The 21st century has seen dozens of superhero films reach the cinema. Yet, even with the massive exposure of these comic heroes, gaming adaptations have met with mixed reception. Occasionally there’s a very good superhero game, and sometimes an entire series gold, such as the Batman console series culminating in Arkham Knight. But too often the most popular and entertaining heroes find themselves in lackluster video games.
However, it’s worth considering that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of superhero video games out there. Sometimes, the very best ones stay hidden, so here’s a look at several of the best superhero games you may not know about!
LEGO Batman: The Videogame
You probably know about this game, but if you’re of a certain age, you likely overlooked it. The truth is, all of the LEGO action video games are pretty fun, and LEGO Batman (as well as its two sequels) may be the best of the bunch. It’s exactly what it sounds like: you take on the role of an animated LEGO Batman (or a popular villain), and the action is both engaging and hilarious.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
This hack-and-slash adventure came out in 2009 in accompaniment with the film of the same name, and because the film was horrendous, the game was overlooked by many. But somehow, it was a gem. Gamerant named it one of the 10 best superhero video games of all time, discussing how satisfying it was to explore Wolverine’s dark side in a game decidedly more brutal than its cinematic counterpart. We agree with every word. It was removed from stores due to an issue between Marvel and Activision, but it is playable on PS3, Xbox 360 and Windows if you can get your hands on a copy.
This is another superhero game that isn’t so much old or obscure as it was overlooked. With most popular hero games coinciding with film releases, Ultimate Spider-Man was something of an outlier. It came out in 2005 for Xbox, Nintendo, and Playstation consoles, just following the Spider-Man 2 film release. Yet instead of being a video game version of the film, Ultimate Spider-Man went its own route and took on a comic flavour. The result is one of the most unique superhero adventures around. It genuinely looks to be a comic strip animated for your playing pleasure.
Thor: The Mighty Avenger
This game is almost worth it for its cinematic introduction, which displays actual images of the characters from the film Thor and sets up the game as Thor’s adventure leaving Asgard to travel through the realms. The game itself is actually one of Betfair’s themed slot machines, and it does a remarkable job of translating superhero gaming themes to a casino format. Following the introduction, players are presented with a slot wheel in which ordinary icons are replaced with character images, and “Power” and “Super Power” can be unlocked in time. It’s a nice representation of superhero gaming in a new, ever-evolving genre.
Like X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Deadpool (an Activision game) was removed from storefronts in 2014 after being released for Windows and major consoles. But it remains one of the most unique superhero video games ever created, largely for its humour. Despite a mediocre review, IGN labelled it an “insane comic book adaptation,” and the phrase is accurate. You have to give the developers and writers credit for embracing the amusing side of Deadpool, even if the fighting and action in the game were somewhat uninventive (though never bad).