Captain America: Super Soldier (DS)
Developer: Griptonite Games
Captain America: Super Soldier for the Nintendo DS is an interesting mix of surprise and disappointment. While the game is better than it has any right to be, it drops the ball after the final boss battle.
- Single Player
- Finding Dossiers unlocks additional story
- Finding power-ups increases shield abilities and life bar
- Freeing captured soldiers unlocks costumes
- Several of the film’s actors return to reprise their character’s voices in this game
Unfortunately, the game stumbles terribly at the finish line, where instead of ending with the defeat of Armin Zola’s Robot or a fight against the Red Skull, you disarm a rocket by solving a few puzzles. Yes. That’s it. You disarm the rocket, watch a short cut scene that involves the Red Skull and then the credits scroll. What? It would have made more sense to either not involve the Red Skull at all or to have used him as the final villain. The multi-stage final boss is a go-to convention for a reason.
The game is super-forgiving in some areas and merciless in others. Your game never actually ends. You’re allowed to start at your last save point every single time you die or are caught. Sometimes that’s at the beginning of the level, other times they allow you to start at a mid-level checkpoint. The problem is you’ll die a lot. It is entirely unforgiving during the levels that require sneaking require impeccable timing or chance. Some of the cycles the security cameras or platforms run on aren’t consistent between each lost life. It’s both horribly frustrating and invigorating in that merciless, NES Ninja Gaiden series way. It’ll exercise your OCD muscles thorougly.
Just as you would expect with a Captain America game, there’s heavy reliance on the use of his shield to solve puzzles and get out of tight situations. I didn’t find his shield to be as useful in your standard thug battles, though it can be used to keep soldiers that are at a distance down while you take care of more immediate threats. Simple button mashing wasn’t enough to get through every fight. Unlike many other games of this genre, combos were actually helpful in getting out of tight situations. The one major flaw in the fights reared its head when Cap was surrounded by enemies on both sides. It was sometimes impossible to jump over them due to the rate at which they were punching Cap and as a result of that, he died a lot.
The way in which Super Soldier handles level accessibility is flawed. You would think that a game with collectibles would allow you to go back through the main menu to retry each individual level at your leisure. Nope. Completionists will have to play through the entire game again. It was equally odd that you could not access your collectibles through the main screen of the game. Instead, you must start your game, pause it and access them through the menu that appears there.
The backgrounds seem to have had more time allotted for the details. While this is a side-scroller, the backgrounds are 3D. They move and change perspective as the camera follows Cap. The effect does give each level depth and you can tell they added as much detail was allowed within the constraints of the hardware. None of it looks amazing, but the detail ranges from adequate to more than you would have thought you’d get out of a licensed game on the DS.
I seem to be using the word “serviceable” or synonyms thereof more often than I thought I would. I expected more of the vocal performances considering they brought in the acting talent from the film to do most of the major characters and some of the minor ones. Unfortunately, none of the good guys deliver their lines with any panache. They instead do very straightforward readings with barely perceptible emotion. Conversely, the bad guys deliver their lines in an over the top manner that you would expect from a game this silly.