If you’re a comic book fan, then you have at one time or another experienced a unique feeling. When reading a particular panel, or piece of dialogue, or witnessing a plot twist you didn’t see coming, you undoubtedly have paused and thought to yourself, “I wish that happened in a videogame.” Well that my friends, is what brings us here today, because while some might form a list of comic books that would be most profitable as videogames, or have the largest fan followings, we’ve looked at something deeper. For our list of the top comics we’d love to see get their own games, we’ve looked at the graphic storytelling that we would most love to experience as gameplay.
If you’ve been keeping up with our countdown, then you know just how many different experiences we’d love to see. With Spider-Man’s deranged villain Carnage out of the way, we can move from symbiotes to outer space. And if you’ve been paying attention to the recent trade shows, you’ll notice that space gunslingers and futuristic soldiers are the current trend. With Halo: Reach being the most recent example, it’s amazing to think that for the first time in the series, we were able to experience both space combat and zero-gravity: two parts of nearly every space opera. So clearly there is plenty more than just shooting lasers and wiping out alien races in the genre of science fiction gaming. Our next entry takes the best of science fiction and finds out what happens when you combine it with good old fashioned suspense.
#4. Captain Comet & The Weird – Mystery in Space
We’re going to assume that DC’s Mystery in Space may be the first title on the list that will be unfamiliar to some of you, but believe us when we tell you that this comic book is flat out made for a video game. The story begins with the protagonist Captain Comet, a super-strong freelance telepath, dying. For the uninformed, Captain Comet a.k.a. Adam Blake has been around since the silver age of DC Comics, and as such is well into his 70s when a job goes south, resulting in his being burnt to a cinder. Using his telepathic abilities to reach out for some last sign of hope, he briefly makes contact with another celestial being before darkness closes in. The next thing he knows, he’s waking up at home in perfect health, 50 years younger. And so begins his quest to understand exactly what has happened; both to himself, and his former body.
The story takes place on a space satellite known as ‘Hardcore Station’, center of all legal and illegal business in the galaxy. Throughout the story, the station is fleshed out as its own character, similar to a fully-realized ‘Citadel’ or ‘Omega’ from the Mass Effect series. As Blake (now calling himself “Comet”) searches for the remains of his old body, he uncovers a link between his rebirth and the mysterious ‘Eternal Light Corporation’: the religious organization that seems to be pulling the strings of the entire station. Fighting off brainwashed telepathic followers and insect assassins who are out for the price on his head, Comet scours the slums and ghettos of the satellite for clues to just what the mysterious corporation is up to.
Accompanying him in his endeavors are his intelligent talking bulldog Tyrone, and an old friend on the Station’s police force, Chief Justice Max. Throw in a complicated romance with fellow telepathic mercenary Eye, and you’ve got yourself the cast of a triple-A space opera that’s distinctly comic book. A great character is made better by the team around him, and these guys manage to be both cool and original.
In addition to Comet, the story also follows a character known only as “The Weird”, the spiritual being that Comet reached out to and was pulled with him into the physical world. Occupying a deformed version of Adam Blake’s body and stripped of his memory, The Weird is welcomed into the Eternal Light Corporation, who seeks to brainwash him and turn him to their side. Since he is an extra-dimensional being, The Weird possesses the ability to phase through objects. This a gift that comes in handy while investigating the back room dealings of the ELC, and one that we would love to get hands-on with.
Eventually, the story escalates into a stand-off between Comet and his cronies, against the Eternal Light Corporation’s army of telepaths. The entire satellite is put on the line, along with the 2 million souls that call it home. This story is as cinematic as it is suspenseful, and requires Comet to make far more complicated moral decisions than any we saw in Bioware‘s space epic Mass Effect.
Why We Need a Mystery in Space Video Game:
Many of us here at Game Rant remember a time when space mysteries and science fiction RPGs were being released left and right. Sadly, that time has passed, and console gamers have instead been overwhelmed with space marines shooting a variety of different colored alien baddies. BioWare showed us that a space epic is not just a thing of the past that people grew tired of; what people grew tired of were poorly written or half-developed space epics, and Mystery in Space is driven by its writing.
Jim Starlin, the writer behind Mystery in Space never tells you more than he has to, keeping suspense and mystery alive in the simplest way possible. So the desire to keep playing isn’t just motivated by a desire to see a known event played out (ex. Halo: Reach), but out of a desire to discover the secret of the story. One of the purest experiences of gaming is of not knowing what will happen next, and Mystery in Space is built around that very idea. Fantastic narrative authorities are greatly needed in the world of games, and the storytelling of Starlin manages to be both thrilling and satisfying.
For a game to be truly great, it has to give the player an amazing experience both in story and gameplay. With Comet’s abilities: flight, teleportation, telekinesis, telepathy, and super strength, the opportunity is there to experience a wide variety of gaming types. But Starlin always places the use of Comet’s super powers as a function of the story, rather than a throwaway time-killer. If that mentality is translated to a game, then Mass Effect has some serious competition.
So we’ve reached the halfway point of our countdown, but believe us that the choices are only getting harder. With only 3 remaining entries, we move from games we would love to see, to games that we simply have to see. Next up: we take a tour of the old world with one of horror’s most enduring crusaders, and imagine how many games could have been improved with a little of his darkness…