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Checkpoint: Superhero Games Edition

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While I was writing up my impressions for the Batman: Arkham Asylum PS3 demo, I was tempted to call the latest Dark Knight game “the greatest super hero game ever”.

A bold statement.

Too bold for having only played the demo which was why I didn’t include it. It did get me thinking about all the super hero games I’ve played though. (And I’m talking pure super hero games and not the VS. series like Marvel vs Capcom.) So let’s take a look at the list.

Spider-Man: The Animated Series (Wiki)

Released: 1993
Publisher/Developer: Acclaim/Western Technologies
My platform: SNES

This is the first super hero game I’ve actually purchased. It was a tough game and a very stiff feeling game. There were highlight battles from the Spider-Man: The Animated Series show and that’s why I enjoyed it.

X-Men (Wiki)

Released: 1993
Publisher/Developer: Sega/Western Technologies
My platform: N/A – Neighbour’s Sega Genesis

I’ve actually never finished this game. I actually don’t remember much of it aside from the fact that we would always input the level select code and played until we died. I also recalled it being incredibly stupid for penalizing the player when they used Wolverine’s claws.

Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage (Wiki)

Released: 1994
Publisher/Developer: LJN/Software Creations
My platform: SNES

My cousin bought this and I would borrow it on a regular basis. He even had the famous “red cartridge” edition. It’s by far my favorite 2-D Spider-Man game. So many cameos and the actual brawling felt fluid. It also looked awesome with its big sprites and comic book styling.

Spider-Man and Venom: Separation Anxiety (Wiki)

Released: 1996
Publisher/Developer: Acclaim/Software Creations
My platform: SNES

One of the criticisms I had with Maximum Carnage was the lack of co-op; it had Spider-man and Venom as playable characters! Why couldn’t they mash the two together? Well they did and the result was Separation Anxiety and I was disappointed by it. They ditched the awesome large sprites of Maximum Carnage and used some squished blobs which kinda resembled Spider-man and Venom.

Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems (Wiki)

Released: 1996
Publisher/Developer: Capcom
My platform: SNES exclusive

This was a gift from one of my uncles when we visited Los Angeles. It was fantastic to play and it was a great looking game to boot. Unfortunately, there was no co-op with this one either. By now I’ve noticed the trend. I’ve also noticed that this tied with another Capcom game…

Marvel Super Heroes (Wiki)

Released: 1995
Publisher/Developer: Capcom
My platform: N/A – Emulation

I didn’t play this game until many years later (1999 or so), but I was aware of its existence. Capcom moved beyond X-men and developed a Marvel Super Heroes game which also inspired War of the Gems. It was plenty of fun and I recall it being a difficult fighter as well.

X-Men: Children of the Atom (Wiki)

Released: 1997 for PC
Publisher/Developer: Capcom
My platform: PC

I was an ignorant kid. I had no idea Children of the Atom was released in the arcades for over 3 years already. I didn’t own a PlayStation or Sega Saturn and I certainly didn’t get gaming magazines on a regular basis. So when I saw this game in store, I snapped it up, installed it and proceeded to get my ass handed to me. This game was stupidly hard.

Spider-Man (Wiki)

Released: 2001 for Dreamcast
Publisher/Developer: Activision/Neversoft
My platform: Dreamcast

To me this would stand as the definitive Spider-man game. Much like the 1993 game, this was inspired by The Animated Series. I recall it being quick, fluid and actually feeling like Spider-man.

And that’s about it. Yes, I was (and still am) a Marvel fan. I liked Batman as well, but I never felt the desire to get a Batman game. You’re probably wondering why the list stops at 2001. The answer is two fold: 1) A lot of it came on consoles which I didn’t own and 2) they weren’t very good.

I dabbled with Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and tried the Spider-man movie games, but none of them grabbed my interest for very long. For the longest time my super hero related gaming involved the VS fighting game series from Capcom. But now we’re in 2009 and there’s a non-Marvel super hero game which piqued my interest.

Times have changed indeed.

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