Superheroes are cool. See, it’s a common misconception that comic books and adults in capes and spandex is in some way strange or unusual and should therefore be shunned or avoided at all costs. All you need to do these days is take a trip to the cinema to see how many of the upcoming blockbusters happen to star a super solider or a wall crawler to get conclusive proof that: Superheroes are cool.
So, with that in mind (and considering the fact that I haven’t written a post since before Christmas) here is a list of what I consider to be the tip of the top of superhero video games. It won’t be too hard, because a lot of them are absolute piles of crap *cough* Superman 64 *cough*.
(Oh, just to be clear, you won’t be seeing Arkham City or Asylum on this list because frankly, they’ve been praised enough and it seems an obvious choice)
LEGO Marvel Superheroes (Wii U, Xbox One, PS4)
I’ve always loved LEGO games. Seriously, it appeals to the obsessive compulsive desires in me to collect and 100% every game I play. LEGO games feels so much rewarding because they tend to have a hefty stack of secrets and collectibles.
LEGO Marvel is no exception. The biggest LEGO game yet does not skimp on the fan service, letting you fly or drive or web swing through a fully realized New York as one of around 200 Marvel characters ranging from Spider Man and Iron Man to the more obscure, like Howard the Duck.
Essentially, what any fan wants from a superhero game is to feel connected to that world that they love so much. LEGO Marvel comes remarkably close, from taking down Sentinels in Central Park to just jumping of the top of the Empire State Building for laughs, it’s sense of immersion and fun is unparalleled for any other Marvel game so far.
Batman Vengeance (PS2, Gamecube)
I have a feeling most people who’ve played this will disagree with me. I’ll admit that Vengeance has some glaring flaws; combat is absolutely atrocious, cycling through gadgets can become fiddly and confusing and simple jumps can become needlessly difficult.
However, this game was based on the world of Batman: The Animated Series. You know the one. The best cartoon ever to have existed in this or any other universe. It had a genuinely engaging and exciting story and made an effort to change up game play by having sequences in the Bat mobile and the Batplane.
It also featured the voice work of the inimitable Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill as Batman and The Joker, long before Arkham reared its head. That’s worth the ticket price alone.
Spider Man 2 (Gamecube, Xbox, PS2)
I doubt there are many people who can say a bad word about this one. Pretty much the first open world superhero game and it nailed it on the first time out.
Spider Man fan or not, swinging through a fully working New York (gobby pedestrians and all) at top speeds and taking out bad guys or jumping into car chases was all kinds of awesome.
Sure, it had some shitty indoor levels, but the combat was cool, dodging bullets with your Spider sense made you feel like a PRINCE among men and most importantly, you could tie thugs to lamp posts upside down and beat on ’em for as long as you wanted. God bless you, Spider Man 2.
Spider Man (PS1, N64)
The first video game I remember absolutely loving. I have nothing but awesome memories of this video game. It was funny, it was challenging, it was packed full of secrets, cameos (Daredevil, bitches) power ups (FLAME WEBBING) collectibles, alternate costumes (Scarlet Spider was awesome) and cool references (On one level, you could find the Baxter Building and prompt a cutscene with the Human Torch) and it was stuffed to the brim with everyone’s favorite villains.
The boss fights were always interesting and always had a twist. The level designs always provided an ample mix of platform, puzzle combat and stealth. Above all though, the game was funny. It just felt like a Spider Man adventure, just absolutely over the top and batshit crazy, but it knew it was stupid and reveled in that stupidity.
It’s also important to remember that the last boss was the Carnage symbiote merged with Doc Ock, and when you’re seven years old that is literally the coolest shit ever (even if it did used to scare the bejeebus out of me).
Also; FLAME WEBBING.
Ever since the tragic yet painfully inevitable news that Nintendo shut down the Kickstarter campaign funding a Metroid Fan Film, I’ve been dreaming dreams of a world where Nintendo weren’t burned by that god awful Mario film. I dream of a world where Nintendo trust studios with their franchises, and great films are made.
Lets be honest, of all of Nintendo’s properties, the Metroid series would translate best to the big screen. An ass kicking female heroine who hunts down aliens on hostile and barren planets in an awesome Iron Manesque suit of armour? Pitch that to any studio and they’d drop to their knees to administer fillacio to you so quickly they’d probably fall through the floor.
So here are five directors I really think could take Metroid and absolutely nail it. If you disagree, let me know. You’re probably right. Just remember, at the end of the day they can never make a film as bad as Mario Bros.
Let’s get the most glaringly in your face dance around with it’s trousers down with OBVIOUS written across both cheeks choice out of the way, shall we? Metroid when it boils down to it is about one single bad ass lady who is being stalked by terrifying aliens. I’m not sure, but I think Ridley Scott has done something like that at some point in his career.
All we need to do is swap the dark spaceship for a dark alien planet and give John Hurt a call to see if he’s up for having a Metroid hatchling burst out of his chest.
In my opinion, Whedon is the undisputed king of creating awesome female role models. Buffy the Vampire Slayer alone was full of them and was by no means limited to the starring character. Spin off Angel was full of them and The Avengers had Black Widow beating down alien heinie with the best of the blokes.
If anyone could deliver a character driven Metroid and ensure that Samus Aran was more than just a vacuous babe in a tank for the lads to drool over, it’s Whedon. My only concern would be that Aran’s trademark stoic nature would limit Whedon’s natural talent for zingy dialogue.
Considering this is the man who made Star Trek (really, really) cool and is undertaking the momentous task of making Star Wars good again, JJ Abrams knows how to make a pretty bloody good sci fi movie. Let’s face it; if he can make us all forget The Phantom Menace, he could absolutely crush it if Ninty gave him the chance.
Forgive me if I seem presumptuous, but I think every Metroid fan can agree that the absolute distinguishing characteristic of (most) games in the series is isolation. it’s that feeling that made Super Metroid so incredibly immersive and Prime so tense.
At it’s heart I do think Metroid would be best suited as a thoughtful, psychological horror first and an action film second. The man responsible for One Flew Over.. and The Shining could get it so right. Seriously, just imagine for a second The Shining, in space, with Metroids, and no Jack Nicholson.
Okay so that doesn’t really paint the picture I’m trying to convey. If any director could give us a film that gives fans the feeling they get when they’re actually playing Metroid, it’s Stanley Kubrick.
Who knows? Years from now we could all be attending the premiere of Metroid 4 and the franchise could become the most revered sci fi movie property of all time. Probably not though.