In preparation for the upcoming Green Lantern feature film, Warner Brothers Games and Double Helix have released ‘Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters’. The game is a brand new story following characters from Green Lantern’s deep mythology. This tale features the Guardian’s original keepers of order, the Manhunters, as they spread across the Universe collecting the yellow light of “Fear” and violet light of “Love” to battle their replacements; The Green Lantern Corps, wielders of the green light of “Will”.
Typically movie companion video games are pretty much god-awful, with the exception of Spider-Man 2 for the Playstation 2. The Spider-Man 2 movie game is what all other movie video games should try to emulate. It had a Grand Theft Auto feel, with all the web slinging heroic goodness you’d expect from an open world Spidey game. This is important to this article because this is the video game in which I compare all movie-themed video games. Now you have your baseline for my thoughts on ‘Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters’.
So how does Rise of the Manhunters stack up? Honestly, it’s a little lacking. I would have loved to have an open environment, where I could explore Oa, Zamaron, Biot and even Outer Space. Rise of the Manhunters was not set up to be played that way. There are a lot of constraints within the worlds, and while there are some interactive elements to the environments you are usually kept to a pretty small area of play.
When it came to the gameplay, you play as Hal Jordan Green Lantern of Sector 2814 (or Earth, because we are troublemakers). If you play the 2 player co-op mode, Player 2 gets to play as Sinestro (lucky Player 2). When you play in the co-op mode both players receive the experience points and level up at the same rate. The biggest problem with the co-op play, there is a rather small radius to stay together, so it is easy to get into a bind, and when you need to get some health or will power you can find yourself just out of reach when you need it most. Leveling up in the game isn’t too hard, experience points come from killing Manhunters, or even damaging them, and the highest level for a player to achieve is level 10. One of the cool leveling up features is picking new constructs, from land mines, to rocket launchers, there is even a mech suit. Part of the fun is finding which of the constructs will get the job done using the least amount of will (in this case the hammer construct is a great go-to weapon). It is very easy to switch between constructs and it was even easier to chain attack combos together.
My biggest gripe about gameplay is this… YOU DON”T GET TO FLY! How can you be Hal Jordan and not get to fly? There are moves where you can hover, but there is never any flying. When it comes to going from section to section in each level, you step on a Green Lantern symbol lit on the ground and you are basically tossed to a landing site (with the same boring cut scene each time).
Speaking of cut scenes, while they look really good the voice acting is just very flat and sometimes hard to understand. I get the feeling after playing the game they probably lifted some audio from the movie and we will be hearing them again on June 17. There are a lot of cut scenes in this game and Hal Jordan’s favorite word appears to be “Hell”. I lost count of how many times the human Green Lantern said “Hell”, but I assure you it was a lot. Graphically speaking, the cut scenes are beautifully animated, and along with the gameplay give Rise of the Manhunters a great look.
Rise of the Manhunters is not a long game, it took about 3 hours of half single player and half co-op game play to finish. The co-op gameplay was a lot of fun, because you could set up your partner with some cool throw and smash combos. The biggest problem with the co-op play is the darkness of some levels. There is a major zoom out, and sometimes it is hard to tell where you are on the screen. Another big problem with co-op play is the camera, there are times where the camera will have an obstructed view and you lose track of both players; that was very frustrating.
Rise of the Manhunters feels a lot like playing the old X-Men arcade game, mixed with a little Metroid with a Star Wars prequel vibe. While the story may be original, there isn’t a lot about the game that comes off as unique. All in all, this is a pretty short game, that is relatively quick and easy to get through. Once you finish the game you can go back and replay any level in the game with your full stats, so that could make for some nice revenge play on the early level characters. Otherwise, I’m not sure there will be much incentive to pop in Rise of the Manhunters to play more than once. I would say this is a good game to get from GameFly.com or rent (if you have video/game rental store near your house), otherwise keep an eye out for it used; it is worth playing once.