Lost in Translation? The Avengers Special – Captain America: Super Soldier

Welcome to Lost in Translation? – the Ready Up series where we look at the rocky two-way road of media adapted from videogames and games based on films and TV shows, in a bid to decide whether the juice was worth the squeeze, or if what made the source material great in the first place got lost in translation.

The Avengers – did you see it? Of course you did, you’re a media-savvy Ready Up reader, you handsome devil, you! Since there was no tie-in game to the finest blockbuster of the year so far, here on LIT? we’ve been on an epic and, frankly, downright painful journey, exploring the previous videogame outings of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in their pre-Avengers releases, specifically The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor: God of Thunder and Captain America: Super Soldier.

Last but not least we have what is, in my mind at least, the crown jewel of Sega’s quartet of super-powered adventures, Captain America: Super Solider, which also has the honour of being the highest-ranked of the four titles as far as Metacritic is concerned, with a score of 60 and 61 on Xbox 360 and PS3, respectively.

Developed by Next Level Games, then best known for making Mario Strikers Charged, the underrated revival of Punch Out!!, and the aimed-at-younglings Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, Captain America: Super Solider was released in the UK two weeks before its celluloid counterpart back in July 2011. If you were to ask the marketing department at Sega what they thought the game looked like, they would inform you thusly:


What it got right

There’s a bit in Captain America: The First Avenger, after Cap has rescued the squad of soldiers, where we see a montage of all the good guys going about shutting down various Hydra bases and generally kicking butt. In a sensible move, it’s during this montage that Captain America: Super Solider takes place, allowing the game to tell its own story that, for the most part, is rather like the game as a whole — rarely remarkable, but solid fun nonetheless. The Hydra forces (basically the Marvel equivalent of Nazis) have taken over a huge castle complex and are up to no good, developing weapons that could see them taking over the world. Needless to say, Cap and his amigos are not down with this, and so begins the player’s mission to bring this branch of Hydra down.

Played somewhat like a trimmed down and simplified Arkham Asylum, you control Cap as he travels a relatively linear not-very-open world, bashing in goons, battling bosses and completing mission objectives like blowing up anti-aircraft weaponry, rescuing P.O.W.s and destroying nefarious research labs. Again with the tip of the hat to Batman’s breakout game, combat is handled largely with a single button as Cap effortlessly and acrobatically bounds between enemies delivering his patriotic brand of justice the way only he knows how. Landing regular hits fills up a special meter which allows the use of special attacks called ‘Crippling Strikes’ which, while not quite ‘crippling’, are a bit on the ouchy side when unleashed on the chumps blocking your path.

Fred hoped no-one would notice him napping on the lawn

Graphically the game is, once again, solid – easy on the eye while never quite dazzling. Cap himself is a good likeness of Chris Evans, the enemies all look the same, naturally, but given the context of fighting against an army, and the fact that doing so is quite fun, you kind of overlook it. Environments are a tad generic, but the pace at which you’ll go through them means that nothing outstays its welcome should it grate.

Finally, a number of the movie’s cast reprise their roles here. Chris Evans in particular is lumped with some stodgy lines as Cap, but delivers them with the required conviction to make them sound, well, fittingly heroic. The rest of the voice cast do a good job too, with no-one dropping the ball despite a pretty average script.

"Because you're worth it"

What it got wrong

Which probably makes you wonder if I thought the game got anything ‘wrong’ at all. Broadly speaking, I don’t. Don’t get me wrong – Captain America: Super Soldier is far from a perfect game, but everything about it functions exactly as it should. My only gripe is that it was over fairly quickly, clocking in at around eight hours before I saw the end credits roll and not much longer before I had completed each of the game’s standalone challenge maps, which range from beating rooms of enemies within a time limit to a Pac-Man style race through a hedge maze looking for golden trinkets.

That’s right. My only significant gripe is that the game was over a little too quickly for my taste. To be fair, you would feel cheated if you dropped £40 on Cap’s adventure, but for a weekend rental there’s enough to keep you busy without ever pushing you too hard, and an easy 1000 gamerscore / platinum trophy for those who like such things.

Cap's elaborate hand-shakes were the stuff of legends

The Verdict

Maybe it’s because I played through the other (rather dire) pre-Avengers games, maybe it’s because I was pleasantly surprised by the generally good quality of the experience, and maybe it’s because the game is a well-executed slice of action adventure – I really enjoyed Captain America: Super Soldier. While never a truly great game, offered here is a competent experience, a fun adventure, and a sterling example of a movie tie-in done well, fully deserving of a weekend rental. A solid adaptation.


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