Review Shooter: Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters (DS)

I don’t know which is a rarer√ā¬†occurrence√ā¬†in gaming, a good movie tie-in or a good comic book inspired video game. I can tell you a good video game based on a movie based on a comic book property is pretty damn rare. Off the top of my head, the only quality games I could think of are Spider-man 1/2 and Wolverine Origins. I’m sure there are others, but that’s not the point!

This summer saw the release of 5 major comic book movies. Thor, X-men: First Class, Green Lantern, Captain America, and Cowboys & Aliens. X-men and Cowboys & Aliens don’t have games. I’ve covered almost every version of Captain America and Thor on the site already. By process of elimination, that only left the Green Lantern games. I tried the DS version because 1) its cheaper than the console versions 2) handheld games tend to be shorter.

I can say that Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters is a decent experience. While it doesn’t re-invent the wheel, it doesn’t offend with any of its choices. That isn’t to say the game doesn’t have its shortcomings, but nothing I found game breaking, but let me break it down for you.

First, let’s start with the story. As far as tie-ins go, I think this is actually a pretty piss poor one. Perhaps, it is better explained in the console versions, but I don’t get how this is related to the movie at all. I assume it takes place after the events of the film, but some events don’t really line-up well. Anyhow, the bulk of the story deals with Hal Jordan assisting various Lanterns on different planets deal with the Manhunters. Manhunters, for those√ā¬†unfamiliar√ā¬†with Lantern-lore, were the original effort of the Guardians of Oa to keep peace in the universe. They didn’t exactly work out as intended so the Guardians shelved them, they turned evil, and now old toys take on new toys. You know how it goes. The story won’t win any awards for writing or creativity, but it gets the job done.

The game is broken up into planets/sectors. At the start of the game, you are able to explore 4 areas, Earth, Ranx, Mogo and one more that slips my mind. √ā¬†You travel to each planet (once, I initiated a mini-game to fight my way to planet) and are usually greeted by one of your fellow Lantern. They give you the rundown of the situation, and you are usually tasked with something. This can range from taking out the planet’s guns to defeating the miners of the planet. Usually, it all works the same anyhow. You move from area to area bashing bad guys and looking for a part on your map.

Rinse and repeat, and then re-visit all of the original planets once more after your initial trip to complete a secondary goal. This could have been something special if it didn’t force you to revisit the same exact environment as the first time. There may be √ā¬†different objectives and some tougher enemies, but it is still repeating assets.

And really that’s my biggest problem with the game. It just feels like a chore to get through the end because you’ve seen almost everything it has to offer about 40% through the game. There are no real last minute switch ups or introduction of new concepts or powers or anything. You just find some extras that you may have missed your first time through the levels.

Also, the extra Green Lanterns add very little to your adventure. I actually went through the entire game without calling in for assistance so the only time I saw there were in the brief chapter interludes that are spread out throughout the game.

How is the core game itself though? For a character such as the Green Lantern, the powers are really impossible to translate to a video game properly. How do you work a ring that is able to conjure up everything into a video game and make it fun? I think the game found a somewhat decent compromise. The ring is mostly used for combat and some light puzzle solving throughout the game. This allows the developers to avoid any game breaking mechanics, though it also cheapens the character when you realize, a single door wouldn’t really keep him at bay.

The constructs are handled pretty well as you obtain new ones throughout the course of the game so it keeps the combat fun and engaging to see the various ones. Though, I would have liked to see a system where the constructs also had different power levels, for example, the projectiles all do the same damage even though they are guns, missiles and rockets.

The combat offers a decent amount of variety with a combination of melee, grabs and projectile attacks. There are also super moves that are active once you charge them up, though personally, never used them outside of testing them. The game just never overwhelms you with enemies or becomes too difficult.

Boss battles are a bit more strategic in nature, but the game really holds your hands telling you everything you need to know to defeat them. Its a fun diversion, and breaks up the monotone nature of the game, but nothing else.

Recommendation: Avoid it. While you may get some joy out of the game, it really does offer very little in the way of new and exciting game play. The license does help it go far in design and√ā¬†aesthetics, but can only carry it so much.

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