The All-Star Sports Resort at Disney was best described by a fellow Ozarks Writing Project member as being “the Motel 6 of Disney.” Faded pictures of sports stars “decorate” the lobby. The decor is ghetto 70’s and the colors don’t so much match one another as they are MASHED together like a kindergartener’s art project.
In short, it’s a very ugly place.
Still, it had an arcade and that excited me tremendously. The arcade was actually above average as well. Sure, they had the standard Dance Dance Revolution knock-off that has diagonal arrows, so I have no clue how any one plays the game, and it also had the Guitar Hero arcade game which only allows you to play one song no matter how well you do, but it also had classic arcade games like Centipede, Ms. Pac-man, and Robotron and all of these games cost a quarter or less to play. I could have stayed at the classic games and played all day, but as I patrolled the arcade, I stopped in astonishment at the sight of a game that I thought I would never see – a Justice League arcade game.
And it is worse than you could ever possibly imagine.
Some bad games are like bad movies in that they are so bad they are fun to play. Captain America and the Avengers is one of those games. The game itself is kind of slow, and the graphics are sub-par, but the use of broken English is what makes me want to play the game. Also, for all its faults, it’s still kind of a cool game. Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, and the Vision are actually a great group of characters even if they all play essentially the same.
Justice League United has none of this charm, however. Since the arcade was based off of the animated series, the character options are relegated to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, John Stewart Green Lantern, and Hawkgirl – because you know that everyone LOVED Hawkgirl.
I shuddered and actually said aloud, “why did they decide to try and make it 3-d?” I honestly have never understood the jump from 2-d side-scrolling beat-em up to the “full-fledged 3-d awkward camera and control scheme so you have to wander around trying to beat up bad guys” type of graphics that arcade games have today. Who seriously sat down and thought that this game seriously looked good? Why did this paradigm shift ever happen? It just infuriates me.
I almost didn’t play this game because I was so upset, but then, I thought of you, my readers and I knew that I couldn’t rant on this game without playing it, so I took the $0.75 hit and decided to play the game and it actually plays worse than it looks.
I decided to play as John Stewart Green Lantern because I truly believe that you can tell how much effort is put into a Justice League game by how much they have decided to animate Green Lantern. Justice League Heroes for the PS2 had a moderate amount of effort put into it. The Green Lantern effects in that game were decent, but not spectacular. The powers were diverse, but they fall more on the generic side of things.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC might not have been the best game in the world, but it was fantastic in animating GL, so that is perhaps the highest goal for any game to hope to achieve.
I couldn’t find any videos of John Stewart Green Lantern in action for Justice League United, but here is the riveting footage of Superman and Wonder Woman sluggishly battling through generic robot hordes and bad camera angles.
The game features four buttons for weak attack, strong attack, powers, and dash. Let’s compare this to the greatest arcade game ever made, the X-men Arcade Game. X-men had three buttons – Jump, Attack and Powers. That was all you needed. In a beat em up, why would you ever need a weak attack? I understand in a fighting game that a weak attack is used to set up combos and deal damage, but in a beat em up? I honestly didn’t look at the buttons though, I just hit attacks and no matter which button I pressed, John Stewart slowly swung his fists and mostly got shot as he tried desperately to fight and not get hit back.
The power button was the most shameful aspect of it all. John Stewart, the Green Lantern, wields the most powerful weapon in the universe that can transform the objects of his imagination into hard light constructs. Apparently, John just loves beams of light because that’s all he shoots and after hitting the Power button, the player has to wait for the animation of John slowly making a heroic stance to brace himself for the impact of his beam of light. During this molasses slow animation, John is taking laser blasts to the face and crying a little on the inside because he’ll never be Hal Jordan. The attack usually kills whatever it touches, but it leaves the player so vulnerable, it’s almost not worth it.
Mercifully, I died before I ever got to the first boss and I couldn’t waste anymore money on the game because I wanted to maintain my sanity, so I can’t tell you about how riveting it was to finally face Sinestro, but after viewing the in-game trailers, I can tell that it was going to be a gimmicky battle that consisted of some maguffin trick to deactivate a shield that he put over himself.
I would tell you to avoid this game at all costs, but considering that arcades are almost as rare as KB Toys nowadays, I don’t think I’ll worry about you coming in contact with this abomination. It’s a cheap game slapped together by fourth graders without any sense of what makes a good game. I don’t normally like to go nerd rage on stuff like this, but it’s because of crappy games like this that arcades are dead. Think about the materials that have been wasted in putting together these arcades and now think about how they will never be played and eventually thrown into a landfill only to pollute our environment more. What a waste.