10 Favourite Comic-Based Video Games for Comic Book Day
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
This Comic-based Video Game list includes:
If you feel that we have overlooked a real gem of a comic book game, please let us know in the comments below. With that in mind, let's take a look at the rank of our 10 favourite comic book video games.
#10 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game
While most will remember Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a cartoon on TV, the heroes in a half-shell actually began life in comic books
Sometimes for a game to go down as a classic it just needs to be simple, straight-forward fun. This game was released the year I was born and even when I was old enough to play it, it still felt too ahead of its time.
The simplified controls and side-scrolling action made for many fond memories associated with this game at arcade based birthday parties. This game was a fun co-op experience with an all ages level of violence. The popularity of this arcade game saw it crossing platforms to NES.
TMNT struck a nice balance between simplified controls and slight details on the characters moves and functionality, making each character slightly unique in the way you played with them. Mix this in with the enemy AI being challenging but not insurmountable and the environmental takedowns, acrobatic movements, and flashy fights makes for a strongly entertaining game to play with friends.
This game is so successful and without blemish that modern consoles have HD versions of it in their online stores for download.
The Deadpool game predates the successful Ryan Reynolds movie adaptations and actually sits closer to the release date of the dumpster fire version of Deadpool, also played by Ryan Reynolds in X-men Origins: Wolverine (yikes).
That alone should of been a warning sign to not touch the source material of Deadpool until the fire from earlier died down and yet here we are. In true Deadpool fashion, High-moon studios knew that Deadpool was too self-aware to lay down and die under his awful movie depiction.
Self-aware games aren’t all that common: with the direction the rest of the game industry was heading in, it’s rare for a big budget video game to do anything other than take itself deadly serious, especially when playing with a high profile intellectual property.
This game is one of the most faithful experiences of what it is to be “The Merc with the Mouth”, complete with 4th wall breaking gameplay and a Wade Wilson that cannot feel the weight of what is taking place around him.
All of the characters and animations are strong adaptations of the original comics and not the watered down Hollywood versions, meaning the cartoonish humour and violence just works on every level, there is little that true Deadpool fans can stick their nose up when it comes to this game.
#8 X-men Origins: Wolverine
We’re back to talking about X-men Origins: Wolverine. I never thought I would in any way give this movie as much attention as I have in this article.
Just to make myself clear, I despise this movie on almost every level. I say almost for two reasons, the first being the opening scene montage of Wolverine and Sabartooth entering battlefields across history. That was a genius idea that I wish the whole movie focused on, the other reason being that the movie was a launch pad for the game adaptation.
X-Men Origins (the game) takes the events of the movie, adds a bunch more story around it and puts you in control of the one and only Weapon X.
For anyone that knows their stuff about Wolverine, they know that main stream media has neutered his character into a “kid friendly” super hero with a bit of an attitude as opposed to the savage anti-hero he truely is. This game makes no apologies in serving up a most in-humane and aggressive Wolverine to his committed fans.
This game is one of the most graphically violent superhero games ever made and so it should be when the protagonist is a knife wielding, animalistic brut. A perfect example of what you get when try not to please everybody, this game does not appeal to some and offends others but for the true fans they couldn’t be happier with the outcome.
#7 Injustice 2
NetherRealm with their successful Mortal Kombat games has simply taken their game formula and reskinned it for the DC superhero world. The first Injustice was a strong beginning for the series but Injustice 2 managed to iron out the gameplay to be a little more fluid, it improved the overall look of the game and the stakes feel higher in the story mode.
Injustice 2 shows clear signs of time and care being applied to the game’s creation in order to make it not just one of the best superhero games on the market but one of the best fighting games out there period.
With a rolodex of DC characters to choose from along with iconic fight locations, this game pays service to its DC fanbase offering a little something for everyone. Whether you enjoy the classics or the more contemporary and unique characters, you will be more than happy to literally punch your friend out of this world.
#6 The Simpsons: The Arcade Game
Before I get into this game I know what you’re thinking, “The Simpsons is a TV show!?”, you’re right but it has also been a comic series for just about as long as the program has been on TV. Much like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game, The Simpsons arcade game was a simplified co-op side-scroller.
Released just two years after TMNT, the game mechanics are eerily similar. All that being said, I don’t care The Simpsons have a game and it is awesome.
Choosing from family members Marge, Lisa, Bart and Homer, up to 4 players can fight across the streets of Springfield in order to save a kidnapped Maggie. This game is so unnecessary and disjointed from the original source material and yet it just works, somehow both the show and the game complement and enhance each other.
If I had to guess why the game is so successful, I would chalk it up to everyone who plays this game having grown up with the Simpson family and wanting the opportunity to play as their favourite character while walking the streets of the town they feel they know so well.
Once again in keeping with the TMNT formula, this game’s success has seen it become available on modern console online stores in downloadable HD versions.
#5 Telltale’s The Walking Dead
For those that aren’t in the know, The Walking Dead is an ongoing graphic novel series that was later picked up and turned into an award-winning TV show. Unlike most comic adaptations that have stricter guidelines, such as defined characters and iconic events, The Walking Dead is a source material that leaves wriggle room for unique approaches across different platforms.
The Walking Dead at its core is a study on characters either developing or deteriorating in a world destroyed by a zombie apocalypse. Meaning whether you make the game based around the characters from the original series or you simply base your game around new characters in the same world, there is no harm, no foul.
This means players do not know what they’re in for when they start playing. Telltale’s formula is best used within the world of The Walking Dead because every decision feels majorly consequential, a new roster of characters raises the stakes as everyone is expendable.
Easily the most emotionally tormenting game on this list, you will find that your investment in the story is deeply rooted in the elation of making it through challenges and the pain of losing people in tough situations which is made all the worse by the fact that everything that happens is your fault. This game hinges on what the comic does best: forcing the characters into impossible choices. An amazing story, layered characters, and diverse gameplay make this an unforgettable experience.
#4 Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
Considering the number of Lego games which have focused on comic book characters, it’s difficult narrowing things down to a single title.
Lego have nailed the route of taking iconic properties and making them accessible to a larger audience. These games are kid friendly yet are still quite entertaining for an older audience especially with some of the subtle jokes woven into certain scenes.
When it comes to allowing a large roster of characters into a game though, it’s hard to ignore the contribution to the series that Lego Batman 2 makes. While all Lego games up to this point focused on a single franchise or property, Lego Batman 2 ditched the standard rule and brought the entire DC universe to play alongside the Caped Crusader.
Sometimes you want to enjoy the characters you know and love but in a less serious, more relaxed context, Lego Batman 2 is the answer.
Plenty of Lego games have expanded on this idea in subsequent instalments, but as the original instigator of crossover comic book gaming, the second Lego Batman game definitely wins the crown as the quintessential toy/comic/game hybrid.
#3 Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
In the summer of 2010, movie audiences were treated to a cinematic adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s popular Scott Pilgrim comics series. While not the most commercially successful movie, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World has earned cult status among many fans for its faithful recreation of the video game-inspired comic book world.
At the same time that the movie was released, gamers were also treated to a beat-em-up video game adaptation of the comics, much like the classic style mentioned earlier in TMNT and The Simpsons Arcade Game. This game is the most accurate recreation of an original comic, using pixelated sprite art that closely resembles O’Malley’s art style and filling every spare pixel of the screen with Easter Eggs and references to the comic universe.
The game is not only a solid adaptation, but it’s also a lot of fun to play, thanks in no small part to the soundtrack provided by Anamanaguchi, a chiptunes band who create music using old Nintendo gaming equipment alongside live instruments.
#2 Batman: Arkham City
This is the second time Batman has been mentioned in this list and unlike the horrendous X-men Origins: Wolverine, I’m more than happy to bring up the Caped Crusader across multiple games.
Batman means something different to everyone, so unlike the light-hearted nature of Lego Batman 2 we find that Batman: Arkham City strikes a chord with the fanbase that is more drawn to the gothic architecture of the animated series, the dark undertones of Frank Miller’s comics and the detective work in “The Long Halloween”.
First things first, Batman: Arkham Asylum introduced an incredible new world. It was a dynamic world that Batman: Arkham City then perfected. Arkham City is incredibly layered and remarkably well done.
Improving on Arkham Asylum would be no easy feat, but Rocksteady’s plans for Arkham City was clearly “go bigger, go deeper, BE Batman.” The team took everything that made Asylum such a success and poured it into a dilapidated chunk of Gotham City, before refining and building on their work, involving many of Batman’s greatest foes and improving the game’s already stellar mechanics. The result is spectacular, a unique vision of The Dark Knight that encapsulates what makes Batman so intoxicating as a character.
#1 Marvel's Spider-Man
Much like Batman, Spider-man has seen countless game adaptations over the years and with those numbers there are bound to be both great games and stinkers.
The biggest thing the dynamic character of Spider-man needed in order to truly be portrayed in a game is a console that was advanced enough to capture all the nuance that comes with a city swinging, arachnid acrobat.
The latest instalment in the world of Spider-man games, simply titled “Marvel's Spider-Man” is by far the best game of the bunch for the reason listed above. It walks out the vision that early games cast. You want to feel in control as you swing your character through a beautifully rendered New York cityscape. Bottomline you want to feel like you are Spider-man as much as possible and this is the closest experience to date.
Besides a game that handles better than earlier attempts, this game offers a story that covers a lot of ground within the spidey-verse. There is a little bit of everything here for the fanbase and on top of that it just looks outstanding, I mean the city feels alive, when you swing through Times Square above the traffic you truly feel like a Superhero within a city of civilians that need your help. You do not just feel like a character completing tasks for an unknown purpose beyond it being the right thing to do. No, you see the beautiful city around you and it is worth protecting.
This is a game shows that developers were well aware of what needed to go into a Spider-man game in order for it to be as close to perfection as possible… This game delivers.
That's our list, let us know if you feel we left any vital games out in the comments below.