Marvel Super Hero Squad
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this bright, colorful adventure, featuring a pantheon of well-known superheroes -- depicted in more childlike, cartoonish style than usual -- will appeal to kids far younger than its intended audience. In comparison to other superhero games -- especially other Marvel hero games, like the recent Ultimate Alliance 2 -- Super Hero Squad is far more family-friendly. However, it is still a fighting game, full of beatings and explosions and laser gunfire. Parents should just know what's in store if they plan to let children younger than the targeted audiance of age 10 play.
What's it about?
MARVEL SUPER HERO SQUAD takes familiar characters from Marvel Comics and presents them in humorous, half-spoofy adventures. The game's main plot revolves around the evil Dr. Doom, who resides in Villainsville, and his search for the pieces of a special crystal which he wants to use to power a giant ray gun. He plans to use the ray to threaten the good people of Super Hero City. Fortunately, those folks are protected by the Super Hero Squad -- Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Wolverine, Falcon, Silver Surfer, and other surprise heroes -- who race to collect the crystal shards before Doom's henchmen can find them.
Is it any good?
Marvel Super Hero Squad is a good, solid game that attempts to put some techni-color fun back into the superhero genre. Co-op play adds to the enjoyment, and the arena battles (for those who want to eschew the story and just go toe-to-toe) are well done.
Just like comic book movies, comic-based games like Batman: Arkham Asylum and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 have gotten darker and grittier of late, but Super Hero Squad goes in the opposite direction. The heroes are depicted as squat, almost toy-like figures; the villains are hapless goons with squeaky voices; and jokes fly along with the punches. Sure, there's still plenty of fighting in the game, but it's nice that (slightly) younger fans can finally have a chance to play with their favorite heroes. It might not be the greatest superhero game ever made, but it's a truly refreshing change of pace.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what it means to be a hero. The heroes in this game act very differently -- the dimwitted Hulk, the wisecracking Wolverine, the noble Thor, etc. -- and yet, they are all heroes.
Parents can also discuss violence in the media in general. Why do so many shows, movies, and games revolve around fighting and conflict. Could there be another way for superheroes to have adventures without violence?