Comic books have been mined for video game inspiration countless times. Most of the resulting games were forgettable, but a few have managed to be so great they stand out in our minds, while others were so bad that we wish we could forget them. Here are, in our opinion, the worst and best comic book games ever made.
We had to dig pretty far back in the vault for this one, but The Uncanny X-Men was an awful game. Now, since this was the NES era, we could forgive its many graphical glitches—after all, even the Mega Man games suffered from this from time to time—but its difficulty has caused many a gamer to break controllers in frustration. 8-bit games were notorious for being punishingly hard, but X-Men took this to another level entirely.
First of all, if you decided to play the game in single-player mode, you were given one of the most worthless A.I. partners in gaming history. They would generally follow directly behind you, hitting every obstacle you had just dodged, dying within seconds. On top of this, players had to choose between two paths for reaching the boss fight. Choose wrong and you'd have to go back to the beginning and start the entire terribly designed stage over again. Or you could just shut the thing off and play something else, which would undoubtedly save you quite a bit of controller replacement money.
Games that take place underwater almost never work. (Just ask Twisted Metal's little brother, Critical Depth.) But of all the games set in an ocean environment, Battle for Atlantis has to be the absolute worst.
Now, if this formula is ever to work, the key is going to be a solid game engine that makes underwater navigation smooth. Aquaman fails at this. Horribly. Controlling Aquaman's swimming is a practice in patience, as he has a tendency to end up sideways and upside-down. And the combat system drained all the fun out of fighting baddies underwater by being obnoxiously boring and slow-paced. You did get to pilot an underwater craft at one point, but it wasn't worth suffering through everything that came before it.
To make things even worse, the backgrounds looked like hastily crafted cardboard cutouts that came on the back of a cereal box. And this was a GameCube game, meaning it had absolutely no excuse for graphics that would have looked bad in the N64 era.
Battle for Atlantis brought absolutely nothing to the table besides its careful rendering of the flowing locks of Aquaman's gorgeous blond hair.
For those who read comic books, Catwoman is a sexy and intriguing character who straddles the fence between hero and villain while wrestling with a dark past. For everyone else, she's the star of a horrible movie and several horrible video games. But the worst of the Catwoman games has to be EA's attempt at milking the aforementioned horrible film's hype. Well, the movie didn't fare too well, and neither did the game based off of it. It basically sapped all the awesomeness out of Catwoman, and I doubt I'll ever forgive EA (or Warner Bros.) for that.
Oh, and does anyone else remember her skin being inexplicably shiny?
The formula is simple: "Hulk Smash!" That sounds awesome, right?
Well, apparently you can screw that up pretty badly, as proved by The Incredible Hulk: The Pantheon Saga. One of the game's biggest mistakes was delivering a type of gameplay (sidescrolling beat 'em up) that was simply uncool at that point in time. But even if it could use "retro throwback" as a viable defense—it can't—it was impossible to ignore the blandness of this game. In fact, it was almost like it was intentionally whipping us in the face with a wet blandness towel. Over and over and over again.
The consensus is pretty much unanimous on this. Superman 64 was the most terrible comic book video game ever made, and perhaps the worst game to not have its overstock of unsold copies buried in a desert somewhere. The graphics were laughably bad, even for the N64 era. Metropolis looked like a block city built by a kid with a fever of 104 who then threw up on it and went back to bed. Calling the building interiors boring would be actually doing the game a favor.
But graphics are meaningless when the gameplay works. It's too bad that the control scheme reduced the Man of Steel to a sniveling wimp who would get stuck in corners and glitch out, constantly having violent seizures. But he could fly, right? Yes. Into buildings. Over and over again.
Trust us, this game managed to create a new low for game design. Perhaps a mass desert burial of all remaining copies is in order.