The concept of Iron Man/ X-O Manowar: Heavy Metal is enough to make even casual comic readers drool. After all, this title has two comic book heroes, Iron Man and X-O Manowar, joining forces to destroy Baron Zemo and Mistress Crescendo and save the world. Iron Man has needed a video game for a long time (after all, he was the first high-tech superhero). This game couldn't miss. Or could it?
With 30-plus levels (ranging from city streets and warehouses to forests and even cyberspace), players can go solo or team up with a partner to make it through this multi-level scroller. In addition to gravity-defying jump jets, each character has easily executable special abilities and weapons to help him through the missions. On the surface it has the makings of a winner, but even after a few levels the game seems all too familiar.
In fact, every aspect of Heavy Metal is a letdown - the graphics, sound, and gameplay. By far the biggest flaw is the graphics, which at times are rough and much too dark, and are reminiscent of old 16-bit Genesis titles (The Adventures of Batman and Robin in particular). Saturn owners should expect more from their 32-bit machines. If there are motion capture or SGI rendered graphics here, it's hard to see where. The sound effects are average at best. The explosions, lasers, and other noises do nothing to supplement the gameplay, and eventually become downright annoying. As for gameplay...suffice to say some of the 3-D effects, like shooting an electric fence in order to pass through, are drawn very poorly and make for confusing, as opposed to challenging, play.
In short, Heavy Metal feels as though it was hastily thrown together. The result is a game that could have easily used another six months of development. People looking for a good action scroller should look elsewhere. Comic book and side-scroller fans could better spend their time reading a good comic book or going back to their SNES or Sega Genesis.