Last Friday, Marvel Entertainment and Square Enix announced a multi-game partnership. The deal is to develop great big budget videogames by the powerhouse studios of the latter, featuring the world famous characters of the former.
That’s a big deal because Marvel Entertainment has been shy about video games for nearly a decade now. Other than a few great releases on mobile, the House of Ideas has long recognized that big budget games featuring their characters can be difficult to pull off.
Here are Marvel games of the past worth remembering. For this list, we focus on games featuring Marvel characters only, rather than games in which they crossover with other heroes, as in the well known Marvel vs. Capcom fighting games.
8. Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems
This action side scroller for the Super Nintendo is based on the events of the Infinity Gauntlet story arc from the early 90s. It features an all star playable character roster of Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hulk and Iron Man. While it can be beaten with some ease, it’s still a fun game to break out with your friends, providing you set up an emulator for it.
No one’s going to pretend Deadpool is a perfect game. It’s controls can be unreliable and the graphics were dated even at the time of release. But this one is definitely for the fans. Deadpool writer Daniel Way doubled down on breaking the fourth wall and constant talking from the Merc with a Mouth, and wrote in some irreverent appearances from other Marvel characters like Rogue, Colossus and Cable.
6. The Punisher
Announced alongside the Punisher movie featuring Thomas Jane and John Travolta, this game was based on a script by Punisher writer Garth Ennis. The game features decent combat, but most memorable was the ability to grab any enemy and torture them for information. The results could be so gory, that the game would occasionally apply a black and white filter, as if that would fool anyone into thinking blood wasn’t being spilled.
5. X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse
This action role-playing game plays like a co-op Diablo featuring the merry mutants. It’s like an all you can eat buffet for X-Men fans that features 18 playable characters and pretty much all the name villains like Omega Red, Sauron, Mister Sinister and of course, Apocalypse. Together with its predecessor, X-Men Legends, this game established the mold from which another great Marvel game was made.
4. Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
Long before “open world” was used to describe almost every major video game release these days, Ultimate Destruction let you enjoy Hulk unleashed. Unlike the game based on the movie, there are no dumb stealth sections. Hulk smashes his way through a wide open city from which to pick missions and smash around in. He can throw buses, leap tall buildings and crush choppers in mid air. Hulk smash!
3. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
The X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie isn’t looked upon too kindly, but the tie-in videogame featured some killer combo-based combat that made Wolverine’s savagery feel way too good! The neatest bit is the representation of Wolverine’s healing factor: Wolverine’s model had a complete skeletal structure and muscle / flesh layer that took damage and healed in real time. It’s subtle but meaningful touch.
2. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
This game is a love letter to all Spider-Man fans. The premise is that four Spider-Men from across time and space must work together. That includes the well known Amazing Spider-Man, the younger Ultimate Spider-Man, the futuristic Spider-Man of 2099 and the gritty alternate reality Spider-Man Noir. It’s a fun filled adventure featuring hilarious writing from Spider-Man veteran Dan Slott.
1. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Ultimate Alliance is pure unapologetic Marvel fun. The story is a loopy bit of nonsense designed to accommodate as many heroes and villains as possible, whether they come from the streets or live in space and other dimensions. Over two dozen playable characters are drawn from all corners of the Marvel Universe, making this the most four colored fun you’ll have outside of a Silver Age hardcover.
What Marvel games were your favorite? Share them with us below!