformer style, or a little more stealthy. Captain America throws his shield at guys with machine guns, sneak past security cameras and run through the sewers of Germany.
Collectibles are a staple of the platformer. They’re something fans use to try and add some challenge to the game. They’re not required, but they make exploring the levels fun. Captain America: Super Soldier has plenty of things to collect. They don’t change the game play in any way, but they’re fun to find and give you a good reason to really explore the levels. They include things like story dossiers and unlockable costumes for Cap.
Platforming Levels Are Fun
Most games based on a popular movie license tend to take the form of some style of platformer. In the case of Super Soldier on the DS you’ll be doing things in a classic 2D sidescrolling style and these levels are really pretty fun. The action is really fast paced and you have to stay on your toes if you plan to survive. One of the things you have to keep in mind with platformers is just how precise the controls are. There’s nothing more frustrating than hitting the jump button expecting to land one place and having your character end up somewhere completely different because of broken controls. Luckily, I never had any issues with them in Captain America. Cap moves really fast and all of his movements, while verging on out of control manage to stay very solid. Jumps land where you expect and it’s very easy to keep the flow of the combat going. Like the console game you are trying to string together combos to earn some slightly different melee attacks. I never had a problem taking down one enemy and quickly moving on to the next.
If you’re worried about taking gunfire while moving you have the option of holding down a button to equip Cap’s shield and continue your forward momentum. The only time this was a problem was if you needed to jump a gap. You will need to make sure you release the shield button before you jump or you’ll do a back flip rather than jumping forward. It’s a strange design choice, but once you remember to let off the button before you jump it’s very easy to get in a rhythm of moving while shielded, releasing the shield to jump and landing with the shield equipped again.
I really like the platforming parts of the game and if it had been nothing but these levels it would have been a really fun game to play through.
The previously mentioned platforming sections are great, but the problem is that you have two other types of levels to deal with and it really breaks up the flow of the game. In addition to platforming, every few levels you’ll have to play through Metal Gear Solid style stealth levels. In these modes Cap’s movement is significantly reduced with no way to increase your speed. Enemies will have bright yellow cones of vision, as will security cameras. If you get spotted at all you have to go back and restart the level from the beginning. There are no checkpoints to fall back to. These levels are very slow and just don’t feel like the type of level you’d expect to see in a Captain America game.
You also have on rails running levels that are very similar to games like Canabalt or Bit.Trip Runner. In these levels you’re just running from left to right as fast as you can. As soon as the levels start Cap just starts running (to avoid Flak cannons in the game) and you control when he jumps or attacks. While you’re running there is a score in the top right corner that just starts counting. There are medals scattered around to collect for extra points. If you miss a jump, run into an enemy soldier or get hit by flak fire it’s back to the beginning with you. These levels are alright and if they’d been set aside in the menu as an optional game play mode it would have made them easier to swallow and would have made more sense.
These two extra game play styles just feel like they were thrown in because they add some length to the game, which it really needs. They completely break the flow of the game and come at really unexpected time. Levels just tend to end with no rhyme or reason and it’s very jarring when it happens.
The Boss Fights really hampered some of my enjoyment of the game. They tended to be considerably harder than the other parts of the game. I know that boss fights are supposed to be hard, but there were times (like my fight against Iron Cross) that it took a half a dozen times before I finally realized what I needed to do to even damage him at all.
Captain America: Super Solider had the opportunity to be a really good licensed action platformer. Unfortunately there are too many things that really get in the way of the enjoyment. First of all, the game is really short. It can be completed in less than 4 hours. There is no way to go back and individually select levels so you have to replay the game over and over if you want to collect everything there is to see. The different styles of game play really break up the game and do it in a very jarring way. Levels end abruptly when you don’t expect them to and environments just shift from the sewer to a forest to the halls of a mansion. There is a solid bit of voice work from the actors featured in the movie, but voice acting along doesn’t make a game. If you’re a fan of the Captain and just have to get your hands on everything related to the franchise you might find it fun, but if you’re looking for a good platformer there are plenty of better options out there.
Final Score: 2/5 Below Average
Review copy of the game provided by Sega.
Played through the campaign in its entirety.
Total Play Time: 4 hours