Super Hero Games of Yesteryear
Posted by:
Date: May 21, 2008

Another summer of super hero movies is upon us. Iron Man has come out and soon we shall see a new Hulk and Batman film. I went and saw the Iron Man movie a couple of weeks ago and quite enjoyed it. Of course, a super hero movie can't come out in theaters without a game tie-in, so there is an Iron Man game. I saw a demo available for it on X-Box Live so I grabbed it to give it a try. I fired it up and...

Was sadly disappointed. The game is incredibly pretty, but the gameplay itself was very blah. My friends that were watching me mess with it thought it didn't look very fun either. Therefore, I give to you the following list of 10 super hero games from the past that I found entertaining and enjoyable.

1. Captain America & the Avengers
System: Arcade, SNES, Genesis, Game Gear, Gameboy
Recommended System: Arcade

Captain America and the Avengers is your standard side-scrolling beat-em-up. You can pick from a selection of four characters - Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, or Vision who you then use to mow through hordes of bad guys until you reach and defeat the bosses at the end of each level. I say the Arcade version is the best because it supports up to 4 players at the same time, plus you can pop in more credits for the inevitable deaths that will ensue.

2. Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
System: PS2, Xbox, Gamecube
Recommended System: Xbox

Ultimate Destruction captures the feel of being the Hulk in a video game quite well. It's free-roaming in nature like the Spiderman games or the more well known GTA series. The game also represents its' name in good fashion, providing ample destruction as the Hulk rips cars in half to use as punching gloves, mauls tanks, and destroys everything else in his path. I recommend the X-box version as it appears to run the smoothest and is the nicest looking. Interesting side note - the main enemy of the game, the Abomination, appears to be the main enemy in the upcoming Hulk movie.

3. Batman: Vengeance
System: Xbox, Gamecube, PS2, PC, Gameboy Advance
Recommended System: Xbox or Gamecube

I've named good games with the Iron Man and Hulk in them, so the only one remaining hero to be mentioned from movies coming out this summer is Batman. Vengeance is based off of the excellent animated series that was on television some time back. The game puts Batman in a 3D adventure title, with graphics that capture the look and feel of the series. Adding to this is the fact that they got the voice actors from the series with people like Mark Hamill returning to play the Joker (perhaps Mark Hamill's best work) and Kevin Conroy returning as Batman. I recommend the X-box or Gamecube versions as they are a lot nicer than the rest. At any rate, you'll definitely want to avoid the PC version as it is plagued with marred graphics, terrible camera, and annoying controls.

4. Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu
System: Xbox, Gamecube, PS2, Gameboy Advance, PC
Recommended System: Xbox or Gamecube

In a drastic change from the style of Vengeance, Ubisoft's next Batman game took on the role of a beat-em-up. The game has 4 characters to choose from - Batman, Nightwing, Robin, and Batgirl which you can play alone or with another player cooperatively through the story (go co-op, much more fun). Adding some depth to the game is the ability to earn points used towards unlocking new skills for your character - 30 something skills for each. The game also introduced a new villain to the Batman universe: Sin Tzu.

5. Marvel Super Heroes
System: Arcade, Saturn, Playstation
Recommended System: Arcade

A mostly standard one on one fighting game based on the Marvel Universe. Playable characters include a variety such as Captain America, Iron Man, Psylocke, Wolverine, Magneto, and Blackheart along with a number of others. The twist in the gameplay comes from the involvement of Infinity Gems that can be acquired and activated in battle which give characters a different power for a few seconds. The arcade version is recommended because the Playstation version suffers from slow load times, general slowdown, and missing frames.

6. Marvel vs Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes
System: Arcade, Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox
Recommended System: Dreamcast

An excellent one on one fighter featuring a large cast of characters from the Marvel and Capcom universes. MvC2 brings back the cast from the previous game and expands upon it with additions like Cable, Jill Valentine, Tron Bonne, and Felicia. To be honest, the versions are mostly similar, I mainly recommend the Dreamcast version because I'm partial to that console. However, the Arcade version has a slightly different ending than the console ports, if you are interested in that sort of thing.

7. The Punisher
System: Arcade, Genesis
Recommended System: Arcade

The Punisher is a side scrolling beat-em-up where you can play as The Punisher or Nick Fury in a quest to take out the Kingpin. There's nothing special in the gameplay, but it's fun nevertheless. Go with the Arcade version as there was several bits of censorship in the Genesis version.

8. Spider-Man & Venom: Maximum Carnage
System: SNES, Genesis
Recommended System: SNES

This game is yet another beat-em-up (pretty common in the world of super hero games). It is a single player title where you mainly play as Spider-Man, but get the option to play as Venom in several levels (Venom is more entertaining). The goal is to take out Carnage and his group. To aid you along the way, you can pick up power-ups that will summon other Marvel heroes to perform a special attack for you. The game can get rather repetitive, but it's a fun romp through at least once anyways. The SNES version has slightly better graphics and sound than the Genesis version.

9. Spider-Man & Venom: Separation Anxiety
System: SNES, Genesis, PC
Recommended System: SNES

The follow-up to Maximum Carnage now features two player play, which makes it quite a bit more fun than the original. Again, the goal is to take out Carnage, but along the way you'll have to face off against the Jury, and various symbiote children. Again, the SNES version is slightly superior to the other versions.

10. X-Men
System: Arcade
Recommended System: N/A

The last game on the list is...yep, a side-scrolling brawler. This was the first super hero game I remember enjoying as a kid, playing it in an arcade. It has 6 playable characters: Cyclops, Colossus, Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler, and Dazzler. There were various versions of the game, allowing anywhere from 2 to 6 people play simultaneously (the 6 player version had multiple screens). For some added amusement as you play, find a spot where characters can fall off the screen and watch their animation and stance as they fall. Shaddak and I had great fun doing that.

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