The 10 Worst Marvel Comics Video Gameson April 24, 2014 at 6:00 am
I (finally) saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier (and caught up on all those episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that have been sitting on my hard drive) yesterday and man oh MAN was it great but it also got me thinking about all the great video games based on Marvel Comics characters that we’ve played throughout the years.
Stuff like Marvel Ultimate Alliance, LEGO Marvel and of course the mighty Marvel Vs Capcom series all lived up the high standards of the comics but nobody ever talks about the ones that suck, so that’s what we’ll do today!
Here’s what I think are the worst Marvel Comics video games throughout gaming history:
10) Fantastic Four (PlayStation)
Crap sandwich. I wanted to like this, I really did! After all a game in the style of Golden Axe with multitap support for up to four players, super-powers and bonus She Hulk? Sign me up. But the slow gameplay, repetitive attacks and lack of anything remotely “fantastic” in it prevents it from actually getting fun. Damn it, I wanted to yell out IT’S CLOBBERING TIME and smack some thugs around. I wanted to yell out FLAME ON and burn some thugs up. I basically just like yelling at TVs.
9) X-Men Mutant Academy 2 (PlayStation)
This sounds like it would be a good game on paper – a 3D one-on-one fighting game lots of powerful characters with special abilities sounds like my kind of deal – but the reality falls so short of expectations. Animation takes a priority over gameplay, resulting in stilted, slow matches between players who spend half their time waiting to regain control over their particular mutant instead of just having fun.
I ended up working with one of the developers of this game, and he didn’t remember working on it. I’m really not surprised.
8) Questprobe: The Hulk
Look I know it’s considered sacrilegious in retrogaming circles to say anything bad about the Scott Adams text adventures but geez I was pretty ticked off with this one when I bought it way back in the day. I mean, I knew what a text adventure was – my first forays into games programming was following tutorials on how to make a simple text adventure in BASIC – but overly complex puzzles, obscure vocabulary requirements and an almost baffling level of ignorance of the source material made for a game that just wasn’t much fun. To become The Hulk you had to type in BITE TONGUE. Who the hell would think of that normally?
7) Howard The Duck (Commodore 64)
Look, I have no problem publically admitting that I paid good money to see the Howard The Duck movie in cinemas and I even enjoyed it. But man this game was a stinker. You controlled a tiny, misshapen Howard as he ran around various exotic locations in some sort of quest to do something I don’t know who cares this game is terrible. It’s really frustrating because a Howard The Duck game could be a slam-dunk in a video game. But it’s not all bad because in researching for this article I found out that Howard is an unlockable character in LEGO Marvel ARE YOU KIDDING ME THAT IS AWESOME.
6) Captain America in: The Doom Tube of Dr. Megalomann
This game gets on the list purely because of its stupid name I mean seriously what the hell. Anyway this is a clunky platform adventure game where you, as Captain America, explore Doctor Doom’s castle and collect ying yangs (?) to escape the poison that is infiltrating the place so you can stop some missiles going off. You have a limited number of shields to throw around (er, I thought he only had one?) and if you get bored of the game (you will) there’s some ‘80s pop song on the B-side of the cassette. It was slow as molasses and dumber than a pile of rocks and Captain America deserved so much better for his very first video game.
Eh, I feel kind of bad having this one on the list, but it really bugged me when I bought it back in the day. I kind of expected a follow-up to the great Spider-Man game on the MegaDrive and what I got was a stupidly difficult platformer. All the characters you played as were weak and stupidly large on the screen and it played like six separate games instead of one huge adventure. It’s a shame because a game with all these characters in it could have been great. Read my comic about it here!
4) Marvel Super Heroes: The War of the Gems
What was it with these 16-bit Marvel games with overly large playable characters? I guess it made the screenshots on the back of the box look good, but it just meant that the playable space on the screen was reduced significantly and you ended up running into enemies all the time. I liked the idea of this being a sort of cut down version of The Infinity Gauntlet storyline from the comics, but it was just a slow and plodding game of avoiding enemies and learning rote attack patterns to work around.
3) The Punisher: No Mercy (PS3)
This arena-based first person shooter was made by Zen Studios, who are usually known for making pinball games. There’s a reason for this, because this is just awful. It’s like someone did a Punisher Total Conversion package back in the days of Quake mods. The good news is that it’s no longer available anywhere so the world is safe… for now.
2) Iron Man (360, PS3, Wii)
The first game based on the new Marvel Cinematic Universe should have been fantastic. It was crap. The graphics were so bad that I thought my Wii was broken and somehow they made the feeling of flying around as Iron Man an absolute chore. God damn, it makes me so mad to think about how this game turned out! How do you stuff up a video game about a walking robot that can shoot anything that moves? There’s only ever like one other object on the screen besides you and then you blow it up and then something else appears and ugh damn it this should have been SO GOOD.
1) The Avengers
Wait, there was no Avengers game, right? Well, sort of. There was one being made by THQ in Brisbane Australia for quite a few years, and it was very exciting hearing through the local game development grapevine about just how good it was turning out. Lots of talented people worked long hours on it, but thanks to completely inept management and the bean counters at THQ US not wanting to spend an extra $10 million to complete the game, it never got released. You idiots. You stupid, stupid idiots! It would have sold a billion gajillion copies and none of you would be out of a job.
How about you – what were the Marvel games that you regretting buying?