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Playstation 2






Warner Brothers



Snowblind Studios



T (Teen)



October 17, 2006



- Amazing multiplayer action

- Humorous dialogue with good VO

- Fun and variable combat

- High number of varied environmental weapons

- Lots of unlockable content



- Average graphics and sound

- Unremarkable Team AI

- A few minor graphics problems

- Not being able to choose Heroes on every level lowers replay value



Review: Marvel Ultimate Alliance (360)

Review: The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (XB)

Review: X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (XB)



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Justice League Heroes

Score: 8.5 / 10


Recently there has been an influx of Super Hero related material, both movies and games. A lot of this has been (dare I say it?) actually quite good, which is a large change from what comic book fans were used to for so many years. And with the notable success of the X-men Legends game series it wasnít too surprising that DC wanted to jump on that money-making band-wagon. But what is a little surprising is that Justice League Heroes is better in many ways.


justice league heroes          justice league heroes


The story starts off with an attack on Metropolis wherein Batman and Superman rush to the rescue, discovering the first seeds of a villainous plot, naturally. Throughout the game many different villains make appearances, the vast majority of them being recognizable faces from the comics. As the plot progresses youíll




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move through a number of diverse, and well-designed, environments including the streets of Metropolis, the planet Mars, and a giant beehive. In each of these environments there are unique objects for your heroes to interact with, and to use against their enemies as weapons. Human strength characters like Batman and the Flash


can pick up boxes, desks, and parking meters to bash over their enemies heads. Whereas meta-humans or aliens like Superman, Wonder Woman, and Martian Manhunter can just as easily pick up a car, a cube van, or a giant space rock and smash their opponents with it, or hurl it at them. And while hitting someone with a lamppost, a street light, a tree trunk, and a parking meter all boil down to about the same thing each action still feels fun in game, and gives you a sense of power.


While you bash and tear through waves of enemies your roster of heroes grows to include the Green Lantern, the Flash, Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, and Zatanna. Most of the time youíll be forced into playing a team of two heroes with no choice in which ones you use. You can switch back and forth between the two at any time in the single-player campaign, and there are a few levels that give you choices, but you canít help but feel a little turned off when you get stuck with two heroes you find less interesting than the others. The upside to this is that the levels are balanced accordingly and you usually end up with pairs whose powers compliment each other. And you will in fact notice big differences in how each Hero plays. Superman can become a powerhouse when you turn on his Man of Steel power, and if you combine him Martian Manhunter the two will plow through enemies. But those enemies could be taken care of just as easily by Zatannaís polymorph spell (which turns her opponents into harmless bunny rabbits) or Wonder Womanís magic lariat which when upgraded can rope a healthy number of enemies together, and immobilize them.


There are also a number of heroes you can unlock to use on the levels where you select your own teams, including Aquaman, the Huntress, the Hal Jordan version of the Green Lantern, and others. Likewise, you can also purchase alternate costumes for your already playable Justice League characters that modify their stats as well as their look. It can be a bit of a kick to put Batman in the blue and grey Adam West style costume, or Wonder Woman into a toga.


justice league heroes           justice league heroes


The games art style is very comic bookish without using cell-shading, which I admit Iíve never liked. The cut-scenes are smoothly done and enjoyable but nothing mind-blowing. The same can be said of the in-game art which is pretty good for a PS2 game but itís nothing thatís going to turn any heads. There are however several times when, if a lot of objects are being affected on screen youíll see graphic slow-down and black patches where nothing renders. This is especially noticeable in the boss fight with the Key, who uses a laser attack in a room full of destroyable objects. If he hits more than a couple with one attack than youíre likely to see even the Flash slow down to a snailís pace. However, this is relatively rare and for the most part didnít hinder gameplay too much. For instance, in the previous example, yes it happens during a boss fight but after he uses that attack a couple times all of the objects in the room are destroyed and things return to the usual smooth pace.


Much like the graphics, the audio elements of the game are all pretty solid but theyíre also very average. The explosions, fist smacks, and foot thumps are all fairly convincing and none of it really stood out as unattractive. The voice over work is surprisingly good; actors managing to deliver their lines well, but still keep a comic tone. In particular the Flash (voiced by Chris Edgerly) is done very well. The only real disappointment is in Batman (voiced by Ron Perlman, who normally does very good work) who often sounds like heís mumbling or as if thereís a wad of gum in his mouth and heís trying to talk around it. Itís not a major difficulty but it does bring the overall quality of the voice work down which is a shame, since there is some really well-written dialogue in there. Some of the banter between team members in cut-scenes can be humorous, even witty. The fun-factor of the game goes up quite a bit when you can actually get a few laughs out of the characters in between the action-romp gameplay.


Justice League Heroes can certainly be played single-player and youíll have a good time with it, despite the unremarkable teammate AI, but where it truly shines is in itís multiplayer gameplay. I think there are probably very few who pick this type of game up with the intention of wading through the entire game on their own, which is a good thing in this case. Though I did play through a good portion of the game in the single player mode, and it was fun, it didnít come to life like the multiplayer did. The interesting ways to combine super-powers and the environmental weapons really only come into full usage with another human player at your side. And when everything does in fact come together Justice League Heroes makes for some fantastic multiplayer fun, very much superior to a lot of the recent entries in this genre.


The replayability, while lowered by not being able to choose any hero on any level, is still present. If you play Zatanna the first time you go through a level then you can stick your partner with her the next time, and take whoever she was paired with. Likewise, try leveling up different powers, unlocking different special heroes, etc.


What it comes down to for Justice League Heroes is that if youíre a fan of action games you have a good reason to pick this one up. If youíre a fan of the genre and youíve got a friend who wants in on it too, then I really canít think of any good reason not to grab this one immediately and dive into it.


- D.T. Mathers

(December 6, 2006)


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