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Previews

Iron Man

Preview: I am...

The Iron Man movie may still be under wraps but at last week's E3 show Sega was pimping out an early look at the game of the movie, which includes big names like Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson and Gwyneth Paltrow. Whether any of these famous faces will take time out to speak into a microphone for the game remains to be announced but Sega's dev team has had access to most, if not all, assets from the film.

Behind close doors we saw an early level in progress that took place in a snowy mountain environment, housing an enemy military base. First impressions were that we were looking at a Superman game (and we all know how they turn out), which isn't that far off the mark as Iron Man does fly around a lot. His costume isn't blue though, it's red.

Iron Man is highly mobile and loaded with laser weapons. He can take on armies of enemies across large battlefields with ease. Individually none of the Russian units can pose a threat because he's that hard, but it's when they stack up as a combination of enemies that things get a little more interesting.

Two members of Sega's dev team were on hand to walk us through the demo, but we lost their business cards on the way back from LA. So please excuse us when we refer to them as Producer A and Producer B. We've still got the recording to prove we haven't made anything up either.

"If you keep moving laterally the enemies won't keep up with you," said A. "Surface to air missiles will target you when you're in the air not on the ground. A tank is much more dangerous when you're on the ground as opposed to in the air. By creating different tactical uses for the enemies we layer them to create more complex groups of enemies."

Producer B explained, "As far as Iron Man's weapons go, we have the pulsar blasts that come out of his hands. Then there's the more powerful pulsar beam that comes from his chest. Just as Tony Stark is constantly adding upgrades to his suit, we give that same option to the player." Superman had to wait until a sequel before he got upgraded.

From what we saw in the five-minute demo Iron Man generally used enemies' weapons against them. He can pluck missiles right out of the sky and throw them down towards to ground. Better still he can even grab a MiG fighter jet and steer it into other enemies.

Stating the bloomin' obvious Producer A explained, "We're going for an action-orientated feel with essentially a lot of chaotic battlefields. And with Iron Man having the level of mobility that he does, it's up to the player to approach that battlefield how he chooses."

You're constantly fed new information and updates about what's going on the battlefield, which Sega says is a way of constantly evolving the experience.

The finale of the early demo saw Iron Man having to take out a bunch of laser towers before going after the main objective, a massive weapon protected by shields. Even though it was an early look at just one section, we hope there'll be some bigger ideas in the final product rather than ones that include having to blow up shield generators before attacking the main target.

Our demo finished with the Sega reps saying the team is following the storyline of the movie but also drawing on 40 years of Iron Man history to enrich the experience. There'll be some sort of story element in the game that'll relate more to the character of Tony Stark and not just him dressed in a red suit.

Sega will also take full advantage of its relationship with Marvel and there's every chance we'll see a few other Marvel characters in there too. Look out for more on Iron Man ahead of its spring 2008 release, which will be multi-platform in a typically EA fashion. No platform will be safe.

(Not one Ozzy joke, either)

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