Captain America: Super Soldier
Captain America has not seen a video game console release since the early 90’s when he teamed up with the rest of the Avengers in a 2-D side scrolling action/adventure. With the imminent cinema release of The First Avenger, it is with convenient timing that Marvel and SEGA have decided to rejuvenate the franchise and bring the 1940’s war hero to the 21st century. Much like Thor: God of Thunder, Captain America is not a movie – game tie in as such, instead opting for a separate storyline as an alternative take on the big screen release. As with Thor, SEGA have employed Chrsitos Gage – one of the writers of the comic to pen the story for the game. Also Chris Evans lends his voicing talents reprising his role as the Captain.
The game starts with the Captain being dropped behind enemy lines in the 1940s on a mission to stop the terrorist organisation HYDRA and Nazi Germany from destroying the world. Headed by the evil Red Skull, HYDRA set off on a mission to create the ultimate Super Soldier in an attempt to defeat Captain America and win the second world war. It is a race against time for Captain America and the Allied Forces to find and destroy HYDRA. With little help from any kind of weapon, it is up to the Captain to use strength and his most useful item – his shield to achieve his goals. The shield can be thrown to stun enemies, used as an aid to climb walls and deflect bullets of the bad guys.
Controlling Captain America with the analogue stick is simple enough however on occasions, the camera will either get stuck or be facing the opposite way to the action. All actions are performed with “A” button but take slightly too long to action. This results in a fit of infuriating button bashing just to jump up two or three ledges. The combat system is much the same as the rest of the controls. Bashing the “B” button in a group of enemies will dispatch them without too much trouble. This is a stark contrast to Thor: God of Thunder where combos where used to spice up the battles. Just pressing B and occasionally Z for the odd defensive manoeuvre, does get very stale very quickly.
For the times where a more long range approach is needed the shield comes into it’s own. Firstly if a hand gun is fired at the Captain, bullets are pinged back at such a rate it does quickly stop the enemy onslaught. This brings an element of fun to the game and slightly redeems the lack-lustre melee combat. Using the shield as a trigger, is a clever idea, throwing it like like a Frisbee to make bombs explode or open doors. However using the Wii remote to aim is not as responsive as one would hope and once zoomed in, the camera becomes static so there is no 360 degree aiming.
While Captain America may not move as easily as he could do, at least he and all the character models look good. They are scaled back versions of the high definition counter-parts which means they look above average for what the Wii can produce. The same cannot be said about the environments in which the characters roam. Level design in the game is for the large part plane and unimaginative, such as the trenches in the first level look exactly like the castle in the next. There are a staggering number of items to collect in each level – American P.O.Ws, war dossiers, treasures & HYDRA planted bombs to disarm. This may seem like a tough call as each level is surprisingly large. Items to obtain are so frequent there isn’t many places that they could be hidden so the game becomes more of a chore to find everything and everyone rather than an exciting search for treasure.
Captain America: Super Soldier is another example of having all the key elements in place, the writer of the comics, the actor who is Captain America, even a well established publisher/developer in SEGA. Yet, the game itself falls short in almost every way. The combat system is clunky and requires no skill, neither does finding every item in the game. In a typical good vs evil story, Captain America had to pull something out of the bag that sets it apart from the crowd. Unfortunately, it does the opposite as the dull levels and uninspired camera controls makes the game quite content to be quickly forgotten – it does not embody the American type cast of being loud and in-your-face. There are a few glimmers of hope with the game, the levels although mundane, are big. Each one in fact lasts around 20-25 minutes. Also making enemies shoot themselves does bring a comical value to the game. These two reasons alone do not provide a good enough reason to bring Captain America: Super Soldier from the ranks of mediocrity.