At one point in my life, reading comic books and playing video games were two of my greatest passions. Now I don’t read as many comic books as I used to, but as you can see just by looking around this website, I do play a lot of video games. As a way of linking these hobbies, I decided to work on a list with some of the best games based on comics. A few notes before going to the actual list: I eschewed games based on films and fighting game crossovers such as Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.
It’s worth noting that there are hundreds of video games based on comic books, so chances are you’ll disagree with this list (at least partially.) As usual, feel free to share ideas, comments or even your own list in the comments down below.
5. The Darkness (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Based on Top Cow’s comic book series of the same name, this psychological horror game manages to tell a compelling story from the first-person perspective. It was risky to release a The Darkness in a time when Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and other first-person shooters dominated the market, but the risk paid off. Critics praised The Darkness for its brilliant story and excellent level design and enough players bought it to guarantee a sequel.
4. Sam & Max Hit the Road (PC)
When the words “LucasArts” are pronounced, most people think about Star Wars, but I think about some of the best point-and-click adventure games ever made. One of my personal favorites is Sam & Max Hit the Road, an extraordinarily funny and visually impressive graphic adventure based on Steve Purcell’s Sam & Max comic. The game follows a detective dog and his rabbit partner on a journey across America to unravel a mystery that involves Bigfoot. The visuals are outstanding, the voice acting is fantastic the gameplay is solid and the story is absolutely hilarious. A high-definition remake is extremely unlikely, so start going to some flea markets. Sam & Max Hit the Road is definitely worth the trouble.
3. The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube)
Have you ever wondered what being in the shoes of the Hulk must be? Wonder no more. In this open-world action game, the player can run across vertical surfaces, climb walls, leap huge distances and grab chunks of concrete to then throw at helicopters. Few games have managed to replicate the feeling of satisfaction that comic book heroes must feel (Spider-Man 2: The Game is one that comes to mind.) It’s a shame that this open-world action game only came out for PS2, Xbox and GameCube, but believe me when I tell you that tracking down a copy is definitely worth it.
2. Batman: Arkham Asylum (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC)
In a sense, Batman: Arkham Asylum took the video game industry by surprise. Soon after its release, people started calling Arkham Asylum one of the best comic book superhero games ever made and its hard to argue with that statement. The action-adventure game has it all: a great story, superb writing, fantastic voice acting and a simple, yet compelling combat system that has influenced dozens of other games. No one who likes both video games and comic books should miss Batman: Arkham Asylum.
1. The Walking Dead (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC)
Telltale’s The Walking Dead takes place in the same universe as the comic book, but manages to add a unique level of interaction and choice that makes it quite unique. Without a doubt, one of the main draws from this episodic point-and-click adventure is that it manages to transform a boring trope (read: the zombie apocalypse) into a fresh setting again. Unlike most traditional point-and-click adventures, The Walking Dead eschews convoluted puzzles and focuses on deep characterization, masterful storytelling and choice.
Honorable Mention: Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (Nintendo 64, PC)
Although most people don’t know this, the Turok series is an adaptation of Acclaim Comics comic book series of the same name. While this shooter hasn’t aged that well, some aspects of its gameplay were highly influential and this was one of the first console shooters that proved that the genre was evolving. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter deserves a place in the podium along with Doom, Duke Nukem, Halo and Golden Eye 007.
These are some of the games that didn’t make it to the list: Alien versus Predator 2, Hulk, Bone, Captain America & The Avengers, Deadpool, Snoopy vs. The Red Baron, ShadowMan, Ultimate Spider-Man, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, The Death and Return of Super-Man, Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage, TMNT: Turtles in Time and The Punisher.