Ranking Of Superheroes (By The Quality Of Their Video Games)

In order to qualify for this list, each character must have at least one game starring themselves exclusively. No X-Men, Justice League or Avengers games, in other words.

List items

  • Best of: Spider-Man 2, Insomniac's Spider-Man, Neversoft's Spider-Man, Ultimate Spider-Man

    Worst of: The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, some ill-executed beat 'em ups

    No superhero has as many actually great games under their belts as Spider-Man. There's the Neversoft PS1 game which may lack the open world you'd want to swing around in, but it nails the character's personality so well I bet it'd hold up today regardless. There are also the obviously quality PS2 games and the newer Insomniac game which I hear is excellent. Spider-Man's got bottom of the barrel titles as well - the Amazing Spider-Man 2 is atrocious, Spider-Man 3 is a big piece of crap and there are an infinite cadre of forgettable Game Boy games - but on the whole, I think there's a clear winner here.

  • Best of: The Arkham Series, that NES game where he shoots guys with a handgun, some decent beat 'em ups

    Worst of: The Batman Begins movie tie-in game, a bunch of crappy beat 'em ups,

    The thing with Batman is that there is, to date, only a single series that nails the character. That series, however, REALLY nailed every facet of the character. There are some decent games that do some fun stuff with Batman lore (the LEGO games, Injustice), but without the Arkham series Batman would be a pretty low-tier character, imo.

  • Best of: The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, Hulk, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes

    Worst of: Marvel Ultimate Alliance, some very simple beat 'em ups

    Another character that no one has truly tried to capture, The Hulk is usually just code for 'the big dude' in various Marvel beat 'em ups and fighting games. That said, he does have Ultimate Destruction, which is basically Spider-Man 2 but with Hulk, so that's cool. And the Ang Lee tie-in game looked sick at the time thanks to an unusually sharp cel-shaded look.

  • Best of: X2: Wolverine's Revenge, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the Marvel vs. Capcom series, the X-Men arcade game

    Worst of: a zillion beat 'em ups, some offbeat fighting games, a bad guest character in literally every non-film-based Marvel video game

    No game has ever even tried exploring what a real Wolverine sim would be like. The closest game so far is the clunky (but strangely ambitious!) sorta-not-a-movie-tie-in-game X2: Wolverine's Revenge (featuring Mark Hamill as Wolverine!), but even here Wolverine is mostly relegated to smacking guys with his claws. He's a decent fit in the Diablo-style MUA/X-Men Legends games, but I'd argue Wolverine's defining game is still the MVC series. Capcom nailed how small and slashy he is, and you HAVE to admit, he DOES scream BERSERKER BARRAGE real good.

  • Best of: Iron Man, Marvel Ultimate Alliance

    Worst of: Marvel vs. Capcom series, some forgettable-looking beat 'em ups

    The tie-in game to the first Iron Man film is clunky as hell and only mostly functional, but it also feels *good*. It's so far from a fully-fledged experience, but they nailed the sense of momentum you'd want from the character - not quite a mech, but not quite Superman, either. Otherwise, the one hot take I guess I have is that I've never found Iron Man fun to play in any of the MVC games. His limited mobility and oddly mechanical move set make him feel sort of like an action figure with limited points of articulation.

  • Best of: Captain America: Super Soldier, Marvel Ultimate Alliance

    Worst of: Some ancient beat 'em ups

    Captain America just doesn't have much of a presence in video games. There was the tie-in to the first Captain America marvel film that stole some mechanics from the Arkham series, and he's a lot of fun to play in MVC, but other than that? Not so much. As a team-based game, he's a good fit for MUA, though.

  • Best of: Batman: Arkham City

    Worst of: that movie tie-in game

    Not a lot going on with Catwoman games, but she totally qualifies for this list. Honestly, the only actually compelling game featuring a playable Catwoman is Arkham City, and even then, her bonus missions definitely feel like unnecessary side content. Otherwise, she's a solid enough guest character in a bunch of other Batman stuff.

  • Best of: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes

    Worst of: y'know...who knows

    Thor has so little presence on his own in video games. I feel like he's always a fun side character, and I like how they handled his unique method of flight in the open world of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. I know he has his own tie-in game but I know almost nothing about it. I guess the worst I can say about him is that I don't even really care to figure out what else is out there with Thor. He's just not an inherently compelling character in a video game context.

  • Best of: he's pretty fun in the Injustice series?

    Worst of: look, I can't know for sure, but I'm gonna go ahead and say that Ryan Reynolds tie-in game isn't doing dude any favors

    Like a lot of DC character, Green Lantern has almost nothing going on. He's got that one movie tie-in game, he guests on some pretty generic looking beat 'em ups...honestly, who knows.

  • Best of: Injustice series, Superman Returns

    Worst of: quite literally everything else, Superman 64

    Superman has the most infamous video game lineup of any superhero. Even forgetting the iconic atrociousness of Superman 64, nearly every other game attached to the character is a clunky beat 'em up indistinguishable from any other character-based game in that style. Even otherwise good games, like the LEGO series, do nothing to distinguish his abilities from his comparatively mortal teammates. The one thing he's got is his interesting heel-turn in the Injustice series, which casts him as an omnipotent ultra-threat to the rest of the DC universe, and the Superman Returns tie-in game, which supplanted a traditional health mechanic; rather than giving Superman a health bar, the devs chose to give the city of Metropolis a health bar instead, which is a neat twist in an otherwise unremarkable game.