I’ve got video games on the brain.

I’m on a video game kick this week. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been playing Mario Kart Wii for days… actually, that is the reason. I’ve got games on the brain.

Mario Kart, an absolutely amazing game, got me thinking about some of the other great and terrible games I have encountered in my life. Some of the games have coincided with comic book characters – so let’s talk about those (as this site dictates).

The most recent comic-licensed game that I purchased was Marvel Ultimate Alliance for PS2. I cannot remember the exact circumstances, but I seem to remember Ron being at my house and we decided that we should buy some games and rent some games. Marvel Ultimate Alliance was purchased, LEGO Star Wars Trilogy was rented.

Now, I am not saying that we made the wrong decision…however…if I were to do it all over again I’d probably do it the other way. But I’ll discuss that later. Let’s talk about Marvel Ultimate Alliance. This game is not at all terrible. In many ways it’s like a glorified Double Dragon. The premise is that you are one of the “good guys” in the Marvel Universe and you are working for/with S.H.I.E.L.D. to fight various “bad guys” in the Marvel Universe. You work in teams of four – and you can pick any four characters to work together. I tend to keep my rotation with Spider-Man, the Human Torch, Wolverine and Iceman. There’s no rhyme or reason to my choices.

My main complaint with the game is the viewing angle – and when you compound that with trying to see/control four characters on the screen – it gets old quickly. It is a standard scrolling screen and fight game – but the spacing and/or sizing and/or angle is just wrong. When I am watching TV or movies, my TV seems to be adequate if not large. However, when I am playing this game I feel like my screen needs to be about three times bigger – without the actual characters getting bigger. They always seem to be disappearing, getting stuck behind something, or there is an enemy just beyond that screen that is hurting us even though we cannot see him.

That being said, there are still plenty of fun things in this game. The most notable is playing the original-ish version of Pitfall. When I first happened on that happy occurrence I felt the need to tell my wife. Sadly she had no idea what I was talking about, which in a way, proves its greatness. Anyway, if you’re a die-hard Marvel fan this game is worth playing.

Going back in history a little bit, one of the greatest games ever was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which I played at the arcade and then eventually on the for days… actually, that is the reason. I’ve got games on the brain.   original Nintendo Entertainment System. This game was GNARLY. (See what I did there – I channeled Michelangelo). It was basically just a scrolling screen fight game – but at the time there was nothing even close to it. I mean, the graphics were so awesome it actually looked like the cartoon. You had your choice of any of the four turtles, all with individual strengths and weaknesses. I seem to recall using Leonardo a lot. If my memory serves me correctly, I think that you could throw sewer covers. That game, like all aspects of TMNT, was AWESOME!  I’m so glad that franchise was at its peak during my childhood… like LEGOS.  

…and segue…

…which brings me to the current LEGO game series. Currently the only game that is available to buy is LEGO Star Wars – and I think that you can buy the original Trilogy or the complete saga – with Jar Jar Binks! However, coming out soon are the Jones Trilogy and Batman versions. So, as I discuss the awesomeness that is the available game (Star Wars), you can use your imagination to translate that to Indy and Batman.

First of all – this is a game about Star Wars… and everything is made out of LEGOS. I really don’t need to keep going – but I will. The first time I played was on rental weekend with Ron. We rented it for PS2 and it was just the original trilogy. We beat the game, and yet had only “completed” like 20% of the game. That means that there is still roughly 80% of awesomeness out there! Sadly I had to return the game (the flaw of renting), but I now own the complete saga for the Wii – and it’s even better. It’s better because you can use the Wii-mote as a lightsaber!  A LIGHTSABER!

That means that you can walk up to – well anything, draw your “lightsaber” and then shake the Wii-mote and you’ll swing your lightsaber. But wait, it gets better. Whenever you “break” or kill something, it explodes into LEGO pieces. LEGOS! Additionally there are LEGO pieces along the way that you can build things with. Ultimately, it seems so childish and maybe it is. But, as many hours as I have spent in front of this game, it doesn’t get boring. Maybe it takes me back to my childhood or maybe the programmers have a magic touch, but this series of games are absolutely worth playing. They are just fun.

These games are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many comic games out there, and with movies like Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk coming out this summer there are even more games on the horizon. And, apparently, video game technologies are getting better by the second. Actually, I mentioned that the graphics were “awesome” in the TMNT game – but that’s just my memory. I’m sure that if I put it in now I’d laugh until I peed myself. Seriously though – check out this quick clip of the new Iron Man game that comes out today. The graphics on this really are awesome.

I’ve got a Wii to get back to!


  1. I’m so broke from video games with Mario Kart Wii, GTA4, Iron Man, and Wii Fit(coming up). Video games are awesome but if you only have a Wii Gordon go purchase a 360 cus the video game world is not complete without one.

  2. I was so bummed when the LEGO STAR WARS game I got for Christmas was broken.  I really wanted Wii/lightsaber action.  I can’t wait for LEGO BATMAN for the Wii.

  3. The last comic book video game I played was MARVEL ULTIMATE ALLIANCE with Josh at his place the night before we flew out for Wonder Con this year.  It was tons of fun, but you’re totally right – the viewing angle blows.

    The last comic book movie game that I played a lot that I owned was JUSTICE LEAGUE HEROES which is basically the same game as MARVEL ULTIMATE ALLIANCE, and has the same viewing angle problem.

    SPIDER-MAN 2 and ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN were a lot of fun too. 

  4. PymSlap (@alaska_nebraska) says:

    There were a lot of things I loved about the Ultimate Spider-Man game, like collecting comic book covers, and the terrific voice over work, and playing Venom in a barroom brawl against Wolverine, but it sucked that it was so hard to unlock Peter’s black costume.

  5. I’ve played the Iron Man demo for 360 and was impressed so I’m picking it up today.  Ult. Spiderman, Spiderman 2, and Hulk Ultimate Destruction are the best superhero games.  Spiderman 3 tried but was just too short I hope the new Spiderman Web of Shadows is the game that improves on Spiderman 3 making it what it should have been.

  6. This may be sorta OT (though it does have a comic).  I just bought another time card for World of Warcraft.  I stayed away for about a year but I seem to be getting that itch again.  Somebody save me before I go down that dark path again.  

    the Tiki 

  7. I still have to rave about City of Heroes. I’m 15 months into this game and am still addicted. The best part is just the ability to make different heroes and villians, pick their power sets and costumes…the perfect fanboy game IMHO. Great topic as always , gordon!

    …"got a pocket full of quarters and i’m heading to the arcade…."

    (If you know this song reference, you and i, my friend, are old….! sigh)

  8. This was great, the screenshot of the Turtles game alone made it awesome!

    I’m still resisting getting a Wii, even though all my friends have one, as I’m waiting for the PS3 to become affordable (especially now blu-ray’s won), but that Lego Batman game looks pretty damn cool.

    Best game of all time in my opinion? Batman Begins on PS2 or Goldeneye on N64. 

  9. @lanter4life – I accept gifts.  I’m happy to send you my mailing address if it means getting an XBOX 360.

    @thefreakytiki – STAY AWAY!!!

    @target242 – *sigh…I’m old.

  10. @conor: Lego BATMAN is sooo gonna kick arse.  Lego Indiana Jones looks good too.

    I personally think the biggest fanboy game for videogamers is Super Smash Bros. Brawl… or Marvel vs Capcom 

  11. Batman Begins was a fun game, IMO.  Lil’ easy but good replay value.

    Loved Spider-man 3 and Hulk: Ultimate Destruction.

    Iron Man, based off the demo, looks as good as the movie.  Which I saw.  And it is GOOD. 


  12. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 on the DC destroyed my life…it was that amazing.  I actually really, really enjoyed Marvel Ultimate Alliance on the 360 (I loved Cap’s shield throw…once powered up, you an indestructible force).  Did anyone ever play the Punisher game on the Gensis?  That game was loads of fun, and when you played with a friend, they played as Nick Fury. Also, another favorite of mine is Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction.

    To be honest, I tend to not play comic book/movie based games because 9.8 out of 10 times the games are pretty bad.

    As for Mario Kart Wii, any of those that frequent the forums know of my love of this game.  Even though I don’t know what it means, I earned my golden streering wheel last night online.  That was pretty awesome.

  13. After re-reading my previous post, I came to the conclusion that on Fridays, I cannot spell.  Apologies.

  14. A comic book video game article with no mention of Spider-Man 2? This is crazy!

    I think I need to go buy Lego Star Wars for my Wii. Right now I only have Wii sports, and this sounds like the perfect way to start my game purchases. Followed by Lego Batman of course.

  15. @ Conor

    Justice League Heroes was a lot of fun but after a while things got incredibly difficult (for a non-gamer like myself) and, as you mentioned, the angle was always off. I enjoyed it for a couple of days, and then never really touched it.

    I also played Marvel Nemesis recently. That was pretty good.

  16. I agree Gordon TMNT is one of the greatest video games. I also love the Lego virsons of movie and stuff like that better then the reg virsons.

  17. I recently bought MUA for the 360 and didn’t have to many problems with the camera. Better for the 360? I don’t know.

     Growing up superhero games were huge for me. Off the top of my head the main ones I remember playing were: Batman (the 89′ movie game), Batman Returns for the SNES, Spider-Man and the X-men: Arcade’s Revenge, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, TMNT IV: Turtles through time, Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage, Hulk (The Original SNES version). 

    Being older I’ve played the movie games nearly to death and of course X-men Legends. 


  18. The game that most people missed that was every bit as fun, and maybe even better than Marvel Ultimate Alliance was Fantastic Four ROTSS. I grabbed it not long ago because I saw you could buy it new for $20 (you can get it on EBAY for less than $10). It plays just like Marvel Ultimate Alliance, yet has the camera angle you were probably hoping for in M.U.A. It lacks the assortment of characters, but the characters you do get: Johnny, Reed, Sue and Ben control wonderfully. It also lacks the online play that M.U.A. offered. Nonetheless, it was a hell of a lot of fun to play and even had Skrulls! Rent it at least.

  19. ultimate alliance didn’t have the best gameplay, but there are SO many marvel heroes and villains in the game that it’s hard not to have fun; getting all the outfis, and using all the different powers, and forming different teams to get bonuses…that game kept me busy for a while.

  20. I loved Marvel Ultimate alliance, I thought they did a great job. The downloadable characters definitely made the game though, Hulk Venom Magneto, Sabertooth, and Dr. Doom; the lineup was incredible!

    My favorite character had to be the Hulk, I just started reading comics when I started playing and man I thought it was awesome they had the planet hulk outfit it was killer.

     My go to team almost every time was the Hulk, Thor, Sabertooth, and the human torch.

    I love that game =P

  21. @target 242 City of Heroes was ok.  Cyrptic Studios broke up with COH and started making the Marvel MMO which died but the corpse of that game is going to be a new game for 360 and PC called Champions.


    If you even remotely enjoyed COH check this game out it looks awesome 

  22. @gordon- Sorry Gordon I’m not rich but I will tell you that I love my Wii but when it comes down to it 360 has the Horsepower.  Compare Spiderman 3 on Wii and 360, compare Marvel Ultimate Alliance on both, Hell tell me if Iron Man on Wii is a waggle fest.  If you want Mario’s, Zelda, Metroid, and the rare 3rd party title like Geometry Wars (which i do) then Wii but for every other game like GTA4, Soul Calibur 4, Halo, and the only good version of Rock Band its 360.

  23. I love me some Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. Deadpool is SO freakin’ great in that game. And the really cool thing about LEGO Star Wars? I can play it with my wife! Yes, when you are with a woman and that woman says "Hey, let’s play LEGO Star Wars" you need to hold on to that woman forever.

  24. Marvel Ultimate Alliance is the best licensed superhero game ever made as far I’m concerned. 

    But when you move away from licenses there’s some much better offerings. Like Crackdown for the Xbox 360 or the Freedom Force series for the PC. 

  25. Marvel Nemesis is an insult to gaming.

  26. On a slight tangent: It’s interesting to observe the apparent disinterest comics fans have in Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe.

  27. I bought the Iron Man video game for 360.  It seems a bit repeative and follows the movie storyline mostly but still very fun.  Also the flying mechanic seems like the one from the Superman Returns game which was the only good thing from that game.

  28. Have to second the praise for Freedom Force for the PC.  Really fun, Kirby tribute game.  My favorite comic book related video game is definitely Ultimate Alliance.  I’ve played through it multiple times, but can always pick it up again. It’s just fun to play as different characters and master their powers.

    I bought the Iron Man game after watching the movie Friday.  It’s pretty good so far.  I played it for a few levels on Normal difficulty, but finally started over on Easy.  It was just too frustrating on Normal.  I’m sure there are 12-year-olds who can beat it on hard, but there you go…

    Also, if you like puzzle games, like Puzzle-quest or those jewel puzzle games, check out Spandex Force, which is a superhero themed puzzle game (with its tongue firmly placed in its cheek).

  29. My all time favorite comic book games are Ultimate Spider-Man and X-Men on Genesis.  I also enjoyed the Marvel fighting games. I’m sure there are more I can’t think of right now too.

     Did anyone play the Quake based game X-Men: Rise of Apocalypse? Quake mod I think with X-Men clones as villians and the hero was made by Magneto. Multi-Player let you play as the X-Men. It was kind of fun from what I remember.