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Marvel Universe in Video Games: What to Play and Avoid – Part 2

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Marvel Comics characters have been busy in films the last few years with Spider-Man’s recent reboot, and The Avengers as well as all the movies leading up to it, TV, and Comics but they have had a busy video game career as well. Here we will take a look at some of the games featuring Spider-Man, The X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, etc that are worth looking at, or not. Not all these games are great but they all offer some fun and are worth a play. Well except for the terrible ones that also get a look here.

Part 1 looked at past generations and now part 2 will look at the last and current generations. Let’s begin:

Worth Playing: Spider-Man: The Movie

Spider-Man: The Movie is of course, based off the first Spider-Man movie. It was released on all the current systems in 2002(Xbox, Playstation 2, Gamecube, and PC). It also got a Gameboy Advance version, it’s fairly fun and doesn’t have much to do with the movie, but this will cover the console versions. Spider-Man: The Movie essentially continues from Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro that were covered in part 1. This game has a very similar set-up and makes for a fun action game.

The game features mostly indoor levels and has some fun boss fights. Even though the game is based off the film, some villains have been added such as Vulture. There are some outdoor levels are well that are pretty fun, but there aren’t enough of them. It still feels fairly constrained for a Spider-Man game and the camera is a problem at times but the combat is satisfying and challenging. It is definitely worth a look for fans of the movie or the PS1 Spider-Man titles.

Also as a big bonus, after completing the game on any of the harder difficulties, the Green Goblin is available to play as. This is a pretty cool unlockable as it isn’t just a character skin. Players get to glide around as the Green Goblin. That almost makes the game worth playing just on it’s own but it doesn’t hurt that the rest of the game is fairly good as well, if not great. It’s also very cheap and easy to find on various consoles so it’s definitely worth checking out.

Worth Playing: Spider-Man 2 and Ultimate Spider-Man

Spider-Man 2 started the open world focus that a few Spider-Man games have had now, such as the recent The Amazing Spider-Man. Spider-Man 2 took the basic game play of the past games starring the web-slinger, but provided the city of New York to swing around in and take on missions and save civilians. Different challenges are also spread about to tackle, such as delivering pizzas and more. It was based off the second movie so Doctor Octopus makes a few appearances in boss battles, but other villains like Rhino and Mysterio were added as well for some variation. The only downside here is that the story is short and the challenges get repetitive, but otherwise it’s a very fun game. Spider-Man 2 was released on the same systems as the first in 2004 but got even more handheld ports for the PSP and DS.

Ultimate Spider-Man takes the same open world approach as Spider-Man and was released in 2005. It was also released for every system at the time. This is one of the best looking Spider-Man games to date, even seven years after the release. The cell-shaded graphics fit perfectly and it looks like the comic books brought to life. Both Spider-Man and Venom are playable in this game and they do have some key differences in game play styles. Spider-Man is quick and swings around the city as usual while Venom plays more like the Hulk. Venom doesn’t swing webs but can jump several stories high, throw cars around, and devour people to gain health.

Both characters are fun to play and provide plenty of challenge. The thing players may not like about Ultimate Spider-Man is that the story missions all consist of a chase scene, then a boss battle. The chases can be irritating at times but they each have several checkpoints provided so it isn’t too bad. The boss battles are fun and challenging though and a good number of villains are included. Both Spider-Man 2 and Ultimate Spider-Man are fun games that took the open world approach and are worth checking out for those that enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man that was recently released on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

Worth Playing: X-Men Legends and X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse

X-Men Legends and X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse are a pair of action RPGs released in 2004/05. Both of these games were also released for the PS2, Xbox, and GC. Players will control a team of four X-Men, having direct control over one while the AI controls the other three. Both games feature a wide range of X-Men to choose from such as the regulars like Wolverine and Cyclops, to Jubilee and Magma. X-Men Legends II features even more since the Brotherhood has to team up with the X-Men to take down Apocalypse, and includes playable characters like Magneto and Juggernaut.

Both games have a good story, as well as good-looking visuals and voice acting. Both games can be played in co-op as well which makes for a fun multiplayer experience. These games play similar to say the Diablo series or Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance series for those who haven’t heard of these games. Most time is spent running around and killing things and leveling up to learn skills and abilities. There is no deep loot system but characters have a wide variety and skills to learn and upgrade which the players can customize themselves or set to automatic.

The action is quick and fun but it isn’t going to convince those who aren’t fans of dungeon crawlers. The games are both fairly repetitive, but killing things can be a blast and both have an interesting X-Men story to experience. It’s definitely worth checking out for fans of X-Men, and action RPGS or dungeon crawlers. For those who aren’t big fans of X-Men may want to play the Marvel Ultimate Alliance(coming up soon) games first or skip the Legends games.

 Worth Avoiding: X2: Wolverine’s Revenge

This game was rushed out in 2003 to release near the second X-Men movies for all major systems. X2 isn’t a horrible game but it’s a mediocre drag. The game looks good for it’s time, and has good voice acting from actors of the movies, as well as Mark Hamill who did a great job as Wolverine. But that’s really all this game has to offer. Too bad that even the voice acting gets annoying during game play as the same phrases are heard over and over again.

The beat em’ game play is fun for a short while but it quickly gets repetitive and wears out it’s welcome even before the game is over. This comes with no thanks to the lousy checkpoint system which may have players repeating 15-minute stretches of the game. Though thanks to Wolverine’s healing ability, for the most part players will be able to find a corner to hide in so thankfully dying won’t happen too often. There is some stealth thrown in but it isn’t really any better and just feels like it’s there to pad out the game.

The story has nothing to do with the movie X2 so even big fans of it are better off passing on this. That would be a good thing since more villains appear, but since the game isn’t all that fun it doesn’t make much of a difference. There are way better games starring the X-Men out there.

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Plays games and investigates the paranormal mostly. Still parties like it's 1999.