More often than not, comic books fail to get their due in the world of video games. Most comic book video games are just obligatory tragedies designed to pimp an equally bad accompanying film. The solution, of course, is to cut out the middle man. Rocksteady learned this and made two of the greatest comic book-based games of all-time based on Batman.
With Comic-Con behind us and the Dark Knight rising in the distance, it’s a great time to dream about which comic book characters deserve a game to bring them to life and into our living rooms.
Daredevil – Seeing is Believing
Video games are always looking for a new way to bring an experience to players. Playing a game as Daredevil would definitely fill that role. Blinded at a young age by radioactive waste, Daredevil’s other senses became heightened to an extraordinary level. He uses a sort of sonar in place of vision, allowing him to see in the same way bats do. What this means for a video game is an entirely new way of looking at gameplay.
Whereas in other games, certain rooms are dark in order to build suspense; in a Daredevil game those same rooms would be silent or odorless in order to disorient the player. Further, Daredevil’s signature weapon—an augmented billy club with a length of high strength cable—can be used both for travel and for simply beating the snot out of thugs. Finally, Daredevil has a fantastic, deep, and dark backstory (as any superhero that has been touched by Frank Miller usually does) that would lend itself to a 15+ hour video game.
Courtesy of DC Comics
Hellblazer – No, Not The Keanu Reeves One
Originally only a guest star in Alan Moore’s popular Swamp Thing, John Constantine gained enough popularity to snag his own series entitled Hellblazer. As a cynical British warlock firmly embedded in all things occult and demonic, Constantine practically screams for a well-written game to do him justice. Whereas Keanu Reeves bumbled around and ultimately did the character a great disservice, there are still plenty of stories within his universe that a game could explore.
Constantine battles demons, lords of hell, and witches—defeating most of them not with strength or stamina, but with overwhelming guile and wit. His amoral adventures take him all over the world, and have him waltzing into the beyond; hell itself. These landscapes would make a stirring and unique game, sure to please anyone with tendencies toward destroying evil and godless creatures.
Courtesy of Marvel Comics
Marvel Zombies – A No Brainer
Yeah, you’re sick of zombie games, but stick with me for a minute. The limited five-series run series was so popular it spawned a number of sequels and expansions within the Marvel Zombies universe. Justifiably so. Who doesn’t want to watch Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the Hulk all devour the Silver Surfer before turning around and eating Galactus himself? Furthermore, who wouldn’t want to play as any of those characters (or most of the rest of the Marvel universe) while they either battle the virus outbreak or succumb to it?
As Marvel: Ultimate Alliance proved, people love the opportunity to take up the mantle of their favorite Marvel superhero and beat some heads in. So who wouldn’t want a similar game that simply lets you eat those heads? The fact alone that Ash Williams makes an appearance in the series (Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness) is convincing enough for me to want a game like this. There’s still a bad taste in my mouth left over from Evil Dead: Hail to the King on the Sega Dreamcast.
Courtesy of DC Comics
Jonah Hex – The Good And The Ugly
I guess you could say that in a way this game has already been done with Red Dead Redemption. A scarred cowboy with questionable morals guns down any who stand in his way. Sure, but John Marston really lacks Hex’s panache. And the western storylines aren’t really even Hex’s best stuff. Where he excels—and consequently, what would make a great game—is in his time travelling adventures. Always caught on the wrong side of a time machine, Jonah Hex never hesitates to adjust and thrive in whatever situation he’s thrown in.
Playing a game as an out-of-place cowboy in a post-apocalyptic Seattle or modern-day Gotham would be a decidedly interesting game. Not many games offer the ability to ride a horse in one chapter and drive a motorcycle in the next, but a Jonah Hex game certainly could. Further, Hex has no actual superpowers, which lends a depth and element of mortality to the character that would be great in a shooter. Oh, did I mention that he’s good with guns? Yeah, well he killed Superman with Kryptonite bullets so I’d say he’s knows his way around a firearm.
Courtesy of 2000 AD Online
Judge Dredd – Any Questions?
Cyberpunk. What else do you need to know? Okay for those who haven’t seen the Stallone film, the trailer for the upcoming John Wagner film, or any of the comic books, Judge Dredd is the final word in badass cyberpunk. Taking place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland in which only a few mega-cities remain, law and order has been turned over to a number of Street Judges who have the authority to police, judge and execute on the spot. The possibilities for a video game are endless.
I picture a great Judge Dredd game as an open world shooter that captures both the UK/70s cyberpunk vibe of the comics with the crushing wretchedness of a nuclear holocaust. Roaming the city, rounding up a crime ring, all while using your executive power to imprison or slaughter baddies is too much for me to process. The Judge has gotten video game treatments in the past, but none of them have done him justice.
Yes, I realize that most of the characters I’ve mentioned have terrible movies attached to their names. Unfortunately for the same reason Hollywood thought they’d made a good movie, I think they’d make a great game.
So what do you think? Which of your favorite comic book characters do you think deserve some playtime in your living room?
Nationally unacclaimed freelance writer Jonathan Deesing loves video games and puppies. If you can't get enough of his musings, check out his Twitter feed.