SuperHeroHype Looks at the 10 Best Superhero Games Ever
Even though video games are a multibillion dollar enterprise every year, for some reason superheroes aren’t at the forefront of this type of media like they are films and television. Though a few hero-themed game comes out every year, they just don’t dominate our home consoles like they do our movie screens. The good news, however, is that plenty of great superhero games have been released over the years and though some of them may be older than those of you reading, they’re still among the best.
Best Superhero Games: Spider-Man (2000)
Released ahead of the film, and right after the heyday of the animated series, Spider-Man was a classic adventure game that fundamentally changed the way superhero games were made moving forward. Not only did it feature a slick comic book style for its storytelling, but the open environments, web slinging, and wall crawling made it the best way to experience the world of Spider-Man at the time. Couple its easy to play mechanics with the fact that it featured nearly every Spider-Man villain you could think of, and the fan-favorite alternate costumes, it’s easy to see how influential this game was.
Best Superhero Games: Injustice: Gods Among Us
Superhero games often fall under the fighting category, from the Marvel vs. Capcom series to Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. What makes Injustice different is that it is completely superhero driven, and fully embraces the wackiness of comic books from the characters’ fighting styles to the environments and even the plot itself. DC Comics has long toyed with the idea of the Multiverse and Injustice has a story wrapped entirely around an alternate universe. In addition, the interactive stages for the fights pay homage to some of the lowest-tier characters that fans have loved over the years.
Best Superhero Games: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
If there’s one group of heroes that appear to consistently have video games, it’s the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They all range from great to poor and while it was difficult to pick just one, we had to choose the side-scrolling beat ’em up “Turtles in Time.” What makes this game different from the other brawlers that star the Eastman and Laird creations is the setting: the turtles get thrown through a time loop and must fight their way through prehistoric times, pirate times, the wild west, and the far future. This, of course, seems like a far cry from the original comics, but is directly in line with the tone of the popular ’80s animated series and even further brought some of the zanier creations from the toy line to life.
Best Superhero Games: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
What’s not to like about an open world game featuring over 100 playable Marvel characters? In a world where the X-Men and The Avengers are separated on film by pesky studio rights, seeing the characters live and work together in a game is the next best thing. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes out does itself by having the most rich environment of any of the LEGO games, while maintaining the simple but fun gamestyle of their previous efforts. Plus, it’s a game where you can play as Beta Ray Bill.
Best Superhero Games: X-Men
If you walked into any arcade worth its salt in the 1990s, you played this game. Another side-scrolling brawler, X-Men was notable for the six potential characters players could choose (including Cyclops, Colossus, Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler and Dazzler) and how it brought the fan-favorite Jim Lee designs to life. The game wove in all kinds of elements of X-Men lore as well from Sentinels to The Savage Land to The Hellfire Club and Magneto’s Asteroid M. It still holds a warm place in our hearts, and luckily can be played on iOS and Android devices now.
Best Superhero Games: Spider-Man 2
If 2000’s Spider-Man game was the unsung influence of superhero games moving forward, Spider-Man 2 was the Golden Goose they all strived to be moving forward. Based on Sam Raimi’s film, the game took the mechanics of an open environment for Spider-Man and gave him an entire New York City sandbox to play in. Even further, it was the first time that the character’s webs needed a surface to stick to before he could move. You know when every Spider-Man game following you was just trying to do their best impression of you that you were great, and Spider-Man 2 was the best.
Best Superhero Games: Batman Returns
There once was a time when every major blockbuster got a video game tie-in, and perhaps the best one was Batman Returns for the Super Nintendo. Another side-scrolling action game, Batman Returns was aces because of how much it stuck to the source in Tim Burton’s film. The 16-bit renderings of characters and locations from the film are realized in a way that’s still visually interesting, and it keeps the killer Danny Elfman score to boot. Plus, it’s just plan fun.
Best Superhero Games: X-Men: Mutant Academy 2
Another fighting game, but between the time of the X-Men animated series and the films there wasn’t much by way of the Gifted Youngsters. Featuring 18 playable characters and a host of unique levels, Mutant Academy 2 was a perfect party fighting game. Easy enough for newcomers to pick up but competitive enough for the hardcore to get behind. Plus, it had a certain webslinger as a secret character, and the hidden “pool party” level.
Best Superhero Games: The Punisher
Most superheroes translate to the video games very well, but maybe none more so than The Punisher. Dropped into a hostile environment with a hundred guns and a lot of angry thugs running around? Sounds like a Frank Castle party. Though not a particularly challenging game, The Punisher is crucial because of its inherent comic book storytelling (each level set up via flashback while Frank is interrogated in police custody) and the intense carnage that the title vigilante pulls off, from shoving people in wood chippers to busting out of casket at a funeral and mowing down the entire mob.
Best Superhero Games: Batman: Arkham City
Though four games have held the “Arkham” title, it’s the second in the series that holds the crown. Combining the combative elements of the first in the series and expanding the terrain to an entire cityscape, Batman: Arkham City became one of the most fun games of its time and one of the best versions of the character in modern storytelling. Featuring a near-flawless script by Paul Dini, Kevin Conroy as The Dark Knight, and Mark Hamill as The Joker, Arkham City is not only the key Batman experience but probably the best superhero game ever.
What do you think are the best superhero games ever? Let us know in the comments below!