The 5 best comic-based video games

Jake Hughes
May 01, 2018 - 11:44 am

Dreamstime

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So, this past weekend, I went to see Avengers: Infinity War. Spoiler alert: it was friggin’ awesome. As I went back home to come down off my cinematic high, I talked to my friend Graham about it. He had not seen it, so I told him I would not spoil it. He said, “Don’t bother. I know what happens.” He then proceeded to tell me just about everything that happened in the movie. How did he know? Simple: he read the comics.

I’ve never been a comic book guy. Not that I don’t like them, but I’m just so much of an ADHD kid that it’s hard to focus on them for too long. But I am a gamer, obviously, and I’ve played my fair share of comic tie-in games. Some have been good, some… not so much. But with the release of what is undoubtedly the most highly anticipated comic movie ever, I figured I’d go back and find some of the better comic games. These are in no particular order, and I am not judging them based on how closely they follow the comics, but simply on how good they are as a game.

1. Spider-Man (2000, PS1)

The Wall-Crawler certainly has his place in Americana, but his games haven't always been the best. See his horrible showings on both the Game Boy and the Atari 2600. Then came Spider-Man, and it was awesome! You had (basically) free roam of New York’s sky line, thought you couldn’t go on the ground because hey, this is an early PS1 game. The combat was smooth and responsive, the moves varied, the levels unique from each other, and the story was great for what it did. It brought together some of the Web Head’s most iconic characters, from Venom to Black Cat, had great one-off cameos and the ending battle against the Carnage/Doctor Octopus hybrid was nail-biting.

2. Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013, Multi-platform)

This is something that people had been asking for for a long time: a superhero fighting game. Set in an alternate universe where Superman is a tyrant, you engage in battles against a cornucopia of DC’s heroes and villains in a combat system that is tight and responsive. It controls much like a Mortal Kombat game, which makes sense, since it was directed by legendary MK guru Ed Boon. The story is really engaging, and it goes to outrageous means to get the heroes to fight each other, but it weaves a tale effectively. You can even go on YouTube and find cinematic cuts of the game, and it works out to a damn good DC movie. Certainly better than Batman v Superman.

3. The Walking Dead Telltale Series (2012-2018, Multi-platform)

The Walking Dead TV show has been a cultural mainstay for the past few years, but the comics have been a massive success in their own right. This game is based on the comics, not the show, so no Rick and “CORRAL!” Note that this is a Telltale game, so it’s not your typical zombie game. It’s more a point-and-click adventure with a focus on story telling. You get to know convicted criminal Lee Everett and Clementine on a very personal level, and it leads to some gut-wrenching decisions you have to make. A very slowly paced game, but highly enjoyable.

4. Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 (2011, PS3/Xbox 360)

Some would say I’m cheating here, as this is only half about comic books. Some would say I’m reaching. Well, some can go take a long walk off a short pier, because this game is awesome. Pitting your favorite Marvel characters against your favorite Capcom characters, the game featured a fluid, intuitive combat system that let you change characters on the fly, resulting in some choice mayhem. i mean come on, where else are you going to be able to see Deadpool fighting Chris Redfield?!

5. Batman: Arkham City (2011, multi-platform)

While this game is a sequel to the wildly popular Batman: Arkham Asylum, this one did what a sequel is supposed to do: build on, and improve, on the original in every way. The story follows the Dark Knight being trapped in the new Arkham City project, a sprawling metropolis of crime and baddies to punch. The rhythm-based combat system was innovative and original. Of course, by now it’s been copied by just about everyone. You could blow through the story mode, or spend hours on side content.