Thanos wants the Infinity Gauntlet. That's the plot to a Marvel comic my friends read in 90s as well as for Marvel Super Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet, a fall game that gives Spider-Man, Hulk and friends the Lego game treatment.
At a recent showcase for THQ games in New York, I was able to see the new Marvel game in action. For better or worse, this game is for kids, more-so than other Marvel games. The Super-Hero Squad is version of the Marvel icons interpreted as jolly big-head/squat-body friends and foes. The franchise runs as a cartoon and made its interactive debut last year it was a top-down action game. This year, the gaming sequel, a two-player co-op adventure that is cute enough to feature a cameo of Skrullbucks Coffee — you know, the place where Skrulls drink coffee.
The portion of the game I saw played as a side-scroller and really did look like a Marvel take on Travellers' Tales Lego series. Two super-heroes team up, either controlled by one player who trades off or by two players. The game supports drop-in/drop-out co-op, just like the Lego games. There is lots of voice-acting, about 4000 lines of dialogue, a THQ producer told me. The tone is light and silly. Thanos doesn't seem like that bad a guy. The Hulk doesn't seem like he's hurting anyone that bad even as he punches them into oblivion.
This game's whole adventure, like that of the upcoming season of the Marvel Super Hero Squad cartoon, is based on the Infinity Gauntlet comics series, a 1990s Marvel epic by writer Jim Starlin that involved cosmic bad guy Thanos wielding the power a bejeweled gauntlet. The comic involved Thanos destroying half of the universe. I'm not sure if that comes up in the game.
Gameplay seems to involve running through room, punching bad guys, collecting gems and solving puzzles. One twist from the Lego format is that defeated heroes aren't immediately brought back to life. In Lego games, your guy dies and comes right back, minus some of the currency he collected. In this Marvel game, you will need the other player (or computer controlled hero, if you are playing solo) to revive you. This is supposed to encourage players to stick together and help each other out.
There will be 13 playable super-heroes when the game launches, including Wolverine, Iron Man, The Hulk, She-Hulk, Nova, The Invisible Woman, Scarlett Witch, Spider-Man and The Silver Surfer. THQ plans to release extra characters as downloadable content, an unusual strategy, since DLC on console games is usually not offered in titles oriented to kids.
Development studio Griptonite is clearly trying to emulate the family-friendly fun of the Lego games. There's no reason that that format shouldn't work for Marvel's finest.
Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet is set for release this November on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii and DS.