It's a good time to be an action hero fan, with new movies dropping left, right and centre. Now, following the conclusion of the third phase of the MCU, we're more spoilt for choice than we've ever been before when it comes to superhero movies. That being the case, we decided to make a compilation that includes some of the all-time best games based on Marvel's heroes and villains. Some games were dedicated to entire groups of heroes, others focused on a single character, but all the examples below (in chronological order) are good enough to appeal to Marvel fans.
This is one of the great arcade classics of the '90s, and not just because it was an X-Men game. It was developed by Konami and it was a Final Fight-style beat 'em up, like many of its time, but superior to most. Graphically the game was immaculate, perfectly recreating the world, heroes and villains of the X-Men universe. The game was also a standout because, on some machines, it allowed up to six players to team up against the sentinels. A true arcade classic.
Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage
Platforms: SNES, Mega Drive
There were plenty of Spiderman games in the 16-bit era, some very good, others not so much, but in our opinion, Maximum Carnage was the best. The whole game is inspired by the comic saga of the same name, centred around the maniac villain Carnage, and it followed the events of the comic with remarkable fidelity. Players could assume the role of Spider-Man or the antihero Venom, and it also allowed two players to team up and take out bad guys in a Streets of Rage-style beat 'em up.
Platforms: GameCube, Xbox, PC, PlayStation 2
Spider-Man 2, inspired by the second film in the Tobey Maguire trilogy, was a highlight in terms of Spider-Man games, since it opened Manhattan to free player exploration for the first time. That freedom, combined with excellent web-swinging mechanics (that attached to buildings, not air), allowed players to swing through New York as they never had before, and dare we say it, like they never have since.
X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse
Platforms: PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, PSP, PC
The X-Men Legends saga was the base that later was used to build the great Marvel Ultimate Alliance game. It was an action RPG with an isometric view based heavily on the X-Men, similar in gameplay to something like Diablo on consoles. Up to four characters could be on the screen simultaneously, and the game supported online co-op. An excellent original adventure for every X-Men fan.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance
Platforms: PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC, Xbox, PSP
The success of the two X-Men Legends games eventually meant we got this titan from Marvel, which expanded the concept of the previous games to include almost all the heroes and villains from the comics. It had an original story, strong gameplay, and a massive cast of playable characters, which led to plenty of praise in 2006. It was eventually followed by a direct a sequel, inspired by the Civil War saga (which is the basis for one of the new Captain America movies), but that was not as well-received as the original. There's even a third game in the series now, but that one doesn't quite make our top list either.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
A rare example of a game that was far superior to the movie it was based on. Unfortunately, the first solo Wolverine adventure in cinemas left much to be desired, but the movie's video game counterpart more than made up for it. The game was extremely violent and action-packed, as it should be for anything related to Wolverine. With good gameplay, graphics, and loads of extras, the game turned out to be one of the best Marvel games ever (based on a single character, at least). An absolute must for true Wolverine fans.
Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
Capcom knows how to make fighting games, and over the years it provided us with some great examples of its ability using Marvel licenses. Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds turned out to be the epitome of that expertise, though some fans prefer the earlier 2D variants. Regardless of the favourite edition, we highly recommend this game for any Marvel and fighting fan. It's not so plot rich as the DC counterpart (Injustice: Gods Among Us), but it recreates the likes of Iron Man, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America and many others with awesome quality.
Lego Marvel Super Heroes
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PC, Xbox One, PS4
The Lego games collection is blessed with many great titles, but there are several fans who would argue that Lego Marvel Super Heroes is the pick of the bunch. It offered an original story for players to follow, more characters than any other Marvel game, an open city for players to explore, and fan service by the bucket load for several Marvel heroes and villains. Recently it was followed by a pseudo-sequel, Lego Marvel Avengers, which is also great, but having to choose one, we'll go with Lego Marvel Super Heroes.
Marvel Heroes 2016
Released: 2013 - 2016
This MMORPG was launched in 2013, aiming to establish itself as the ultimate Marvel game. It mixed Diablo-style gameplay with MMO mechanics, and it used a complex RPG system for statistics and items. Too bad the outcome was not as good as expected, and the game was criticised for several design flaws, including various bugs. Three years later, the game is in much better shape, thanks to numerous updates. Marvel Heroes (2016) offers a solid and stable experience, filled with content and characters based on the comics. Moreover, it's free-to-play. If you're a Marvel fan, you should definitely check out this game for free.
Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Android, IOS, Switch, PC
Before they collapsed, Telltale was one of the most distinguished narrative-based developers in the industry, offering unique and original stories from beloved IPs. Released after both Guardians of the Galaxy MCU films, The Telltale Series followed the trend set by their past adventures, taking a now global name and creating an entirely separate adventure for fans to jump into and enjoy. Whilst the story is not linked to the MCU itself, the narrative is based off the comics and contains the characters so many people now regard as iconic, and while it's not the studio's best work, it still offers a high-quality narrative experience.
Last but certainly not least, Insomniac's Spider-Man is likely the best Marvel game currently available, in fact, it's a contender for the best superhero experience out there, period. Featuring an original story and the best web-swinging mechanics a video game can offer, Spider-Man on PS4 now sits as the console's fifth best-selling title ever, which is a direct reflection of how brilliant it really is. Not only does the story entertain, the mechanics - both traversal and combat - offer a genuine-feeling representation of what it would be like to be everyone's favourite friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, and to top it all off the acting and character design are practically unmatched in the industry.