Marvel Comics has inspired dozens of video games since the early ‘80s -- some are regarded among the best games of all time, while others are more heinous than Thanos himself. You might have fond memories of swinging through Manhattan in Spider-Man 2 or losing all of your quarters to the X-Men arcade game, though you also might have suffered through movie tie-in slogs like Fantastic Four and Iron Man.
Fortunately, Marvel games are entering a bit of a golden age, thanks to new hits like Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy as well as promising upcoming titles such as Spider-Man PS4 and Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. While you wait for those to arrive, here are 21 of the most notable Marvel video games ranked from worst to best.
Activision released a whole lot of bad Marvel movie tie-ins in the mid-2000s, but Fantastic Four was a special kind of stinker. This lifeless beat-em-up had frustrating controls, unexciting graphics and some annoying bugs. The game's co-op mode allowed only two-player action, which is a bummer for a game built around four superheroes teaming up to save the world. - Mike Andronico
It's a good thing that Sega released free demos of its movie-based Iron Man games, because we got to find out firsthand just how awful they were without buying them. There was a small amount of fun to be had in flying around in Tony Stark's superpowered suit, but the game's drab levels and unforgiving spikes in difficulty moved it to the bargain bin pretty quickly. Not even Robert Downey Jr.'s voice acting could save this one. - Mike Andronico
Like Iron Man Before it, Thor: God of Thunder is a soulless cash-in of a movie tie-in developed by Sega. Critics railed about it for its poor controls, horrible camera work, ugly visuals, and being difficult for the sake of being difficult. The Wii version was slightly better, due to developer Red Fly’s better combat system, but it still suffered from all of the other flaws from the PS3 and Xbox 360 version. Send this one straight to Hel. — Andrew E. Freedman
If you're going to ape another game's gameplay, you might as well pick a good one. Captain America: Super Soldier shamelessly borrowed Batman: Arkham Asylum's core combat system, resulting in a handful of cool combos and cinematic takedowns that would make you want to grab a bald eagle and sing the national anthem. Unlike Thor and Iron Man, this cheesy tie-in was at least mildly enjoyable. - Mike Andronico
The result of a collaboration between Electronic Arts and Marvel, Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects fell flat. The game, which also tied into Marvel’s comics with a six-issue mini-series, pitted popular heroes and villains like Spider-Man, Wolverine, Venom, Magneto and Elektra against a group of EA-created villains in superpowered combat.
To get there, though, you had to button-mash and slog through armies of uninspired henchmen, poor level design and a story that wasn’t all that interesting despite an all-star cast. “Imperfect,” indeed. — Andrew E. Freedman
Credit: Electronic Arts
Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage was a solid side-scrolling beat-em-up released during an era filled with great ones. There was a lot to like about the game's comic-book-y art style and fluid combat, but it was ultimately bogged down by repetitive levels and a lack of two-player co-op. - Mike Andronico
What started out as a way to combine all of Disney's various properties, including Marvel, Star Wars and others, into one giant virtual toybox eventually ended in a whimper when the Disney Infinity servers shut down earlier this year. And while there were bright spots, such as the frantic Marvel-themed Battlegrounds multiplayer mode, the decision wasn't entirely unwarranted as thin content releases and empty-feeling areas never lived up to Disney's grand plan to create a vibrant online world for fans of all kinds to enjoy.- Sam Rutherford
Credit: Disney Interactive Studios