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The 20 Greatest Video Games Based on Comic Books

Comic Book Video Games

Comic book titles are currently having a moment. Thanks to Christopher Nolan’s Batman and the expansive Marvel movie Universe, more people are into comics than ever before.

For video game companies, comics have always been a big focus. For decades, game makers have looked to comics for adaptation. And some of those titles have become legendary and fondly remembered. Here are the top 20 all-time comic books turned into video games.

These are in no particular order and solely our opinion. Some of the games date base to the 1980s while others are much more recent.

The Walking Dead: Season One

Image Via Telltale Games

In October of 2010, The Walking Dead television show debuted on AMC and was an immediate runaway hit. A game based on the series was quickly produced and was nearly as popular as the show.

The title, developed and published by Telltale Games, focused less on problem-solving and more on the dialogue choices and actions made by players. It was a hit with users, moving more than 8.5 million units. Critics loved the game as well. More than 80 publications deemed it to be their game of the year.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Image Via Ubisoft

The film the game is based on, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was released in 2010. The movie was a box-office bomb, not even coming close to recouping the $85 million spent on it. Over time, though, it has become a cult classic.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game looked more like the original comic than the movie. Unlike the movie, the game was loved by players. The beat-em-up title won Best Adapted Video Game at the 2010 Spike Video Game Awards.

Deadpool

Image Via Activision

Deadpool the film was a massive hit, making more than $783 million against a $53 million budget. Interestingly enough, the video game was not based on the 2016 film. Activision released the title back in 2013, taking its cues from the Marvel comic book.

Those who loved the Deadpool game praised it for its demented sense of humor. And those who didn’t like it were turned off by the demented sense of humor. While the game was released from digital storefronts in 2014, it was made available again in 2016 to take advantage of the film’s popularity.

The Wolf Among Us

Image Via Telltale Games

In The Wolf Among Us, gamers control the private eye of Bigby Wolf who is inspecting a series of murders. The title, produced by Telltale Games features 5 playable titles and was acclaimed by users and critics.

What many of those who adored the game didn’t realize, was that it was based on a comic book. Fables was a legendary series for DC comics created by Mark Willingham. The title took place in a world where the characters of fairy tales lived among humans in the normal world. Bigby, of course, was based on the Big Bad Wolf.

Duck Tales

Image Via Capcom

Many gamers of a certain age have fond memories of Duck Tales. The cartoon, which debuted in 1987, featured Scrooge McDuck raising his three nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie.

The show was based on a long-running comic series by Carl Barks. In 1989, a video game based on the show based on the comic books was released on NES. The revered game, was developed by many of the same creators who worked on Mega Man. 30 years later, Duck Tales, which moved more than one million copies, is still considered to be one of the greatest comic book-based games ever made.

The Punisher

Image Via THQ

First-person shooter games have been wildly popular since Wolfenstein 3D and Doom debuted in the early 1990s. And there are many comic books that would be ideal adaptations for that type of game. But no character is more perfect than Marvel’s The Punisher.

The character, created by John Romita and Gerry Conway in 1974, is the most violent in the Marvel Universe. And the game is quite violent as well. The title is frequently named when people create lists of the all-time greatest comic book-based games.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Image Via Warner Brothers Interactive

There have been a plethora of games based on DC Comic’s Batman. So when a new title is developed, it sets a high bar to clear. Rocksteady Games did just that in 2009 when they developed Arkham Asylum.

Arkham, a home for the worst criminals in Gotham City, was the perfect place to base a Batman game. In order to make it through the game, users have to use both brawn and detective skills. Fittingly, Rocksteady decided to cast Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as The Joker. Both voice actors worked on the revered Batman: The Animated Series.

The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction

Courtesy of Vivendi Universal

After a long and frustrating day, many turn to video games to let off some steam. And no one can let off steam quite like Marvel’s The Incredible Hulk.

In 2005’s Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, the big green monster turns his anger level up to 11. And players loved it. In the game, Bruce Banner, the Hulk’s alter ego has been mind-controlled and engages in a mission for his psychotherapist Doc Samson. As he attempts to complete his mission, there is plenty of destruction along the way. The game was critically acclaimed and is still fondly remembered by gamers.

Marvel vs. Capcom

Image Via Capcom

Comic book fans have been in a decades-long debate over who would win in fights between Marvel and DC Characters. Could The Incredible Hulk take out Superman? Who would win in a fight between Batman and Wolverine?

So while Capcom didn’t solve that argument, they did allow players to figure out how Marvel characters would do against some major video game characters. The title featured over 100 playable characters and was a runaway hit, selling over 10 million units. There were also a number of sequels, the latest being Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite, which came out in 2017.

Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters

Image Via Warner Brothers Interactive

There are few comics more visually stunning than Green Lantern. The character is among the most powerful characters in all of the DC Universe. Green Lantern’s power allows him to create anything that comes into his mind with help from his powerful ring.

2011’s Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters gives game players the opportunity to create weapons with the ring, just like Hal Jordan does in the comics. The game was connected to the film that debuted in the same year. Ryan Reynolds voices Hal Jordan and Michael Robin Jackson portray’s Ganthet.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Image Via Konami

In 1987, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles television show debuted. Meant to be a parody of popular comics like Daredevil, the Teen Titans, and X-Men, the show took off like a rocket. Soon after came an extensive toy series.

Not far behind was a video game based on the series which was first released on the Nintendo console. And while today the gameplay may look crude, it was incredibly cutting edge for the time. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is very fondly remembered and was the first game ever played for many gamers.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2

Image via Activision

For the most part, the heroes of the Marvel Universe are quite friendly. They often need to band together to fight the constant threats of the world. Groups like the X-Men, the Avengers, and the Defenders work with each other to beat back evil forces.

But in the comic book world, the events of 2006’s Civil War drove a wedge through the Marvel world. And those events were recreated in 2009’s Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2. The best part of the title was the vast amount of characters available to users. And gamers adored getting to settle fights between the biggest characters in the Marvel Universe.

Injustice 2

Image Via Warner Bros.

In the DC Comics world, Superman came to the plant via Krypton. As soon as his powers developed, he did everything he could to make the world a better place. Superman stood for Truth, Justice, and the American Way.

That is the world imagined in Injustice 2. Superman is remarkably powerful and essentially unstoppable. But in the game, Batman and other assorted DC heroes have to find a way to take him out. The game was a massive hit, moving 1.5 million copies in the first 3 months after its release.

The Darkness 2

Image Via 2K Games

The Godfather, The Godfather Part 2, and Goodfellas are frequently referenced as all-time greats in the film industry. When Mark Silvestri created The Darkness, he decided to meld mafia movies along with the supernatural.

The comic was a hit and so was the game series. The first Darkness title was well received, but the second title was critically acclaimed. While the comic series has tapered off, the game series is still fondly remembered by gamers for its classic play.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes

Image Via Warner Bros.

Just when everyone thought that there were no more original ideas in the comic book world, along came the Lego-verse. The renowned building toy became the perfect partner for both DC and Marvel.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes was released in 2013 and it immediately delighted gamers. There were tons of little nods to comic fans that were incredibly well-received. And the title was based on puzzles that users needed to smash and rebuild to move forward. The connection between legos and comics isn’t going away anytime soon.

Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Death

Image Via EU: Sierra Entertainment

In 1976, Comics editor Pat Mills created Judge Dredd. The character was based on popular vigilante heroes of the day like Dirty Harry. And the character was an immediate hit in England and has remained a hit to this day.

Judge Dredd, though, wasn’t as big of a hit across the shores. A movie based on the character was a flop for Sylvester Stallone. A game based on the comic, though, was much more warmly received. The title remains a cult classic among fans thanks to its gritty gameplay and attention to detail.

Ultimate Spider-Man

Image Via Activision

By the mid-’90s, Marvel’s flagship title, Amazing Spider-Man, had grown a bit stale. So in September of 2000, the company rebooted the character in Ultimate Spider-Man. The new title was a monster hit and the fingerprints of it were all over the new Spider-Man film.

Capitalizing on the success of the book, Activision released a video game adaptation in 2005. The game was penned by Brian Michael Bendis, who wrote the comic series. And players loved that they could play with either Spider-Man or Venom. The game is still considered to be one of the best Spider-Man games ever released.

Spy vs Spy

Image Via Amiga

Spy Vs. Spy has long been a staple of Mad Magazine and has been delighting fans for decades. The comic strip was also the subject of an early game that was probably the first that many gamers fondly remember playing.

The title first debuted on the Commodore 64 in 1984 and was later released on a number of different platforms. Spy Vs Spy was a bit of a game-changer, with critics praising both the graphics and the gameplay. The title spawned two sequels which came out in 1985 and 1986.

Spider-Man Playstation 4

Image Via Sony Interactive

As systems have become more advanced, games have had to follow suit. One of the best examples of this is the Spider-Man game, released for Playstation 4 back in 2018.

The title was an immediate game-changer for both Sony and Insomniac Games. Critics loved both the gameplay and the incredible graphics. Sales were incredible, with 3 million units moved on just the first day of sales. And many other players later got their hands on the game as it was bundled with PS4 consoles.

X-Men

Image Via Konami

In the early ’90s, there was nothing bigger than the X-Men. The comic was a massive seller thanks to its imaginative storytelling and artwork from Jim Lee. And a cartoon based on the title was a big Saturday morning hit.

There was also a video game based on the comic released in 1992. X-Men was enormously popular with players, especially those who took advantage of the game’s best feature by playing with friends. In 2004, GameSpot named it as one of the greatest games of all time.

Todd Neikirk

Written by Todd Neikirk

Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey-based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com, and hillreporter.com. He enjoys sports, politics, comic books, and spending time at the shore with his family.

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