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October 7, 2009

The Comics Console: Daredevil: The Game That Should Have Been

The year was 2004. Marvel was seeing great success in the new millennium with their X-Men and Spider-Man franchises in film and video games, and the Man Without Fear was set to receive the same treatment. Just a year earlier, Ben Affleck… um… wowed fans on the big screen as the blind avenger. A video game tie in was released for the Game Boy Advance, but fans craved more.

Encore, developer of the GBA movie adaptation, had been working on a full 3D third person Daredevil game for next-gen consoles. Set for Q4 2004 release, with ads even running in Marvel comics, development was halted, and the game was canceled.

. . .

Yup. Talk about one of the biggest WTFs of the year. Encore suddenly decided to become only a publisher and get out of developing, so Daredevil was dropped. It amazes me how a company can spend time and money creating something like a large 3D action game and just decide not to do it anymore. So what happened to all the coding and design work and everything they had built? Does it just remain in Encore’s databases forever until someone buys it off of them and finishes it? Is there a gigantic delete button that they pressed to just make it go away? Who knows?

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An early screen shot of Encore's Daredevil

A brief look at some of what Encore had accomplished can be seen here. And as if losing the game wasn’t enough to kill the dreams of Daredevil fans all over the world, the fact that the game actually looked great just adds insult!

Unfortunately, not many details were ever released about the game. As far as story, gameplay specifics, villains,  unlockables, ect.; it is all left up to imagination.

Encore currently publishes PC games like Beebo Deluxe, Monopoly, Scrabble and various playing card games, as well as do-it-yourself legal counseling software (LOL).

Though a huge blow to the character and his fans, Daredevil’s less gaudy alter-ego, Matt Murdock, made a brief cameo in Volition’s 2005 Punisher video game. Then later that year as a playable character in Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, and in both Marvel Ultimate Alliance games.

Daredevil putting the smackdown on Elektra in Marvel Nemesis

Daredevil putting the smackdown on Elektra in Marvel Nemesis

But for fans who want to blindly kick ass in Hell’s Kitchen in a solo Daredevil campaign, the Game Boy Advance is the only platform to do it.

Daredevil isn’t bad for what it is–a simple side scrolling beat ’em up that has you dashing across roof tops and subway trains taking down armed goons. This style of gameplay isn’t really new territory. You have three basic attacks–a punch, a jump kick, and a billy club swing–and two combo attacks that you can execute with different sequences of the attack buttons. You also gather extra lives and special power-ups for things like invincibility or super strength. You can also grab a power-up that will allow you to throw your billy club to stun enemies.

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Daredevil’s radar sense is translated into just a grey perspective that you can toggle on and off, and doesn’t really have much use in the game other than finding secret items that unlock screen shots from the film, costumes, and extra levels.

Hardcore fans of the comics will appreciate boss battles against Kirigi, Echo, Turk, and the Sewer King, along with Bullseye and Elektra. Against Echo is really the only other time Daredevil’s radar sense becomes useful. When battling atop a moving train, you can use the radar to see Echo when passing under dark tunnels, as Echo is blinded by the darkness.

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The game is surprisingly difficult because of it’s awkward collision system. While your opponents tend to stay stationary until you run over to beat them up, your attacks won’t always connect, or your opponent’s attack will take precedence over it.

Daredevil doesn’t push the GBA’s limits with graphics, but the sound and music are great, and much more cinematic than what you’ll find in other GBA titles.

The game was made more for those hoping to capture more of the excitement from the movie instead of creating a true Daredevil experience. Over all, it’ll only take about 3 to 4 hours to finish. Daredevil is nothing great, but not a bad way to kill some time if you’re a Daredevil fan. 3/5

Next week in The Comics Console, we’re playing Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes

Andrew Hurst
andrewhurst@comicattack.net

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10 Comments


  1. Kristin

    “It amazes me how a company can spend time and money creating something like a large 3D action game and just decided not to anymore.”

    You’d be surprised how often that can happen. Battlefront III comes immediately to mind. Companies go bankrupt, or bigger companies just decide to shut their smaller entities down (or consolidate them, which basically does the same thing). Games get canceled, lost, or hang forever in limbo when that happens.



  2. Right? It’s so ridiculous. Such a shame. Haha


  3. billy

    Those top screen shots look spectacular. I woul have loved to see that game on the shelf. My kids love superhero games.


  4. Infinite Speech

    I actually just saw an advertisement for the DD game boy game in an older book of mine lol I remember the Nemesis game only being fun for a few weeks but it did look good! But a DD game would be great if done right

    And Kristin i’m still keeping my fingers crossed for Battlefrong III lol



  5. Once again, awesome article Andrew!

    I’ll go ahead and say it; I didn’t hate the Affleck DD movie.



  6. @Andy

    Haha. Thanks a lot! I LOVED the Daredevil movie the first time I saw it, but now I cringe every time. I thought Collin Ferrel was a pretty cool Bullseye though.


  7. billy

    @Andy and Andrew-Put me on the “I liked Daredevil” list to. I thought it was a solid flick.


  8. Infinite Speech

    DD was a solid movie but I got tired of the “crow” fire effect and that corny ass fight scene in the playground! I almost threw up with that horrible choreagraphy and the wire work…worst part of the movie!



  9. I think the reason the DD flick got such a bad name was because no one had seen how low the modern genre of the superhero film could sink yet. In retrospect, it holds up better than some of the later efforts from marvel.

    BTW, great article and screen shots from the game. Very interesting.



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