Like most males my age, comic books played a major part in my youth. For me they weren’t just for entertainment but also as a resource since I was a comic book artist myself. This carried on up until the moment I was accepted into the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, I think it’s just called the Kubert School now and at that point my interest in the monthly mags shifted to graphic novels and trade paperbacks. Fascinating stuff.
It seems like in the 90’s some of the more obscure titles were converted into almost successful franchises; Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, The Tick and The Maxx come to mind right off the bat as comic book titles that were transformed into games, shows and other merchandising options, if you were a comic book fan, you didn’t have far to look. This comic book surge tied into the video game explosion so both sides tried to capitalize as often as possible, sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.
This finally brings us to the game in question, Iron Man and X-O Manowar in Heavy Metal and yes, that’s the actual title. It’s a random matchup of Marvel’s Iron Man and Valiant/Acclaim’s X-O Manowar. Valiant experienced massive growth in the 90’s, Magnus, Robot Fighter, Harbinger, Blood Shot, Solar, X-O all were crazy successful around that time, with alternate covers and 0 issues fetching hundreds of dollars and they had a crossover series with Image comics, Deathmate that was a must-buy event. So X-O didn’t just come out of nowhere and wasn’t simply an Acclaim property they were capitalizing on, he had a base before the game even if you weren’t familiar with the name.
You are able to select between the 2 stars of the game and battle various villains from the comic books over 30+ levels, sounds cool except the game itself is a generic side-scrolling beat-em-up with bland graphics, poor gameplay and muted audio. I could deal with the poorly animated characters if the game wasn’t so dark. Level design is confusing, it starts you our naturally scrolling to the right but you find out a screen later that this is a dead-end and you have to instead move to the left to continue the level. Random. The bad guys sort of shuffle around, I’ll include a video since it’s difficult to describe but it feels like a South Park cartoon. Long load times and the music often stops for a minute or 2 before the next track of generic metal loads, of course the music would be metal, this is Iron Man and X-O Manowar in Heavy Metal!!! They’re made of metal! They’re metal gods!
It’s another Acclaim miss and a waste of potential, as dope as Iron Man is, his video game history sucks.