NOTE: ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON COMICBOOKMOVIE.COM 03/15/2013
2002’s the Invincible Iron Man (IIM for abbreviation purposes here on out) from developer Torus Games and publisher Activision is not the first game to bill Iron Man as a title character, that honor would go to 1995’s Iron Man and X-O Manowar in Heavy Metal from Acclaim (coming soon…). It is however the first game for the character to receive solo billing, and is probably to date the best game that stars Iron Man.
The premise of the game is simple: Tony Stark’s armory is hacked and so Tony suits up to try to figure out the culprit of his stolen Iron Man armor technology. The game’s story is not its strong point, but it exists to set up the adventure and villains you’ll eventually face and in that light it succeeds at what it needs to do.
IIM is a side-scrolling action game that does an excellent job at emulating the classic 16-Bit Mega Man X titles from Capcom. No, that doesn’t mean that you’re given the choice to tackle foes and collect their weaponry from a stage select(though that would be a pretty cool game), what it means is that Iron Man controls nearly identically to that character in movement. The controls are really tight and precise, allowing you to jump, shoot, charge and dash with the greatest of ease. While the controls are great, you pretty see everything the game has to offer in Level Two when you receive the power up that allows you to use the Uni-Beam.
The big problem with the IIM is that for such a fun game to play, there’s just not that much of it. For the purpose of this review I replayed the game and it took me as little as an hour and a half to finish the game. The game has ten levels, two of which are boss fights. Throughout the ten stages you’ll fight bosses from Iron Man’s rogue gallery including Morgan Stark, Blizzard (whom you fight twice) and Crimson Dynamo who is the final boss. There’s no real collectible or replay incentive once the game is finished, which is a shame as that would provide some much-needed replay value.
IIM has an unfortunate lack of variety when it comes to environments in the short adventure. The first two levels are in a waterfront warehouse area, then a jungle, a snowy mountain side and a factory assembly area. What the game lacks in scenery, it makes up with in character animations. Iron Man and the enemies he encounter have nice clean animations and are very pleasant to look out in action and just being stationary. This helps to distract from the fact that there’s really only 4 types of stages in the game.
It sounds like I’m being a little bit hard on IIM, but I really love this game and just lament the fact that there’s not much of it. It was a pleasure to pick up and play again for this review and is well worth the $25 or so dollars it goes for on auction sites like eBay. For fans of Iron Man, this is a great game and a lost gem in the GBA library.