" The problem here is that, even though Task Force does some things right, it nullifies the good points by being flat-out boring."
For those of you not familiar with him, Darkseid is pretty much the anti-Superman. He rules over a planet called Apokolips, commands legions of freakishly deformed minions, occasionally makes Supergirl his love slave, and he has an eye beam that can effectively wipe anyone out of existence…except for Superman, of course.
Darkseid is about the last guy in the DC universe you want to screw with. So when I, at the tender age of nine, saw him pop up on the screen when I plugged Justice League: Task Force into my Sega Genesis, saw his red eyes glow in the darkness, saw the faint outline of his statuesque face, heard him utter these ominous words…
"You will never defeat me. I have the technology. I have the power to control your MIND."
…it freaked me out. I'd never even heard a videogame talk before, let alone call me a pansy. So I was pumped, I was psyched, I was ready to go fighting with my favorite heroes, years before Capcom would show me how it's supposed to be done.
Lo and behold, I was, and still am, disappointed.
The game looks like it's doing everything right; I'll give it that much. You've got DC's top heroes, the ones everyone knows: Wonder Woman, Batman, the Flash, and, of course, Superman (with the 'super-hip' long haircut that he was sporting for the bulk of the 90's, no less). You've got one that those more familiar with the comics would know: Green 'MY WARD IS A JUNKIE' Arrow. And then there's Aquaman, still trying to shake off his lame Super Friends days by carrying around a trident and pretending to be badass. More power to him.
We've got classic levels, like Gotham City, Metropolis, the steps of the Flash Museum. We've got a Player vs. CPU mode, so you can set up your own fights. We've got Hero Mode, which pits your character against the other characters until you fight the final character, Darkseid, for the fate of Earth. That's…it.
The problem here is that, even though Task Force does some things right, it’s nullifies the good points by being flat-out boring. Good example: The ‘Hero Mode’, which takes you through the story. You play through it once, you beat it…now what?
You play through it again with a different character. And guess what? It’s the same damn thing, just with a new hero cut and pasted over the last one. They’ll say the same things, they’ll go the same places, NOTHING REALLY CHANGES.
If you strip away the comic book part of this comic book fighting game, you’re still not left with much; considering you’re playing as beings who could crush the planet in a matter of minutes, the fights are surprisingly tame. The fighters move sluggish; the only one who doesn’t is the Flash, and well…he’s the Flash, he wouldn’t be much of a speedster if he didn’t have some speed. Move sets are surprisingly limited; Superman does his heat vision, Batman throws batarangs, Wonder Woman does a Sailor Moon impression and throws her tiara, so forth and so on. But, ultimately, you can’t really feel much difference between them. It’s like you’re playing the same character with a different skin, they all have similar basic attacks, boring entrances, boring exits, boring taunts…it’s just not fun. The game has great subject material, but it never embraces it, never lets you use the heroes to their full potential, never comes anywhere close to being what it should. In the end, it’s just another mediocre fighting game.
If you’re a comic fan, you might be able to squeeze out five, maybe ten minutes of enjoyment here. Might. You might enjoy setting up scenarios, kicking Aquaman in the crotch with Wonder Woman, doing stuff like that. But it’ll wear out fast, and soon you’ll be compelled to move on to a game that doesn’t suck. Guys like me have been wanting a game like this for the long time, but I’m telling you…this isn’t it.
Staff review by Zack Little (May 12, 2006)
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