Considering how superheroes seem to be tailor-made for videogames it is surprising that there are so few good ones. The Batman: Arkham Asylum series redefined what exactly what a perfect superhero tie-in should be but there haven’t been many others to follow suit.
There have been so many terrible and inexcusably lazy superhero games that were movie tie-ins like Catwoman, Spider-Man 3, Spawn, and Watchmen: The End is Nigh. Or failed experiments like Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, X-Men: Destiny, and the worst of them all Superman 64. It is little wonder why so many gamers have very little faith in any new superhero videogame adaptations even after the occasional hit.
Fighting fans have had the AAA Injustice and Marvel Vs. Capcom series to play with but there haven’t been many big-budget games based on their favorite comic book icons. However, not all great games need a AAA budget to be great and many games have been overlooked due to a lack of marketing or bad timing with release schedules. Furthermore, games that have been forgotten as a result definitely deserve another look.
10 Batman: Brave And The Bold
Batman: Brave and the Bold was released on the Nintendo Wii in 2010 and was based on the cartoon series of the same name. The Brave and the Bold is much more humorous take on the Batman character and is more in the line with the 1960s TV show starring Adam West.
The game is a side-scrolling beat-em-up that can be played co-operatively in a similar manner to Double Dragon. With couch co-op games becoming a rarity with every generation Batman: Brave and the Bold is the perfect game to play with the family.
9 The Wonderful 101
Developed by the PlatinumGames the team responsible for Astral Chain and NieR: Automata, The Wonderful 101 on the Nintendo WiiU is a forgotten gem that definitely deserves another chance on the Switch. It's an isometric action game where the player takes control of a horde of superheroes fighting against an alien invasion.
The horde of heroes can merge together using a power called the Unite Morph which can be used to solve puzzles and perform special moves against larger enemies. The Wonderful 101 boasts an excellent cel-shaded art style giving the game a Saturday afternoon cartoon feeling and the lengthy campaign is challenging but fun.
8 X-Men Origins: Wolverine
X-Men Origins: Wolverine was movie tie-in that unlike most were actually better than its source material. It was a hack-and-slash God of War clone which was a perfect fit for the character and its violence was more in line with the comic book version as opposed to the watered-down movie.
Just like God of War, Wolverine uses light and heavy attacks combined with grab moves. Additionally, Wolverine can build up his Rage Meter allowing to use faster more devastating attacks and a Berserker mode. Fans of the character will also be pleased to know that the classic yellow costume can be unlocked in-game allowing them to live out their Wolverine power fantasy to its fullest.
7 Justice League Heroes
Justice League Heroes was released on the PSP, PS2, and Xbox in 2006. It’s an isometric action-RPG that plays similarly to the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance series. The game was developed by Snowblind Studios the same team responsible for Baldur’s Gate hack-and-slash spin-off Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance and after merging with Monolith Productions the Shadow of Mordor series.
Just like the Ultimate Alliance games, Justice League Heroes has a large selection of characters to choose from like Superman, Batman, The Flash, Aquaman, Green Arrow, and many more. In addition, the game features iconic super villains like Brainiac, Darkseid, Doomsday, and Gorilla Grodd to name a few.
6 X-Men Legends Series
Before Marvel Ultimate Alliance there was the X-Men Legends and X-Men Legends: Rise of Apocalypse. They were action role-playing games developed by Raven Software who were also responsible for X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The series was eventually succeeded by the Ultimate Alliance games but many fans consider X-Men Legends to be the superior series.
Just like its successor X-Men Legends plays like a superhero version of Diablo and players can customize their favorite heroes stats to their liking. In addition, the game has lots of heroes from the X-Men universe to choose from and the local co-op is still amongst the best in gaming.
5 Freedom Force
Freedom Force tactical RPG released in 2002 and was developed by Irrational Games the same team behind System Shock 2 and the mainline BioShock series. The strategic gameplay took place in real-time using a point and click system where the player can pause the gameplay at any time to issue commands.
The game takes inspiration from and parodies the Silver Age Justice League comic books by Jack Kirby. Despite being original superhero characters they still feel somehow familiar and fleshed out. In addition, gamers can also create superheroes of their own or better still, recreate their own versions of their favorite Marvel and DC characters.
4 Captain America: Super Soldier
Captain America: Super Soldier was released in 2011 as a tie-in for the Marvel film Captain America: The First Avenger. Its gameplay mechanics have inspired by the Batman: Arkham Asylum games which it replicated to great effect.
The semi-open world would have benefitted from a smaller environment and the over-reliance on collectibles definitely hurt the immersion as it didn't feel anywhere near as fleshed out as Arkham. However, controlling the man himself is incredibly satisfying and the Arkham-like combat is easy to pick and among the best in the superhero genre.
3 Spider-Man: Web of Shadows
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows was a game that seemed to be appreciated by gaming and superhero fans after its release. It’s possible that fans were still reeling from the disastrous Spider-Man 3 video game adaptation which was released less than a year prior.
Up until the recent Spider-Man on the PlayStation 4, Web of Shadows featured the best web-slinging featured in a videogame. Additionally, the game effectively used branching story choices and featured other superhero favorites like Luke Cage, Moon Knight, and Wolverine. Furthermore, players could switch between the stronger Symbiote Spider-Man suit and the faster red and blue version.
2 The Punisher
The Punisher was released in 2004 and was developed by the same team behind the Saints Row and Red Faction series. It was loosely tied into the 2004 film starring Thomas Jane and the comic books by Garth Ennis who later wrote The Boys – Jane reprised the role for the videogame too.
Just like X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Punisher was another rare tie-in game that managed to better than the film it was based and far more violent. The game played a lot like original Max Payne but without the bullet time and the addition of the controversial “interrogation techniques” and executions.
1 Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
Released on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube in 2005 Hulk: Ultimate Destruction remains one of the most overlooked best Superhero games ever created. It was the first game to make the Hulk feel as agile and as powerful as he looks in The Avengers films and the comics. Also, living up the Ultimate Destruction name, he can level buildings, grab helicopters from the sky, run up tall buildings with ease and much more.
In addition, the game featured a great story mode, tons of unlockable moves, and great boss fights against the likes of The Abomination, Devil Hulk, and Mercy. Developers Radical Entertainment eventually went on to make the Prototype series which retained many of the same destructive gameplay mechanics in their own take on the superhero genre.