by William Thompson
reviewed on NDS
For a non-American and someone who only reads the occasional comic book, Captain America was somewhat of a mystery to me. Is he simply a beefed-up younger version of the old Uncle Sam guy (you know, the one from posters urging young Americans to fight in the war) with a special shield that protects him from enemies in the same way Centurions protected themselves from the arrows of marauding barbarians? Or is he some Bruce Wayne / Tony Stark millionaire with a super suit and some really cool (and expensive) gadgets?
No, I found out that the good old Captain is one of those superheroes who has gone down the augmentation route like Peter Parker’s Spiderman and Wolverine (or even Radioactive Man if you’re a Simpsons fan). Steve Rogers (Captain America is his alter-ego) is injected with a serum by the US Army in an attempt to aid the war effort in World War Two and his super strength and boomerang-like shield are definitely needed, as the enemy is also using advanced weaponry in Europe. These futuristic weapons have been traced to Castle Zemo in the Bavarian Mountains. The fortress is controlled by Hydra, the terrorist organization funded by the wealthy Baron Von Strucker.
The War to end all wars
And this is where Captain America: Super Soldier takes place. Loosely based on the movie Captain America: The First Avenger, the story begins with Captain America as he has been sent into enemy territory in a bid to infiltrate the fortress and disrupt the operations at the Castle. This includes stopping the strange experiments of the sinister, but brilliant scientist Arnim Zola. As a side mission, Captain America must free any P.O.W’s that he can find being held captive within the massive walls of the stronghold.
Captain America: Super Soldier is for the most part, a side scrolling platformer incorporating a mixture of beat’em-up style fighting, stealth takedown sections, speed-run sections and even has some puzzle elements to certain areas. And for all this, Captain America only has his strength and his trusty American-flag themed shield to complete his mission.
As progress in made through the game, Captain America will have to combat gradually increasing numbers of enemy soldiers. For the most part, he’ll use a combination of punches for close combat and fling his shield around for ranged combat. Just like a boomerang, his shield returns to him after each throw, often hitting enemies in the back of the head on its return path.
I let my shield do the talking
Battles are somewhat on the easy side due to the boomerang nature of the shield. The shield will hit any antagonists that stand in the path of the shield and many will even get hit twice, once on the way out from Captain America, and once on the return flight. And if enemies do manage to get in close, the melee attacks finish them off. Also, performing combos (or a string of hits) will increase Captain America’s Heroism meter. Build it up halfway and he can perform in Patriot Mode, essentially killing all enemies on screen (or damaging higher level enemies). Building up his Heroism meter all the way will enable Serum Mode, whereby Captain America has boosted abilities for a limited period of time.
Boss battles, especially the later ones do offer some challenge, but once you’ve learned the patterns and found their weaknesses, they too, are quite simple to complete especially when combined with Captain America’s Hero Boosts.
Controls are simple and well executed. Audio, especially the background music is above average for a DS game.
Little or no replay value and is on the short side. Characters are small and difficult to recognise, even for a DS title.