If The Avengers’ billion-dollar success at the box office last year is any indication, superheroes aren’t an exclusively nerdy commodity anymore. Between saving the day and their flamboyant costumes, they also make natural targets for video game adaptations. After a lifetime of flops, Batman finally got worthy games in the Arkham series. The X-Men have gotten plenty of great games, and so has Spider-Man. Plenty of fun has been had in tights, capes, and cowls.
Then there are superheroes that don’t get the digital tribute that they deserve. They’re the ones slumming it in half-assed movie tie-ins, despite the fact that they’re perfect fodder for a video game romp. They’ve earned an honest shot, damn it.
Like the other superheroes on this list, ol’ Shellhead has been a part of ensemble casts in plenty of fine video games — the Marvel vs. Capcom and Ultimate Alliance series jump immediately to mind. When it comes to solo outings, however, it’s been one dud after another. The highest profile flops were the movie tie-ins for the first two Iron Man films, and considering how terrible they were it’s not difficult to understand why there’s nothing for IM3.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Tony Stark’s Iron Man armor can fly, fire repulsor beams, and shoot rockets — it’s a wearable, form-fitting fighter jet, for crying out loud. There should be more great Iron Man games than we can shake a stick at by now.
Despite being one of the most prolific heroes in all of comics, Green Lanterns — be they Hal Jordan or otherwise — haven’t had much screen time in the gaming space. Hal Jordan has been in both of NetherRealms’ DC fighting games (Injustice and MK vs DC Universe), while others have made their way into other DC team-up games. 2011 brought us Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters as a decent movie tie-in, but the attachment to a critically panned film didn’t do it any favors.
Green Lantern rings are some of the most powerful items in the DC Universe, with the wearer having the ability to conjure constructs limited only by their imaginations and willpower. With the Green Lantern Corps’ role as glorified space cops and a rainbow of rival Lantern Corps as folly, there’s plenty for a talented developer to work with.
The Star-Spangled Sentinel is probably the corniest superhero of them all on paper. He was clearly created as a reaction to the events of World War II, and a name like Captain America probably made finding a worldwide audience tricky. His unmatched tenacity and sense of honor, however, have made him the heart and soul of the Avengers for almost 50 years and endeared him to comic fans everywhere.
Like Iron Man, though, he’s the victim of shoddy starring roles when he’s outside of team-up games. His 8-bit offering was dull and Captain America: Super Soldier in 2011 was unimpressive. While Spider-Man is definitely the face of the company, Cap is the one that every hero in the Marvel universe aspires to be. Why isn’t there a game to match?