Griptonite Games pulled double duty in the summer of 2011 on comic book movie games: They were responsible for three out of the four versions of Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters as well as the handheld version of Captain America: Super Soldier. The studio has had varying degree of quality in their comic book game products, there’s Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions DS (Really good,) Iron Man 2 DS (Pretty good,) and Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters (REALY BORING.) With regards to quality, Super Soldier on the DS is on the same level as Iron Man 2, that is to say it’s not a bad game, but one that you’ll probably forget about once you put the finishing touches on it.
I’ve touched on the story of this game in two other reviews, so I won’t get into it here other than to say it has more in common with the Wii game as Baron Zemo makes an appearance as a character that Captain America speaks with over a radio. I do give credit to Griptonite for managing to squeeze in some voice clips into the cart from the films cast, again borrowed from High Voltage’s game on the Wii console.
Similar to how the Wii game plays out in a mission by mission basis, so to does the DS version of Super Soldier, only in 2.5 dimensions. This is a bit of a disappointment as the developer had transplanted other heroes, like Spider-Man and Green Lantern, into an open structured “metroidvania” experience. Given that the game’s setting is a giant castle, drawing comparisons again to Castlevania, it could have been the Super Soldier equivalent of Metroid Fusion to the 360 game’s Metroid Prime.
That’s not to say that playing as Captain America isn’t fun, because it is. The Captain has access to a wide repertoire of combat moves from basic punch attacks, upper cuts and of course being able to throw his shield in eight directions. He’s quite nimble on his feet as well, being able to leap from walls, swing from poles and even perform a Super Mario Bros.2 Luigi-esque super jump.
The real issue isn’t controlling the character as you can do so with the greatest of ease, it’s just that the levels you find yourself in are boring in both design and structure. You run from one point to another, perform some simple platforming, fight some bad guys, and then repeat until the end with little variety. The game tries to spice things up a little with some stealth sections that are pretty pointless, but that’s pretty standard for stealth in 2-D games. Basically you wait until a guy turns his back, sneak up behind him and take him out and avoid some lights, nothing terrible advanced, challenging or engaging. When transitioning between sections of the castle, the perspective switches to a 2-D endless runner where Captain America is constantly in motion and you’ll have to leap over obstacles and pit falls. A better description would probably be the mine cart sections in Donkey Kong Country, substituting the cart for Captain America’s legs. These sections, like the stealth bits, are not difficult and add little to the over all experience.
One area where the DS game shines above the other is the bonus costumes, at the bonus content, in particular the costumes. The games on the home consoles only had two spare costumes a piece, but here you get more unlockables than either, including the exclusive Bucky Captain America outfit.
Like a lot of movie tie-in handheld games, Super Soldier is nothing to write home about, but at the same time is not damming to the character as well. If you’re looking for a solid 2-D action game starring the Star Spangled Avenger, you could do much worse, in fact, between this and the graphically superior and 3-D game on the 3DS, I’d easily choose this. Fans of the characters may have some fun with this game, and it won’t take you that long to get through, everyone else need not apply.