There are a ton of superhero games for the Genesis, and by this point in the project, Stryker and I are getting pretty sick of them. So we gathered up 5 of the remaining titles and decided to put them through their paces. If they’re any good, we’ll let them live to fight another day. If they suck, they’re getting eliminated. Given our experiences with these kinds of games thus far, I wouldn’t get your hopes up.
Game #1 – Capatin America and the Avengers
Overview: Beat ’em up in which Captain America, Vision, Iron Man and Hawkeye exchange some, uh, interesting dialogue:
Superhero Treatment: Perhaps in an effort not to show up Captain America, none of the Avengers appears to have any kind of superpowers other than punching things. This is particularly notable for Hawkeye, who is always shown with his bow and arrow in hand, yet still resorts to punching his foes. Ironman has been reduced to a point where his most devastating attack involves picking up an empty Coke can and flinging it at his enemies. Keep in mind he can normally shoot lasers out of his palms.
Notable Feature: One of the more impressive translation jobs of the 16-bit era, including conversations like “There’s no escape!” follwed by “No, it is YOU who will be escaping!”
Gameplay: Braindead enemies who, despite having guns, pretty much just walk up to you and get punched, horrendous graphics, and limited control all go out of their way to ensure that this game isn’t any fun. Your actions are limited to jumping and punching, meaning that the guys from Double Dragon have more versatility than some of Marvel’s most prominent characters.
Conclusion: The goofy dialogue provides the only small amount of amusement to be found in this game. We’ve kicked educational games off the list that were more fun than this. ELIMINATE.
Game #2 – The Punisher
Overview: Final Fight style game where you play as the Punisher and clean up the streets of… well, just about everyone. Let’s hope they were all criminals.
Superhero Treatment: The Punisher doesn’t have any true superpowers, beyond a ravenous appetite for destruction and wearing a shirt with a skull on it. So yeah, the game managed to capture that pretty well.
Notable Feature: Just to be sure that nobody mistakes him for merely beating up the criminals without killing them, most stages feature a few sections where the Punisher whips out his sidearm and starts shooting his attackers. In the balls.
Gameplay: Capcom already had a lot of experience with beat ’em ups, and that influence shows. This game is basically Final Fight with Marvel Comics characters, but that’s a good thing. Enemies find a nice middle ground in between being cheap and being punching bags, the game is fast-paced, and the controls are tight. Shooting sections add some much needed variety. It’s a two button game like Capatin America was, but somehow manages to feel nowhere near as limited.
Conclusion: The Punisher is awesome. PASS.
Game #3 – The Tick
Overview: Beat’em up (surprise!) in which you play as The Tick, the superhero parody beloved by comic-book geeks and nerdy hipsters all across the internet. It was like, the best cartoon show ever, man.
Superhero Treatment: Although the Tick has some superhero powers, such as super-strength and near-invincibility, his main appeal was spoofing mainstream comic book heroes. That kind of thing doesn’t really translate to a game very well.
Notable Feature: Rather than try to recreate the humor of the comic book and animated series, comedy in The Tick is pretty much limited to some humorous animations that get old after roughly 10 seconds.
Gameplay: Not good – the majority of the game is just repeating the same attacks on the same palette swapped enemies, who display little variation in AI routine. There are also some jumping sections so cheap as to make the final stage of Double Dragon seem like a Godsend of level design. You also don’t get anywhere near enough moves to stay interested and can’t even grab or throw your enemies.
Conclusion: This game’s a total disappointment. But after the atrocity that was the live action series, Tick fans ought to be used to that by now. ELIMINATE.
Game #4 – The Death and Return of Superman
Overview: Superman must stop Doomsday from destroying Metropolis. This involves a lot of punching. And dying.
Superhero Treatment: The game actually gives Superman some of his abilities from the comics, including the ability to fly and to shoot lasers out of his eyes. The fact that we find this noteworthy probably explains a lot about why we think so poorly of superhero games in general.
Notable Feature: Superman, for whatever reason, has apparently been cursed with tiny little Tyrannosaur arms, which makes it kind of hard to beat people up efficiently.
Gameplay: The stages go on too long, and there’s usually only two or three different enemies per stage, making things repetitive. Superman’s eye lasers tend to do more damage to himself than whoever he shoots, limiting most of his attacks to punching out his enemies. And since Superman has the ability to fly, you can’t help but wonder – why wouldn’t Superman just fly past all these lackeys and go right to the boss?
Conclusion: This game’s not horrible, but we found still ourselves getting pretty bored by the end of the second level. ELIMINATE.
Game #5 – The Adventures of Batman & Robin
Overview: Revolutionary, one-of-a-kind, puzzle-based adventure game where the world’s greatest detectives must collect clues to figure out and prevent the Joker’s evil plot… No wait, of course not – this is another game where you walk around and beat the crap out of people.
Superhero Treatment: Batman’s main power in the comics was his array of technological gizmos that he relied on. This is represented in the game by him throwing crap at his enemies. Certain power-ups in the game upgrade this to throwing giant glowing blobs of snot at them.
Notable Feature: The game actually lets you choose whether to play as Batman or Robin… you know, in case Robin’s mom wants to play or something.
Gameplay: In the first level, clowns try to hit you with their flashlights and you throw crap at them. Then you get bored. I’m just going to go ahead and assume the rest of the game is like that, too.
Conclusion: On the Batman awfulness scale, this game ranks somewhere in between Arnold Schwarzenegger’s portrayal of Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin, and the Penguin attacking Gotham City with a bunch of missile-equipped penguins under mind control in Batman Returns. ELIMINATE.