For those who haven't been keeping score so far, Captain America is one of Marvel's more patriotic of super heroes, and represents all that's good and American (you know, freedom and enterprise, that sort of stuff - not iPhones and fast food). Set during the throes of World War 2, the film follows a young, skinny guy called Steve Rogers, who's desperate to volunteer for duty, and help in the fight against those dastardly Nazis. However, being as he's a weak and skinny bloke, with various health problems, poor old Steve gets rejected for service. Dejected, he considers admitting defeat, until someone points out there is a way he could sign up. The army needed volunteers for a new test project - a genetic engineering experiment, designed to create a new race of super soliders using a fancy new serum. Jumping at the opportunity, skinny Steve signs up, and so, Captain America is born.
The game's only loosely based on the film of the same name, so it'd be wise to not go in expecting to play through exactly what you've just seen on the big screen here. Instead, you'll be playing as the Cap' with his giant American shield, leaping across gaps no other human could, swinging your way up to higher platforms, solving rudimentary puzzles, and generally punching no-good-nazi-associated Hydra villains in the face as you fight to rescue your soldier buddies.
This being a game based around a Marvel film, as you may imagine, there's a lot of combat. Luckily, there's nothing too complicated here - although you do have a range of options for fending off the baddies. Hammering A will see you throwing a variety of punches and kicks, and as you progress through the game, and upgrade your character, you'll be able throw ever more impressive combos that'll help you slice through the enemies quicker. Should you find yourself surrounded (and you likely will - a lot), you can press X when the handy symbol appears above an enemy's head to perform a reversal, and avoid taking any damage. As simple as it sounds, the combat's actually surprisingly fun - it's actually pretty entertaining to hammer A and watch Captain America smash his way through the people in increasingly fancy ways - starting with a few elbows, Cap' will eventually build up speed (when red, white and blue stars start coming out of you, you know you're about to do something special), sending soldiers flying, before grabbing a soldier behind him and throwing him into the others, knocking them all down, and turning to the last to finish him off with a Headbutt of Doom. Fighting like you'd imagine an indestructible super hero would, the combat's a lot more fun than we expected.
As you progress through the narrow corridors of the various Hydra compounds, you'll come across various rudimentary puzzles to solve - the majority of which involve using your shield. Whether it's activating a switch that you can't reach by chucking your shield through a narrow gap, or using it to deflect a laser against a series of mirrors, the puzzles make up a nice break from the action, even if they aren't all that tricky.
Scattered throughout each of the levels are a number of collectible items and challenges. The collectible items come in the form of allied soldiers who've been captured, and are just waiting for you to find them and burst them out (usually by smashing through a wall to get to them), whilst a number of bombs are also waiting for Captain America to safely destroy them (usually by using your shield, although we prefer using our fists). Meanwhile, a number of Hydra challenges can also be accessed through various panels hidden throughout the levels, which ask you to do certain things, like collecting a certain number of tokens, performing a number of reversals, or destroying some targets within a set time. The only problem is, in order to complete some of these challenges, you have to be able to select multiple targets with the shield - that's the entire point of the challenge. Yet it's so much more miss than hit, you'll find youself actively being prevented from finishing it thanks to the game's awkwardness. It's frustrating to say the least.
And then there's the boss fights. One, against Madam Hydra, sees you stranded on a small circle in the middle of an unidentified liquid, which kills you in one hit should you fall into it. Meanwhile, Madam Hydra shoots at you with a machine gun, meaning you have to hold the right shoulder button, aim the bullets back with the touch screen, and move your character around to avoid bombs, all at the same time. Not only does it tie your fingers into pretzels, but should you make practically a single mistake, you'll be in the water and dead. At least it has plenty of checkpoints so you don't have to start from the beginning.
Something of a mixed bag, Captain America is part exercise in frustration, yet part entertaining beat 'em up. While the problems undoubtedly frustrate, they don't tend to make things so awkward that you give up playing and just let the Nazis win. With a bit more polishing (and a shield throwing system that worked), this could have been a lot better.
- Battles that make you feel like a super hero.
- Collectibles to encourage you to leave the beaten track.
- Shield targeting doesn't work properly. That's a pretty big problem in a Captain America game.
- Annoying boss fights.
Recommended for: 8 and up
For more information, please see the parental perspective
Not so super. Just average.