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5 Superhero Games That Flopped (& Why They Deserve Another Chance)

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If you’ve ever wondered how on earth a superhero video game could flop when there’s so much room for potential — then join the club. To be fair, there’s nothing worse than being a long-time fan of superhero movies, comics and lore, only to feel incredibly underwhelmed when it comes to the video game adaptation. Nobody wants that. Nobody wants to witness their icon fall flat over the desperation to stay connected to their renowned status. We just want them to succeed and feel entwined with the powers that bind them. But, as it goes — that can’t always be the case. We can thank the devs for that, to be honest.

While the vast majority of superhero games have gone on to achieve groundbreaking figures, several have fallen flat and succumbed to the pressures of staying consistent with the franchise. But that’s not to say that they don’t deserve a second chance. In fact, we’d be more than willing to watch the flame be reignited for a second wave of action. Sure, they might have tanked the first encounter — but I’m sure there are millions of fans that would gladly hand redemption over on a silver platter. One thing is for sure: these five definitely deserve a second shot at the title.

 

5. Kick-Ass: The Game

KickAss - Trailer - PS3

While Kick-Ass isn’t technically classed as a “superhero” compared to the likes of Marvel’s Spider-Man, Thor — or any other genetically enhanced human for that matter, he is, albeit slightly underwhelming, a large portion of the superhero fantasy. Plus, with an enormous following that spans both the comics and the movies, it’s evident that the green and yellow baton-wielding rebel has a platform to stand on. Only, when it came to developing a video game — the franchise fell flat, and the fan base was left to scratch their heads in bafflement.

As a classic beat ’em up style video game, Kick-Ass should’ve had satisfying combat at the very forefront of the gameplay. Unfortunately, developer Frozen Codebase missed the mark when it came to every element of the experience as a whole. The gameplay was incredibly dull and repetitive, and almost every compelling segment of the story was left to frazzle out into mind-numbing comic book tearaways. All in all, both Kick-Ass and its equally disappointing sequel settled as mediocre titles at best. However, that’s not to say that the potential isn’t there to remake the games from the ground up. Though, perhaps our aspiring superhero should get a little more tender loving care this time around?

 

4. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

The Incredible Hulk The Game-Official Trailer 1

In what can only be described as a “mediocre” experience, The Incredible Hulk definitely didn’t live up to its name in the 2008 release. And, as you’d probably expect — that didn’t exactly bode well with both Marvel and Bruce Banner fans. I mean, while we can’t expect an intense story arc with endless twists and turns to progress the narrative, we do come to assume that blockbuster action sequences will light the way to a genuinely captivating experience. But even the button-mashing isn’t up to scratch in The Incredible Hulk. If anything, it’s dull and somewhat unfulfilling. And that’s not something we’d expect from a character as empowering as The Hulk.

While Marvel’s Avengers relit Hulk’s fuse and delivered some pretty exciting gameplay last year, it doesn’t quite excuse the series of lacklustre standalone entries beforehand. But that’s not to say that The Incredible Hulk is incapable of having a fulfilling story arc with much better games to boot. After all, Marvel’s Avengers proved that playing as The Hulk can be a true joy in itself, and so, perhaps an updated release wouldn’t go amiss? Just a thought.

 

3. Catwoman

Catwoman PlayStation 2 Trailer - Trailer

It’s fair to say that developing video game adaptations of hit movies is a risky business in general. I mean, there’s that overwhelming reputation to uphold, for one. And then, of course, there is actually producing a genuinely interesting experience that doesn’t stray too far from the movie concept. So, not exactly a walk in the park, to be honest. And yet, EA thought they could port Catwoman — leather and all, to a bite-sized action game. But did it go well? Did it heck.

Not only does the video game divert from the storyline as a whole, but it also suffers from major flaws revolving around the very mechanics, too. With a boatload of wonky camera spins, difficult to master combat routines and an overall drab setting with minimal charming qualities — Catwoman perches on the foundations that never should have been erected, to begin with. But hey, considering there is still a fan base for the leather and lace hero, perhaps 2021 could offer up a chance of redemption on a higher-spec platform? But, eh — we’d switch the devs just to be on the safe side.

 

2. The Punisher

The Punisher 2005 Game Official Trailer

Okay, so while The Punisher is more the antihero than the actual embodiment of a “superhero” — he is still very much a worthy accessory to this list. Though, that’s not really a good thing, considering the video game is diabolical compared to the franchise as a whole. Plus, with The Punisher making its way to Netflix with two seasons of genuinely convincing story arcs, the 2004 game is starting to look even more outdated than ever these days. But what can we expect from a PlayStation 2 game? Well, more, I guess. A lot more.

The Punisher itself is fleshed out with monochrome backdrops and intriguing backstories that keep us perched on the edge of our seats from beginning to end. The video game adaptation, on the other hand — contains neither of these things. I mean, sure, the settings are drab and poorly textured, but the lore is immediately lost somewhere between the mind-numbing combat and monotonous gameplay. All in all, the video game struggled to capture the same essence as the vivid narrative as seen in the much-loved comics. But hey — 2021 could be a turning point, right? Either way, I’m sure The Punisher would be greeted with open arms should he ever make a comeback.

 

1. Superman Returns

Superman Returns: The Videogame PlayStation 2 Trailer -

Just Superman, in general, to be honest. Of course, I’d love nothing more than to plaster all of the critically acclaimed entries to this list, but considering none of them really landed that well, it’s not really possible. Having said that, there are a few neat little appearances from the Man of Steel himself out there. Let us not forget the Injustice series, as well as the Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe chapters. Both of those, despite not focusing on Superman for the long haul, are perfectly good examples of how the hero can be toyed with in the gaming world. Sadly, when it comes to the standalone stories — none of that is elevated.

Once we look past the few positives encased within any Superman game, we’re eventually slumped with a rather dull catalogue of games with nothing to really brag about. Sure, it’s Superman, and reputation alone is basically enough to cruise through the market and fork out millions of copies worldwide. Only, turning a profit means nothing when the actual video games are hated by the armies of devoted fans. Thanks to the waves of braindead enemies and boring combat, each Superman entry sinks into nothing more than a tedious chore as opposed to a captivating hero arc. But come on — it’s Superman. Give the guy another chance, would you? They can’t all be bad. Can they?

 

In need of a few more lists to help pass the time? You could always tuck into these:

5 Hilarious Rip-Off Games That Got Away With Theft

 

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Jord is an aspiring journalist and self-published author, as well as a lover of all things gaming and media.

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