SIMPLY MARVELOUS! EXCELLENT! MAGNIFICENT!
Marvel Comics can be described in those aforementioned words and more. The comic book company that gave way to such iconic heroes such as Captain America, The Fantastic Four, Wolverine, Spider-Man etc. is still going strong in this current age of media. Not only does Marvel arguably rule the world of comics, they have a stronghold over the world of films and TV. If you don’t know what S.H.I.E.L.D. stands for or if you STILL haven’t watched The Avengers, then you’re just choosing to avoid Marvel’s awesomeness. For shame…
Marvel Comics has a wide array of amazing characters and story lines that are ready made for other entertainment interpretations. We have to thank Stan Lee and his Marvel crew for allowing their franchises to be playable in video game form. The top 25 games we’re about to speak on are the finest examples of Marvel’s video game prowess.
These games are the definition of “heroic,” folks.
25. Marvel: Avengers Alliance
Anyone who’s taken the time to invest in a Facebook video game can tell you – those games can head into addiction territory. Case in point – this social RPG starring the best of Marvel’s long collection of heroes and villains. As a S.H.I.E.L.D. member, you’re tasked with amassing a super team and keep NYC from harm. This is nothing but a great excuse to put Iron Man, Beast, and the Human Torch all on the same team. As far as social RPG games go, this one is at the top of its class.
24. Marvel: War of Heroes
Mobile games that are primarily focused around the use of cards tend to be pretty cool. This Marvel card battler is one of the more quality ones floating around on iOS and Android devices. The usual aspects of card battling games are here – building up stronger decks, fusing and evolving your best cards to create better ones, collecting extra rare cards, etc. The battle aspects are fine, but getting a super rare Deadpool card in your collection sums up how great it is to nab something no one else has.
23. Spider-Man: The Video Game (1991 Arcade Game)
Arcade beat ‘em ups came a dime a dozen back in the 90s gaming era. Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man even jumped into the craze with his own side-scrolling brawler. Spidey could zip around with his webbing and bash in baddies’ heads alongside Black Cat, Hawkeye, and Sub-Mariner (what’s he doing out of the water?). Tons of fun was had as players smashed their way past masked grunts and faced off with main villains like Dr. Doom and the Green Goblin. Plus, the platforming sections offered a nice change-up from the continuous brawling, too.
22. Captain America and The Avengers
Ready for another quality Marvel beat ‘em up game? We present to you this heroic team up consisting of Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye (AGAIN? Yep!) and the Vision. The characters on screen were a bit smaller in comparison to the Spider-Man arcade game, but the action was just as strong. The coolest part of this game occurred when someone picked up a power-up that brought on characters like Wasp and Wonder Man into the fray. Data East made some quality games back in its day; Captain America and The Avengers is definitely one of them.
21. The Punisher (1993 Arcade Game)
Capcom was known to rule the arcades. They were also well regarded for putting out licensed games that were actually worth playing. Both of these respectable attributes came together for The Punisher’s 1993 arcade beat ‘em up experience. If you’ve ever played Final Fight or Cadillacs & Dinosaurs, then you knew what to expect from this game here. Good ol’ Punisher and Nick Fury walked around smashing goons and picking up some firearms for added carnage. The comic book sound effects, wild gunplay and fast and fluid action makes this Punisher game a quality one .
20. X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse
Capcom is back at it again! This X-Men themed brawler featured the best of the best – Beast, Cyclops, Gambit, Psylocke, and Wolverine vs. Magneto, Juggernaut, Omega Red and more. As far as side-scrolling action games go, this SNES title was pretty damn good. Each character took on a specific mission, Mega Man style. The soundtrack was full of some sweet tunes, which backed up the beat ‘em up gameplay perfectly. Cyclops had his optic blast, Wolverine had his claws in tow, Gambit had his kinetic cards, etc., which came in handy for those long treks through the villains and thier henchman.
19. X-Men 2: Clone Wars
Now let’s head to the Sega Genesis. This action platformer takes on the alien Phalanx with a loyal crew of X-Men icons – Wolverine, Psylocke, Nightcrawler, Cyclops, Gambit, and Beast. This time, you’re forced into a temporary truce with Magneto. The coolest part about this game was just how differently each character felt. Beast was relatively slow, but he could cling onto ceilings with ease. Playing as Magneto meant you were able to launch projectile attacks and hover in mid-air. The soundtrack was just as good as Mutant Apocalypse, and each stage was ripe with cool nods to the comics.
18. Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage
If you were lucky enough to get the red cartridge for this beat ‘em up, your childhood was awesome. For such a lighthearted character as Spider-Man, this game depicted his world and his struggle in a darker light. He and Venom had to deliver the beatdown on skateboard punks and numerous Spidey villains. Making your way through each level provided players plenty of opportunities to enlist the help of other Marvel heroes. There aren’t many good games that star Morbius and Deathlok, but this brawler has ‘em. The darker tone and appearance of Carnage marked this game as a part of Marvel’s great gaming history.
17. X-Men: Children of the Atom
Marvel’s most famous mutants did battle in this well-regarded 2D Capcom fighter. The fluidity and Japanese anime art direction of Capcom’s Street Fighter Alpha series provided the backbone for this title. The cast was plentiful, since it was packed with well-known X members and a good amount of the good guys’ adversaries. Playing as Sentinel, Silver Samurai, and Spiral for the first time in a major fighting game provided this fighter with its cool factor. Going to town on your friends with the super huge Colossus and Street Fighter’s Akuma (yep, he’s in the game) provided us with countless memories.
16. Marvel Super Heroes
As far as 2D fighting games go, Capcom ruled the roost back in the 90′s. Once Marvel partnered up with the Japanese gaming company, sudden cases of magic became more prevalent. This war for the Infinity Gems fighter kicked all types of ass back in 1995. The awesome cast featured a satisfying mix of heroes and villains (Classics like Spider-Man and The Hulk, but you also get to wreak havoc as Shuma-Gorath and Blackheart). The gems broke the game a little bit (well, a LOT actually), but no one was really worried about that when it came out. Fighting it out with all those nicely detailed Marvel characters made up for the chaotic, yet insanely fun, gameplay.
15. Marvel Pinball
Zen Studios is pretty masterful at crafting console-worth pinball games. After they put out the magnificent Pinball FX 2 and Zen Pinball 2, Zen attached some familiar characters to some new DLC pinball tables. Those new tables featured a host of awesome Marvel heroes and isolated story arcs. Some of the best tables on display included Wolverine, Iron Man, Ghost Rider, World War Hulk, The Avengers etc. Each table came with recognizable characters, cool bonus missions, voice acting and plenty of easter eggs. We kinda wish these tables were playable at our local bar…
14. Spider-Man (2000 Console Game)
Before this title landed on consoles, Spider-Man’s video game track record was marked with so-so releases here and there. Sure, the arcade game he starred in was a joy to plow through, but this 2000 action/adventure game starring Peter Parker’s heroic identity changed up the format. Activision surprisingly used the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater engine to power this game. It worked out pretty well, as the web slinging and city sight-seeing you could do in the game was well done. Spider-Man had a cool list of moves that tested his acrobatic prowess, so beating up goons was always fun.
13. The Punisher (2005 Console Game)
Yeah, so the Punisher film that starred John Travolta as a slick crime boss wasn’t the greatest thing ever, but it still had its moments (Russian Kevin Nash fight scene, FTW!). The game that had some ties to the film was also a bit endearing. The gore factor was through the roof, since you could interrogate and torture your enemies. Those “hot spots” you came up on led to some of the most gruesome instances of “coercing” someone into spilling their guts. Running around and blasting the worst of the worst as Frank Castle in this third-person shooter was a good ol’ time.
12. X-Men vs. Street Fighter
So some mutants and a few street combatants walk into a bar, right? Actually, that’s totally not how this Capcom beef started. After X-Men: Children of the Atom did so well, it was only right for Capcom to pit its popular martial artists against Marvel’s X-Men. This beautiful 2D fighter features some sweet sprites, flashy screen filling super moves and a whole host of cool double-team moves. Back in the day, gamers lost their collective minds when they found out they could put Cyclops and Ryu on the same team. Plus the final encounter against Apocalypse was an epic boss fight (DAMN THAT DRILL!). This fighter still kicks ass to this day.
11. Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter
So Capcom noticed how well their crossover fighters were doing and decided to pit a nice mix of Marvel characters against Street Fighter. This update combined all the best aspects of X-Men vs. Street Fighter and Marvel Super Heroes. The combined product featured some new color schemes for the stages and characters, plus a few extra fighters joined the war. Sakura, Dan and a few other street fighters could now face off with baddies like Omega Red and heroes like The Hulk. What do we remember the most about this game, though? Two words: Cyber Akuma.
10. X-Men Legends 2: Age of Apocalypse
Top-down action RPG’s are always a fun mix of fast paced action, addictive looting and co-op based gameplay. X-Men: Legends was a fine mix of that genre and some familiar faces that gamers could invest in. The sequel, Age of Apocalypse, was a vastly improved successor to the first game. Four characters were selectable for an explosive crawl through several enemy infested environments. Characters could combine their moves, their stats could be upgraded for further missions, and the Skirmish Mode added some additional fun. The varied roster (Bishop, Sunfire, Toad, Cannonball, Dark Phoenix, etc.) endeared this game to hardcore X-Men fans.
9. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
Beenox Studios has breathed some new life into the video game universe surrounding Spider-Man. Their greatest accomplishment has to be this multiverse action/adventure game that lets you play as four different versions of the hero. The more action oriented gameplay revolved around The Amazing and Ultimate renditions, while the 2099 version focused on acrobatic traversal and the Noir version was heavy on the stealth. It felt like each Spider-Man could go off onto a game of his own, but we’re glad all four of them were packed into one release. Don’t pass on this underrated gem. Four different play styles + lots of appearances from familiar Spidey cohorts/villains = a good, nerdy time.
8. Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes
“LET’S GO CRAZY!” Whoever voiced that sweet voiceover knew how hype this fighter was. At long last, Capcom mashed together a nice selection of Marvel and Capcom mainstays for a super crossover face off. This game marked the first time we to got run with Mega Man, War Machine, Strider, Captain Commando, Venom, and more in a full-fledged fighting game. Madness ensued when four fighters clashed on the screen, plus the wide assist character roster included some welcome faces. The fighting game community latched onto this awesome Vs. game in no time.
7. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2
The action RPG structure that was latched onto a few X-Men games made for a good match with the entire Marvel universe. One of the main hooks for this game was its “Fusion” system. Several of the selectable heroes in the game could team up for some screen clearing super moves. For example, Captain America kept his shield at the ready while Storm would deflect her lighting bolts off of it into helpless enemies. So…cool. Everything else about this top-down brawler, from its varied roster to its ties to the “Secret War” and “Civil War” storylines, made it easy to get sucked up into.
6. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
So this question begs to be asked – WHEN’S MAHVEL? Anyone’s who really in tune with the fighting game community should know what that question is tied to – the Ultimate version of the third edition of Marvel/Capcom’s crossover event. The roster for this game was awesome. Marvel finally gave the spotlight treatment to some lesser known and underrated characters – Iron Fist, Rocket Raccoon, Nova, and M.O.D.O.K. are just a few of the faces who got to shine. Capcom’s side had a great array of selectable characters, too. It’s hard not to get hyped when you’re watching this game being played by some EVO-level players. This is the ultimate 2D fighting game!
5. X-Men (1992 Arcade Game)
Ah, the classics…sorry, we’re just deep in reminisce mode. This 1992 beat ‘em up is an arcade classic that’s still a treat to this day. Konami had a knack for putting out awesome video games that were tied to some popular kids property (TMNT, The Simpsons etc.), so this X-Men game was bound to be good. Turns out this side-scrolling brawler was better than good. Getting all six available X members on the screen created moments of explosive combat. Slaying Sentinels and unleashing super moves on bosses such as Pyro were packed with “OH SNAP!” moments. Download this classic and relive the arcade’s glory days.
4. The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
This game still stands as the single crowning achievement in the video game history of The Incredible Hulk. No other game captured the immense power and incredible leaping ability of the angry green guy more than this underrated gem. Those cheaply made movie games couldn’t compare to the awesomeness of this open world smash ‘em up. You could use the Hulk and destroy everything in his path, create punching gloves out of cars and catapult enemies into the air. The Devastator attacks really displayed Hulk’s amazing power the most (CRITICAL THUNDERCLAP!). We always refer to this 2005 action/adventure title as “Grand Theft Auto: Hulk.”
3. Spider-Man 2 (2004 Console Game)
Now this open world game really did wonders for Spider-Man and his home base of New York City. It may have been based on the film of the same name, but it didn’t stoop to the epic lows of other movie-tie in releases. Spider-Man was free to web swing his way around a massive 3D interpretation of The Big Apple. Along with the main storyline that had you face off with Dr. Octopus, there were several side missions split among different regions of the city (Ellis Island, for instance). This game is also famous for its end game warehouse, which was filled with unimportant baddies and important Spidey villains such as Calypso. This still stands as the best of the best for Spider-Man games.
2. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Good lord, that movie sucked the life out of every comic book and Wolverine fan. Thankfully, the video game tie-in was miles better than its big screen sibling. This is the ultimate Wolverine experience. Wolverine’s regenerating health was actually on full display because as he took damage, his skin started to decay and heal itself as time passed. The brutal nature of Weapon X led to scenes of claw slashing gore and executions via helicopter blades. Leaping onto enemies from afar, clawing at the backsides of experimental beasts and tearing bosses to shreds is the name of the game here.
1. Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes
Ladies and gentleman, this legendary 2D fighter still stands as the greatest Marvel Comics connected video game ever released. Once Capcom overhauled the roster for the sequel to Marvel vs. Capcom, we were left with with a massive fighting game that was packed with 56 characters. Marvel’s side was filled with X-Men, assorted heroes and villains such as Captain America and Doctor Doom and lesser known characters such as Marrow. This fighter never gets old, folks. The three-person team setup made for some insanely fun matchup’s and hype fighting game tournament moments. Marvel’s war with Capcom gave us one of the best fighting games anyone could ever ask for.