Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 6 months, you're probably aware of the fact that The Avengers are headed to a cinema your way this weekend. Marvel's superteam of superheroes are plastered all over TV commercials, prints ads, Facebook, and toy aisles everywhere. Surprisingly, there's not a movie based Avengers game headed our way, but that doesn't mean you can get your hands on some hot Avenger gaming action! You just need to know where to look. That's why we're here today, on the KGB Nostalgia Dirigible. Hold on to your porkpie hats!
Captain America and the Avengers (Arcade, 1991)
This coin-op classic from Data East has a lot in common with the more popular X-Men arcade game that was released by Konami. A side-scrolling brawler, Captain America and the Avengers features a rather 80s-tastic version of the team. Besides Cap, players can choose to play as Iron Man, Vision, or Hawkeye. Several other B-tier Avengers appear to help out in some cases, such as Quicksilver delivering health boosts, or Wonder Man with a hovercraft. Besides the brawling action, this game is famous for having some of the cheesiest voice acting ever recorded. Perhaps you've heard the clip of Captain America yelling "I...can't move!"? Yup, that's from this game.
Avengers in Galactic Storm (Arcade, 1995)
Once again appearing at an arcade near you, The Avengers appeared in this fighting game, again by Data East. If you remember back to the mid-90s, we were in the midst of the Fighting Game Boom. Mortal Kombat 3 had just released, Killer Instinct was blowing minds, and seven thousand versions of Street Fighter II were burning up quarters. Or tokens. I hated arcades that had proprietary tokens, because I always ended up going home with 1 or 2 extra tokens every visit and I'd never remember to bring them with me the next time. That's why I still have a handful of Namco tokens with Pac-Man on them. That asshole is just smiling at me with the shit-eating grin on his face. It's like he knows that token is worthless now, but I'm too much of a sentimental jerk to throw it away. I swear those damn tokens are going to follow me to the grave.
Anyway, Avengers in Galactic Storm was a neat fighting game, if only because Marvel-based fighting games were still something of a rarity at that point. The graphics are pretty rough at this point, but they were extremely well done for their time. Not to mention that fact that this game features some crazy odd choices for an Avengers game. But I guess that's how licensing agreements work, huh?
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 1 and 2 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii)
Now we're talking. After the magnificent failure of Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, the group rights for Marvel characters switched from EA to Activision. Ultimate Alliance is a action-RPG featuring just about every Marvel character you could want. The first UA game was developed by Raven software, who have a pretty good grasp on the Marvel universe. Their game for X-Men Origins: Wolverine is one of the most underrated games of this generation, you should seek it out.
After cutting their teeth on two X-Men Legends games for the PS2, Ultimate Alliance took the comic book craziness to the next level. Choosing a group of four heroes at once, players could battle their way through extremely faithful versions of the Marvel universe. The cutscenes are top-notch, and the voice acting is for the most part, incredibly well done. The second Ultimate Alliance suffers a bit from trying to cram the entire Civil War storyline into half of the game, which effectively removes half of the roster from being available to the player. That's a shame, especially when the characters are so varied and true to their comic roots. Not being able to use Iron Man for half of the game kinda sucks, and in the end UA2 saw lower critical and commercial success than the original. It's still absolutely worth the reduced price you can no doubt find it for these days, and makes for a great local co-op experience.
If you have a personal favorite game featuring The Avengers, let us know in the comments. There's of course, far more games than listed here featuring the Avengers, and we'd love to hear what your favorite comic-based games are. Perhaps we could even use your comments for a future article?! Do our work for us!
Christopher Linendoll can feel his Spider-Sense tingling. He can be reached via Twitter, or found in the hummus section of your local grocery store.