Marvel comics have been transporting fans in worlds full of superheroes for decades. With innumerable heroes, countless alternate realities, and masses of issues in languages from all over the globe, they’ve made a mark on today’s pop culture. Later on, with the emergence of the Marvel Cinematographic Universe, Marvel movies made those stories and those heroes even more accessible—and even more popular. Of course, Marvel didn’t stop at comics and movies. Marvel merchandise sells; fans everywhere are delighted to buy shirts, posters, and costumes of their favorite heroes, anti-heroes, and villains. And then, of course, there are the video games. Over the years, many, many Marvel video games were produced. Some of them were absolute gems, allowing players to relive their favorite adventures and spend a day in their favorite hero’s shoes.
Others…well, not so much. There are quite a few terrible video games out there, and some of them, to put it quite simply, make no sense at all. From retro games that didn’t age well to games whose genre just didn’t fit the Marvel atmosphere, some of these games made us all go “uh?” You’ve got odd choices in story-telling, premature character ends, controls that will make you yell in frustration, and more. Thankfully, we still have the critically acclaimed movies—and some absolutely wonderful games like 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man, to make up for that. And even in the case of the not-so-critically-acclaimed games, it’s hard to deny that they brought us joy, back in the day. Here are the top 25 things that make no sense in Marvel video games!
Some of Marvel’s officially licensed video games are truly horrible. In fact, they’re known for being terrible. And yet we keep coming back to them. Why is that?
Well, just like some of our cult movies and books, these games have reached the status of “so bad they’re good.”
In other words, they’re terrible, but they’re entertaining. What makes no sense is just how many of these games there are out there. That being said, of course, there are some good Marvel video games.
When Thor: God of Thunder came out, many people were beyond hyped to play it. After all, who wouldn’t want to play as the God of Thunder himself? Exploring the different realms of Norse mythology and wielding Mjölnir sounds like it would make for an incredibly fun game. Sadly, Thor: God of Thunder disappoints in more ways than one. One thing that makes no sense, for instance, is that the different realms are virtually identical. Why even have different worlds, then?
People have many, many different complaints when it comes to Marvel video games. One complaint that comes up particularly often is the controls.
From clunky combat to wonky camera angles, some Marvel games are just plain hard to play because of terrible controls.
Some don’t respond properly, some are too slow, some just don’t make any sense. More recent games with fluid controls like Marvel’s Spider-Man felt like a godsend to many fans because of that reason. We can only hope for more games like that!
Talking about Marvel’s Spider-Man (2018), it was about time we got a good Spider-Man game. Seriously, what’s the deal with all the terrible Spider-Man video games out there? Old Spidey pops up quite a few times on this list, simply because he has so many games that disappointed fans. The PC version of Spider-Man 2 comes to mind, for instance. The console version is another story, but the PC game is remembered as one of the worst Spider-Man games in history—and not just so bad it’s good. Bad, period.
The Fantastic Four are a group of diverse superheroes with widely different personalities, looks, and powers. This is why it makes absolutely no sense that the four heroes have pretty much the same set of moves and powers in Fantastic Four (1997). That’s not entirely surprising, however, because the poor Four can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to their screen adaptation. After the movies, no one could really expect the games to be any good, after all.
Bad (or even nonsensical) enemy AI is another common complaint when it comes to Marvel games—one that even Marvel’s Spider-Man doesn’t escape. It’s not nearly as bad as the AI in Rise of the Imperfects, however.
Unfortunately, the game’s name tells you a lot about its playability: it’s very imperfect indeed.
Many players have not-so-fond memories of the combat in this game, chiefly because the way the enemy AI worked made no sense at all. Even for an older game, fans were expecting better.
Long-time players like to complain that games these days are way too easy. Back in the day, you had to get good at a game if you expected to finish it and master it, they say. That might be true, but there is such a thing as too difficult, and Silver Surfer (1990) proves that. Silver Surfer wasn’t a bad game (especially compared to others on this list), but it was so, so easy to lose. One hit from enemies or walls and that was it. Game over.
As I mentioned before, poor Spider-Man had more than his fair share of terrible games. One mechanic that developers particularly struggled to get right was the web swinging. In Marvel’s Spider-Man (and in the console version of Spider-Man 2), you swing from buildings, and the mechanism feels natural enough. It makes sense. In other Spider-Man games, however, you swing from webs apparently attached to the sky, which makes no sense at all, even for a superhero game. Sure, there are other unrealistic things in Spider-Man games, but this one is particularly irksome.
X-Men Destiny was meant to be a game where your choices “really mattered.” The name itself seems to imply that player’s choices would, well, influence the characters' destinies. This, however, was not the case.
Your choices in the game had little to no impact, which makes no sense for a game that was marketed as a “make your own choices” game.
After all, action may have consequences, but so do words. If players are told that their actions will matter in the game, they should.
I’ve already mentioned that it makes no sense that all the characters in Fantastic Four for PlayStation have the same set of moves, as they all have different powers. What makes even less sense?
Combat in the game is so slow, and the controller takes so long to respond, that chances are you won’t even be able to use these moves.
They can sometimes take several frames per second to actually load, which is astounding even for an older game.
The (almost non-existent) enemy AI isn’t the only thing that makes no sense in Marvel Nemesis: Rise Of The Imperfects. The game has quite a few “imperfect” aspects, one of them being the story. Sometimes, a good story can save a bad game, but in this case, the story makes no sense either. For instance, two of the main characters meet their ends twenty minutes in, which can work as a narrative device if done well. Unfortunately, here, it’s just really weird.
Some of the games on this list are movie tie-ins; this one is inspired directly by the comic of the same name. You play as Hulk, who has to escape an island. Seems straightforward enough so far, but other aspects of the game just don’t make sense. The most notable of these is the camera angle: it’s fixed, which not only makes gameplay less fluid, it also messes with the perspective of the game. Because of that odd, unmoving angle, everything in the game looks a little off.
Character licensing is a headache for people who make and sell merchandise, for developers, and for customers and players. It’s probably a headache for Marvel, too. They own the characters and ultimately have final say over many aspects of the game, but if something’s wrong, players have to contact the developer—it would make no sense to call Marvel over a buggy game. Unfortunately, because developers sometimes buy games and licenses from each other, this can get really complicated. Not to mention, officially licensed games sometimes aren’t much better than the non-licensed ones.
The Punisher is a fan-favorite character, thanks to both his comics story and his TV adaptation. Fans love how ruthless and complex he is. His incarnation in video games, however, doesn’t do much for his reputation. You would think, given the nature of the character, that there would be at least a few good Punisher games, but that’s really not the case. Much like Spider-Man, this hero’s games have, on the whole, disappointed fans, who are still waiting for a good game.
I’ve already talked about the title of one game here: it really is unfortunate that the very name Marvel Nemesis: Rise Of The Imperfects reflects how flawed the game is. On the topic of names, Marvel has several games whose titles left fans a bit puzzled. Some are from the comics that inspired the games, others sound like failed attempts to sound cool. For instance, Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety. Game titles are sometimes good at making you feel like the game is going to be epic. “Separation Anxiety?” Yeah, not so much.
Even compared to other (as I’ve stated many times by now, generally terrible) Spider-Man games, Spider-Man: Lethal Foes is an oddity. It was released exclusively in Japan, which would make sense, except Spider-Man is one of America’s favorite superheroes. The game itself doesn’t feel very Spider-Man-y. It’s mostly comprised of boss fights, which seems odd for a hero sometimes referred to as “your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.” Add in a seemingly random timer, and you’ve got one of the weirdest Spider-Man games out there.
Don’t get me wrong: this one’s actually good. I mean, it’s a pinball game, You’d have to be trying very hard to get pinball wrong. It’s more the fact that there actually is a Marvel Pinball game out there that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Just imagine the developer who thought “I wonder what kind of game would be suited to superheroes with incredibly complex backstories and various enemies? Ah, yes. Pinball, of course.” On the whole, it’s still really fun!
In a typical X-Men game, you’d expect to incarnate the X-Men, not fight them and take them down, right? And yet that’s exactly what you do in X-Men: Ravages Of Apocalypse.
The game is essentially a Quake add-on, as you need to have the game Quake to play it, but that’s not the weird part.
All the enemies have been replaced with X-Men characters, each having their own distinct powers and abilities. No matter how hard we think about it, this still doesn’t make sense.
Like I’ve said before, many games on this list are movie tie-ins, games that follow the plot of the movies and allow you to relive your favorite films. It should work, right? In theory? Since Marvel has many good movies, the games that follow them should have potential. Well, X2: Wolverine’s Revenge doesn’t follow this logic. The game kind of does its own thing, embarking into a completely different story. You do you, X2: Wolverine’s Revenge, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Avengers, grab your pencils! Yeah, it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. Like pinball, drawing isn’t one of the things you’d expect to be doing in a Marvel superhero game.
Released on several platforms, the game gets you to use a drawing pad to help heroes such as Captain America or Squirrel Girl save the day.
The concept is original, and could have been fun, but, according to many reviews, the drawing mechanism is clunky and really, really doesn’t make much sense.
I know what you’re going to say: it’s Deadpool. He breaks the fourth wall all the time, of course some aspects of his games are going to be a bit nonsensical.
His inclusion in this list is in no way meant to be a criticism; I felt like I had to give one of Marvel’s most entertaining superheroes (or anti-heroes in this case) an honorable mention.
In Deadpool, the hero not only breaks the fourth wall, but he also interacts with the developers from High-Moon Studios. It makes no sense, but it’s really, really funny.
So, as far as free to play mobile games go, Marvel’s Avengers Academy isn’t actually too bad. It doesn’t push purchases onto you, which is refreshing. Of course, like many mobile games, it will require a lot of patience—and that’s the part that doesn’t really make sense.
People love Marvel comics and movies because they’re action-packed and intense.
Tapping on the screen to get part of a mission done and then having to wait until you’re able to play again just doesn’t fit well with that.
We’ve talked about Marvel drawing games, but what about text adventure games? Back in the day, when Questprobe games were popular, there were a few Marvel Questprobe games.
Even at the time, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense, for reasons I’ve already mentioned: everything about Marvel heroes and their adventures is meant to be fast-paced and action-packed.
It doesn’t really fit drawing, tapping at a phone screen, and it definitely doesn’t fit typing commands. Text adventure games are great, but they don’t work too well for superheroes.
Wolverine is an iconic superhero, beloved by many Marvel fans. Even if you’re not a Wolverine fan, you’d know that one of his defining features is his claws, right?
Apparently, however, the developers of Wolverine for the NES didn’t know that, as, in the game, getting Wolverine to use his claws makes you lose a bit of health.
Considering another of his powers is healing, this makes no sense whatsoever. It’s like if Superman wasn’t bulletproof, or if Thor got injured by lightning!
This is, of course, a glitch, but it still makes absolutely no sense. At the end of X-Men for the Sega Genesis, once you’ve fought the final battle…nothing happens. Nothing until you reset your console, that is.
We’d like to give props to the players who first figured that one out, because nothing about this is logical.
Whoever heard of having to shut down a game in order to win it? Out of all the nonsensical things on this list, it makes the least amount of sense.