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10 June 2009
PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Radical Entertainment

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Typical. You wait years for a superhero adventure as thrilling as Spider-Man 2 or Hulk: Ultimate Destruction to come along then two show up at once, Sony’s recent InFamous now followed up by the similarly roof-hopping Prototype.

Focusing on the exploits of the overwrought Alex Mercer - who wakes to find himself in the midst of apocalypse, but with no memory of how he got there or came to be blessed with godlike powers - Prototype is much darker than Sony's offering, ditching InFamous' morality system in favour of a surly anti-hero who cares little for New York's panicked populace, and whose only concern is finding some answers.

Like its rival, Prototype does an incredible job of making you feel like a superhero, offering players a sprawling urban landscape that can be explored in any way you like, and where dozens of bonus missions are on hand to tempt you off the beaten path. Thankfully, though, the serious business of traversing the huge city is made simple by Alex's ability to glide, sprint up the sides of skyscrapers or jump between rooftops, while defending yourself against rampaging zombies and army goons is only a matter of hurling cars at hostile helicopters, summoning magical spikes from the ground, or whipping everyone in a 20ft radius with your stylish mutant tentacles.

Prototype's ingenious backstory - which is revealed gradually as Alex 'absorbs' key characters and accesses their memories - is a more mature approach than InFamous' clichéd comic book plot, and the ever-changing city and hero’s evolving powers are a welcome variation of pace. But with a disappointing selection of enemies, repetitive animations and some bad, bad acting, Prototype falls short of greatness. Two great games that are shot through with minor flaws, but will still keep many a console geek stuck indoors during the balmy summer months.

Reviewed by David McComb

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