While Marvel Studies seems to be pumping out monster movie hits every few months, Marvel video games are much rarer. Perhaps it’s tied to the ever-shifting “who actually has rights over what titles” game that Marvel has been playing with Sony and Fox over the years. Regardless, if you’re jonesing for a Marvel fix, there aren’t a whole lot of good options to choose from. If you have the money and the time though, here are the 10 best Marvel video games of all time.
10. X-Men: The Arcade Game (Xbox 360) - Metacritic: 70
Every '90s kid remembers this hit. Between this and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game released three years before, these games ate many a weekly allowance. A classic beat ‘em up, you and five of your friends could choose between Cyclops, Colossus, Dazzler, Nightcrawler, Storm, and Wolverine to take on hundreds of Sentinels, along with super villains such as Pyro, the Blob, Wendigo, Nimrod, the White Queen, Juggernaut, and Mystique. If players were good enough, or had deep pockets, they could fight their way to Island M to take on Magneto. The only reason this game is lower on the list is that it hasn’t aged well. Released in 2010 for the Xbox 360, it brought nostalgia and little else to gamers old enough to remember the original.
9. X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (PC, GameCube, PS2) - Metacritic: 82
One-upping its predecessor, X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse is a team-based role-playing game that lets you play as one of many members of the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants. Players can use and combine their unique abilities to defeat enemies. Offering online play as well, this was a hit in 2005 — especially for the much-maligned GameCube. Boasting a small roster of only 15 playable characters, plus a handful of unlockables and console exclusives, its team combinations were limited.
8. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One) - Metacritic: 82
Playing off the success of X-Men Legends II, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance took the exact same winning formula and cranked it up to 11. Increasing the playable roster to 22—plus extras—this game pulls from the wider Marvel Universe. It features a story-line where the missions players accept, the objectives they complete, and their interactions with other characters throughout the game directly impact how the story plays out. There is also a robust multiplayer component where players can team up or battle each other in local and online multiplayer. Marvel released a sequel that didn’t quite hit the mark and failed to impress. However, a third sequel was announced exclusively for the Nintendo Switch and is scheduled for a 2019 release.
7. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One) - Metacritic: 82
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes features an original story where players take control of 180 characters as they unite to stop Loki and a myriad of other Marvel villains from assembling a super-weapon capable of destroying the world. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes has been applauded for its trademark LEGO series humor, variety of missions, and open-world gameplay. There has been some criticism, however, that the lack of verbal dialogue options made some of the gameplay repetitive and grating. Truth be told, it's a minor, if not irritating, quirk on an otherwise solid game.
6. Marvel Pinball (PS3) - Metacritic: 83
And now for something completely different. A solid console pinball game, this version includes themed tables with excellent attention to detail, bright colors, and animated characters. With 21 tables to choose from, this game is perfect for both Marvel fans with a passing interest in pinball, and pinball die-hards with an interest in Marvel. This vintage game is a win-win for all ages. While some of the tables feel a bit bare, the overall design brings new layers and complexity as each game progresses.
5. Spider-Man: Mysterio’s Menace (GBA) - Metacritic: 84
The only handheld entry on this list, Spider-Man: Mysterio’s Menace pits the player against a rogue’s gallery that includes Rhino, Hammerhead, and Mysterio. A simple, yet rewarding game, Spider-Man: Mysterio’s Menace allows the player to progress through seven stages while upgrading his abilities and collecting different Spidey-suits.
4. The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (GameCube, Xbox, PS2) Metacritic: 84
The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is the most well-received and most popular Hulk standalone video game to date. With surprising depth in fighting combos and actions, the boss fights are incredibly satisfying. While the story is short, the AI is lacking, and the gameplay can be repetitive, you will have a blast throughout the entire time. The big guy moves like he should and is as destructive as you would expect the Hulk to be.
3. Marvel Vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (Xbox 360, PS3) - Metacritic: 85
This team-fighting game pits the player’s team of three against the hordes of both Marvel and Capcom. Selecting from 36 playable characters, the player tag-teams their opponents in a variety of game modes. From basic fighting to character-specific missions, this game has depth. Gamers praised Marvel vs. Capcom 3 for its simplified, yet deep gameplay and diverse cast of characters. However, hardcore fans were critical of the same simplification that opened the series to a wider audience.
2. Marvel’s Spider-Man (PS4) - Metacritic: 87
Spider-man games have generally been successful, but 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man has nearly perfected the web-slinging experience for gamers. For a Spider-man game to be enjoyable, the combat has to be fluid, the environment needs to be fully interactive, and the web-swinging experience needs to be fun. To put it mildly: Insomniac Games knocked it out of the park. This game wasn’t really on anyone’s radar until it hit the shelves, but when it did, its impact was felt in living rooms everywhere.
1. Marvel Vs Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (Dreamcast, PS2, PS3, Xbox 360) - MetaCritic: 90
Marvel vs Capcom 2 took Japanese arcades by storm in 2000. Flexing its roster of 56 characters, this tag-team fantasy fighter later ported to the Dreamcast, PS2, PS3, and Xbox 360 consoles. Not just the best Marvel game of all time, but one of the greatest fighting games ever made, Marvel vs Capcom 2 is frantic, insane fun. It's the go-to version for professional gamers around the world.