Fighting, then. The right trigger handles your repulsor rays, but if you want to aim freely, you need to - yes - hold the trigger halfway. Pull it all the way and Iron Man automatically locks on to whatever is in sight and starts shooting at it. Once it blows up, he locks on to the next enemy. This means that it's quite possible to be shooting at something you're not even facing, and unlike the stupidly complex movement it renders the combat element ludicrously simplistic. Your repulsors are powerful enough to destroy pretty much everything in a few shots, even before you upgrade them, so all those additional combat options - rockets, grapples, unibeam - are left to gather dust.

The only time they prove vaguely useful is when the inevitable boss fights occur, at which point the repulsor blasts which were slicing through heavy tanks mere moments ago suddenly fail to make much more than a scratch on a slightly larger vehicle just because it's the boss and that's what boss fights are like. Even then, perseverance rather than skill wins the day.

So movement is horribly complicated and combat is laughably simplistic. It's a desperate combination of frustration and boredom, and by the time the game forces you to careen around the outside of a giant nuclear reactor, destroying waves of gunships before they cause damage, while also flying through small rings to protect the reactor from a constant onslaught of missiles...well, it's just not fun. At all. The only additional content takes the form of One Man Army, a series of simplistic arena battles in which you have to destroy 80 enemies within ten minutes. Doing so unlocks different Iron Man suits from the comics, but as these can't be upgraded and can only be used in yet more arena battles or to replay old levels, there's not much reason to bother.

3
The hovering effect frankly looks like local pantomime Peter Pan wirework, but this is how you'll spend 97% of the game.

Iron Man himself looks decent enough, if stricken by that weird luminescence that lazy developers slap all over metal objects these days, but the rest of the visuals are of a consistently shoddy quality. The cut-scenes are routinely awful, spoiling Robert Downey Jr's wry voiceover with a Tony Stark character model that looks more like a tribute to Jeremy Beadle constructed from papier mache and balloons. Levels are large but entirely featureless, while the generic enemies all bear the low-detail appearance of cheap assets designed to be used across all formats. Animation is rudimentary, and especially poor should you try battling on the ground. According to the loading screens, the game allegedly uses the Havok physics engine, though I have no idea where. Cars parked on streets are glued to the floor and the only things you can destroy - enemy vehicles - all explode in exactly the same way. When even the most hurried superhero games can at least offer a certain amount of scenery destruction, this fake unmoving gameworld feels outrageously cheap.

And so rather than allowing you to feel like an armoured avenger, Iron Man's videogame outing merely offers the chance to lurch awkwardly around the sky like a drunken wasp while holding down a button to blow stuff up. The idea that people might turn to this ham-fisted misfire in order to relive the boundless fun of the movie is quite depressing. What's the next big movie game? Hulk? Hey, maybe that'll be good...

3 /10

About the author

Dan Whitehead

Dan Whitehead

Senior Contributor, Eurogamer.net

Dan has been writing for Eurogamer since 2006 and specialises in RPGs, shooters and games for children. His bestest game ever is Julian Gollop's Chaos.