Let's all give a round of applause to Ed Boon and the rest of the top notch developers at NetherRealm Studios. The guys behind those 'hard to put down' Mortal Kombat games managed to create one of the best video games to ever feature the DC Comics universe - Injustice: Gods Among Us.
Before that strong representation of the DC Universe in video game form came to be, there were plenty of other digital experiences that let players save the world as their favorite heroes. Batman, the Watchmen, The Flash and even Superman have all been featured in some good to excellent video games. Another strong effort for this long running comic book staple is dropping this fall and this time it’s for the Dark Knight (Batman: Arkham Origins). We’re going to take some time to get you even more excited about DC Comics’ video game future by reflecting on their past.
The following list chronicles what are the most heroic video games dedicated to the DC Comics universe.
12. Batman (NES)
Not only was this early video game adaptation based on Batman himself, it also had some ties to the awesome film that dropped in 1989. For anyone who’s familiar with the first renditions of the Ninja Gaiden series, you’ll be familiar with what’s going on here. Batman scrolls from left to right, wall climbs to higher locations, smacks around countless foes and flings batarangs when duty calls. This NES game may seem simple by today’s standards, but it’s still an old school treat for DC/Batman fans. Ever heard of Killer Moth? No? Then you might wanna take this game on just once.
11. The Death and Return of Superman
We’re sure everyone has heard and read all the horror stories regarding the dreaded (*gasp*) Superman 64. The less said about that travesty of a game, the better. Anyways, one of the only passable and enjoyable Superman video games is this Sega Genesis/SNES beat ‘em up. The Death and Return of Superman chronicled the Man of Steel’s climactic showdowns with Doomsday and his clash with The Underworlders. Beat ‘em up games were all the rage back in the day, so you may have come across this game at one point or another. It’s just plain fun to walk around and smash in alien faces with a DC Comics icon. The fact that you could play as Superboy, The Cyborg Hank Henshaw, The Eradicator and Steel made this game even more enjoyable.
10. Teen Titans
You might have a puzzled look on your face right now. “WHY PICK A GAME BASED ON A LICENSED KIDS SHOW THAT’S BASED ON A COMIC BOOK?” Because (surprisingly), it was more fun than it had any right to be. Teen Titans, which aired on Cartoon Network, put together the team of Robin, Cyborg, Raven, Starfire, and Beast Boy for a bunch of cool adventures, and so did this extremely underrated game. As far as beat ‘em up’s go, this brightly colored brawler was pretty solid. Each member of the team had important abilities (Starfire’s Star Bolts came through in clutch moments) that made them all integral to the team. THQ (R.I.P.) was pretty good at making games based on licensed properties. This cartoon brawler is a testament to that statement.
9. Gotham City Impostors
There’s such an overload of first-person shooting games these days. Ever since the Call of Duty series struck gold (well, platinum really), everyone and their grandmother have made several uninspired entries in the genre. One FPS that differentiated from the many gray and black-colored shooters was Gotham City Impostors. The concept is wacky as hell – two teams of Batman/Joker knockoffs attempt to kill, kill, kill. The shooting was pretty solid, but the most endearing feature for this game was its parkour-inspired combat. Your grappling hook gave you ample opportunity to get the jump on your opponent every time. We just love the character customization, team-specific weapons, charming atmosphere and super fast gunplay.
8. Batman Returns (SNES)
Konami sure knew how to make some dope beat ‘em up’s back in the day. Any gamer worth their salt knows how awesome Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time was. Konami also put out another amazing beat ‘em up inspired by a popular licence – Batman Returns. The SNES version stood far above the other console offerings at the time. The Red Triangle Circus Gang had no chance against us as we paced around Gotham City and laid their asses to rest. The final chase sequence with the Batmobile is an amazing gameplay feat that we still enjoy today. The Dark Knight’s glorious video game run owes its early start to this side-scrolling brawler.
7. The Adventures of Batman and Robin (Sega Genesis)
The Adventures of Batman and Robin was arguably the best superhero themed animated show of all time. It was at the top of the kids show heap back in the 90′s, so you know a game based on it had to have been made. Thankfully, Sega did the honors for its excellent Genesis side scrolling shooter. Batman and Robin just looked awesome as they ran around flinging batarangs all willy-nilly. The visuals were loyal to the cartoon, the music was hardcore as hell, and every notable villain from the show made an appearance. It may have been supremely difficult at times, but taking down Mr. Freeze should never be an easy task.
6. Batman: The Brave and the Bold – The Videogame
Yeah, we know…you’re staring to notice a pattern here, huh? It’s kinda like the whole, “There’s too many Batman characters in Injustice: Gods Among Us!” And now you’re probably throwing a fit because there’s too many Batman games on this list of the best DC games. Face the truth, people – there’s just too many awesome Batman games. And now that brings us to this underrated Wii beat ‘em up. Batman: The Brave and the Bold – The Videogame, based on the cartoon series that hit in 2008. WayForward Technologies is known for sprucing up old school games and making new ones that feel old school. This brawler contained all the best elements of the show – a classic presentation, fantasy team-up’s and plenty of huge fight scenarios. Batman and Plastic Man teaming up? This game does it oh so well.
5. LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
You know what’s so funny about this game? This is the best Justice League (and Superman) game ever made, yet it’s primarily a Batman video game. Crazy, right? The Bat Family and a slew of other DC greats are all ripe for the picking in this LEGO-themed adventure. It’s pretty surreal to see a game starring Huntress, Vixen, Lady Shiva and even Vicki Vale! The addictive LEGO building and collecting of previous games is present here, as well as the hilarious tone of the game itself. Who knew Superman could be such an uplifting…well, jerk? Collecting bricks was awesome, but flying around Gotham City as the Man of Steel was one of the game’s better experiences. Kids and adults, we implore you to pick up this game.
4. DC Universe Online
This MMO is ripe with a heroes/rogues gallery of everything DC Comics. That means anyone who was put off by the MMO genre probably felt a bit more comfortable once they found out they got to fight alongside/against those heroes/rogues. DC Universe Online let us live out our custom superhero/super villain fantasies. The combat wasn’t your typical MMO style combat, since it felt more like you were playing your average action/adventure game. The environments are familiar and as massive as we envisioned them, too. Running around Metropolis and fending off surprise villains like Larfleeze and Trigon made this the ultimate DC Comics fan experience. Once this games makes the jump to the PS4, we’ll be playing it all over again…
3. Injustice: Gods Among Us
The creators of those cringe inducing (in a good way) Mortal Kombat games did right by DC with this one. Injustice: Gods Among Us started out as an awesome fighter with a largely fan-pleasing roster. Currently, it’s turned into the quintessential DC Comics video game. The people spoke and Ed Boon and his development team answered. Not only do we get to smash folks with Batmobiles and punch fools into space with Superman, but we get to chain whip everyone with Lobo and cast damaging magic tricks with Zatanna! The tight, combo heavy gameplay and amazing set-piece moments this game is known for appeals to gamers and comic book heads alike. The last Mortal Kombat had an amazing story mode, so it came as no surprise to see this game had one too. Injustice just keeps getting better and better. THANK YOU POST LAUNCH DLC!
2. Batman: Arkham Asylum
When news about this game’s existence came to fruition, gamers were excited, yet still worried. Despite the makeup of this list, there are still far more terrible Bat-games then good ones, but when Arkham Asylum finally hit current-gen consoles, the gaming public was more than pleased with its high quality of play. The plot, innovative combat system, wide-open environments and the overall feel of being Batman turned this into one of the best action/adventure games in a while. Hardcore Batman fans got plenty of easter eggs to search out for, while casual fans/gamers got to experience a truly great game. Sure, The Joker boss fight was a letdown, but that’s just one stain on an otherwise perfect Batman game. You can’t complain too much cause you get the chance to beat down a hallway full of goons! Now let’s talk about it’s even better sequel…
1. Batman: Arkham City
Batman: Arkham City raised the bar, did a pole vault with it and landed perfectly on its Bat boots. Batman was now tasked with taking down the walking/talking grime of Arkham City’s prison. The hub world was much larger, which gave us more room to take flight, glide and land on unsuspecting foes. There was never a shortage of missions to finish and Riddler trophies to find in this game. Batman’s most familiar (and not-so-familiar) allies/foes all made some type of appearance in this perfect sequel. We lost ourselves in the deep plot, extra DLC scenarios/character stages and overall scenery of Arkham City. And the final Clayface encounter more than made up for the last game’s lame Joker battle. Batman: Arkham City currently stands as the best Batman or DC Comics video game ever made.
Hope you enjooyed DC Comics’ 12 Most Heroic Video Games list, let us know what’s on your list – NOW BRING ON THAT ARKHAM ORIGINS!