Cheap action games intended for the ignorant congest the GBA section of every GameStop. You can usually identify them by their lack of important features, like multiple music tracks, backgrounds, and fun. Often, they insidiously don the guise of a comic book or movie the lack-wit customer might be drawn to. When they see the $15 price tag, the trap is sprung and the customer goes home with a shell of a game. As a reviewer, it’s my job to warn you of these traps, and today I wish to warn you of Justice League Heroes: The Flash.
Flash is your standard side-scrolling action game, but as The Flash you get a few appropriate abilities. First, Flash moves pretty fast, and that’s good because it means you can finish this game that much quicker. Second, you can activate super-speed, which works like bullet time and just slows everyone else down. This is handy, because it’s so hard to hit enemies, you’ll need to adjust several times before you’re standing somewhere the game registers your punches. The bad part is Flash says “fastest man alive!” every time you activate it (which is often). Not since “It’s turtle time!” has a catch phrase been so embedded in my head. The most useful ability is the sprint punch where you instantly launch the Flash fist-first at an enemy, setting you up for a combo. You can unlock other abilities as you go along, but they are pretty useless and more often than not end up getting you hurt as you try to pull them off.
Using these abilities drains your flash meter, which you can replenish by hitting enemies or picking up items. Flash can also call in backup from Superman, Wonder Woman and other Justice League members to clear the screen of enemies. Though, being a bit of a comic geek, I have to object to the normally grounded Wonder Woman just flying away after her attack – and no, she doesn’t have her invisible jet.
The enemies can be pretty tough on the harder difficulty settings, but the stages are short and few in number. Still, the game manages several technical problems in that span. You can skip over most enemies simply by running past them and onto the next screen. When you are locked to a screen for a fight, the enemies tend to hang out outside its bounds forcing you to wait for them to saunter back into range of you to attack. Scared bystanders run past you from time to time, then hit a wall and suddenly decide to stand around calmly. There are also glitches in most areas, causing you to get stuck, run over foreground objects or fly off to another part of the stage.[p]
If you don’t like the music from the first area, get used to it. It’s the same beat you’ll be listening to on every stage except bosses. All the cut scenes use the same music too. Speaking of which, there are no backgrounds for cut scenes, just a white backdrop and the pictures make The Flash look like a starving 80 year old. Despite how cheap the pictures were, they still manage to recycle them about a dozen times each.
The one thing the game does passably well is boss battles. Bosses have changing attack patterns and use several gimmicks to keep you guessing at how to react. One battle has you racing against fellow speedy-guy Zoom, over land and water while trying to take pot-shots at each other. This would have been a highlight of the game had it not been plagued by a glitch that leaves you trapped under bridges taking constant damage when you miss certain turns. The only other positive I can see is that you can beat this game in quickly and never have to touch it again. I mean, it might take you two days if you’re a child or have never played video games before, three days if you were actually dumb enough to buy it for yourself..
Once you beat it, several extras become unlocked, including a theatre mode where you can watch all the crappy, poorly written and quickly thrown together comic strip cut scenes over and over again. It also helps if you can’t keep track of the complex plot of robots attacking all over the world. There is also a race around the world against superman, but it’s pretty lame and has a whole new set of technical issues for you to overcome. The only enjoyable extra was the boss rush where you take on all the bosses in succession.
Let me reiterate, this is not a review, it’s a warning. This game is not worth buying, especially not for someone you love. And if you’re a fan of The Justice League or The Flash, I emphasize that you should not buy this game, as it may taint how you feel about both of them.
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