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Videogame Review: ''Iron Man''

The big-screen exploits of Shellhead may have knocked audiences out ? but the videogame version barely packs a punch. Plus: ”Persona 3: FES” and two ”Pokemon” titles

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Iron Man

IRON MAN
(Sega; Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii, DS, PSP, PC; Teen/ Everyone)

Based on this low-budget movie creeping into theaters (maybe you’ve heard of it?), this third-person action-combat game has you flying about in some kind of highly weaponized armor suit. Who knew batting the forces of evil could be so much fun? When not employing his powerful repulsors and unibeam, the Man can impress the ladies with his awesome super-strength. Sadly, we found plenty of imperfections in the overall experience: the auto-targeting systems make the early levels way too easy, while the twitchy flight controls and overwhelming number of enemies make some of the later skirmishes frustratingly difficult. B?Paul Semel

POKEMON MYSTERY DUNGEON: EXPLORERS OF TIME / EXPLORERS OF DARKNESS
(Nintendo; Nintendo DS; E)

Nintendo’s enduring (and highly profitable) Pokemon franchise introduces a couple of new additions to the canon. Unfortunately the two Dungeons — the titles are identical except for a few different characters — aren’t as rich or as charming as the full-scale adventures. As the game begins you’re mysteriously turned into a Pokemon, leaving you to explore some dungeons to discover who’s behind your transformation. Roaming the catacombs can be tedious, but the combat system and adventure aspects of the game can offer bouts of fun — provided you already understand the nuances of juggling Bulbasaurs and Charmanders. In the end, Dungeons is best suited for those devotees just looking for a quick Poke-fix. C+Albert Kim

PERSONA 3: FES
(Atlus, PS2, Mature)

By day, Persona 3: FES is a Sims-like high-school dating and friendship game; but at night it morphs into a turn-based dungeon-crawling RPG. Don’t you wish you had that kind of homework? You play as a student recently inducted into SEES — the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad — using various weapons and mystical forces (called Personas) to bust ghosts and sinister shadows. What does this have to do with dating, you ask? Turns out your Personas gain power through “social links” made in your relationships with classmates during the school day. This strange title is sure to satisfy any gamer with an unhealthy obsession with (1) Japanese school life and (2) the occult. A?Samantha Xu