by Ryan Phillip Hardesty
previewed on X360
It seems just about every major superhero gets his spotlight these days with only a handful of exceptions. Arguably the most notable of exceptions is the Sentinel of Liberty himself, Captain America. With comic book characters going through a bit of a cinematic renaissance, it was only a matter of time until Captain America got his own movie during this golden age. Come July 2011, it will become a reality for millions of fans everywhere. But what almost always accompanies a comic book movie? Its video game counterpart, of course, and Canadian developer Next Level Games has stepped in to create Captain America: Super Soldier.
When “comic book movie” and “video game” are paired together, the adjectives “god awful” and “horrendous” typically aren’t far behind. The urgency to squeeze out a video game in conjunction with the movie is a specific pressure placed upon game developers, and it doesn’t help that Sega Marvel Games tend to be on the “meh” side to begin with. Fans of the Cap shouldn’t be fraught with fear, however. Next Level is well aware of the general fate of comic book games. Along with the dev’s own awareness, Next Level’s track record is generally positive. One of its most recent titles, Punch Out!!, did extremely well, and Next Level’s only superhero video game to date, Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, was considered decent by the critics and public alike. Most importantly though, are the reactions given off by the few who have played the game. From the small number of play-tests that have surfaced, most gamers have walked away pleasantly surprised by the game, a hint of quality that hopefully won’t dissipate come release time.
Every since rumors of the movie made their appearance, Captain America: The First Avenger has been awash with secrecy and, unfortunately, the game won’t be doing much to alleviate that. While the game and movie are being made in conjunction with one another, the game’s plot is entirely separate and will reveal little, if any, info on the movie. The only things being kept in common are that they’re both set during World War II and share an uncertain number of villains. The good news, however, is that the movie has undertaken the duty of exposition, leaving the game free to drop you into the thick of the action long after Steve Rogers has acquired his powers.
The Evils of War
So with the origins tale and all that talky talky out of the way, the game sets itself in an ancient castle deep in the mountains of Bavaria and fills it with evil-doers ready to be shield-slammed in the head by you. With a script delivered by comic writer and Avengers aficionado Christos Gage, the plot should hopefully generate enough weight of its own. A host of villains will show up, including the Iron Cross, biochemist Arnim Zola, Madame Hydra, and Baron Strucker, with all of them being headed by the Red Skull. Protected deep within the bowels of the castle, the Red Skull and his allies work towards manufacturing nightmarish weapons of war for the Axis powers, and that’s where you come in.
Trekking through an enormous castle rife with experimental technology, you will fight off wave after wave of HYDRA, the terrorist organization seen in the comic as well as the movie. Curiously enough, Nazis may not be present at all.