10. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Let’s kick off the list with one of the most iconic and badass member of the X-Men; Wolverine! Sure, it’s a game that ties in with a superhero movie that certainly had its share of flaws, but this game is more action-packed, brutal, and entertaining than its cinematic counterpart, and does a better job at capturing the essence of its main character than the movie ever did. Going feral with Wolverine, and unleashing crazy gory combos is a blast!
9. The Punisher
Not everyone will remember this game as it didn’t score all that well with critics, but did strike a chord with Punisher fans. It loosely ties in with the 2004 Punisher movie, but in my opinion makes better use of the character’s license. The gameplay is kind of like a mix between Max Payne and Manhunt, with a few stealth sections thrown in for good measure. I just loved clearing a room of bad guys and then beating the last one standing to a pulp, while interrogating him, only to finish him off by throwing him in a wood-chipper or dunk his face into a fish tank full of piranhas after I got the information I was after. Sadistically satifying.
8. The Darkness games
I never really was into The Darkness comics, and was only vaguely familiar with the character prior to playing the first game. That didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying the Darkness games. I put both games on the list because I’m not sure which one I like better. What I do know is that killing enemies with both conventional guns, and with the crazy darkness powers is a lot of fun. Oh, and the darkness is voiced by my favorite artist; Mike Patton – which probably factors into me liking these titles so much.
7. Batman: The Video Game (NES)
Batman is undoubtedly one of the most popular superheroes around. He never goes out of style, thriving across a plethora of mediums. This awesome side-scrolling action game had tight gameplay, good level design, and an awesome soundtrack, all while it managed to captured the atmosphere of Tim Burton’s Batman. A classic NES game, and simply awesome Batman game!
6. Comix Zone
This little gem on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis isn’t an adaptation like most of the other games on this list. Comix Zone is an arcade-style action game that is actually set within the panels of a comic book. Our hero, Sketch Turner, gets sucked into his latest comic book, and has to fight panel to panel against his own creations. Check this one out (it’s available on PSN and XBLA) if you want to experience a stylized and unique comic book game.
5. X-Men Arcade
They don’t make them like this any more. X-Men Arcade was THE game to play, with up to 6 of your friends, at your local arcade, you know, back when arcades were still around. It’s definitively one of my favorite beat ’em ups ever, earning it the number 5 spot on my list. Each player chooses one of six X-Men to control in the fight against Magneto, and you fight side by side against his evil minions and several other supervillains. This classic is also available on XBLA and PSN, as well as iOS and android devices, but it’s one of those games that you really have to play on a good ol’ cabinet to fully appreciate. Man I miss the arcade culture…
4. Marvel vs Capcom 2
Okay, so this is technically not a superhero or comic game per se, but it features more superheroes and villains (28 Marvel characters!) than you’ll find in any other game, so sit on it! It’s a fighting game that does a better job at capturing the atmosphere and essence of the licensed characters than most other actual superhero/comic games around, and that’s saying something. Add the fact that you can team up with, and fight against, some of gaming’s most iconic characters in outrageous and chaotic battles, and you’ve got one hell of a game!
3. InFamous 2
The InFamous series brought us an original hero with unique powers, which players could further shape to their own taste with a good/evil karma system (albeit fairly shallow), and an arsenal of upgradeable skills and attacks. The sequel improved on all the good stuff from the original. Cole, the electric man, was a blast to play around with - zooming around the open world of New Marais, grinding train tracks and electric wires, and blasting the anti-mutant militia fools was an absolute joy. InFamous 2 had its share of shortcomings, but few games can match its electrifying superhero gameplay.
2. Spider-Man 2
Many will agree that Spider-Man 2 is the web-slinger’s finest game to date, as well as being one of the best movie tie-ins made. This was the first Spidey game to really nail the web swinging & slinging properly. There’s a certain weight to swinging around the impressively reconstructed New York City that makes it feel just awesome to soar above the city streets. I’m a big fan of the Spider-Man comics, having a sizeable collection as a kid, and I fondly remember spending hours upon hours, just crawling up skyscrapers, fighting the randomly generated crime, and generally being Spider-Man. This is what it’s all about, games that let us feel like we truly are our favorite super heroes.
1. Batman: Arkham Asylum/City
Who didn’t see this one coming? Arkham Asylum and Arkham City are not only two of the best superhero games ever made, but they’re also two of the finest action-adventure games of this generation (maybe even of all-time!). I really couldn’t make up my mind about which one I prefer, as I think they belong together and, they’re both freakin’ awesome. The free flow combat system, all the bat-gadgets, the exploration, and just about every aspect of the gameplay is spot on. You really step into the dark knight’s shoes, and there’s no mistaking it for anything other than pure Batman goodness. The excellent writing serves up a dark and atmospheric game world that, at the same time, is filled with plenty of humor and lighter touches. What really sells it is the voice acting from Kevin Conroy as Batman, and Mark Hamill’s absolutely brilliant Joker. I kid you not, Hamill blows both Nicholson’s and Ledger’s renditions of the Joker out of the water. I AM BATMAN!