The all-too familiar genre of movie tie-ins never make it big on the market. Plus, in all likelihood, it's safe to say that the developers behind these god awful superhero video games weren't even trying, or paying attention to what they were modeling. It's sad, too, when you have truly memorable franchise titles like Spawn, X-Men, and even Superman to look at with ever growing disinterest.
It's not just graphics, storylines, or even the cast of capes allowed that make these the worst superhero games, it's the level of dimwitted and ultimate misgiving that have turned these somewhat plausible titles into not so much memorable, but more or less examples of what not to do when devising a superhero franchise. With that being said, let's take a look at some of the entertainment world's most unceremonious of all superhero video games, if only to see which of them just shouldn't don the cape ever again.
Superman Returns by Electronic Arts
Known widely as being a relatively destructive video game incarnation, Superman never fares well in the gaming universe. Thanks to the long and thankfully forgotten Superman 64, much of what we have been able to do with our favorite Kryptonian alien is through the movie tie-in Superman Returns, but that's not really saying anything, since it's one of the worst superhero video games.
Teaming up to bring Brian Singer's 2006 movie title to the gaming world, EA and Warner Bros. attempted to change the way both movie tie-ins and Superman games themselves would be viewed. However, they ended up with just another poor attempt at making the uncalled for an even worse laughing riot, since the game showed no real playability in levels, offers very little in the show of supporting your abilities, and never allows the open world to ever truly "open" up. Superman Returns simply lacks in quality, period, and while the concept was seemingly magnanimous for the hero, it ended up driving a large stake made of kryptonite into any proceeding Superman gaming possibilities.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer by 2K Games
The 1990 Silver Surfer, released on the NES, was in itself a pretty poor video game, but personally I feel that the real enemy here were the Fantastic 4, which then gave rise to their sequel and video game tie-in Rise of the Silver Surfer. I'll just be frank and outright say it, there's absolutely nothing fun to do in this poor iteration of our most hated superhero franchise, which then birthed this lousy example of some of the worst superhero video games.
Silver Surfer, while still having somewhat mixed reviews, ended up being repetitive, as all movie tie-ins tend to, and eventually lost its reception when gameplay became a chore, and the story itself was a bore. Not to mention the fact that its graphics were something you'd expect to see on a much older platform; most fans simply played Rise simply to fuel their ultimate boredom and to pass the time. Silver? I wouldn't even call it the Bronze Surfer.
Watchmen: The End is Nigh by Warner Bros. Interactive
This is another example of one of the worst superhero video games that could very well have been a masterpiece if done correctly. Sadly, Watchmen: The End is Nigh spoke for itself. A truly impeccable Watchmen video game was daunting in creation, but with the original writers of the comic books behind the game iteration's development, plus a two-part downloadable release, many fans were excited only to get their hearts and dreams crushed, as is the case with such high hoped titles as this.
The End is Nigh allowed players to choose between either Nite Owl or Rorschach to battle off foes and solve puzzles, all the while digging deep into these two characters' friendship, and even eventual parting. In the end, players were left with rather simple puzzles, repetitive levels of similarly situated enemies, and a cheap all-around story that fared little with critics. Add to that the fact that the characters are voiced by their movie actors, it simply comes down to another potential great that ended up being a cheap money maker, inevitably hurting the fanbase and making the story of Nite Owl and Rorschach's friendship something of a misdirected waste of time, to say the least.
Catwoman by Electronic Arts
Not all movie tie-ins are as deplorable as their franchise starters as Catwoman was when it was released in 2004. The movie itself, rated on IMDB with a 3.3 rating out of 10, should expressly warrant the game’s subpar attributes. With unbelievably bad cutscenes, which were pre-rendered to make it appear as though you were playing alongside the movie, in addition to some low quality graphics, not to mention even worse combat schemes, Catwoman goes down as one of the worst superhero video games.
Add to these misgivings the misguided camera, which pretty much chose at random where best to situate itself, players would find that the angles were the most annoying setback and tended to amount to in-game failures more so than the actual enemy bots. Given that these bots were also so impeccably dumb they’d often hurt themselves or run into walls, that is when you could even see them at all, it’s safe to say this is one masked feline you just don’t want to cross.
X-Men: Destiny by Activision
While X-Men Legends changed superhero games, its predecessor, not to be confused with Bungie's own first person shooter of the same name, Destiny became widely disputed as among the worst superhero video games for its poor graphics, linear plot choices, and unruly cast of foes.
Despite these daunting setbacks, X-Men: Destiny was a truly fun game to play, if only for a little while. You tended to face the same old enemies from start to finish, even though you could choose from either among the X-Men or Brotherhood. Not to mention the fact that button smashing tended to get your further in the game than actually learning the controls, it became pretty clear that Destiny, while at the time still being a relatively anticipated game, fell into that all-too familiar video game hole of being a potential best seller, only to find itself among the worst possible creations.
Batman: Dark Tomorrow by Kemko
As the world demands a new Batman Arkham game, one of the very old iterations made in 2003 was more than a setback. Dark Tomorrow had high hopes upon release, bringing the caped crusader into a world of infinite control problems, from either running into walls or simply tumbling off balconies. It was initially released for the Xbox and GameCube platforms, but the PlayStation port was inevitably cancelled, one simple reason being it was among the worst superhero video games.
At the time, more or less two years before it was released, Dark Tomorrow was intended to be the Arkham City of the early 2000s, inviting an open world gameplay with interesting concepts to unlock and explore. There were a host of delays and problems with the creation of the game that caused it to turn to the linear fold, making for an uneven performance that eventually made "Shame of the Month" by Electronic Gaming Monthly.
Spawn: Armageddon by Namco
While Armageddon may have had its clunkiness and obscure gaming material, judged by the fact that it was Spawn game after all, none so took the cake more than the 1997 predecessor called The Eternal. You want to know how bad that game was? Gamespot gave it a remarkable 1.8, calling into question a number of issues, from mechanics, to the overall routes players had to take in finishing the game.
While Spawn: Armageddon certainly rectified these claims, in addition to the 1999 Gameboy Color release of simply Spawn, neither really blessed us all with an adamant Spawn game that could rekindle the franchise's long history of dimwitted, uncharismatic game iterations. Frankly, and it's sad to say this, but the more they released, the lesser their fan base grew. Armageddon was just firing of the bullet, and the Spawn video game franchise and legacy was, thereafter, null and void.
Iron Man by Sega
Sega's Iron Man tie-in titles were some of the worst superhero video games ever made for various reasons. While there may not have been such anticipatory feelings for these games as others, Iron Man still soared into some critical reception. GameSpot even awarded it "Worst Game Everyone Played" in 2008, even though it's doubtful everyone played it, and the UK based critics at Official Nintendo Magazine gave the Wii version one of their lowest ratings yet, a 15 percentile out of 100.
The man in steel may be able to blow up tanks, take rockets to the face, and soar into space without a concern for the worst, but when it comes to video game controls, graphics, and storylines, he tended to miss the mark. Iron Man 2, Sega's second namesake in the series, may have been even worse, but that's still disputed.
Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis by TDK
Since the superhero himself may be considered one of the worst and most downplayed heroes of all time, it's not that surprising to find a lackluster Aquaman video game title as one of worst superhero video games. Battle for Atlantis, simply put, had nothing going for it when released on the Xbox and Nintendo GameCube in 2003. The graphics are blurry, the plotline moves almost as slow as the character does, and the overall creation of the game was made on a budget. Poor Aquaman.
For starters, there's absolutely no voice acting. It's almost like you're playing an original Pokémon game with Aquaman's use of text boxes and screenshots to move the story along. Which brings us to the next unsavory aspect: Battle for Atlantis truly could have had an impeccable storyline, but the inevitable reception by fans and critics, what with poor graphics and unsavory missions, it became something akin to Superman 64. To that end, Aquaman's stance in the video game limelight faded long before he even had a chance.
Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects by Electronic Arts
Marvel has had its fare share of poor video game titles, what with a host of standalone characters, movie tie-ins, and X-Men franchise destroyers, but it has seemingly held its own since the inclusion of two Marvel Ultimate Alliances. These games, however, would be nothing without the original Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects. At first, fans were pretty excited by the outcome of the game, but as time progressed, many began to see its misdirected qualities and untamed sense of guidance.
There were a host of issues with Nemesis upon release, whether it be an below average campaign mode, to the even more maddening multiplayer content, it soon became known as one of the worst superhero video games and may very well be Marvel's most atrocious claim in the gaming universe. One of the most annoying aspects was how enemies could effectively end you without breaking a sweat with the use of projectiles, sent almost at an unending rate so you would have no possible chance of defending yourself. There was also a backlash provided by fans in the limited amount of playable characters in-game, which made Nemesis something of a nemesis to superhero gaming, in general.
The Incredible Hulk: The Pantheon Saga by EIDOS Interactive
So uncalled for and uninterested by the masses, The Incredible Hulk: The Pantheon Saga ended up becoming one of the worst superhero video games when it was released in 1997 for the PlayStation 1, PC, and Sega Saturn. Gamespot likewise rated this sucker with a 2.4, making it even better than Spawn: The Eternal, but still a rather unfortunate setback for the beloved Marvel superhero.
The most unsettling of receptions is that the Hulk looks nothing like himself, some saying his head is too small, while others calling into question the relative size of objects and other characters, which eventually made the graphics a mute subject. Plus, while the combat system was pretty cool at the time, you ended up fighting the same enemies and there was no true challenge to the game. I mean, you're the freaking Hulk, who's going to out-smash him?