Feature: Top 11 - Marvel and DC Superhero Games
Posted by Wayne Davies
With great power, comes great video games
Who amongst us has dreamed of being a superhero once in their lives? Jumping from the pages of a comic book, fighting crime and dispensing justice against the most evil of super villains. Each year we get big summer blockbuster films such as The Avengers and The Dark Knight to satisfy the fantasy, but what about video games? Why dream of being one, or simply watch a superhero, when you can play as one? To give you some food for thought, we'll count down our top 11 titles based on Marvel and DC properties.
This third-person hack-and-slash game drops you into the red-and-black boots of the Merc with a Mouth and lets you loose in a relentless experience of action and comedy.
The gameplay of Deadpool is simple, especially in the combat - which can get stale. The weak points of Deadpool are definitely made up for with an amazing script and voice work provided by Nolan North, who brings all the fourth-wall insanity, monologues and meta jokes to life and is enjoyable from beginning to end. Throughout the game there are many references not only to other Marvel comic book characters, but DC characters as well. One of which is a spinning Deadpool logo that appears as a scene transition effect, parodying the Adam West Batman TV series from 1966.
In this action packed third person shooter from 2005, you take on the role of Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, in one of the most violent games of its time. Castle doesn't have any superpowers or fancy gadgets, all he has is an unstoppable rage and the need punish evil by any means, whether it be firing a flamethrower down a bad guys throat, or throwing them into a combine harvester.
Thomas Jane reprised his role from the 2004 film to voice The Punisher and because of its relationship with the film, the BBFC forced THQ to make multiple changes in order for it to pass with an 18 certificate. This makes The Punisher one of the only games to require BBFC cuts to be rated 18.
Why work solo when you can join a legion of other players and fight alongside your favourite DC heroes and villains? This MMORPG allows you to create your own hero or villain the way you want, with an assortment of powers, weapons and abilities. Then your own personal adventure begins, travelling to a number of worlds from the DC universe, completing quests, taking part in raids and fighting other players along the way. DC Universe Online has been going strong since 2011 on PC and PlayStation 3, and with its recent release on PlayStation 4 and constant release of new content, this MMO isn't going anywhere any time soon.
DC Universe Online made the 2012 Guinness Book of World Records for the largest voice acting cast in an MMO, some of whom voiced the same characters in DC animated TV shows, such as Kevin Conroy, Arleen Sorkin and Mark Hamill.
There's always been an unwritten rule to be cautious summer blockbuster film-to-game adaptations, especially when the film itself isn't all that good. Wolverine is one of the rare few that not only dodges this cliché, but ends up arguably being better than the film itself. With its fast paced and bloody combat, the iconic claws are finally given respect they deserve and is without a doubt the ultimate Wolverine experience.
Easter eggs such as the Lich King's sword from World of Warcraft, can be found in the game, along with a well-presented mention of iconic cake from Portal.
Not only did Spider-Man 2 also escape the "Summer blockbuster adaptation" trap, but the first time, you could freely web-swing and wall-crawl in an open world New York. Though the open world Spider-Man game has been done more convincingly in recent years, Spider-Man 2 was an amazing experience at the time, that gave the first real taste of what its like to be the Spidey above the city streets, which lay the foundations of gameplay features for nearly every Spider-Man to come after it.
To date, this is the only Spider-Man video game to actually feature Aunt May. Although she has been mentioned before in earlier Spider-Man video games, she doesn't actually appear until this one.
What do you do if one Spider-Man isn't enough to save the universe? You get four to do it. Shattered Dimensions is a very unique game that allows you play as four versions of Spider-Man spanning multiple universes, each of which bring their own specific gameplay style with either combo, stealth, or aerial combat. Some of the gameplay styles in the mission-based format can get repetitive after while, but a fun story and the way the Spider-Men interact with each other compels you through with some great boss battles and villain re-designs along the way.
Each of the actors who voiced the different versions of Spider-Man in Shattered Dimensions had already voiced him on TV in the past.
The oldest game in our list and arguably one of the best arcade beat-em ups of the 90's. It didn't have any groundbreaking features, it was just a simple progression based side-scroller, but the ability to play with up to 6 friends, each with unique X-Men characters to play as was a joy. Even today it's a lot of fun to play with its re-release on PSN and Xbox Live.
There have been many good crossover games over the years, but the one that still stands strong is Marvel Vs. Capcom 3. The over the top visual style is a joy to watch as characters unleash their special moves and attack in fast paced and visceral fights. Currently in its updated Ultimate Edition, not only has it remained strong for being an amazing combo-based fighter, but because if it's involvement in E-sports. It appears as one of the more popular tournaments at the Evo Championship.
The pre-fight dialogue between Iron Man and Captain America is taken from their fight in the "Civil War" storyline in the comics, where they were on opposite sides of the government's choice to register superheroes.
When you get 30 of the most known DC characters to fight head to head across alternate dimensions, you get Injustice. Injustice is a sensational fighter with a roster of unique playable characters. Players fight against AI or other players in well crafted maps, each with destructables and in-game events that can move you to other maps. If you look past this well-developed fighter, it also has a stand-alone story worthy which was deemed worthy of its own comic series, which was written by written by NetherRealm Studios in collaboration with DC Comics.
Kevin Conroy, Susan Eisenberg, George Newbern, Carl Lumbly, and Phil LaMarr have all returned voiced their respective characters from the DC animated Justice League series.
We are cheating a little with our number 2 slot, and are feauturing both the Marvel Super Heroes and Batman 2: DC Super Heroes Lego games. It doesn't matter if you prefer being Iron Man flying high in the sky or the Dark Knight cruising the streets in the Batmobile, both games are a testament that TT Games can make anything Lego-based fun and enjoyable for all ages. Both games offer beautifully crafted open worlds to explore and an expansive roster of characters to play as, all supported by classic stories and amazing voice work. It doesn't matter if you are a hardcore DC or Marvel fan, both games are a must-play.
As a tribute to Batman: Arkham City, there were several promotional images for Batman 2: DC Super Heroes presented in same black and white art style used in the Arkham City marketing.
Many consider Arkham City the best superhero game ever made, but it wouldn't exist without Arkham Asylum. Asylum gave gamers the first real feeling of what it meant to be the Dark Knight as you fight your way through the claustrophobic and sinister Arkham Asylum.
Utilizing a free-flowing fighting system, emphasis on exploration, and an arsenal of gadgets, you moved seamlessly through the open world of Arkham Asylum in a story perfectly written by Batman Animated Series writer Paul Dini. Arkham Asylum was also the first game to develop Batman’s "worlds greatest detective" persona, which has now become a staple of the franchise
Apparently, there was a fail safe put in the game that would prevent Batman from using his cape to glide if the game was pirated. Not only does this make the game more difficult in general, but will eventually result in Batman being trapped in a room filled with poisonous gas with no way out. Sneaky!
So, do you agree with our list, or is there a superhero title that you would put above them all? Let us know in the comments.