You know, typically when an action movie makes close to a billion dollars in a week, there’s a crappy tie-in game to play and hate. This is a tradition old as time. Yet, despite making roughly 700 million dollars internationally, there isn’t an Avengers game to be found on the 360, PS3, Wii, or even IOS devices. Although things are looking up with Ubisoft recently registering www.avengersbattleforearth.com, gamers looking to get their super-team on are sadly lacking in options. But hark not, just because there isn’t a shiny new Avengers game with a 60 dollar price tag and middling gameplay, doesn’t mean that options don’t exist for the super-soldier in all of us.
Captain America & The Avengers
System(s): SNES, Genesis, Arcade, NES (sorta)
Playable Avengers: Captain America, Hawk Eye, Iron Man
Released in 1991, Captain America & The Avengers flew under the radar of other, better, more popular comic book based arcade beat em ups. The legendary X-men, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Simpsons Arcade games all game out at roughly the same time. Of course it helped that those other games all had hugely popular television franchises associated with them at the time while Captain America and friends were still relegated to colorful pictures and thought bubbles. The gameplay is formula and the graphics middling, but playing a game from 1991, in 2012, based on a comics property from 1964 presents an incredibly feeling nostalgia for comic geeks and gamers alike. Also, much like some of the more delightful parts of The Avengers movie, the game is rife with cameos and asides to the expanded Marvel universe, the least of which being the boss of the second stage being a Sentinel on loan from the world of The Uncanny X-Men.This one is sort of tricky to find legally, and in all honesty not worth seeking out unless you’re an Avengers completist. If you are, your best bet probably involves websites with a lot of pop ups.
Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom III
System(s): Xbox360, PS3, PS Vita,
Playable Avengers: Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor
Unlike pretty much everyone else on the planet, the appeal of comic book characters and fighting games has never clicked for me. But for the Mortal Kombatants in us all, 2010′s Marvel Vs. Capcom III provides you with more than enough action to kill and resurrect Hawkeye ten times over.
The 48 selectable fighters include The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye, and of course Captain America for maximum Avengers action. The game is fast paced brutal, and watching people play it on a professional level is a sight to behold. The visuals are absolutely gorgeous, so if you’re good at fighting games, or don’t mind being bad as long as whatever you’re doing looks pretty in the process, you could do a lot worse than Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom III.
It’s a new release and be found for sale pretty much anywhere.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance
System(s): PSP, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii, Xbox, PC
Playable Avengers: All of them and then some.
If Marvel were to be given the benefit of the doubt, the reason for a lack of a true Avengers tie-in is because it came out a little over half a decade ago and was called Marvel Ultimate Alliance. Released in 2006, MUA (Muah!) is truly the most robust, exciting, and frankly intoxicating Marvel experience available outside of snorting the trade paperback of Maximum Carnage.
Featuring well over a dozen playable characters, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, and The Incredible Hulk are all here, and ready to hammer, throw, shoot, and smash through hours of gameplay. Oh, by the way, it’s an action RPG. Built on the bones of X-men: Legends, Marvel Ultimate Alliance plays exactly as you’d hope a game based on a comic book to play: easily accessible, but deceptively deep. Characters level up to learn new skills, earn alternate costumes, unlock challenge rooms, and customize equipment. The graphics are colorful and the game is presented in an isomeric third person perspective. All the appropriate sound effects are present as well: Spider-man’s webs sticking, Captain America’s Shield clanking, Thor’s lightning and more add to the experience.
Great care has been given to history and lore of the Marvel Universe. For example putting The Thing, Luke Cage, Wolverine, and Spider-man on a team yields a “New Avengers” bonus. To casual fans probably a throwaway ‘Wtf?’ moment, but for fans of the comics and the decades of history associated with them, it’s a little wink and nod that gives die hard fans a reason to stay that way. A sequel was released in 2009 with more characters and simplified gameplay, but the general consensus is that the MUA1 (Muah1!) is the one to get. The game can be found on various games on demand services, and would probably run you roughly ten bucks if you wanted to pick it up at your local Gamestop.