Many moons ago, comics were seen as a pastime solely for children. And what else did kids love? Comic books! So, of course, Nintendo and SEGA were happy to publish all manner of game based on the various crime fighters. The X-Men, Captain America, Superman and Batman…
Of course, in recent times not much has changed -- except it’s only the most popular characters that get games. Spider-Man and Batman are the main ones, as they are Marvel and DC favourites -- and given TT Games’ reluctance to make a LEGO DC Superheroes (instead of sticking it as a subtitle to the LEGO Batman series), is perhaps the only character Warner Bros. think the public recognises. There are loads of The Walking Dead titles, but let’s focus on superheroes.
If you check out the Wikipedia list of games based on DC properties, there’s only 13 games since the 1980s that didn’t have either Batman or Superman in them. On the Marvel list I lost count at 30 when not including any game featuring Spider-Man or the X-Men -- and I even discounted the Men in Black (of which there are a surprising number). Despite Activision desperately remastering the Marvel properties they still have, and Warner Bros. being unwilling to publish anything that doesn’t have Batman in it, I’m still going to list the comic characters that need to be represented in videogames.
Forensic scientist Barry Allen was hit by lightning and doused in chemicals, turning him into the fastest man alive. It may be a bit of a cheat, as he’s had two videogames of his own, and given the popularity of the TV show. To be honest it’s surprising that they haven’t cashed in, given the two seasons so far having garnered more viewers on average than any of the five seasons of Arrow (the show which birthed it)… I’ve always been a fan of fast characters (Sonic The Hedgehog…), and Flash is definitely my favourite DC Comics A-lister. It needs to be an open world, along the lines of The Amazing Spider-Man titles from a few years ago -- whilst travelling around Central City, stop crimes in progress. There could even be parts where you need to assume the role of forensic officer Barry Allen to aid with investigating crimes.
There is footage of a cancelled Flash title from Brash Games around on the internet, so we can hope that someone else will pick it up someday…
Former athlete Michael Carter travelled back in time to make his fortune using future tech to be a superhero. By far my favourite DC hero, this would be the easiest storyline to work out. Given the nebulous nature of the games, there’s no actual continuity that they have to follow. The game would revolve around Booster needing to protect the timestream -- from his base in the present, he monitors time and has to stop evil time travellers. He wears a suit that has a forcefield and lasers, and a ring that allows him to fly, so it’s basically a Superman game without the invulnerability. It’s the only way we could ever experience such great comic book moments as that time Superman and Power Girl fought an allosaurus with gatling gun arms. Anyway, there’s a movie in the works, so someone get on this.
The cousin of Superman also escaped the destruction of Krypton, but reached Earth about two decades later. Yeah, another cheat -- last one, I swear -- due to the fact it has a well received TV show. Kara Zor-El would be a much more interesting character to play as, because of the number of reboots she’s been through she doesn’t actually have any supporting characters, and you could design pretty much anything around her. The tutorial would feature Superman showing Kara how to use her powers, and the villains throughout would be the same ones that Superman fights (again, she doesn’t really have her own…). To limit her invulnerability the story could include the city being shrunk and trapped in an opaque bottle by Brainiac -- no sun would mean no super powers.
An agent of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division (SHIELD)
, Nick is a super spy who protects the world (primarily America) from terrorist threats. He’s actually the son of Nicholas Fury, the former chief of SHIELD -- but his father’s missing & presumed dead, and running SHIELD wouldn’t be as interesting. Originally modelled on Samuel L. Jackson (and eventually played by him in Marvel movies), the game would involve infiltrating the evil bases of Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.) to put a stop to whatever they plan. You’d have gadgets, guns and stealth along the lines of the original Metal Gear Solid, and several of the Avengers could even cameo.
A former police officer who lost her arm in a bomb explosion, Mercedes Knight had it replaced with a bionic arm from Tony Stark (Iron Man), before starting her own private investigation firm. As Misty has no powers (though her arm does have some weapons installed inside it) the game would rely on your solving crimes for people who come to you for help, though you could still beat up criminals. Think a less car-stealing L.A. Noire -- though stealing cars in the pursuit of justice is alright… right?
Richard Rider became Nova when the Nova Corps was wiped out, and he was chosen to inherit the power. Basically a space cop (okay, that’s where the resemblance to Green Lantern ends), he can fly and uses the Nova Force to fire concussive blasts and gravimetric beams. The recent version of Nova is a teenager, as Rider died saving the universe, but I’m not keen on the character (and he’s worse in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon…) so would hope for the original. The game would have to be set in space, as Nova always blossoms when not stuck on Earth, so perhaps the storyline would revolve around needing to stop the Kree and Skrulls from going to war.
There are plenty of other comic book characters that should have a game, many of which have never even appeared in a cartoon! Although that used to be the case with Deadpool, and look how that turned out. There are also comic companies other than Marvel and DC that have game-worthy characters, as seen with the games based on the aforementioned The Walking Dead and Spawn. It’s just weird that only mobile developers seem interested in developing superheroes...