For all the talk about Marvel’s somewhat unenthusiastic approach to gaming, the company has actually produced a whole lot of games over the years. We’ve talked about Marvel Avengers Academy before, and it’s only one of a handful of very popular mobile games.
There’s also a major MMO, a batch of LEGO games, and the successful Marvel vs. Capcom fighting series. It’s true that Marvel hasn’t necessarily been leading the way in top-of-the-line console developments, but it’s not as if they haven’t been creating playable experiences.
In fact, they’ve churned out so many games over the years it can be a little bit difficult to keep track of them all. With that said, here’s a quick look at five Marvel video games you may not have heard of.
1. Marvel Fights
This is a strange game to stumble on, but you can find it right here, and it’s a good bet you’ll wind up sticking with it longer than you think. Developed by Newgrounds with thanks to Marvel and Capcom, it’s very reminiscent of some of the early X-Men and Marvel vs. Capcom brawler games, except that it’s browser-based and exclusively involves Marvel characters.
It’s kind of old school and playing on your keyboard has some drawbacks, but this is a surprisingly entertaining game. The selection of characters is satisfying, each one has their own moves and sounds, and the arcade mode progression is challenging enough.
2. The Invincible Iron Man
Maybe you knew about this one 14 years ago, but a lot of people probably didn’t. The Invincible Iron Man came out in 2002, six full years before Robert Downey Jr. graced our screens as Tony Stark.
This Game Boy Advance title from Activision found a pretty good reception in its time, and was recognised as a satisfying side-scrolling action experience. The goal was to control Tony Stark as he chased down a thief who’s stolen the Iron Man suit (and you get to wear an alternate suit, of course).
3. X-Men Slots
This is another browser-based game that even the most hardcore Marvel fans probably haven’t come across. It’s a digital slot machine that uses X-Men characters and symbols on the spinning reels instead of the usual boring casino decals. The other cool thing about this game is that it’s not alone.
This site has information on several similar games from Marvel using a variety of heroes from across the comics to make slot machines a bit more interesting for casual players.
Radical Entertainment and Vivendi Universal games aren’t exactly the biggest names in console gaming these days. And the Hulk wasn’t exactly a go-to leading man in 2003 when this game first came out, given that the film released the same year more or less bombed with critics.
That said, this game for the GameCube, PS2, and Xbox did pretty well for itself. It was celebrated as an opportunity to wreak havoc as Marvel’s most terrifying and powerful superhero, smashing villains, buildings and objects to your heart’s content.
5. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
This is the most modern game on the list, and was based in part on the 2009 film. But because that film was fairly atrocious, the game of the same name was ignored by a lot of fans. As it turns out, ignoring it would have been a mistake.
As this review put it, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is “an awesome guilty pleasure,” packed with action, violence, and a surprisingly beautiful look. It’s leaps and bounds better than the film, and still worth trying to find if you happen to have an Xbox 360 or PS3 lying around.