There are no two greater symbols of geek culture than comic books and video games, and comic book games combine these two unique forms of entertainment into one enjoyable experience. Like many other media combinations, some are good and some are awful, but the good ones stick out by letting us play as our favorite heroes, anti-heroes, and outright villains in fantastical settings.
These comic book games are just a few of the best out there, taking the things we love about comics and injecting them with the interactivity superserum that makes games so great.
Roam the Empty Streets in Telltale’s The Walking Dead
While the TV series might be more popular than the comic, that doesn’t diminish the excellent adaptation that is Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead. The developer’s trademark moral choices, diverging plots, and gut-wrenching moments are a perfect match for Robert Kirkman’s grim zombie apocalypse comic, making this one of the greatest comic book games out there.
Batman: Arkham City Lets Players Be the Bat
Batman is a character ideally suited to the gaming world—he’s great at taking down the bad guys, he has a fabulous rogues gallery, and enough gadgets to keep anybody entertained. While Arkham Asylum and Arkham Knight are great games as well, there’s something extra special about patrolling the mean streets in Batman: Arkham City as the Dark Knight himself, an iconic villain waiting on every street corner.
Settle Your “Who Would Win in a Fight” Arguments in Injustice: Gods Among Us
Injustice: Gods Among Us is one of those rare games that prove fanservice isn’t a bad thing. While it may not have been the world’s best brawler, the game’s over-the-top story and overall ridiculousness were incredibly fun, letting players pit their favorite villains and heroes duke it out, including characters who don’t usually make it into comic book games.
Take on the League of Evil Exes in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
By any stretch of the imagination, a comic book turned movie turned game should have been terrible. But thanks to the input and involvement of Scott Pilgrim writer and artist Bryan Lee O’Malley and a killer soundtrack by Anamanaguchi , Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was a solid, side-scrolling beat-’em-up that turned the comic’s love of gaming nostalgia into a playable experience as the eponymous Scott fights his way through Ramona Flowers’ evil exes.
Swing Through the City in Spider-Man 2
Spider-Man has so captivated audiences that Hollywood just can’t seem to stop making movies about him, but as far as great games go, many of the Spider-Man games have been hobbled by wonky controls or bland stories. Spider-Man 2 is a rare exception, making the web-slinging fun of the comic playable as you wildly swing from building to building. With a digitized Manhattan ripe for exploring via streets or skies, Spider-Man 2 is easily one of the most enjoyable comic book games there is.
The Darkness Sends Players on an Intense Revenge Quest
Though The Darkness might not be as well known as comics published by the Big Two, it impressed many gamers with its fusion of supernatural horror and FPS mechanics. As Jackie Estacado, players have the powers of the Otherworld, a hellish realm that allows Jackie to control demons and other supernatural powers on his quest for revenge.
Get Nostalgic in X-Men: Arcade
The diversity of X-Men‘s heroes and antiheroes makes it a natural for game adaptations. While many great games have been released under the franchise, one of the most exciting was X-Men for arcades back in 1992. While it may not have the sticking power of some other games on this list (and the console re-release didn’t improve it), the ability to play with six players was unheard of at the time, and the beat-’em-up gameplay was solid and fun with six characters— Nightcrawler, Storm, Wolverine, Dazzler, Colossus, and Cyclops —to choose from.
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 Excels at Crossover Combat Fun
Pitting Marvel and Capcom‘s greatest characters against one another is always a great mix, but no game did it better than Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes. The game used the tag-team system, allowing players to have control over multiple characters, and even upped their game to include three-on-three gameplay. Featuring characters from a variety of franchises, from the tried and true classics like The Incredibly Hulk and M. Bison to lesser known ones like Marrow and Jin Saotome, this fighting game ranks high among comic book games.
What are your favorite comic book games?