Carl Schafer offers his thoughts on dozens of video games based on popular comic book heroes and villains.

Here at The Gameroom Blitz, we pride ourselves on informing you, the reader, on what entertainment is so great that there could be potential for a trouser-tearing erection and a possible need for clean up on Aisle 4, and what is so terrible that by simply playing it, you’re ready to move out of your parents’ basement, swear off that GameCube controller forever, and repeatedly slam your hands in the car door until your fingers break for even thinking about it. This article is absolutely no different.

In this particular article, we’re going to take a look at how the comic book media has faired when some game developer with a twinkle in their eye and a dream in their pocket decided to make a video game based on it. Now you see, I love comic books. I also love video games. When you smash the two of them together, it is possible to achieve fantastic results... something so great, you'll wonder how you managed to live without this great combo.  Then you try mixing other things you love, such as orange soda, a jack-in-the-box, monkeys, and your sister’s underwear. And just like your sick, sick experiments, game companies have also come up with results that are... well, far less than stellar, except not nearly as disturbing. After consulting with a crack team of reviewers who are destined to die alone and never change their Venom t-shirts, we have come up with this list of the top-of-the-line comic to video game transitions and the ones that make you wish the developers’ parents were killed in an alleyway, making them decide to take up a life of fighting crime instead of making you play their assloaf of a game.

We’re going to start off with the best ones. The ones that made you happy to be a comic book fan and which made you believe these heroes will never die in your imagination. Following that, we’re going to take a look at the ones that could only be made worse if Rob Liefeld made the games himself.

We’ve come up with this unique rating system. The scale is set from zero to five comics. Each rating represents a specific moment, event, or character in comic book history, with five being comic nirvana and zero being pretty much anything that had to do with the Spider-Clone from the mid-90’s.

Here’s the breakdown:


This is roughly the equivalent of the Spider-Man movie and Captain America. It’s something that will stand the test of time for generations to come. It’s something that is virtually flawless in just about every way.


This is pretty much what the Marvels series and Batman equate to. A bit rough around the edges, but still great in their own way.


Much like Daredevil and the Image company in the early 90’s, you can tell they tried hard to do something with it, but not everything fell into place. However, there’s still a couple nice moments to be had, after all is said and done. Pretty much middle of the road.


This is where things start going downhill, like the idea to turn Superman into an “energy being” (or whatever) and Spawn. There were good things the developers wanted to do with the game, but it all ended up buried in a pile of crap, forcing you to to dig deep to find the good stuff. But hell, at least it’s there. You just have to have the patience to wade through everything else that sucks first.


You can just look at this and tell it’s a bad idea, like the Heroes Reborn line and the Punisher as a demon hunting angel. It may not be the worst thing you’ve ever seen or played, but by god, it’s right up there. All you know for certain is that this idea should have been stopped long before it even started.



Ugh. Just... ugh. That's what you can say about the storyline which revealed that Spider-Man was really a clone, Wolverine beating Lobo in Marvel vs. DC #2, any of those “cool” dark vigilante-type characters, and so on. There’s absolutely no redeeming value whatsoever and needs to be thrown into a volcano or destroyed in a similar fashion. Nothing will ever be good about it. EVER.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time to get underway with The Gameroom Blitz’s feature article...

The Greatest Comic Book Video Games... OF ALL TIME!!!

Capcom Arcade, Saturn, Playstation

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that Capcom is pretty much the masters of their craft. Pretty much everything they put their paws on, they make work (with a couple of exceptions, which we won’t get into here...). Starting with X-Men: Children of the Atom, Capcom made a new series of arcade fighting games different from what they offered before with Street Fighter. Capcom offered beautiful animation and hyper fast play to simulate the action you would see if an X-Men comic sprung to life. X-Men was a great fighting game, but things got even better when Capcom put out another game based on the entire Marvel Universe using the same engine, Marvel Super Heroes. Then everything just melted and came together like butter. Delicious butter. With minor touchups to the animation engine and a brilliant cast of fighters, it became THE definitive super-hero fighting game and shows how a real super-hero throw down would take place. Everything from Spider-Man’s taking a picture of his defeated foe for his boss, J.J., the eagle landing on Captain America’s arm after the fight, to Iron Man’s weaponry and power armor. Marvel Super Heroes does it just right. If there were any problems, it would probably just be the fact that the X-Men characters, Wolverine, Psylocke, Magneto, and Juggernaut, were just simply lifted out of Children of the Atom and put into MSH, but no biggie. Oh, and maybe the choice of evil-doers could have been a bit better. But hell, they had Dr. Doom, so that instantly makes everything all better, doesn’t it? Bottom line, if you come across this game at the arcade, drop a couple quarters in it and give it a run. You’ll remember what 2D fighting was like before it crossed into all this “Versus” series nonsense.

Sega Genesis

I’ll admit, I never owned a Genesis. I was never crazy about owning one, since I had my Super Nintendo and all. But once I saw my friend’s copy of X-Men that he had rented, I instantly fell in love with it. The game featured great graphics, decent sound, solid control, and some really fun side-scrolling action which was only made better by the addition of a second player. The ability to summon other X-Men buddies was a nice touch too and it helped because they were useful too. For instance, Iceman would slide in and create a bridge of ice so you could walk over a pit filled with acid or Storm would fly down to blast all the enemies on the screen with DEADLY hail. But the game did have a few faults that keep it from grabbing that elusive perfect 5 rating. One, your meter for your mutant powers was too quickly drained and it also didn’t make sense. Like, why can Wolverine only have his claws extended for about 30 seconds and then not be able to use them again? Come on, they’re mutants! I mean, there’s a guy that can turn into steel and a huge fat guy that becomes immobile whenever he wants to, among others. Their powers don’t just “turn off” because some little meter runs out. But perhaps the thing I hated most about the game was at the end where you had to “reset Cerebro”, where you actually had to RESET THE GAME to get to the next level. I cannot count the number of times my friends and I thought the game had just frozen up or something at that point and just turned it off to do something else. Aside from that ridiculous idea, the game is great. Dust off the ol’ Genesis, pick up an old used copy, and give it a whirl. If need be, download the ROM for your favorite Genesis emulator and have a blast... you know, up until the part where you need to reset the game to beat it.

Parker Bros. Atari 2600

Do-do-do-DO-do-do-doooo! Do-do-do-DO-do-do-doooo!!! Possibly the catchiest theme song Spidey had until that dumb “weaves a web!/Any size!/Catches criminals just like FLLIIIIEESSSSSS!!!” tune came along. The mission was simple. All you had to do was get Spider-Man to the top of the building to stop the Green Goblin from doing whatever the hell bad guys did in the Atari days. Sound easy? Well, not when you have residents in the building you’re trying to climb up throwing shit at you and bombs littered about the area! But alas, it’s all part of the hero’s job! And when you finally get to the top of the building to face off against Green Goblin!... You get to do it all over again. Err, yeah. Oh well. It was fun for the time.



Released around the same time as the Batman movie from 1989, this game tied into the movie with enemies and stages from it and added other random nonsense, like fighting giant rats in the sewers and stuff, because it was an NES game after all. I guess just be thankful there wasn’t any kind of “Ice Level” or anything. But it was cool since it was probably the closest thing you were going to get to a super-hero Ninja Gaiden. Batman could climb walls by jumping back and forth between them and select a load enemy dispatching weaponry, like his batarangs, some kind of gun, and a ninja star that split into three stars. It might not have been exactly like the comic or movie, but hell, it was still damn sweet. Not to mention, the graphics for the time were outstanding (“Oh my god! That looks JUST LIKE Joker from the movie! Except not as green.”). If there was anything bad about it, it was just the case of “NES syndrome” it had, which means the game got retardedly difficult at the end and the only way to beat it was break out the handy-dandy Game Genie or smash the game to itty-bitty pieces and admit that you’re a failure for the rest of your life.


Playstation, N64, Dreamcast

In an age where practically anything that was licensed was guaran-damn-teed to be crap, Activision picked up the right to Marvel Comics characters and put Neversoft to work right away and make a kick ass game... or ELSE! Well, lucky for them, Spider-Man turned out awesome. A great game was made even better by a number of things. One, Spider-Man’s commentary and wit was actually funny. Two, all sorts of sweet extras were packed in, like the Fantastic Four’s Baxter Building in the background of the first level. And three, the secrets and hidden costumes were really cool and ranged from neat to obscenely obscure (like Spidey’s Captain Universe costume). Web swinging may have been a bit more tough than it needed to be and sometimes the camera didn’t exactly cooperate, but neat levels, like the helicopter chase along the roof tops and fighting Scorpion who’s holding J. Jonah Jameson hostage, easily made up for it. Just about everyone and their momma has a Playstation these days and you can easily find Spider-Man in the Greatest Hits line. Twenty bucks is all you need to experience some great super-hero action.


Super NES

This game is a pain in the ass. But still, as frustrating as it can be sometimes, there’s no denying that it’s a great game. As you could probably tell, the game is based on the old animated series of the same name and Konami did a bang up job with it. It seemed like back in the 16-bit era, they were the only ones who could take a licensed game and make it work. Konami managed to get the graphics to look perfect, just like the show and for each level, you had to fight a different member of Batman’s rouge gallery. It was also cool how Konami incorporated different gameplay styles into the game, like side-scrolling (like chasing Joker through his fun house), top-down car chases (Two-Face just robbed a bank and you gotta chase him!) , and stealthy sneaking around (In the Gotham City Museum, Robin is captured by Penguin and if you want him back, you‘re going to sneak around and find him). The game would have been much cooler two-player with Robin at your side and not to mention, it would have made things much easier since sometimes the game got to be pretty frustrating for no good reason (like swinging on your grappling hook was stupidly hard or sometimes enemies would hit you no matter what). But hell, it’s STILL better than those new Batman games they’re putting out for the current crop of systems.


Super NES

Along the same lines as the Genesis X-Men game, this was a side-scrolling action game. But what made it different from the Genesis version, instead of simply hitting A so Cyclops could shoot his optic blast, you had to push Down, Down/Forward, Forward + Y, like in Street Fighter. It was neat idea that worked pretty well and because of it, you didn’t need to rely on a power meter to tell you how much “juice” you had to use your powers. You could just do them whenever the hell you wanted, just as long as you could remember your Street Fighter basics. What was also neat was the way each X-Man (Cyclops, Wolverine, Beast, Gambit, and Psylocke) had their own level to complete and make use of their powers in their own special way. The only problem with it was each character had two lives and when they died, it was game over for the rest of team. Meaning, if you beat Gambit’s, Psylocke’s, Cyclops’, and Wolverine’s levels, but you couldn’t pass Beast’s level... well, you were screwed. Another problem was the fact that since it was a side-scroller that played like a beat ‘em up like Final Fight, you were EASILY surrounded and could be wasted pretty quick if you weren’t careful. But the diverse cast of characters and the sheer amount of X-Men villains you could fight made it worth it.

Atari (aka Infogrames)


Normally Superman isn’t a name that’s synonymous with great games... and well, he still isn’t. The Man of Steel is a pretty solid game that takes a different approach to super-hero games. Instead of running back and forth punching whatever you saw, here you fly around Metropolis and fight while flying in a cool “Psychic Force” kind of way. It was really neat, but the problem was the game was merciless whenever it came to completing missions. Didn’t fly quite fast enough to catch up to that runaway train? Oops! Load your game and start over! Didn’t put out the fires on a building with your freeze breath in a certain order to keep the building from collapsing? Do it right next time, bastard! But first, reload your save file and start over! As you can probably imagine, this got fucking tiring REAL FAST. Another thing that was weird was the game supports the X-Box custom soundtrack feature with whatever music you have on your hard drive. Normally, I love this feature, but it just seemed out of place in this game. For instance, Superman’s being all heroic and saying stuff like, “Great Krypton! I HAVE to move that radio tower into position while I fight off those pesky B-13 robots!” all while “Kick the Can” from Dance Dance Revolution 4th Mix is playing in the background. Ok, so maybe that’s more my fault.


Super NES, Genesis

When beat ‘em ups were all the rage back in the 16-bit days, Sunsoft thought, “What do kids like better than Superman? SUPERMAN HITTING PEOPLE!!!”. So they made a Final Fight inspired game based on the comic book storyline of The Death of Superman. The first part of the game has Superman fighting his way through levels and beating up common street thugs until he comes across Doomsday as the level boss. And in a really weird moment, after you beat Doomsday senseless and his life bar is empty, he gets back up while Superman just stands there and then they hit each other at the same time and fall down, presuming they’re both dead. And then a big symbol flashes on the screen saying “LEVEL CLEAR!!!”. It was like, “So, uh... did I win?”. Well, you do win and then end up having to control Superboy, Eradicator, Cyborg Superman, and Steel. From that point on, it gets to be a pretty standard ass kicking fest. It’s not a bad game, but the only problem is that the game is a bit long for its own good. The game has somewhere around 15 stages or so (possibly more) and there’s not many continues to go around. Also, there’s no two player mode! How in the big blue hell do you have a beat ‘em up and no two player option?! For shame, Sunsoft. For shame.


Arcade, Genesis

This game was fun if only for the fact that chances are, this was the ONLY place you would ever see Nick Fury as a playable character in any game. Player one took control of Frank Castle himself and player two was Nick. The game was released during a period when Capcom hadn’t really been really doing much Street Fighter stuff and put out a crapload of side-scrolling beat ‘em ups. The game is pretty much standard fare of hitting people, moving down the screen, hitting more people, pick up a bat, and then hit even more people. But what was a cool change was the fact that from time to time, Punisher and Nick would take out their guns and you could blast away anything that moved, so when you fought Kingpin at the end of the game, you take out your piece and blast the living shit out of that fat bastard. Some things are far more satisfying than they should be, really.

Data East

Arcade, Super NES, Genesis

This game has always been a personal favorite of mine. Easily the best part about the game was the fact that Cap and his pals were so over-the-top heroic that you just NEEDED to play through the game to see what they were going to say next. Of course, everyone remembers the classic, “I CAN’T MOOOVVEE!!!” when you bought the farm. My favorite line from the game was when Namor, The Sub-Mariner jumped out of the water when you fought a bad guy on the aircraft carrier who jumped into the water moments before, to tell you, “HE WENT (dramatic pointing towards the water) THAT WAY!!!!!!” and then Cap’n and his friends fearlessly jumped in the water, but not before shouting, “THANK YOOUUU, SUB-MARINER!!!!!”. That Captain America! Not only does he beat the asses of Nazis and Communists everywhere for you and me, but he’s also so polite! While the characters were so over-the-top, the gameplay wasn’t however. The movement of the characters was strange and the animations were done in such a fucked up way that it was really hard to hit anything. Not to mention, it just simply wasn’t all that fun either. Not horrible, but just sort of... there.

Now that we’ve covered the best comic book games of our time, it’s time to talk about...

The WORST Comic Book Video Games... OF ALL TIME!!!


Super NES, Genesis

This game could have been alright if it weren’t for the fact that Acclaim made it. And from the start, you could tell from a mile away that this had Acclaim’s horrid stank all over it. As a common rule for beat ‘em ups, they should be a comfortable length so you might be able to beat them in a light sitting. You know, an hour or so, meaning the game should have about 5 or 6 levels. Maximum Carnage has 27. Twenty seven goddamn levels that do nothing but to constantly remind you that you are in Hell. And through out these 27 levels, you fight nothing but generic thugs, guys who can kill you with umbrellas, and regular high school girls that can kick both Spider-Man’s and Venom’s collective asses. Not to fear! Because you can get power-up icons for your backup helpers like Morbius, Firestar, and Iron Fist who do absolutely fucking nothing! The action will stop on the screen, they will miss practically all of their targets, and then just fly away. Meanwhile, the enemies surround you, beat the living shit out of you and rape your life bar dry. And there’s TWENTY SEVEN levels of this! If there’s a good side to this game whatsoever, it’s the fact that the characters had nice animation when they stood in one spot. As long as they didn’t move, it was good. But when they started walking, it was like the frame-rate dropped into the single digits. Not to mention, Spider-Man had a head shaped like a fucking lima bean. I hate you, Acclaim.

LJN (aka Acclaim)

Super NES, Genesis

In true Acclaim fashion, when people said their games were absolute shit and said in a big collective, “STOP MAKING GAMES!”, that obviously means keep puttin’ them out! So now we have Arcade’s Revenge. This is another side-scroller that sucks because it’s probably one of the most goddamn hardest games ever made. It’s not hard in the “Man, this is challenging! I’ll have to try again!” kind of way. It’s hard in the “What the fuck? Why did Cyclops just suddenly fall through that mine cart he was just riding in?!” kind of way. I don’t think anyone has ever beaten this game since Juggernaut in Wolverine’s level was impossible, Cyclops would suddenly forget how to fire his optic blasts when you reach his boss since pushing Y does nothing at that point, and also because it just plain sucks too.


Super NES, Genesis

What makes the sub-par fighter stand out is the fact that your characters have pretty everything done for them by the CPU (like for instance, after you use Wonder Woman’s magic lasso to draw an opponent towards you, the computer automatically does a standing high kick, since I guess they assume you want to use the damaging move she has to follow it up without trying to piece together an even more damaging combo) and the fact that the storyline is ridiculously stupid. The point is Darksied is coming to Earth and you, as your respective character, need to get the help of the Justice League... by kicking their asses! This is wrong for many reasons. First, who in the hell is going to help the guy that just whipped their ass? Second, after Superman gets through beating you up, are you going to be any condition to fight a cosmic overlord? Hell no! You’re lucky if you can even eat food through a straw and crap in a plastic bag.


Playstation, Saturn

Remember back when 3D graphics were just starting to finally cement their territory in video games, but 2D games were still king of the hill? Well, that was when we were in this weird period where companies tried combining the two with usually less than outstanding results. X-O Manowar/Iron Man is one of those games. Acclaim (there’s that name again!) released this game with a 2D based engine but the graphics were a really odd and strange looking 3D style. Well, it didn’t matter since the game was just simply terrible anyway. Levels were horribly designed, control was nasty, and both characters were in fact, pretty much the same. What I did like about the game however, was the fact that once I took it out of my system, I never had to play it again. Yay!! 


Playstation 2, GameCube, XBox

Despite the fact that soon after Acclaim bought the rights to Valliant Comics and folded practically over night, they still seemed set on producing games based on their Turok comics. Like usual though, Acclaim still just doesn’t get it. The comics weren’t even really that good to begin with and the games are even worse. Out of all the Turok games though, this one has got to be the absolute, end all, most terrible one. Horribly plain, ugly graphics, a collision detection system that might as well not even exist, one of the most truly ass backwards control schemes ever known to man, and the fact that Acclaim made it. That alone should be your biggest warning sign there.


Super NES, Genesis

Ok, so Batman Forever the movie wasn’t so great. But hey, Jim Carrey wasn’t so bad as The Riddler, some of the fight scenes weren’t too awful, and Val Kilmer made a decent Batman. Now imagine all of that removed. Next, imagine everything you hated about the movie and make it doubled... No no, tripled! Add in other things that make you hate humanity for even considering this game such as a control scheme lifted directly out of Mortal Kombat (which makes zero to negative sense for a side-scroller like this), a grappling hook that is fired with, of all things, the SELECT button, and load times which makes no sense since it’s a 16-bit cartridge game. Now wrap up the whole package with a nice big Acclaim logo, which makes you wonder why you even want to keep living in the first place.

Sony Interactive



Maybe it was part of the curse that was laid upon him, but man, Spawn’s games have always sucked. The Dreamcast game was substandard to say the least and the 16-bit games were simply put, stupid. The Playstation one however... Jesus. Just the sight alone of what appeared to be Grape Ape wearing Spawn’s costume after he was put through a wood chipper and beaten mercilessly with a sack filled with door knobs was supposed to be enough for you to want to stop playing. But soon enough, you start running through buildings with textures that look like they were ripped out a Jaguar game and coded to the Playstation using feces, pulling a switch to open a door behind you and then running through more barren, ugly hallways to find more switches, and fight bosses who are absolutely no challenge because they can’t seem to stop hitting their head against your foot. You start to wonder if perhaps this was someone’s idea of a bad joke, which it most likely is. Unfortunately, the only one laughing is Todd McFarlane with wads of unmarked cash in his hands and you’re out forty bucks.




Instead of giving you reasons why you shouldn’t play this game, I just tell you this: This game sucks. Don’t even bother.




Who knows what the fuck even happened here! Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, about this game is terrible, worthless, and needs to be shot into the center of the sun. Even Reed Richards himself still to this day cannot, for the life of him, figure out how something turns out to be this horrible. But once again, leave it to Acclaim, the masters of their craft, to somehow make it possible.

LJN (Acclaim)



This has got to be possibly the worst game ever. I don’t mean the worst comic book game ever either, although it is. No, I mean this has to be the single biggest crime against humanity since man learned to walk erect and develop games. You pick one of six Lego characters that I think are supposed to represent the X-Men and fight against random household objects, out of control construction equipment, and pigeons that have dreams to conquer our fine planet! Each character makes fantastic use of their mutant powers to complete this task. For instance, Storm moves up two pixels on the screen to represent she’s flying, or Colossus with his super tough skin made of steel can now die in three hits instead of two, and Nightcrawler who uses his teleport powers to walk through walls, but since it drains his life and he walks too slow, he’s killed practically right away. Meanwhile, the rest of your team your team is being beaten to death by garbage cans or having their eyes pecked out by birds. Believe me, it’s a sad day when Cyclops, Wolverine, and Iceman are collectively overpowered by a runaway jackhammer.

And those are the picks for both the greatest and worst of comic book videogames. But there’s more out there that will someday be covered in this section, as I plan to update it from time to time in the future with new material... and that’s where you come in, dear reader! I need two things from you:

1) FEEDBACK!!! If there’s anything you want to see reviewed here on this page that I haven’t covered or if you have comments concerning games that are on here, by all means, drop me a line. I’ll do my best to make sure all of your suggestions are taken care of and hell, I’ll even give ya props here on the pages of The Gameroom Blitz!

2) I’m thinking this little section could use a good name... But I haven’t the foggiest idea what to even call it. I mean, “The Gameroom Blitz’s Greatest and Worst Comic Book Video Games of All Time” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it? So that where you come in again! You readers out there in internet land do your best to come up with a new name for this section and once again, you’ll get props for doing so. I’ll listen to all suggestions, so go ahead and drop me a line if you’ve got ANY ideas at all!

[Editor's Note: I gave this column a title.  Not a great one, mind you, but it works in a pinch.]

Oh, and one more thing. If you’re going to send a message of any kind, make sure you label the subject as something like “GRB Comics article” or something like that. Otherwise it might get lost amongst the “FREE BARNYARD SEXXX!!!” and “Click here for the best mortgage, loans, and cell phone time!” ads that clutter my mailbox on a pretty regular basis.

Here’s the magic address where you can reach me:

And last but not least, thanks for joining us here at The Gameroom Blitz. We learned a number of things today, like how super-heroes get their kicks by walking back and forth hitting whatever street urchins cross their paths, or how Capcom can work wonders when given a good license, and as always, that Acclaim is completely worthless and a good game coming out them means the second coming of Jesus is near. Goddamn, Acclaim.