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Marvel Super Hero Squad

Platform(s): Nintendo DS, PSP, PlayStation 2, Wii
Genre: Action
Publisher: THQ
Release Date: Oct. 20, 2009


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NDS/PSP/PS2/Wii Preview - 'Marvel Super Hero Squad'

by Erik "NekoIncardine" Ottosen on July 2, 2009 @ 9:00 a.m. PDT

Marvel Super Hero Squad is a multiplayer adventure game that will feature nonstop action-adventure gameplay and epic battles, as well as a breadth of the new, super-stylized Marvel characters.

LEGO has become an unexpectedly huge video game property. First Star Wars, then Indiana Jones and then Batman all came out in cute form as a cheap-to-make, humorously entertaining franchise. At E3, we even saw Lego Rock Band, which was a "huh?" moment from EA if ever there was one. The series has been very popular and inspired cute toy lineups for other, unrelated series, including chibi releases based on the Avatar series. You can even see the cutesy influence on the first new, non-Activision Marvel game in several years, Marvel Super Hero Squad. I had some time to see a demo of the Wii version at E3, which showcased some gameplay basics.

In this cute, parody universe, there are two sides: heroes and villains. The hero team, the Marvel Super Hero Squad, consists of several of Marvel's most popular heroes (except The Punisher) who are fighting against the traditional villainous team-up effort. The baddies are out to acquire the Infinity Sword, and there are shards conveniently scattered all over six (well, eight, but two are secret) "decently long" campaign missions. Your job is to stop laughing at the image of Dr. Doom with beard stubble on his mask and wearing a bathrobe, and go get those pieces back!

Current plans have the six main campaigns casting you as Falcon, The Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, the Silver Surfer and Wolverine; during each, you can also pick any other hero as a partner. The actual gameplay is basically the same as any LEGO game, if perhaps a tad more thought-out in terms of attacks and power usage. There's also a fair bit more of 3-D platforming. The development representative also discussed adding motorcycle or other unusual segments, though none were confirmed during our appointment. Notably, levels are fairly linear, but you need to explore a little to find the shards of the Infinity Sword and progress in the game.

The basic looks, cute sounds, and strong physical-comedy element set Marvel Super Hero Squad as a fine counterpoint to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, providing a kid-friendly and entertaining alternative to the blatantly over-the-top violence in the X-Men franchise. I also heard about plans for an animated series based on this toy line, which would make this title an excellent companion release.
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