Over the years, superhero games have proven to be a hit or miss sub-genre, with many suffering from the licensed game curse. That is, a lack of development time mixed with poor quality control. Add-in the time sensitive deadlines that tend to cripple movie tie-ins and you have a video game cocktail which began its doomed life in a broken glass.
Although there have been many unfortunate occurrences where our favourite comic book heroes have failed to impress in interactive space, some titles have been much more offensive to the geek population than others. Stay tuned as we count down the five most disappointing superhero video games in recent memory.
5) Spider-Man: Edge of Time
After Beenox knocked one out of the proverbial park with 2010′s Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, it seemed as if the Quebec-based developer really understood what it takes to create a good game based on the human arachnid. Not only did it feature an interesting story that allowed time travel to become cool again, it also provided us with something different: an opportunity to play as four different variations of the titular hero, with each one having its own unique mechanics. Those elements, along with some incredibly creative stages based on different villains from Marvel‘s lore, really made the game stand out.
Following the web-filled success that its debut effort achieved, Beenox set to work on its follow-up, Spider-Man: Edge of Time, which hit store shelves in October of 2011. However, despite promises that it would build upon all of the above-mentioned features that so many ‘webheads’ loved, the game’s release was filled with disappointment. Why is that? For some reason, Edge of Time locked Spider-Man inside of a boring office building, and limited its playable characters to only The Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 – Shattered Dimensions‘ two most basic playable characters. The result was a polished yet disappointing experience that lacked all of the creative whimsy its predecessor had employed.
4) Watchmen: The End Is Nigh
Perhaps we should’ve seen this one coming. After all, Zack Snyder‘s celluloid representation of DC Comics‘ cult classic graphic novel relied upon dramatic dialogue more than fisticuffs. But, as is the case with just about every applicable big screen blockbuster, the powers that be felt that there was a need to cash in on the film’s success by releasing a video game bearing its name and characters. Looking back, I wish they would have never made that decision, and that I could have the five hours that I spent playing through the two dreadful episodes that made up Watchmen: The End is Nigh back.
Surely, every person who made a mistake by giving this game a chance will agree on the following statement: The elements which made the original graphic novel and its characters so interesting were not found within this interactive travesty. What was originally a well-written and character driven narrative was somehow turned into a basic and derivative beat ‘em up featuring two playable characters whose melee move sets were far from stellar. Adding insult to injury is the fact that those issues were coupled with some of the most uninteresting stages ever to grace the genre. What a waste of money. That is, for those who purchased the game digitally through Xbox LIVE Arcade. At least PS3 owners received the film’s Blu-ray for their troubles.
3) X-Men Destiny
Professor Xavier’s mutants earned their spot on this list by failing to make good on pre-release promises. That’s because X-Men Destiny was hailed as being the next great super hero game, where comic book fans could essentially create their own X-Man. However, that incredible selling point ended up becoming moot once the game actually hit store shelves, and it became clear that its three pre-generated characters lacked the creative offerings that they were said to feature. Although players were given the opportunity to choose their (boring) characters’ powers from a short list, none of the available options came close to being spectacular, let alone remotely interesting. Couple that disappointment with incredibly generic beat ‘em up gameplay and a lacklustre storyline, and you have this mutated mess.
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2) Superman Returns: The Video Game
Poor Superman. After years of laying dormant as a video game afterthought, Metropolis’ saviour finally received another chance to shine with Superman Returns: The Video Game. Loosely based on the hero’s 2006 blockbuster, the game attempted to provide us with a visceral experience within an open world version of the aforementioned fictional city. Though, in the end, what we really received was a dull, clunky and unfinished action experience that was rushed out to store shelves. Not to mention an ugly one at that.
1) Thor: God of Thunder
When SEGA announced its plans to release an interactive tie-in to 2011′s Thor, none of us could’ve expected it’d end up being as poor as it did. After all, the God of Thunder seemed like he’d be a great video game character thanks to his appetite for visceral melee combat, as well as his brute strength. For those reasons and more, Liquid Entertainment should have been able to come up with something that was at least entertaining, but they didn’t. Thor: God of Thunder for Xbox 360 and PS3 was an abomination, and one that should have never seen the light of day. Playing through it was almost as enjoyable as having a tooth pulled, thanks to clunky gameplay, repetitive battles against dull enemies and presentation elements that had seen better days years before its release.
Honourable Mention: Superman 64
Honestly, there’s not much more that can be said about this travesty, which crushed many N64 owners’ dreams of playing a fun video game based on the Man of Steel. In the end, what was expected to offer fans the opportunity to save Metropolis using Clark Kent’s amazing powers ended up boiling down to a broken and completely uninteresting snooze fest. There’s nothing super, nor heroic about flying through rings! The unfortunate thing is that Superman 64‘s development team didn’t realize that fact, and decided to task us with flying through an unnecessary wealth of the golden circles.
While Superman 64 is older than the other games featured on this list, no other superhero video game can compete with its terrible faults. For that reason, what is often described as being the genre’s worst outing needed to be made mention of. The unfortunate thing is that Superman is still waiting for his first really good video game, which is a shame. The Death and Return of Superman still stands as his best outing in a main role.
There you have it, folks. Do you agree with these picks, or are there other games that you would’ve included instead? Let us know in our comments section.Previous