When video games are based on a preexisting property, they tend to suck. Think about how many terrible games exist. And DC in particular seems to struggle — Superman 64 is often considered one of the worst games ever. There are countless failed Batman games. And who could forget that awful Aquaman game? It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Good DC Comics-based video games do exist, and here are the top six!
Batman Arkham series
Let’s just start with the obvious — the Batman: Arkham series is arguably one of the best superhero video game series ever made. Sure, there have been some low points, like the awkward Batmobile from Arkham Knight, but these games are the best representation of what it’s like to be Batman. Whether you’re sneaking around a room, taking out thugs one by one; or jumping directly directly into the middle of mob and fighting your way through it, there’s a lot of fun to be had. The thing that really makes the Arkham games shine, though, is how successfully they combined the tone of Christoper Nolan’s Dark Knight movies with some of Batman’s more outlandish comic book elements. We knew we’d never get to see villains like Killer Croc or Mr. Freeze in the gritty Nolan-verse, but they were amazing and terrifying when they showed up in the various Arkham locations. We even got to see a dark and twisted version of the Mad Hatter, a villain who uses silly hats to mind control people! That’s probably the series’ greatest achievement.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
The basic plot of most comic book stories is “two super-powered people meet and then they fight”. Made by the same studio that released the Mortal Kombat reboot, Injustice: Gods Among Us takes this seemingly obvious concept and has the classic DC heroes enter an alternate dimension to face off against dark versions of themselves. This game proved that combining a compelling story with tight fighting mechanics makes for a really fun game (which is something that should have been obvious but apparently wasn’t).
DC Universe Online
Some people want to jump into the shoes of their favorite hero, while others would rather work alongside them. DC Universe Online, an MMORPG that places you right in the middle of the comic book universe, is for the latter camp — instead of choosing your favorite existing character, the player creates their own hero or villain. This is a good game for people that like MMORPGs but can’t devote their entire lives to them. It’s also the closest we’ll ever come to finding out if Superman would like hanging out with us.
Justice League Heroes: The Flash
Considering how hard it is to pull off The Flash’s powers in video game form, it’s pretty impressive that Justice League Heroes: The Flash for Game Boy Advance is so great. A 2D side scrolling game where you can zip around really fast, Justice League Heroes: The Flash is not that unique, but it is fun, and that’s what matters. Also, it’s nice to see someone besides Batman or Superman get a chance to shine.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is still a fun — if odd — game. The game finds the DC and Mortal Kombat dimensions starting to merge because Shao Kahn and Darkseid were combined after they were both shot with energy beams while teleporting. Okay, so the story is a little confusing, but this game saw Batman fight Scorpion. The only major disappointment with Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe was that Mortal Kombat’s typical level of violence had to be toned down. Apparently, Warner Brothers and DC Comics weren’t too excited at the idea of seeing Sub Zero rip Batman’s spine out of his body.
It’s true now and it was true then — games based on movies are typically garbage. Batman, based on the 1989 movie, broke the mold. It was a solid platformer that captured the tone of the movie while also providing a solid gaming experience. It was also super hard, but that’s just Batman. You think beating up 45 criminals every single night is easy? Batman doesn’t do easy.
What’s your favorite comic book based video game?
The 6 Best Video Games From the DC Universe