This is the age of the superhero. Powered-up guys and gals and aliens too, both well-known and obscure, are popping up in everything from movies to breakfast cereals. So why shouldn’t the antihero super dubbed Deadpool have his own video game?
Boy, do I wish nobody had ever asked that question! And you’ll see why in a minute.
Unless you’re well-schooled in the Marvel universe, you’ve likely never seen a comic book hero quite like Deadpool. He’s a nearly invulnerable mercenary who’s quick with a crass quip and endowed with an equal passion for women’s breasts and chimichangas.
Still not ringing a bell, you say?
Well, in his comic book rendition, he started out as a seasoned merc named Wade Wilson who was recruited for something called the Weapon X program. (It’s the same gang that gave Wolverine his adamantium skeleton.) They subjected him to painful experiments that gave him incredible regenerative powers … but also left him horribly scared and completely, utterly insane.
A Straitjacket Anyone?
Which leads us to this game, a leaping, slashing, shooting actioner that tiptoes through a little bit of the antihero’s dark superside while wallowing in a whole lot of his spew-at-the-mouth craziness. And I do mean crazy.
Deadpool regularly has arguments with two other personalities taking up residence in his spandex-cloaked noggin. And not one of them sounds much more sensible than a misguided 14-year-old debating whether or not it would be a good idea to surf the highway on the roof of a moving car … naked.
The story here is equally scattershot and outlandish. Deadpool convinces (read: violently coerces) a video game studio to make a game about him. And then we go about playing that game, setting out to live the mercenary’s day-to-day life.
Do you care to know what a man such as Deadpool does every day? Are you sure? Just checking, because it’s things like discussing crotch-licking with his beloved mutt, napping on a filthy couch and going into the bathroom to grunt away on the toilet. (Do you still care to know?)
Off With His Head
Deadpool does eventually take on an actual mercenary job, which has him crossing paths with heroes and villains such as Wolverine, Rogue and Mister Sinister. (There are numerous chapters to traverse, but it’s a single job that runs through the rest of the game.) Time to commence a hemorrhaging onslaught of slicing and dicing of scores of superpowered evil clones—with a bit of bullet riddling and explosive-chucking thrown in for good measure. A reward system that levels up attacks and weapons is in the mix but, frankly, the hacking and slashing is pretty much always full bore.
Blood gushes and splats as Deadpool whirs through foes like an atomic-powered deli slicer or slips up on them silently and lops off heads and arms. Deadpool himself is repeatedly broken up, ripped apart and popped like a bulging cyst, only to reconstitute and jump back into the fray.
But the dirty little secret is that Deadpool isn’t really about the challenge of superpowered beat-’em-ups and fast-moving gameplay at all. As you work through the story, you realize that what the game is really trying to do is “entertain” prurient minds by exploiting crazy ones, with its inane comical ramblings and crass character-focused actions.
Stay Out of the Pool
Whether it’s showing scantily clad breasts being groped and plastic sex dolls being fondled, or examining everything from penis size to lewd come-ons, or having its “hero” talk endlessly about his genitals and participate in raw make-out sessions, the game goes very, very far out of its way to impress gamers with how crude, rude, juvenile and completely sex-obsessed it can be.
Deadpool is quite simply a superduper spew of salaciousness, misogyny and malfeasance—all words not likely to be familiar to Sir Deadpool himself, or to his cult following of fans. (But certainly worth being used a time or two by the parents of said fans.)
Let me spell it out, using smaller words: Neither the gross and gory game nor its far-from-super star are nearly as clever as they think they are. They try so hard to be off the wall that they miss the wall completely.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.