EDITORIAL: Five Comic Book Video Games That Changed The Industry
Over the course of the past few years, comic-based video games have been much more miss than hit. In this piece, I reflect on which comic book video games helped changed the way we see comic-based games as well as which changed the video game industry.
In the past decade, dozens of comic book games have been released and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that most of those video games have been unsuccessful. However, every couple of years an amazing comic book video game blossoms up from an unknown developer and becomes fantastic. In this piece, I take a trip down memory lane and reflect on what games I thought raised the bar for video games to follow.
Batman & Robin (1998, Playstation)
I know you probably think this game has no place on this list because it is based off of the movie we all want to ignore, but I never said this changed the genre for the better. I think you need to realize what this game did as it was the first 3D sandbox game simulating real-time events such as traffic and civilian population with three playable characters (Batman, Robin, and Batgirl). Each character was equipped with their unique vehicle to use as well. Heck, Grand Theft Auto 3 wasn’t even released by the time this game was but Grand Theft Auto was definitely better..
Spider-Man (2001, PS1; N64)
Setting the bar for every Spider-Man game to follow, this game presented a very unique plot with a huge cast of Marvel characters appearing. It also introduced incredible gameplay which most Spider-Man games use today at it’s core. Not only that, but it also introduced alternate costumes for Spider-Man with a nice selection from fan-favorite comics at the time. The game also introduced the famous “What If?” mode based off a series of comic books that changes the events of a famous comic storyline! Spider-Man was a huge success, but it’s sequel sadly didn’t live up to potential.
Spider-Man 2 (2004, Playstation 2; Xbox; GameCube)
Although this isn’t the sequel to the Spider-Man game mentioned above (Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro), this game pretty much was unforgettable to Spider-Man games as well. From developers Treyarch, Spider-Man 2 involved a compelling storyline with a huge open world of New York to explore. In this game, players really get to feel like Spider-Man as the web-slinging felt complex when it actually connected to buildings as you struggled to get a good pattern going with speed and momentum. You were also able to double-handed swing which was quite difficult to master. It was a new game mechanic that has yet to be recreated in Spider-Man games today.
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (2006, Multi-Platform)
Marvel Ultimate Alliance introduces the superhero fanbase to the Action-RPG genre and vise-versa. Although its graphics weren’t up to the standards in 2006, it’s gameplay was deep and fun. Experienced gamers could look deep into the combos and execute them on their foes while casual gamers could button mash to complete the game and both players could still have a fun time together. It also showed us a huge array of Marvel locations such as Mephisto’s realm, Valhalla, Stark Tower, Dr. Strange’s Sanctum and many more. Any gamer was easily introduced to the expansive universe that they had yet to see in other media.
Batman: Arkham City (2011, Playstation 3; Xbox 360; PC; WiiU)
Does this require an explanation? Batman Arkham City is a sandbox game taking place in the slums of Gotham which Mayor Quincy Sharp walled off and called Arkham City, where Gotham’s criminals can roam free as they please as long as they do not try to escape. Written by Paul Dini, this game created the best Batman atmosphere we have ever seen in the video game world topped off by an amazing and recognizable voice cast. Kevin Conroy returns to voice the Caped Crusader while Mark Hamill also returned to voice the infamous Joker in this action-packed sequel that featured a huge cast of villains and Batman easter eggs. It not only defined the superhero genre, but also raised the bar for many video games of it’s type.
Honorable Mentions go to: X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Marvel vs Capcom 3, Superman 64 (It showed us what not do to) and The Amazing Spider-Man.
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