The Avengers is perhaps the one movie everyone in the cosmos aside from Edward Norton is psyched for, and why shouldn’t we be? This film just might bring about world peace, at least in the fanboy/girl/undecided community. But if you’re having a hard time getting through the final stretch of waiting, or you want to immerse yourself further in the fervor, it’s time to bust out your consoles, new and old, and actually BECOME an Avenger… virtually…. through games…not in real life…that’s insane…or is it?
MvC/Marvel Super Heroes
Arguably the most famous appearances of Marvel’s premiere superteam take place in the Capcom developed fighting series Marvel vs Capcom. What better way to show your love of Earth’s mightiest super heroes than by having them pummel the ever living crap out of each other? Or even better, smack the aloofness off Ryu’s face! Cap, Iron Man, Hulk, Hawkeye and Thor appear in at least one game, each leaving Black Widow out in the cold (a recurring theme we’ll learn). The series has seen releases across the majority of home consoles from the original Playstation onward. If you own a PS3 or 360 and haven’t downloaded Marvel vs Capcom 2 I suggest you purchase it now and watch the time fly until the release of the movie. Old school gamers should check out Marvel Super Heroes, the first game in the series on the PS1 or Sega Saturn. You even get to face off against the (totally not an expy of Darkseid) supervillain Thanos, just sayin’.
Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety
Hear me out on this one. While the Avengers are not front and center in Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety, Captain America and Hawkeye make appearances as support characters that appear to help clear the screen of enemies in this beat-em up game based on the tenuous relationship between Spidey and his symbiote-clad frenemy. I lost way too many hours of my life to this game when it hit the SNES in 1995, so I suggest picking it up on eBay, especially if you have a friend who wants in on the co-op goodness. Plus Spider-Man is/was a member of the Avengers, so it fits.
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance/X-Men Legends 2
What do you get when you take the success of the X-Men Legends action RPG series but replace mutants with every dude and chick in the Marvel universe? Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (PS2, PS3, PSP, Xbox, 360, Wii, GBA, Windows), where you and three of your friends each lead a group of handpicked heroes to do battle with villains ranging from Winter Solider to Loki. Fans of dungeon crawlers such as Diablo and Neverwinter Nights will be familiar with the game’s mix of fighting, looting, and stat boosting. Those of you looking for a Black Widow fix can enjoy a subplot in the first game where you investigate the possibility that she is a traitor. Yep, Black Widow is the Rodney Dangerfield of the game, getting no respect. However, PSP owners actually get a chance to add the spy to their team while console owners should just be happy with Elektra. Whether or not she is a Skrull in this game is for you to decide and create fanfic about. Nick Fury even makes a rare playable appearance and can be customized to look like either his Sam Jackson or Earth-616 persona (Insert tasteless Pokemon Black and White joke here). Avoid the Civil war-inspired sequel though and play X-Men Legends 2 instead, Iron Man makes an appearance for absolutely no logical reason!
Captain America and The Avengers
Way back in 1991, Captain America and The Avengers popped up in arcades. A simple, but damn fun, beat-em up game allowed four players to team up as Iron Man, Captain America, Hawkeye, and Vision and take on Red Skull and his legion of doom (not actually called that due to copyright issues). I first played the game on the Genesis that same year but if you have an SNES, Game Gear or Game Boy handy you can pick up the game as well. For those of you unsure who Vision is, he’s an android who somehow knocked up Scarlet Witch. There was magic involved, which makes android-human procreation possible. I cannot wait for that plotline to show up in a future Marvel flick.
Here’s a super obscure one for you. Nick Fury appeared as the playable second character in 1993’s Punisher arcade game, which was ported over to the Genesis. I know when I think of lawless criminal killing I think of the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. Another beat-em up game, because super heroes really don’t know how to do anything other than face-smashing, you at least get to decide whether you want to punch or shoot your opponents. Fun for the whole family. On a side note, Black Widow, Nick Fury and Iron Man appear with the Punisher in his 2005 video game. The game is way more Revenge than Avenge including nifty bits where you torture your opponents for information. Sort of like Manhunt, but less likely to get you on a list. Slightly less likely.
It’s pinball on tables based on Marvel characters with an Avengers table scheduled to be released in May. Apparently people like it. I think playing pinball on your TV is sad, but you can nab it for your 360 or PS3. Just don’t tell people about it because, you know, sad.
The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
The Hulk has appeared in countless games, but it wasn’t until 2005 that his propensity to smash was truly and faithfully honored. Ditching any movie ties and instead featuring voice work from the animated series of the 90s, Ultimate Destruction took the open world vibe of the Spider-Man games and replaced the wall crawler with Hulk. Sure there was a storyline, but when you could turn cars into punching gloves, nothing else really matters. The game was released on the PS2, Xbox and GameCube and if you want to lose yourself in aimless mayhem, head over to your used game site/store and nab a copy.