The Punisher (1993)
While many gamers will probably point to 2005’s The Punisher for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Microsoft Windows as the best video game representation of the violent vigilante, I beg to differ. The 1993 beat ’em up game had it all – including S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury for some strange reason. Countless quarters were spent on this game’s arcade version until it was eventually ported to the Sega Genesis a year later.
Similar to Streets of Rage and Double Dragon, the player controls either Frank Castle or Fury (or both if you play co-op) as you punch, kick, slash, and shoot your way through enemies en route to the big boss, the Kingpin. Sure, it was a button-masher that didn’t require a lot of strategy or effort, but it was one of the first games to truly capture the essence of the source material.
The Death And Return Of Superman (1994)
To date, we haven’t received an outstanding Superman video game. It’s difficult, though, because how do you create a game about an indestructible character? It’s like playing with a permanent invincibility code. Nonetheless, The Death and Return of Superman, released for the Super NES and Genesis, was about as close as we’ve come to a good Man of Steel game.
Based on “The Death of Superman” comic book storyline, this side-scrolling beat ’em up allowed you to play as Superman, Superboy, Steel, Cyborg, the Eradicator, and Doomsday. You could fly, pummel, and do all sorts of other Superman-y stuff as you tried to make your way through the various stages. Despite the superstar cast and superpowers on offer, however, the game’s biggest drawback was its incredible difficulty level. Unless you possessed the special codes, it’s unlikely that you made it far in this one.