The Justice League movie has arrived in theaters, bringing together Aquaman, Batman, Cyborg, Flash and Wonder Woman on the big screen for the first time. And while early reviews haven't exactly been kind, that's not unusual for DC superheroes. For further evidence, just look at the history of DC Comics video games, which had its share of duds that bombed even more spectacularly than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. To celebrate the arrival of Justice League — for better or worse — here's a list of the brightest gems and most outrageous stinkers that DC Comics has inspired in the world of video games. You're welcome, and we're sorry.Credit: Telltale
BEST: Injustice 2 (2017; PS4, Xbox One)
Ten years ago, I couldn't have predicted that the best non-Batman DC superhero game would be a fighting title. But thanks to strong writing, solid action mechanics and a story exploring the rich depths of comic book lore, the Injustice series easily surpassess the competition. Injustice takes place in an alternative DC Universe where Superman has abandoned his code and become a murderous dictator, forcing Batman to lead an insurgency against his former ally. The original was impressive enough, but the sequel steps up its game with an improved character roster and a new storyline in which the warring heroes defend Earth from an alien invasion.Credit: Warner Bros.
BEST: Batman: The Telltale Series (2016; PC, PS4, Xbox One, Mobile)
Telltale already had a reputation for crafting stellar stories from licensed properties, but it genuinely outdid itself with its episodic Batman game. Taking place during the vigilante's early career, Batman: The Telltale Series has players juggle Bruce Wayne's dual lives after evidence emerges that his late father, Thomas Wayne, was as corrupt as any gangster. Along the way, you can assist Harvey Dent's run for Gotham City mayor, start a romance with Catwoman and investigate the rising threat of the Children of Arkham. If you've dithered about picking up this Telltale game for any reason, stop delaying and start making difficult choices today.Credit: Telltale
BEST: Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (2014 - PC, PS4, Xbox One)
The Lego Batman series is one of the gems of the Traveller's Tales Lego franchise, and each title is so good that it's genuinely hard to pick my favorite game in the series. But if I had to choose one tribute to the sprawling nature of the DC Comics Universe, Lego Batman 3 would win hands down. Its character roster includes the Justice League, all of Batman's sidekicks and the obscure DC version of Frankenstein's Monster. Its settings range from the streets of Gotham City, to a miniaturized Paris, to the distant worlds of the Green Lantern cosmology. All this, plus a playable Ace the Bat-Hound, and cameos from Adam West? How can you go wrong?
Credit: Warner Bros.
BEST: Scribblenauts: Unmasked (2013; PC, Wii U, 3DS)
Next to the Lego franchise, few games capture the childlike wonder of working alongside DC Comics superheroes quite like Scribblenauts: Unmasked. This spinoff of the core Scribblenauts series follows the original's basic premise: The player receives a magical notepad that can summon any person or object written in its pages. Unmasked's twist is that your phrase library includes the entire DC pantheon — every superhero and supervillain, right down to grappling hooks and the Batmobile. After playing with various combinations to resolve Scribblenauts: Unmasked's puzzles, you'll want to replay again and again to see if you can overcome them in even more incredible ways.Credit: Warner Bros.
BEST: The Wolf Among Us (2013; PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Fables is one comic book property that never demanded video game adaptations. But ever since Telltale got the license, fans now desperately crave sequels to this excellent stand-alone adventure. Set in a world where fairy-tale creatures migrated to New York City, this adventure game follows the Sheriff of Fabletown — a reformed Big Bad Wolf — as he investigates grisly murders that threaten to reveal the community's darkest secrets. Between its well-developed characters and noir-inspired twists, The Wolf Among Us is a fantastic introduction to Fables — or a great chance for fans to revisit the world, now that the comic series has ended.
BEST: DC Universe Online (2011; PC, PS4, Xbox One)
It's hard to imagine an MMORPG that could replace the legendary City of Heroes, but DC Universe Online comes awfully close. In an attempt to prepare Earth for Brainiac's invasion, a time-traveling Lex Luthor unleashes nanites that grant superpowers to ordinary humans. As a player, you create one of these new heroes (or villains) who will patrol Metropolis for threats. Or, you can accept quests from Batman himself. While the core game was fairly limited, DC Universe Online has improved vastly thanks to a free-to-play re-release and some new expansions, which are well worth checking out.Credit: Sony
BEST: Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2010; Wii)
There are all kinds of Batman beat-'em-ups, from the tough-as-nails NES platformer to the more recent Arkham series. But perhaps the most underrated example of the genre is the visually stunning Batman: The Brave and the Bold, based on the equally underrated cartoon of the same name. Throwing away all pretense of brooding darkness, The Brave and the Bold revels in a colorful Silver Age setting as Batman teams up with heroes all across the DC Universe to stop the villains who threaten Earth. It features local co-op gameplay, it's family-friendly and it nails the animation style of the source cartoon perfectly. If you still have a spare Wii kicking around, give this one a shot.Credit: Warner Bros.
BEST: Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009; PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Well, duh. No DC Comics gaming list is complete without a nod to the Arkham series that revitalized Batman for gaming audiences. From its rhythmic combat, to tense stealth sequences, to outstanding vocal performances by the Batman: The Animated Series cast, Rocksteady got almost everything right. (Even when you take the disappointments, like Arkham Knight and the various spinoff games, into account.) While Arkham City is widely considered the best in the series, I'd personally rank Asylum as the superior game thanks to tightly designed environments and a more focused story. Plus, Mark Hamill gets more screen time as the Joker, which is geek-culture fine art, as far as I'm concerned.Credit: Eidos Interactive
BEST: Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (2008; PS3, Xbox 360)
Yes, this is an absolutely ridiculous tie-in, but it's still a well-designed fighting game that somehow just works. Although this title was originally intended as the eighth canonical Mortal Kombat game (which it arguably still is), Midway shifted gears once it got ahold of the DC Comics license. The resulting story follows a dimensional breakdown between the Mortal Kombat and DC universes, after Darkseid and Shao Kahn accidentally fuse into a single evil god. Midway even managed to keep DC's heroic themes in mind by giving superheroes brutalities instead of fatalities. Don't worry — Mortal Kombat characters and DC villains can still murder their opponents.Credit: Midway Games
BEST: The Death and Return of Superman (1994; SNES, Genesis)
Nobody's quite sure what to make of The Death and Return of Superman, a game featured equally on both "Best" and "Worst" gaming lists. But if you're looking for a classic beat-'em-up of the "stupid fun" variety, Death and Return is worth a play-through. Based on the infamous '90s Superman arc, Death and Return charts the epic battle with Doomsday, the rise of four Superman pretenders and the hero's inevitable return to avenge Coast City. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better material for a Superman sidescroller, while the appealing sprites and varied enemy types make it that much easier to play all the way to the end. Credit: Sun Corporation of America
WORST: Batman: Arkham VR (2016; PC, PSVR)
After the runaway success of Arkham games, it probably seemed like a great idea to let Rocksteady create a Batman VR title. There's only one problem: VR isn't quite ready for first-person martial arts yet. For that reason, Arkham VR focuses on Batman's detective work as you explore each environment for clues to the overarching mystery. While there was certainly adventure-game potential there, it was too shallow to become something great, making it almost a blessing that you can fully complete the game in an hour. Almost.Credit: Warner Bros.
WORST: Watchmen: The End Is Nigh (2009; PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Some comic book fans adore the Watchmen movie, and others despise it. But one thing can unite both camps: The Watchmen video game didn't need to exist. Originally released in two chapters, The End Is Nigh acts as a Watchmen prequel, depicting events that were only referenced in passing in the original story. Most notably, the game follows Rorschach and Nite Owl as they capture the legendary Underboss, and explores the conflict that ultimately ends their partnership. While that sounds good on paper, in practice, the game was an uninspired slog, with narrative reveals that felt more significant when referenced as backstory.Credit: Warner Bros.
WORST: Justice League Heroes (2006; PS2, PSP, Xbox)
Justice League Heroes had some genuine potential at one point. This Diablo-esque action/RPG follows the Justice League as they work together to defeat the dual threats of Brainiac and Darkseid. Sadly, the finished game was a mindless beat-'em-up at best, and a repetitive dungeon crawler at worst. (Why, exactly, does Superman need to explore a freaking dungeon?) Mix in some lackluster level designs and a distinct dearth of varied enemies, and Justice League Heroes was quickly forgotten. And the worst part? X-Men Legends and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance proved that the isometric action/RPG formula really could have worked for the Justice League.Credit: Warner Bros.
WORST: Superman Returns (2006; PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360)
Superman Returns had one brilliant innovation: Instead of letting ordinary foes defeat Superman, the game granted Metropolis its own health bar. The player's task was not merely to survive but also to keep the city from descending into chaos by preventing threats from roaming free. That's a genuinely smart spin — which was promptly buried underneath the weight of terrible design choices and less-than-engaging gameplay. Even the addition of classic supervillains like Bizarro, Mongul and Metallo failed to raise the game's profile beyond its disappointing source film, and fans quickly forgot both projects. Thankfully, Superman's film presence has improved since then … right?Credit: EA
WORST: Constantine (2005; PC, PS2, Xbox)
Keanu Reeves' Constantine was certainly no Hellblazer, but he certainly gave us an entertaining action/horror film. The same cannot be said of the tragically forgettable video game adaptation of the movie's storyline. While not as unplayable as some of the other bad games from this list, it absolutely failed to endear Constantine or his world to the player. Instead, we ended up with a generic action/shooter that barely resembled its film or comic book source material. Here's hoping that Telltale Games will acquire the rights and hire Matt Reeves to do a proper Hellblazer game. Until then, give this one a pass.Credit: THQ
WORST: Catwoman (2004; GameCube, PC, PS2, Xbox)
Remember the excitement of playing as Catwoman for those bonus Arkham City missions? Did they make you wonder why Catwoman never had her own video game? Well, she did, and it's probably the reason no studio has been willing to risk one since. This 2004 adaptation of the equally terrible movie attempted to merge Tomb Raider's third-person gameplay with an open-world style reminiscent of Spider-Man, but it had absolutely no chance of surpassing those wonderful games. Game designers, take note: If the camera is a deadlier threat than the enemies you face, your players won't be having a good time.Credit: EA
WORST: Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis (2003; GameCube, Xbox)
Believe it or not, Aquaman isn't a complete joke in the comic book world, thanks to some excellent comic book arcs developed by veteran creators. Sadly, this rare video game outing was nothing to get excited about. The plot was standard Aquaman fare, following Arthur's quest to defend the kingdom of Atlantis from Black Manta and Ocean Master. Lackluster graphics and simplistic mechanics failed to elevate the game, while disastrous controls ultimately crushed the game's chances. After all, if your game is based on underwater combat, having fluid controls is essential.Credit: TDK Mediactive
WORST: Batman: Dark Tomorrow (2003; GameCube, Xbox)
Batman games are all about making players feel like they're the Dark Knight, but they shouldn't expect you to literally have Batman's detective skills. This was the flaw in Batman: Dark Tomorrow — or, to be more specific, its final mission. When players defeated the final boss, they were treated to a cutscene where Ra's al Ghul detonates his strategically placed explosives anyway, killing Batman before your eyes. It turns out that the player is supposed to deactivate explosives as a secret mission objective, which the game never actually mentions. By that point, however, most players were fed up, and Dark Tomorrow's lackluster gameplay offered little reason to continue.Credit: Kemco
WORST: Superman (1999; N64)
If you must include Batman: Arkham on all DC Comics Best Games lists, you must also include Superman 64 on all Worst Games lists. In all fairness, this game deserves it. The story is ridiculous, trapping Superman and his friends in a virtual-reality Metropolis instead of letting you save the actual city. Your controls are clumsy, which is a big deal when most of your challenges include timed events. And while it's easy to trash bad graphics, Superman 64's visuals are downright atrocious — we're talking "uncompleted demo" levels of bad. The good news is that if developers were to revisit Superman today, there wouldn't be a high bar to surpass.Credit: Titus Software
WORST: Justice League Task Force (1995; Genesis, SNES)
As much as I enjoyed other DC Comics fighting games, Justice League Task Force was proof that a story-based fighting title could have gone a very different way. Set in the midst of an alien invasion, Task Force follows your chosen hero fighting android replicas of the Justice League, before finally confronting Darkseid himself. It's not a bad premise; it's too bad that the rest of the game fell apart. Character animations were poorly crafted, special moves were limited and the controls were so shoddy, there was no incentive to master the combos and abilities. It's a shame, because the character sprites looked so nice. At least Injustice is picking up the slack today.Credit: Acclaim Entertainment