When it comes to gamers there is definitely a strong correlation between the love of playing anything and the love of comics, particularly Superheroes and anti-heroes. Here we’re going to look at some interesting and downright weird facts about those heroes from the Marvel world who appear in their own game series’.
Of course this isn’t a comprehensive list by any means but these are my personal favourite characters and/or teams. There are also many games for adults and children alike which aren’t electronic or pricey from board and card games to free online games like online slots and simple browser-based flash games. So without further ado let’s begin!
Like many of the Marvel characters, one of Fantastic Four’s earliest, if not first video game appearance, is in QuestProbe #3 The Fantastic Four. This game was created by Atari and is an 8-bit game. One of the more enjoyable and basic games, is Zen Studios’ Pinball FX 2; a virtual pinball game starring our favourite four. The human-torch, arguably the most memorable of the 4, appears in a mini-game in all versions of Ultimate Spider-Man apart from the Game Boy Advance, in this mini-game the player races the Torch.
The Hulk is one of the lesser represented characters in the Marvel universe when it comes to video games. Adventure International’s 1984 Questprobe was the first Hulk video game; it was released on the PC, ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64. The game Hulk was a bit of a variant to the other Hulk games, this edition was based on the 2003 film rather than the comics. John Cena voices the teenage version of Hulk in Marvel Avengers Academy. In the 2008 The Incredible Hulk game, players could play as the Hulks lesser-known alternative; Red Hulk but only if they purchased the game from GameStop.
Now when we talk about the video game appearances for Marvel characters we have to discuss the spider-like gentleman we all know and love. The first spider-man video game was also seemingly the first marvel superhero-based game, Spider-man 2600 was as the name suggested designed and built for the Atari 2600 platform. The character wandered up a seemingly repetitive and simple wall each level, tackling villains and problems as they went along, warning imagination required. The greatest Spider-Man game is often regarded as the 2000 release ‘Spider-Man’ and the “What if…?” mode was nothing to sniff at; it changed the levels adding bizarre situations and deviations from the storyline. It allowed the player to go on a Spider-Man adventure through New York City, with Stan Lee providing an awesome voice over, fighting Scorpion, Rhino and Venom amongst many others. In this game, the creators Neversoft also worked on Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 and injected a lot of Easter Eggs in both games. In Spider-Man, THPS2 is advertised on a billboard and on a television in J. Jonah Jameson’s office. When you reached 100% completion with a created character in Tony Hawk, Spider-Man was unlocked as an option.
Now when it comes to the X-men games, there are some really good and some bad ones. X-Men Arcade released in 1992 is known as one of the best. The wonderful lot over at Konami succeeded once again with this up-to-6 player X-Men simple fighting concept. The 1996 X-Men vs. Street Fighter is really known as one of the best X-men based games ever created, but there was a catch. The PS1 version was diabolical compared to the Saturn and arcade version, due to the games poor memory capabilities the tag-team (and often known as the most-fun) part of the game had to be omitted. I consider myself quite the Marvel fan and even I never heard of Tusk, the main boss in X-men 2: Clone Wars. Tusk is a character who creates little miniature versions of himself to do his dirty work.
The first punisher game seems to have been the 1990 NES edition, a third-person game where the character fights his way through the city before confronting Kingpin. In 1991 this unknown gem was ported to Game Boy and strangely during this move the boss changed to Jigsaw. Although technically not The Punisher games per say, a Robin Atkin Downes-voiced Punisher is an unlockable character in the Lego Marvel Super Heroes game. In 1990 MicroProse released a DOS edition of Punisher, it has 3 different modes; one in which the player drives the ‘Battle Van’, Scuba Diving and a plainer New York City-based walk around.
As I said this isn’t by any means a comprehensive list of those wonderful games and hero combinations but these are my favourites. But I’m sure soon enough there will be another superhero movie saga hitting the big screen and a new marvellous game will be released albeit gambit or captain America and his avengers.