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Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.
These days, comic book heroes are big business. Each new Marvel or DC movie is a tentpole release and the announcement of a new Avengers game has got many people very excited. Back before the world was introduced to the MCU or DCEU, this wasn’t always the case. Superhero games were often lackluster affairs as developers scrambled to find what made playing a superhero fun. Today’s game is one step on that journey. Today’s game is Justice League Heroes, developed by Snowblind Studios and released on the Playstation 2 and Xbox in 2006.
Justice League Heroes is an action RPG which uses the Dark Alliance engine, the same game engine used by the Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance games and Champions of Norrath. Players play as many different DC superheroes from Batman and Wonder Woman to unlockable heroes like Green Arrow and Supergirl. Gameplay uses a top-down camera angle and allows heroes to punch, kick and potentially fly their way through levels. Each character has their own set of powers or abilities as well that use up a limited energy meter. These abilities are different for each hero and reflect their respective powers.
The plot has the Justice League trying to foil a plot by the longtime foe of Superman, Brainiac, who has launched a full-scale assault on STAR Labs for unknown reasons. As villains begin attacking locations across the DC universe, it becomes clear that there is a bigger plan here and it is up to the Justice League to take down the supervillains and protect the world.
Each level gives players access to two DC heroes. In some levels, these heroes are pre-set and in some, the player can choose from a range of unlocked heroes. Either way, regardless of whether the game is being played co-op or single player, two heroes participate in each level. In single player, the controlled hero can be freely changed between the two while in co-op, each player controls one hero.
Along with the console version, Justice League Heroes also received versions on the Nintendo DS, GBA and PSP. The PSP version is faithful to the console versions while the DS version is a prequel. The GBA game is called Justice League Heroes: The Flash and has an unrelated story focused on The Flash.
Of the lot, the PSP version was the best regarded, perhaps due to the portability and customization options available. Every other version of the game was critically panned. The lack of hero choice in most levels was criticized and gameplay on the aging engine was considered shallow and repetitive. Many critics recommended the similar but better X-Men Legends instead. Justice League Heroes would fall into obscurity but the superhero resurgence would not have long to wait.
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