Licensed tie-in video games are always the rage, regardless of what gaming era we are in. Some of them are magnificent (Batman Arkham Asylum) and some are the worst video games ever created (X-Men on the NES). When it comes to the Marvel Comics license, there have been more than a fair number of blockbuster releases throughout the years, though the poor releases are inked into our memories first and foremost, and that shouldn’t be.
So lets take a moment, before the release of Capcom’s latest vs installment, Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, to celebrate the thirteen greatest Marvel licensed video game tie-ins. These games span as far back as the 16 bit era, and as recent as the previous generation of consoles. Will your favorites make the cut?
Honorable Mention: Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (XB, PS2, GCN)
While the opening portion of the game was a snorefest for me, diving past that and Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is just that, ultimate destruction. My time with Ultimate Destruction was brief, but it felt gratifying and fitting to do everything you were able to do as Hulk in this city. Definitely worth a look, or a return to if it’s been a while.
13. The Punisher (XB, PS2)
An ultra violent third person shooter was just the genre to properly bring The Punisher into a memorable gaming outing. The brutal torture components that were added in further drove home the tone of the comics. It might not have been the most sophisticated game in the genre, as it was a typical third person shooter otherwise, but it was developed overall in a way that gave the franchise the perfect platform to finally be showcased on.
12. Spider-Man & Venom: Maximum Carnage (SNES, GEN)
One of the only LJN published titles without severe deficiencies to it, Maximum Carnage was a beat em up that bruised players with its high difficulty level. It had its rough spots, but was definitely one of the upper echelon Marvel video games released. The soundtrack, primarily from the Super Nintendo, still kicks hard to this day.
11. X-Men Mutant Apocalypse (SNES)
This 2D plane beat em up on the Super Nintendo incorporated Street Fighter-esque commands to perform special attacks. Although not as brutally difficulty as Maximum Carnage, Mutant Apocalypse still has the potential to send a controller or two flying across the room, though the core gameplay was more than satisfying.
10. Spider-Man (PSX, DC)
While Neversoft were pretending they were a Superman with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, they also worked on a comic book licensed title that wasn’t from DC Comics. Spider-Man was a 3D platformer that made good use of every one of Spidey’s super powers. One of the often forgotten about superhero video games, if you want a challenging, satisfying game to play, though the camera issues feel more cumbersome a decade and a half later.
9. X-Men: Children of the Atom (ARC)
The granddaddy of Marvel based fighting games, X-Men: Children of the Atom was a 2D one on one fighting game that put notable members of the X-Men against notable members of their rogue gallery. While the gameplay was rough even for its time, there’s no denying the charm and hook Children of the Atom held. Strangely enough, it also featured Street Fighter‘s Akuma in his second appearance ever as a hidden fighter.
8. Marvel Ultimate Alliance (360/PS2/PS3)
Marvel Ultimate Alliance was an exciting action RPG that brought together a number of characters from the Marvel Universe in an up to four player (three can be CPU), action packed adventure. with a lightly used gear system and multi character power move. Though its sequel was hit and miss, the first Ultimate Alliance performed exceedingly well across all avenues.
7. Marvel Superheroes (ARC)
Capcom’s second Marvel based fighting game, Marvel Superheroes focus was around the then major crossover event in Marvel, the Infinity Gauntlet saga, and featured a number of combatants from the comic series, as well as a few thrown in from X-Men: Children of the Atom. Years later it still holds up surprisingly well, and serves as a precursor of sorts to the upcoming Marvel vs Capcom Infinite release. Refined combo system, intelligent gem based powers and a solid but small list of fighters, Marvel Superheroes is definitely a Marvel based game that has left and indelible mark on the genre and to Marvel games as a whole.
6. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (360, PS3)
Based loosely off the mostly mediocre film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine surprised many gamers as being a “movie tie-in” that not only performed well, but exceeded the film it was loosely based off of. Its tight controls, solid visuals and enjoyable gameplay more than clawed its way into the middle of this list.
5. X-Men Legends (GCN, XB, PS2)
A precursor to the Marvel Ultimate Alliance series, X-Men Legends felt and played far superior to the aforementioned. The loot based system wasn’t as fleshed out as say, Champions of Norrath or other games within the genre, but it fit X-Men Legends perfectly, and with some well built levels and a wide cast of characters to choose from, X-Men Legends remains one of the most enjoyable, if not one of the most underrated games in the action RPG genre.
4. Spider-Man 2 (XB, PS2)
Few open world superhero games manage to encapsulate the feel of not only the protagonist and their powers, but a city that felt legitimate and went hand in hand with the former. Spider-Man 2 does everything you would want with not only a superhero video game, but within an open world that contained it. Lets hope the PS4’s Spider-Man next year can finally give us a reason to shelve this amazing Spider-Man game once and for all.
3. Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 (360, PS3)
While many have slagged on a number of features, characters and balance issues, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 was still an exhilarating three on three fighting game. Sure, the balance issues are legitimate, sure X-Factor was not the most well conceived mechanic, but the cast of fighters were diverse and enjoyable. It introduced, or reintroduced players to characters that have become a staple in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, such as Dr. Strange and Rocket Raccoon. But above all else, it was the kind of “shut off your mind and have fun” gameplay that easily hooks players in.
2. X-Men Arcade (ARC)
As one of a billion beat em ups in the arcades during the late 80’s/early 90’s, X-Men came in a two player cabinet, as well as a beastly six player cabinet. Two or six player cabinet, the gameplay was solid, but with more players at once, the experience becomes chaotic, for all the right reasons. It holds up extremely well even to this day, with a half dozen mutants to choose from. One of the few arcade beat em ups that stand the test of time.
1. Marvel vs Capcom 2 (ARC, DC, XB, PS2)
No “best Marvel video game” list would be complete without the marvelous three on three fighter, Marvel vs Capcom 2. Some might say the balance issues were eve more apparent than UMVC3, with most competitive play featuring the same six fighters (out of a staggering 56) as well as the bottom tier fighters being as bottom of the rung as you can get, but the fast paced action was just that damn good. Whether you were playing Roll tier or God tier, each fight was enjoyable, thrilling and filled with good times and good memories. Few games in the genre, or even gaming as a whole, held such a replay value and fun factor as Marvel vs Capcom 2. Will Marvel vs Capcom Infinite be the next to do so?
Marvel vs Capcom Infinite will be coming out on September 19th, and Shopville Canada has you covered. If you’re interested in Capcom’s latest fighting game collaboration with Marvel Comics, you can click here to preorder the PlayStation 4 version, or you can click here to get a preorder on the Xbox One version. Those that sign up with a new account, we will email you a 10% off code for your first purchase!