It's probably fair to say that Marvel is even more successful and more famous now than it was when comics were the staple entertainment medium for kids. Over the past few years there has been a serious glut of super hero movies hitting our screens, and I dare say that Stan Lee is catching up with Alfred Hitchcock when it comes to the most cameo appearances in movies. This year however, sees the first films that Marvel is producing itself, and it's kicking this new era off with Iron Man.
The Iron Man movie looks great, and with Robert Downey Jr. taking on the mantle of Tony Stark/Iron Man, you just know that this will be more than your run of the mill superhero flick ala Fantastic Four. Let's face it, Robert Downey Jr. usually brings so much to any movie, that you can even forgive him for turning up in Ally McBeal!
But as with pretty much any blockbuster movie these days, there is, of course, a video game franchise to go with it. This time Sega has grabbed the license and last night I was invited along to take a quick look at the game.
The game benefits greatly from the fact that both Robert Downey Jr. and Terrence Howard have reprised their roles, thus giving the in-game characters some of the charisma and gravitas of their celluloid counterparts. Iron Man looks pretty damn impressive too, although it's quite hard not to make a game that looks great on today's high definition gaming platforms. Sega showed off the Xbox 360 build, and it was full of detailed textures, lens flare and HDR lighting, just as you might expect.
The game seems to follow the timeline of the film quite closely, and as a result you get to don all three of the Iron Man suits that Tony Stark builds. Each of the suits can be upgraded throughout the game, and these upgrades are imperative to completing the objectives set in each of the missions.
At its essence Iron Man is a flying game, where you employ your almost indestructible suit and advanced weaponry to rid the world of the weapons of mass destruction that Tony Stark invented. If you're wondering why Stark has that change of heart, you'll have to watch the movie, but it's enough to say that he has something of an epiphany early on.
It was hard to get a feel for Iron Man from the short demo shown last night, but I'm hoping there will be more to the gameplay than simply hovering a few hundred feet above the ground and shooting at various military types. Although I guess that Sega sees the suit upgrade side of the game as a USP or sorts.
Iron Man will be coming to all the current console platforms - Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PSP, Nintendo Wii and DS - but a PC version is conspicuous by its absence. The game will hit the streets on 2nd May, to coincide with the UK release of the film, so if you've always wanted to play at being Iron Man, you don't have long to wait.