18 ¶ 360 (also PS3, PC)

You would think that once youíve reached a certain age, the desire would leave you, but it doesnít. Regardless of how old you are itís always there Ė that burning ambition to be a superhero. Is just one cool super power too much to ask for? Apparently so. By way of consolation, we have video games to satiate our personal power-up needs.

Despite the fact that the world of gaming is an obvious place to play out super heroic thrills, there havenít been that many stand-out titles to get thrilled about. But now thereís Prototype.

Its story wonít win any awards for originality; you play Alex Mercer Ė a young man suffering from amnesia, desperately trying to piece together not only what happened to him, but whatís happening around him. You see, Alex isnít like other men, he is... the prototype. This means that he can do some do some very cool Ė and violent Ė stuff, but isnít entirely sure how or why.

Set in the city that never sleeps, the caffeine-fuelled NY, NY, a virus is spreading, turning everyone into zombies. However, Alex not only seems immune, he also appears to have great powers. And as we all know with great power comes the ability to go on a wicked killing spree.

boom game reviews - Prototype
Look guys, I had my nails done especially for you. You like?

Not only is he like a walking multi-purpose hand blender that slices and dices his way through the city, heís pretty nifty on his feet too. He has a canny agility that allows him to pull off some spectacular parkour-plus moves. He can sprint up walls, leap from building to building, he can even glide over rooftops if he gets a tad bored with all the leaping. He could probably also do a killer moonwalk too, with the right button combo. So, in a word heís awesome Ė despite the fact that he wears a hoody and sounds like Prison Breakís Michael Schofield.

So even though the story isnít exactly pioneering stuff, the way itís told is thoroughly engaging. You see, Alex also has the power to change his shape; not only can he take on the appearance of another person, he can also absorb their memories. This helps in forwarding his own story, as he taps into the minds of a certain number of other characters. Itís a simple device to move the story on, but one that works really well.

In terms of game play you have the usual missions to complete. These are actually pretty varied, and can also be mixed up with fun-sized side missions along the way.

It has to be said that the Prototype world is not only stunning to look at, but also great to play in. Donít be surprised if you put missions on hold, just so you can simply enjoy the experience of climbing, jumping, flying, and of course, parkour-ing yourself around the huge environ. And if you were ever to get bored with that (and you really shouldnít), you can always hijack a passing tank or even helicopter to unleash some ordinary fire power.

One criticism that can be reasonably levelled at it is the repetition of missions. Itís the usual Ďgo here, do this, then go over there and do thisí routine. However, with the vast array of attacking options at your disposal, and the enjoyable manner of getting from point A to B, it seldom actually feels that dull in game.

The one thing that can grate in the heat of battle is the way to access certain actions or abilities. You can find yourself flicking one part of the controller up, while trying to push down on the pad, leaving you with something far from what you intended. By which point you may have found some baddie had opened up a particularly nasty can of whoopass Ė with your name on it. Thankfully the save points are on your side, for the most part.

Overall it doesnít do that much differently from other games of its ilk, but what it does do, it manages to do far, far better.

Alex Mercer may not have a cool superhero name, but that shouldnít deflect from the fact that as far as heroes go, they donít get much more Ďsuperí than this.

four out of five