Ranking the DC Comics GameCube Games
I’ve recently been looking into two things; series’ of games I can arbitrarily rank, and videogames based on comic book properties. I’m a big fan of comic books, after all, and I noticed that DC Comics is severely lacking in titles that feature a character who isn’t Batman. Even the DC LEGO titles are LEGO Batman.
When I looked back through Wikipedia, it became apparent that the GameCube had a variety of comic book games, yet far too many for one list. So, much like the comic books of old, I decided to pit the best of DC against the best of Marvel. Firstly, however, I needed to rank them individually.
Anyway, here’s what I think about the games featuring DC superheroes on the GameCube:
8. Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis
Regarded by the world at large as a joke of a superhero, Aquaman has regularly been one of my favourite DC heroes. Especially the comics from around when this game was released, which it’s based on. It was also supposed to be the first of multiple titles.
Black Manta has seemingly returned from the dead with billions of dollars to fund and outfit his dozens of henchmen to cause chaos for Atlantis.
It’s a very bland, simplistic game with no voice acting (the cutscenes are made out like comic book pages), and a very basic story. You swim through wide, abandoned, open levels to beat up some enemies, then swim over to another group to beat up. The fighting system isn’t very complex either, you just kick or punch the one you’re facing. I’d say they were cashing in on the property, but as I said before it’s not like everyone’s rushing to buy things with Aquaman on them… This was the first and only Aquaman game.
7. Batman: Dark Tomorrow
Based on the comics rather than a cartoon, there are some well designed environments and character models. Except for Batman’s incredibly high cheek bones - what was that even about? I suppose it suited the wooden voice acting…
While gang war rages in Gotham, Ra’s al Ghul makes moves to conquer the world.
Dark Tomorrow is simply an awfully designed game. Fine, I’ll elaborate… The camera design takes its cues from Resident Evil 2, with tight angles and switching to completely different places when you move slightly. This would be fine if the enemies didn’t fire guns at you the moment you entered a room while the camera is still fading in from black. Honestly, I loved the variety of gadgets, and some of them were well implemented but the combat was dodgy, and there was no tutorial or even on-screen prompts, plus that awful camera.
Based on the movie of the same name starring Halle Berry (who didn’t return for the game), this is still the only game based solely on a female superhero. Well, Catwoman is an anti-hero, but it still counts.
After Patience Phillips is dowsed in chemical runoff and becomes Catwoman, she vows revenge on the evildoers she used to work for.
This is the game I will give my enemies to play. Not the worst, but bad enough to keep it from being even half-good. The camera is that weird fixed-angle thing that Resident Evil – Code: Veronica used. It really complicates the fighting system which requires you to dodge gunfire whilst attempting to accurately kick enemies into cupboards. That’s literally the only way to dispose of them - knock them into an open hole such as a dumpster or closet. Also, one of the purchasable moves is called Pose, and is literally just used to make Catwoman pose provocatively. Matters certainly aren’t helped by sticking the tutorials into 30+ individual screens, each with three second loading times.
5. Batman Vengeance
As with most things to do with Batman The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures (which this was based on), this was pretty well written and, of course, expertly voice acted.
After Batman saves a curious woman from the Joker’s clutches, nothing is as it seems for the Dark Knight.
Despite having a tutorial, I still found the game lacking in many aspects - including the tutorial. For instance, it told me how to hit a post, but not how to guard against a thrashing, which due to the unbalanced combat was how most fights went down (stupid plant goons…). The camera was floating third-person with the occasional fixed angles. However, it would have been much better if you could control it, rather than just centre it behind Batman. The story is interesting and the graphics are nice, but there’s very little indication of what to do as you go through each level. It’s not awful, but it could have been better.
4. Teen Titans
Based on the 2003 series of the same name, it has so far been the only game based on the super team. Unfortunately, it was released several months after the show itself had ended, but it remained faithful to it at least.
After getting stuck inside a videogame based on themselves, the Teen Titans have to find out who sent them the game, and why.
It’s hardly the most ambitious game on this list, as each level sees you beating up enemies using one of the five Titans through a variety of areas, then doing it again - and again… and again. You can freely switch between Titans, and the graphics, music and voice acting are decent, but I really would have prefered some variety other than the odd mini-game.
3. Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu
Released in 2003, this was the second GameCube game based on The New Batman Adventures, though fourth in total. It would also be the final one based on a Batman cartoon for another seven years.
Someone has freed everyone from Stonegate Penitentiary and Arkham Asylum, and may be influencing the GCPD…
Although I have issues with the story and the repetitive nature of levels, Rise of Sin Tzu certainly has its moments. It can be seen as a precursor to the Batman Arkham games, as you can get big chain attacks, together. It definitely would have benefited from having a movable camera, so enemies would stop throwing things at me from out of the camera view…
2. Batman Begins
Based on the 2005 movie of the same name, it was the GameCube’s second movie tie-in. Except this time it actually starred the actors reprising their roles, and clips from the film in place of cutscenes.
A madman calling himself The Scarecrow is terrorising Gotham, and it’s up to the vigilante Batman to stop him.
Playing this had shades of Splinter Cell and the Arkham games, with certain gadgets, interrogation and a focus on stealth. The gameplay is pretty solid, the camera is decent and each level feels different. Although the combat can be a bit tricky, since you have to get a chance to use a finishing move to take people out, it’s pretty easy to choose a target and get the results you’re aiming for.
1. Superman: Shadow of Apokolips
Released in 2003 and based on Superman the Animated Series, this was the only Superman title released on the GameCube. That’s not much of a surprise though, since Kal-El only ever gets two games per platform at most. Although it’s admittedly been a couple of console generations since the last one.
Mysterious robots are attacking, but why is Lex commanding them, and what does it have to do with Darkseid?
Shadow of Apokolips is quite a lot of fun - until the evil quick time events. Fortunately, the more times you fail the easier they get, which was a rare feature for games of this era. It’s not just flying and punching things, as you get to take on the role of mild mannered reporter Clark Kent to sneak around in one level, and each of the others have a variety of things to do.
So there you have it: do you agree with my list? Did I miss off any redeeming features or fail to notice despicable foibles? Let me know.