If you have never played a Lego game, please do so. My first was the original Star Wars trilogy and it was a delight. Anyway, Lego has a small series surrounding the DC and Marvel comicbook universe, and the two most recent ones: Lego Marvel Superheroes 2 and Lego DC Supervillains are just great.
Lego Marvel has the storyline of the time-travelling villain Kang creating his own world by bringing different bits of the Marvel universe together (Xander, one of the cities in The Guardians of the Galaxy becomes neighbours with Post-Ragnarok Thor’s world Asgard). In the DC game, the Justice League’s evil counterparts, the Justice Syndicate, takeover and the villains try to stop them and in equal parts be jealous that they are better villains than them.
Volcanism was limited but still raised some interesting questions! As before, I had some criteria out of 10, 1 being unrealistic and 10 being realistic:
- Overall plausibility
To navigate levels (only contributed to a little bit of the data for both games), I went back and made sure I was a character that could fly and regenerate health (e.g. Raven and Wonder Woman for Lego DC and Captain Marvel for Lego Marvel). Enemies were only a minor nuisance here. Most volcanism evidence was in the hub worlds, so had total freedom to explore.
Results: quality over quantity.
Lego Marvel Superheroes 2
Volcanism in this game is only limited to the Post-Ragnarok area/level. Still found some interesting stuff though.
A nice cone, with extensive lava flows and an ash plume drifting towards the Xander area. The ashfall was a bit unrealistic, as it only restricted to the Asgard area and did not drift. In reality, if when a volcano erupts and it produces ash, wherever the wind blows, the ash goes and falls. Relatively small eruptions that produce ash plumes can still travel far (such as the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland). Bigger eruptions that produce ash plumes however, can circle the whole world! An example is the 1812 eruption of Tambora in Indonesia.
If we look at Asgard itself, there are some interesting stuff.
First is the interaction between the built environment (well…what is left of it anyway) and the lava flows. The top image shows an almost complete burial of a building and in between two lava channels and the bottom image is lava flowing under a stone bridge.
The building looks like it was destroyed by the volcano emerging right there or, buried by volcanic ash and/or pyroclastic material. Cannot say for certain what scenario it is but, all are plausible. The capital of Montserrat, Plymouth, is buried by pyroclastic material/ash/lahars (Figure a). The town of Armero is buried by lahars from the 1985 eruption of Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia (Figure b) and lava from Mt. Etna in Italy, has buried buildings in the past (Figure c).
The intact stone bridge with the lava flowing underneath it interests me. Like in figures a, b and c, buildings can withstand the heat and pressures of volcanic hazards to a certain extent. What is the melting point of bricks? No idea, but luckily someone wrote a paper on it! According to Kanolt (1912), various types of brick have the following melting points (I had no idea there are so many types of brick):
- Fire clay: 1555-1725°C (2831-3137°F)
- Bauxite brick: 1565-1785°C (2849-3245°F)
- Silica brick: 1700-1705°C (3092-3101°F)
- Chromite brick: 2050°C (3722°F)
- Magnesia brick: 2165°C (3929°F)
The melting points of “stone” really does depend on it being either sedimentary (e.g. sandstone), metamorphic (e.g. marble) or igneous (e.g. basalt). Whilst I cannot say for certain what “type” of stone is used in Asgard, I am going to say it can withstand the high temperatures of lava (700-1200°C/1300-2200°F). On a similar note, last image from Asgard is this tree that had survived:
If not in the direct path of lava or another volcanic hazard, trees can survive. Even still, if they are, some trunks and branches can survive but lose their vegetation, but some do not lose their leaves! For example, these trees from one of the 1902 pyroclastic density currents of La Soufrière St. Vincent (my masters and PhD study area) stayed standing, but lost their leaves:
Here are some other photos of the lava in/around Asgard and also what it looks like in the level attached to this area:
Also, this is how you die in both Lego games if you are a character that can regenerate health (characters that do not die instantly):
- Aesthetics: 7
- It is not bad, flow mechanics behave alright, got cooler bits forming on top of the lava, volcanic ash is visible but like Spyro, there is a lack of flow complexity.
- Accessibility: 9
- In the Asgard portion of the hub, it is easy to get to if you use a flying character. The background in the level attached is not accessible.
- Viscosity: 7
- Pretty good, no complaints but again, lacks complexity and seems too runny for my liking.
- Death: 1
- This is Lego. It really is not in the realms of realism other than that you can die. On a similar note…Lego is plastic. It should just melt. But…I suppose that would be pretty graphic for a children’s game.
- Overall plausibility: 8
- I am quite happy with it! Apart from the lack of flow complexity, the way Lego dies and the volcanic ash not impacting outside of Asgard that brought the mark down.
Lego DC Supervillains
Since this was done by the same company, there is not much difference apart from what volcanism is on offer to explore. All of it is restricted to the world Apokolips (pronounced apocalypse): home of Darkseid (kind of DC’s equivalent of Thanos), Granny Goodness (who is not good) and the Female Furies (who will hurt you).
This place is insane. It is essentially a city living on/in (?) a lava field. I just…I love it. I do not know where to begin. Okay, I will start with that this is not plausible in the slightest. What is feasible are all the lava falls, which I touched upon in my Spyro post. The texture/viscosity of them is like honey which is kind of similar to pahoehoe lava. I cannot say for certain what kind of material the buildings are made out of. It is metal, which was established in my Spyro write-up of being able to withstand the temperatures of lava. Cannot possibly imagine what it took to incorporate the lava into the infrastructure and if the eruption was happening before, during or after the construction of the city.
The background landscape in the first two images is bit confusing, but does reminds me of a fissure eruption landscape. Think 2018 Kilauea in Hawaii and 2014 Bárðabunga-Holuhraun in Iceland. Fissure eruptions produce extensive and complex flow paths, so if the sharp rock features were there before, it works out fine. Not entirely sure if an eruption could form them.
What is also interesting is the texture of the solidified areas in the last image. Looks like basalt lava textures but also like a moonscape? Also not sure about the glowing rock in the background. Unless it is ‘A’a or blocky lava (see photo below) that has been emplaced and is just taking a long while to cool.
I have saved the best (in my opinion) to last:
Look.at.that.ropey.lava. It is my favourite bit of lava flows. It is very common and associated with pahoehoe lava. The texture forms when the upper crust of the flow starts to cool and behave like elastic, with the flow underneath creating the folds before it solidifies. It is just so awesome.
Out of the games I have revisited so far, only this game has made an attempt to diversify in the representation of lava flow texture complexity. Give more me diversity!
- Aesthetics: 8
- I am a sucker for pahoehoe.
- Accessibility: 9
- Viscosity: 9
- One extra point for the pahoehoe. Bonus point for effort.
- Death: 1
- Overall plausibility: 9
- Extra point for the pahoehoe! I love it okay?!
This has been fun, I can strike one more off the list. I promise the next game I do is Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
In the meantime, happy gaming!