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Previews

Dancing with Deadpool - Marvel's self-aware superhero comes to Xbox 360

An action man who talks you through his own tutorial

After the success of DC's Batman games, it seems like Marvel has started to take the quality of its games much more seriously again. Deadpool might not be as well-known as Spidey, but he remains a classic fan-favourite. Now we've seen his debut game in action, it isn't hard to appreciate why.

Deadpool - aka Wade Wilson - is a mercenary with phenomenal combat skills. Proficient with both blades and firearms, he's more than happy to murder in exchange for a cash fee. He's also an idiotic wise-cracking joker and - perhaps more importantly - absolutely insane.

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Despite being an action game, the demo we're shown doesn't feel driven by action. A tsunami of ridiculous jokes and humour, Deadpool is all about the character himself - delivering a chain of fantastic gags that just happen to be served up with a side-salad of decapitation. With so many action games quickly getting dull because of a lack of good narrative pacing, Deadpool feels like an exciting change - a blistering assault of egotistic insanity that shouldn't be half as funny as it is.

One aspect of Deadpool that fans love is his ability to break the fourth wall - being aware that he's a comic book character and directly addressing the reader. The way this is handled in the game is excellent, and it does a great job of poking fun at videogames, too. "Okay, so press A to jump," he explains, talking you through his own introduction tutorial, before humming a rendition of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal.

One section sees Deadpool punching a millionaire media-type with the player hammering A to continue the barrage. When the guy showing us the level stops pressing the button, Deadpool stops punching, before turning towards the camera and quipping "any time now...?", referencing the fact that he's not allowed to hit stuff until you press the button that says it's okay.

Even the game's systems seem self-aware, adding to the constant flow of pop-culture references that Deadpool loves. As you start firing a minigun out of the side of a helicopter, a new objective that simply reads "MORPHHEEOOUS!" pops up on the screen. Some of the boob jokes fall flat, but the gags are flying out so thick and fast that it's tough not to sit back and just enjoy the ride.

What we've glimpsed so far has impressed, and we're looking forward to seeing more. If the fighting feels as slick as it looks from afar, Deadpool could be one of 2013's most unusual surprises.

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