Ultimate Marvel Alliance (video game) ISBN: 047875821316
Overview: You are Marvel superhero, interacting with other characters from the Marvel universe. The story begins with an attack on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier by Dr. Doom and the Masters of Evil. Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D. sends out a distress call and Captain America, Thor, Wolverine, and Spider-man respond and save the Helicarrier. Nick Fury then puts together a task force to confront the Masters of Evil. As a team of heroes, either playing cooperatively with other local players or alone, you travel to several places and battle villains. There are 140 characters you can play as, though some players become unlocked the more levels that you beat. This game was released in 2006, and has since been followed by a sequel in 2008.
Critical Evaluation: This is a fun game that should definitely appeal to Marvel and comic book fans. The plot is generally well developed and authentic to the comic. Almost every Marvel main character shows up at some point during the game, whether you are able to play as them or encounter them in your travels. Probably the biggest change is that some of these characters never cross paths in their actual storylines. And with each different player comes different skills that are related to the skills they actually have in the comics. Characters talk a little bit during sequences, with voices that seem authentic to each character, though they can repeat themselves a lot.
The plot is also a little repetitive, in that at each level, you are doing basically the same thing, and fighting villains. Each level is in a different place and with a different villain, but there doesn’t seem to be much development beyond that. Besides the main battles, there are other ways of earning points in the levels, like by collecting coins that happen when you smash particular items in the game. But that only adds a momentary distraction from the main objective. I would warrant that this is a somewhat common problem for role player games like this.
Reader’s Annotation: Battle Dr. Doom and the Masters of Evil as your favorite Marvel superhero!
Information about the creators: This game was developed by Raven software and published by Activision. They were founded in 1990, and acquired by Activision in 1997. Some of their other video games include Call of Duty, Star Wars Jedi Knight, and Singularity.
Genre: Action Role Player Video game (RPG)
Curriculum ties, if any: None
Booktalking Ideas: I would emphasize the variety of Marvel characters that are involved in this video game. Besides the particular characters, there is nothing terribly unique about this game, but those who are interested in Marvel Comics should enjoy the plot tie-ins.
Reading Level/Interest Age: This is categorized as a YA video game at my library.
- First, I would want to be familiar with the video game. As I’ve played this game, I’d be aware of potential issues that could be challenged. In the case of a game I had not played, I would want to have access to reviews.
- Then I would put together a rationale for why this game is included in the collection. This rationale would include:
- Bibliographic Citation of the game.
- A description of who the game is best suited for.
- A summary of the game and applicable other information, such as biographical information about the creators.
- My justification for including the game. This would include how it fits in with the selection policy and library mission statement, and include its educational significance if applicable or the impact it could have on readers.
- Copy of selection policy and library mission statement at my library.
- ALA Library Bill of Rights
- Good and bad reviews of the game
- Alternative works a student could play
- Reconsideration form if patron is not satisfied with rationale
- When talking to patron, I would listen to their concerns without getting on the defensive and attempt to sympathize with their concerns. In some cases, all an upset patron needs is to be able to vent and know that someone is listening to them.
- If needed, I would send the challenge up the chain of command.
This game meets the recreational needs of teens. As with other games that incorporate violence, it may also be a healthier outlet for aggression.
Why did you include this video game? : I wanted to demonstrate an example of a role player game that was based on popular characters and more storyline driven.
Raven Software (2013). Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raven_Software