Next week is the release of Batman: Arkham City. To celebrate, Chris takes a look back at some of his favorite games featuring muscular men in spandex. Besides Wrestlemania 2000.
I am a comic book nerd from way back. Spider-Man is my role model, and I'm wearing Justice League pajama pants as I'm typing this. And the answer is YES, ladies, I AM available. In what could only be described as the nerdiest type of blue balls in history, I am anxiously anticipating the release of Batman: Arkham City next week. I recently jumped back into Arkham Asylum, the 2009 predecessor to Arkham City, in an attempt to re-familiarize myself with the gameplay mechanics before reviewing the game next week. And while my skills in AA have severely diminished in the past 2 years, the game is still a master work. Arkham Asylum was a unicorn of gaming: a licensed comic book game that was good, like, legitimately good. It's a shame that something so game-ready as a superhero title is rarely as fun as it could be. Which got me thinking, what are my Top 5 superhero games? Well, me, here they are:
5. Ultimate Spider-Man
Ultimate Spider-Man was released for PS2, XBox, and Gamecube in 2005. Developed by Treyarch, before they became the Call of Duty factory they are today, USM was the pinnacle of the open-world Spider-Man games. The art style was fantastic, borrowing heavily from the comic series drawn by Mark Bagley, and the presentation was a cutting edge fusion of motion comics and dynamic panels. The game itself played like a dream, and all the major characters from the USM series appeared throughout the campaign. As an awesome bonus, the player could switch to Venom, the alien symbiote who terrorizes Spider-Man. Playing as Venom allowed you to consume innocent bystanders to feed off their energy and the feeling of power was immense. I sunk so much time into this game, that I didn't buy another videogame until 2007. True story.
4. Marvel Ultimate Alliance
Marvel Ultimate Alliance grew out of the X-Men Legends series of action-RPGs. Like the Legends series, MUA was a top-down isometric dungeon crawler at heart, but with a large cast of characters and an off-the-wall plotline. The game felt like an epic Summer Crossover Event from the Marvel comics, and playing 4 player co-op made it even better. Remember how I said I didn't buy another game until 2007? It was this one.
3. X-Men: The Arcade Game
Alright, I'll admit to this being a nostalgia pick more than anything else. X-Men Arcade was a defining cornerstone in my development as a young dork. This game, along with TMNT, The Simpsons, and Michael Jackson's Moonwalker formed an unholy alliance in my local Chuck E. Cheese which consumed all of my parent's quarters. The unique 6-person arcade cabinet was a massive draw, and the bright, colorful graphics meant that X-Men always had a crowd around it. The game was recently rereleased on XBLA and PSN, with full online support. Nowadays, its easy to breeze through in under a half an hour, but I still go back to it every few months.
2. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
I picked this game up during a pre-Christmas clearance at my local Target a few years back and was originally going to give it as a gift. However, when I got home it magically unwrapped itself and I had no choice but to play it for myself. I am really glad I did. Wolverine is a M-rated brawler featuring copious amounts of blood and violence. The graphics are sharp, and virtual Hugh Jackman gets pretty fucked up over the course of the game. This is the rare case where the game is FAR better than the movie it was based on, and I can only hope that Raven Software gets the chance to do a sequel when the next Wolverine movie comes out. As a side note, Raven Software sent me some pretty sweet foam claws to promote the game, so there's that.
1. Batman: Arkham Asylum
What more could I say about this game that hasn't been already said? The gameplay is intense, the graphics are sharp, and the voice-acting is some of the best ever in videogames. I can't wait to play the sequel, and look forward to seeing what tricks Rocksteady has up their sleeve. Arkham Asylum paved the way for better superhero games, and hopefully soon we can all forget about abominations like Superman 64 or those shitty games LJN made for the NES.
Christopher Linendoll knows with great power, comes great jarnalism. He can be reached via Twitter, or found in the hummus section of your local grocery store.