Featured Columns

November 5, 2009

The Comics Console: Staff Picks

A quick news bit: Gamespot.com reports that the movie tie-in games for Thor and The First Avenger: Captain America will be released in 2011 along side their film companions — Thor in May and Captain America in July. Marvel Studios also plans to release Spider-Man 4 in 2011, but no video game tie-in has been announced.

This week we’re looking at some of the games we here at the Comic Attack offices like to lose ourselves in to get away from the malicious demands of our editors, as well as old and new favorites that have spent, and will spend, days or weeks in our disc trays and cartridge slots.

One of the most common favorites among the staff is X-Men for the Sega Genesis. The seventh of the 33 games the X-Men have appeared in, the X-Men were booming once again in 1993 with Fox Kid’s X-Men animated series premiering a year prior. With the choice of Wolverine, Cyclops, Nightcrawler or Gambit, the X-Men take on classic villains like Juggernaut, Sinister and others. Other X-Men (Storm, Rogue, Iceman, and Archangel) make cameo appearances as bonus characters that kill off all enemies on screen when you’re running low on health. And run low on health is something you’ll do quite a bit of in this game. It’s arguably the hardest X-Men game ever made.

X-Men

One cool feature X-Men had was after a boss battle with Mojo, you must “reset the computer” to stop the Danger Room from spreading a virus. You do this by hitting the reset button on the Genesis/Megadrive console before time runs out. It’s one of the only games at that time to break the 4th wall of gaming.

The sequel, X-Men 2: Clone Wars, was a much improved game from its predecessor, and one of my personal favorites. I can’t begin to tell you how much frustration I dealt with in my young life trying to escape the Sentinel production facility before it blew up. Nightcrawler was always my best bet in this stage. (Is it just me, or were Beast and Psylocke practically useless characters here?)

X-Men_2_Clone_Wars

One of the most addictive games on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time. Sega Genesis owners knew this game as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist. The two games were basically the same, but for whatever reason stood out more on the SNES. You and three friends could take control of the heroes-in-a-half-shell in beat ’em up perfection against armies of Foot Soldiers all throughout history. I’ll never forget playing this game for the first time at six years old, throwing a Foot Soldier at the screen, and actually ducking out of the way as if it were going to come out of the TV.

turtles-in-time

We’re really showing our age with these games as we move on to another mid 90s favorite: Spider-Man & Venom: Maximum Carnage. This game was EPIC (or at least it was to me). For 1994, Maximum Carnage was the definitive Spider-Man experience. I actually felt like ol’ Web Head when swinging from building to building, avoiding Electro’s blasts in the second level.

I would usually end up running out of lives around the fifth or sixth level, just as Venom finally became playable. The game features some great appearances by other heroes like Cloak and Dagger, Captain America, the Fantastic Four and more.

spider-man-and-venom-maximum-carnage-8

We jump forward in time through to the Marvel vs. Capcom series and Spider-Man for the Playstation/N64, to Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction.

There have been Hulk games before — one in the 1990s on the SNES and Genesis, another on the Playstation, and again on the PS2 and Xbox (based on the 2003 film). But what sets these games apart from Ultimate Destruction is that Ultimate Destruction doesn’t totally suck. Grand Theft Auto III introduced a new game trend in 2001: the sandbox. The idea of games no longer being restricted to liner stages and levels with no room to explore, but existing in a life-like environment where you can go just about anyplace you see, and are free to roam around with only slight constraint. Ultimate Destruction takes advantage of this, and fans of the Hulk have never before been able to smash like the Green Goliath. With outrageous special gamma powered super moves, and the ability to leap miles across the city, Ultimate Destruction is one of the most faithful game adaptations to a comic book ever. And the story isn’t half bad either.

the-incredible-hulk-ultimate-destruction-20050308031757657_640w

The island city you inhabit — a fictional Staten Island type — is pretty big. Tons of buildings to jump from, and crawl on. Lots of cars and people in the streets. It even has a beautiful sunset. You’re not restricted to the city, however. The desert landscape is just as large as the city, with mountains and canyons to leap past and military bases to destroy.

As Hulk you have a lot of freedom to move. You have the giant leaps that you can charge for more or less distance, you can run up sides of buildings or climb up them like a clumsy Spider-Man; and of course your fists to slap cars, trees, citizens and whatever else out of your way. One of the most satisfying things to do in Ultimate Destruction is to just rampage wildly through the city. Some entire buildings will even completely collapse if enough damage has been done to them.

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Again, Like GTAIII, you have a kind of destruction meter. The more havoc you cause, the more you increase the threat level. You’ll start by just running through the streets and up buildings, drawing attention to local law enforcement; then when you’re tossing cars across the city, the National Guard will step in with tanks and helicopters. They’ll fire rockets and missiles at you that you can (later once you buy the upgrade) catch and throw back. The helicopters are a lot of fun to play with. You can actually jump onto them and pull them out of the sky, riding them down in a spiraling explosion. After just a bit more chaos, Tony Stark’s Hulkbuster units drop in and things get hardcore. You’ll have to unlock a few more upgrades and combos before you can successfully defeat Stark Industries’ big guns.

And boy are there some upgrades and combos to unlock. All kinds of special smash techniques can be bought as you go through the game to cause more destruction to the city and your enemies (Yeah, I know Hulk is supposed to be a good guy and wouldn’t just pick up citizens and use them as weapons or cause millions of dollars in property damage, just to unlock moves and combos, but damn it, it’s fun!). Like we’ve seen Hulk do before, you’ll be able to pick up cars and rip them in half, using them like boxing gloves or nucks to double your destruction. You can pick up buses and flatten them to use as shields, and one of my favorites, flattening a bus and using it as a skateboard to ride the city streets.

You can also buy special finishing moves that can only be used once you turn radioactive. To do this, you pick up green orbs floating all around your environments until your health meter goes berserk, and you have a limited amount of time to unleash absolute devastation.

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Missions within the game are pretty basic. Doc Samson is in your ear guiding you to your quests. These usually consist of hunting an object that’s under military protection, capturing it, and getting it back to Samson before it, or you, gets destroyed, taking out X amount of Hulkbusters, or destroying a specific location. None of it is mind blowing stuff, and can actually get pretty difficult in places. You’ll fight against Mercy, Devil Hulk, and Abomination in boss battles, which are usually just brawling matches.

The sound and voice acting is good. Bruce Banner is voiced by Neal McDonough who reprises his role from the 1996 animated series, and Ron Perlman is Abomination. The graphics aren’t the prettiest you’ll find on the Xbox, PS2, or Gamecube, but then again there isn’t much pretty about the carnage left by the Hulk.

The game has a few unlockable costumes, like different types of pants for Hulk to wear. Nothing that changes up gameplay at all. And there are some funny little treats like a giant inflated Gorilla that allows you to float around the city.

Most people will spend more time just exploring and destroying the city than they will with the game’s campaign, but that’s okay because it’s so fun and satisfying. This is the Hulk game fans have always wanted. Radical Entertainment and Sierra Entertainment’s Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction gets 4/5.

Even though the golden age of gaming is long gone, some of the greatest comic book video games ever are still being made. This year’s Batman Arkham Asylum quickly made our lists as a top favorite, and trumped Spider-Man 2 as my personal favorite comic book video game of all time.

Here are some of the staff’s top favorites:

Andrew Hurst
Batman Arkham Asylum
Batman
(NES & Genesis)
Batman Begins
Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
Justice League Task Force
Spider-Man
(Playstation/N64)
Spider-Man: The Movie
Spider-Man 2: The Video Game
Spider-Man & Venom: Maximum Carnage
Superman: The Man of Steel
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
(NES)
X-Men 2: Clone Wars

Andy Liegl
X-Men (Arcade)
X-Men (Genesis)
X-Men 2: Clone Wars
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time

Billy Dunleavy
Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
Justice League Heroes
Lego Batman
Marvel Ultimate Alliance
Spider-Man 3

Dan Royer
Captain America and the Avengers
Spider-Man & Venom: Maximum Carnage
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist
Ultimate Spider-Man
X-Men
(NES)
X-Men: Children of the Atom

Infinite Speech
Aliens vs. Predator (Arcade)
Batman
Batman Arkam asylum
Batman: The Animated Series
Captain America and the Avengers
The Darkness
Fist of the North Star
Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
Justice League Task Force
Marvel Ultimate Alliance
Marvel vs. Capcom 2
The Punisher
(2005)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Arcade)
Turok
X-Men
(Genesis)
X-Men Legends
X-Men Legends II
X-Men vs. Street Fighter

Nate
Death & Return of Superman
Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
Justice League Heroes
Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems
Marvel Ultimate Alliance
Spider-Man
(Playstation/N64)
Spider-Man: The Movie
Spider-Man 2
Spider-Man & Venom: Maximum Carnage
X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse
X-Men 2: Cone Wars

Let us know what your favorite comic book games are!

Next week in The Comics Console we examine Star Wars: The Force Unleashed — Sith Edition!

Andrew Hurst

andrewhurst@comicattack.net

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12 Comments


  1. billy

    Holy crap speech that’s quite a list.


  2. Infinite Speech

    ugh! I forgot about maximum carnage! I played the hell outta that game and I remember a friend telling me the X Men game was so good he let me borrow the game AND his Genesis just so he could prove it to me lol

    Hulk:UD IS the definitive Hulk game PERIOD. Better graphics and the game would have recieved a 5! I also liked getting the Mr. Fixit Version of the Hulk which spouts different phrases and lets you smash NY in style with the suit and fedora to match! And i’m sorry but there is nothing more fun than grabbing up a civilian and running through the city while they scream for help, climbing the tallest building then throwing them clean across the city lol


  3. Infinite Speech

    @ billy – Been playing games a long time man! lol had to something while going to school and parties lol


  4. Kristin

    Hey now. You be careful what you say about your editors! We might just accidentally let a little embarrassing something slip into your posts. 🙂



  5. @Kristin

    Lol. We would be lost without you.
    CA.net <3's editors!

    Was anyone else pissed that the Incredible Hulk movie tie-in game, that had potential to be a sequel to UD, totally sucked and ended up as a UD rip off?


  6. Infinite Speech

    totally agree andrew…i rented that game and took it back the same day!


  7. Dakk Attakk

    Next time u come over dude, you gotta bring your xbox so i can finish Arkham Assylum. Ima own teh Joka.
    Even though i have yet to finish it, Arkham is easily my favorite comic game. And i dont know how many times i played Batman on the SNES.. beating the crap outta Salt and Pepper. what happened to those chicks? r they actually in any Batman comics? cuz i dont think ive seen them outside of that batman game.. i just remember pounding them with mah goo gun! BUAHAA! i cant believe Thor and Cap America movies are sooo long away.. *le sigh* .. :\



  8. Great article Andrew!

    I LOVE the first X-Men game for the Genesis- it’s freakin’ amazing!! Who knew at the time though that you had to reset the actual system to beat that level?

    As for the second X-Men Genesis game, I agree that Beast and Psylocke weren’t great choices to use; I always preferred Magneto.

    Turtles in Time = F-ING AWESOME!!


  9. Aron White

    I’m currently enjoying Batman: Arkham Asylum. It is my favorite comic book game of all-time! LOVE it!

    My other favorite solo-adventure game is The Punisher (2005). It holds a special place in my heart. What’s cooler than popping out of a casket at a funeral full of mob baddies? That was great!

    I haven’t played Ghost Rider (PS2), though. I really want to. Has anyone here played it? What do you think?

    As far as team-ups go, the X-Men Legends and Ultimate Alliance series are tops in my book!

    I’ll tell you what’s absolutely garbage, though…The Fantastic Four (PS2)! I wish I would have rented it first! I think I would have a better time with the swine flu!



  10. This is wonderful, my son loves star wars lego and almost always pestering me about it – your site has answered a number of my concerns. Time for lots more browsing!



  11. […] from you when you place an order, subscribe to our newsletter, respond to a survey or fill out aThe Comics Console: Staff PicksGrand Theft Auto III introduced a new game trend in 2001: the sandbox. The idea of games … it, or […]



  12. […] in particular that borrow from a character’s vast continuity, like Batman: Arkham Asylum or Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, but the list of video games that pull their story directly from the comic book pages is a small […]



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