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LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Hours of Bricky Fun
- Updated: 14th Oct, 2013
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is far more complex than the TT Games’ previous versions. For a start, it has over 150 characters, each showing off their unique animations and abilities. How do you design levels to deal with that many superpowers?
“If you go way back, designing a level used to be quite simple,” said Arthur Parsons, Game Director at TT Games. “The characters would just run and jump and there wasn’t a lot of 3D space you had to worry about. With this one, because we’ve got flying characters and Spidey can web sling pretty much everywhere, we’ve had to think a lot more in terms of 3D space. If you get a level in freeplay – if you free play with Thor, what happens if you take off and fly to the very end?”
“We’ve had to be a bit more dynamic in our level designs to make sure that there are those options available. So in freeplay, a player could potentially cheat around a little bit. They’re going around to pick up a minikit they’ve not got – they could then just just toggle to a character they’ve unlock and quickly whizz to the end. We’re not going to stop them doing that. We’ve just had to make sure that that when we’re designing the levels, we’re thinking of that.”
Emma Frost can change into her diamond form, reflecting and refracting laser beams. Red Hulk can become General Ross. Thanks to fan petitions, Venom can turn into his big figure form, Ultimate Venom.
The level I played was about 20 minutes long and had Iron Man, The Hulk and Wolverine breaking into The Raft, the maximum security wing of Ryker’s Island Maximum Security Penitentiary. This is where they keep the really bad prisoners, so we were treated to cameos from the likes of Whiplash, using his electric whips to lock down parts of the prison as we tried to get in.
Since Iron Man has the ability to fly and shoot rockets, it’s tempting to just run the whole level with him. You need to get Hulk to the end of the level though, as he’s the only one who can break open the final door, so many of the puzzles are about trying to get a huge monster or a vulnerable scientist through an incredibly dangerous environment. The Hulk is, of course, rather larger than your standard lego minifig, so you’ll have to find alternative ways to get him up rock walls that Wolverine can scale with ease.
He can also change into Bruce Banner, should you need an intelligent character to work computers. Obviously this isn’t required when Iron Man is around but combined with Hulk’s smash attacks (including the wonderful attack based on him slinging Loki around at the end of the Avengers film) and his character has a great skillset for general use.
As well as climbing walls that others can’t, Wolverine can use his claws to operate special machinery. This wasn’t required for the level I played, but there were plenty of nooks and crannies that needed both Iron Man’s intelligence and Wolverine’s abilities for access.
In the open world itself, there are over 200 tasks that you can do, from story missions to races, to discovering hidden interiors and that hold secrets. At some point in the story, Magneto will have broken out of The Raft (because it’s not much fun when he’s stuck in there, eh?) but he’s left his chess set behind. Go find it. As you explore the open world, characters like Daredevil will appear and ask you to help them out. Captain Britain will pop out and point you towards something interesting. Who the heck is Captain Britain? I have no idea but he exists.
Up above the world, the SHIELD helicarrier is hovering. You can go up there and any point and explore the rooms owned by the superheroes. Deadpool’s room was filled with all sots of weird things that a Marvel fan would probably recognise.
“We’ve drawn on movies, cartoons, comic books. Pretty much everything,” said Parsons. “So there’s even little nods to geeky stuff from old 50s and 60s comics and 70s cartoon shows. There’s a lot of stuff in there that’s hidden away for the older audience, the fanboys.”