Welcome, fellow nerds, to another round of Top 5! This week, we combine our unhealthy obsessions of comics and video games and hammer out which comic book characters would make awesome video games in this next generation of consoles. Whether PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One, or even Wii U, these games would make me spend my ill-gotten gains at the drop of the hat. That is, of course, if they’re developed properly and aren’t just tossed out as half-baked cash grabs…
5. Captain America
I think it would be goddamn awesome to see the First Avenger get his due. While he’s had a game out for this gen’s consoles to tie in with his movie a couple of years ago, it fell flat like most movie tie-in games. I think Cap would rock in a game with a combat system similar to Batman’s Arkham games, but with some shield bashing and throwing tossed in. Cap’s one tough motherfucker, and seeing him putting the boots to some Hydra henchmen would make my day if done properly.
4. Luke Cage and Iron Fist
This one I would love to see as a throwback to the side scrolling beat-em-ups that were popular in the ‘90s, ala Final Fight. It could be a little bit campy and over the top, and the devs can even go one further and toss it in the 70’s with Power Man and Iron Fist. Hell, this duo calls themselves “heroes for hire”, so knocking out a little plot summary wouldn’t be that tough. As for the baddies, since they’re very much street level heroes, wave after wave of identical thugs representing every subculture stereotype would fit right in. Graphically, I could see hand drawn 2-D work fantastically for this to really bring out the comic vibe. Since it’s a simple game, it would be perfect for a cheap download style game on Xbox Live or PSN style delivery systems.
3. John Constantine
If you haven’t read any of the older Hellblazer graphic novels, please do so as soon as possible. The “hero” of that title, John Constantine, is a bastard. He plays with magic like a pyromaniac teenager does with fire, and like my simile, all those around him get burned. This is one motherfucker who cured his lung cancer by tricking the primary powers of Hell into exhuming the offending cells from his body. All his friends die horribly, and those fortunate enough to not have their souls torn asunder by demons, end up haunting him at any given chance. He’s killed ancient gods, stolen artifacts, and generally made an ass of himself in the supernatural pantheon. As such, I think he would make an awesome starring character in a 3rd-person adventure title. Rather than fighting his way through his enemies, trickery and cunning would win the day, but tossing out a few spells or simply killing some motherfucker in his way in a more conventional manner can still do in a pinch.
Following in the vein of the diabolic supernatural, Hellboy would make a great leading man (demon?) in a 3rd-person brawler style game. He’s tough as a tank, built (and colorized) like a brickhouse, and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty and cracking a few skulls. Who wouldn’t want to play a cigar-smoking hardass demon in the employ of a secret government agency whose job it is is to go toe-to-toe with all kinds of things that go bump in the night?
1. The Punisher
There was a Punisher game that was released in the PS2/Xbox Brick era, and I have nothing but fond memories of that game. It was a 3rd-person run-and-gun shooter where you could use your environment to execute thugs in all manner of gruesome methods. Fighting in a kitchen? Toss them on the chopping board and shake the knife rack to rain blades into their torso. At a construction site? Turn on the table saw and pull them across it. At the zoo? Throw them at the rhinoceros’s cage and watch them get impaled on its horn. The game was delightfully gory and brutal, and really captured the essence of the Punisher, especially his stories in the MAX line of comics.
In this version, I would love to see it set as a sandbox style game, ala GTA, set in New York, where you can work your way through various gangs and crime families. I’m really hoping this next generation of consoles and games allows for cities to actually be populated similar to real cities, and if this is the case, it could work as a mechanic for this game. The Punisher only punishes the guilty, and won’t harm innocents, so I could see firefights being really tense, and perhaps have it that you simply cannot shoot if there’s a decent chance of hitting someone caught in the crossfire. Also, if there’s an XP system, perhaps make it that every innocent casualty inflicted by the baddies means a penalty to your XP gain, but an increase to your damage. This could represent him going into a killing rage, dispensing his peculiar type of justice on those found wanting.
Also, things would get really interesting when the police show up. Some cops see The Punisher as a necessary evil, but some see him as a mass murderer, and their actions regarding Frank Castle could vary by encounter, but even if they’re attacking, Frank would never intentionally kill an Officer, meaning that getting creative with escape or non-lethal takedowns would add another element to this game.