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Batman for the NES is loosely based on the 1989 Batman film. By “based on”, I mean that the ultimate baddie is The Joker, and the levels are meant to mirror the film. However, except for those two aspects, the game really departs from the film. This isn’t the worst thing though, and those that don’t care for the movie even consider it a selling point. Batman comes packed with a lot of his gadgets including the batarang, and you can wall jump. It’s a fairly straight forward side-scrolling platforming game with loads of action. Batman’s gadgets though helped it to feel unique and make it a really fun experience.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance
Marvel Ultimate Alliance is a Marvel fan’s dream come true. It brings together over 20 playable Marvel characters for gamers to use to battle against many different Marvel villains. The gameplay itself is fairly simple hack-and-slash, with each hero having their own special abilities. Where this game shines though is taking inspiration from so many different comics in order to create an interesting story in various settings. The heroes and villains are all fairly well-rounded bringing their own unique personality to the gameplay and cutscenes. Co-op is also solid and makes the game even more enjoyable. It may not be a perfect game, but it’s extremely enjoyable and a treat for comic fans to see these characters brought together.
The Walking Dead
Telltale’s The Walking Dead is easy to forget about when considering comic book games. It is not a superhero game. It’s not even really an action game. Even so, it is a wonderful tie in to both the TV series and the comic books. It focuses on storytelling first with the point-and-click gameplay and quick time events being used to progress of the story. A solid plot like this game has can really reach the audience and make it stand out. Despite how different it is from what people are used to with comic games, it stands out as a truly wonderful and emotional experience.
Batman: Arkham Asylum/City
The recent Arkham series of games came in with a bang. In the first you control Batman through the famous Arkham Asylum after The Joker takes over it. The second game takes Arkham Asylum into the city, once again trapping Batman with his greatest enemies. While the games came out around the same time as Christopher Nolan’s popular Batman movies, they aren’t an actual tie in with the movies. This game tells its own story, drawing inspiration from the comics and other source materials from the Batman universe. The end result is a brilliant game that balances stealth with 3rd person action. They both have spectacular stories with a large number of fan favorite characters. The super icing on this wonderful cake is that they brought in voice actors from Batman the Animated Series and actual Batman comic book writers to work on the game.
On the list of great quarter stealing arcade games, X-Men deserves its own special place. It allows gamers to take over one of six of the X-Men while fighting through hordes of enemies. This game is wonderful to play with others because each character has their own abilities. As with the comic series, when the X-Men are working together is when they are at their best. There is nothing overly complex about this arcade beat ‘em up, but it came out in the early 90s so that is not surprising. It holds a lot of nostalgic value, and beyond that, it was just a solid game. The colorful look of it also helps it to feel connected to the comics.
TMNT IV: Turtles In Time
TMNT IV: Turtles in Time was an arcade game that later was ported to the SNES. It is side-scrolling action game that allows gamers to play as one of everyone’s favorite ninja reptiles. Each turtle has their own strengths and weaknesses which gives players the freedom to choose which turtle best fits their play style. The arcade version is four player, and of course that’s where the game is the most fun, when each person controls one of the turtles. The SNES version sadly only allows for two players but is still an enjoyable experience. Another welcome addition to the game is the use of a power attack allowing the turtles to attack multiple enemies. Addicting gameplay and vibrant graphics make it stand out in the TMNT series of games.
Sam and Max Hit the Road
Sam and Max is a well-known franchise from the extremely popular action-adventure era of LucasArts games. What a lot of people tend to forget is that Sam and Max did not start in the gaming world but rather in the comic book pages. Hit the Road was based on one such comic starring Sam and Max as they cross the country to track down Bigfoot. Sam and Max used the point-and-click style of gameplay and depended largely on the zany humor from the comic books. It’s cartoony and hilarious and hails from a truly wonderful era for adventure games.
Marvel vs Capcom Series
Marvel vs Capcom is a simple, beautiful idea. Take a bunch of Marvel characters, a bunch of Capcom characters, and make one heck of a solid fighting game. Marvel vs Capcom stands out against some of the other gimmicky fighters because it doesn’t suffer in gameplay. Since Capcom was behind the ever popular Street Fighter series, they already had a good idea how to build a quality fighting game, but they made sure it didn’t feel exactly like a Street Fighterclone too. Later in the series they built in a 3-on-3 version of the game, allowing players to build teams and call in their other players at will. There are a lot of characters to make fans go crazy over. It’s backed by incredible gameplay and interesting levels which makes it not only a good comic book game but a fantastic fighting game in general.
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