With his stars 'n' stripes outfit and patriotic Nazi thumping, there’s no doubting whose side Captain America is on. Hell, his favourite meal is apple pie. He’d probably spell favourite without a u too.
So while Sega’s latest superhero game is only loosely based on the Captain America film, it’s still familiar stuff. It’s World War II and the captain is out to disrupt the Nazi’s latest experimental plans for world domination and defend the American Way.
For inspiration, the developers have shamelessly plundered Batman: Arkham Asylum. But given that Arkham Asylum is the finest superhero game of recent years, it’s a good place to start.
More importantly it is an approach that has, to an extent, worked. One of the great things about Arkham Asylum was that it made players feel like the caped crusader and Captain America does a fine job of conveying the sensation that you're the star-spangled super solider.
Punches and kicks land on enemies with satisfying thuds, while the acrobatic flips and rolls make the captain feel weighty rather than a wiry ballerina. Then there’s his versatile shield that switches effortlessly between acting as a defensive barrier, a battering ram or a boomerang of steel that knocks opponents down like bowling pins. Together these abilities make for some spectacular bouts of combat that make the player feel that, yes, they really are in control of a superhero.
But where Arkham Asylum offered a constant supply of twists, fresh locations and reasons to retrace your footsteps to discover hidden secrets, Captain America offers almost none of this. It’s a game with tunnel vision, pumping out identikit goons for its almost unbroken stream of fistfights. It stands as a good superhero-themed brawler, but is too short and samey to be something truly special.