There have been some great Marvel games released over the years, but in the mid-2000s Sega released some of the worst Marvel games ever.
Marvel has a long history in the video game landscape, with some of its most iconic heroes making their video game debuts alongside the advent of console and PC gaming. In those 40+ years, Marvel has naturally released a lot of disappointing video games. For every Marvel’s Spider-Man, there’s an X-Men Destiny, but a likely candidate for the worst run in Marvel gaming history would have to be Sega’s release of MCU titles from the late 2000s to early 2010s.
Just before the first official MCU film, Iron Man, was released in 2008, Marvel announced that it was partnering with industry giant Sega to create a series of video games, all set for the next few Marvel movie releases. Designed to tie straight together. In the end, Sega published five mainline MCU video game tie-ins, and the results are mostly forgettable.
Sega’s Iron Man Games
Along with the first MCU film, Sega’s Iron Man was also released in 2008 for almost every platform at the time. While Iron Man isn’t a terrible game, it’s certainly a disappointing game that hasn’t lived up to its potential. Flying around as a Titanic hero sounds like fun, but the moment players need to engage in combat, it becomes a tedious, clumsy affair with some rigid controls and repetitive gameplay. The Nintendo DS version of the game is slightly better, instead taking the form of a simple, but flashy top-down shooter.
In 2010, Iron Man 2 was released. For the most part, Iron Man 2 is a better game than its predecessor, with more fleshed-out combat mechanics and some sophisticated flight controls. The ability to swap between Iron Man and War Machine also helped add a bit of replayability to the game, though the whole experience was still too short and repetitive to stand out.
Sega’s Hulk Game
Released shortly after Iron Man, Sega also published The Incredible Hulk in 2008. Taking a lot of cues from the beloved The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, which released a few years back, The Incredible Hulk isn’t the worst game on this list, but it also doesn’t live up to the height of its inspirations. The game has a fairly large open world, and has some pretty impressive destruction mechanics. However, its blurry visuals, repetitive gameplay, weak objectives and restrictive boss fights make The Incredible Hulk an unforgettable experience, just like the movie it was based on.
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Sega’s Thor Game
Widely considered one of the worst superhero games of all time, Sega’s Thor: God of Thunder was released in 2011. A barebones hack-and-slash, Thor: God of Thunder offers terrifying visuals, bland atmosphere, terrifying sound quality and dull, simple gameplay, Thor: God of Thunder is an absolute task to sit down, which means saving only The grace is that its runtime is just four to five hours long. Not even the voices of Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston in the Thor tie-in game could save the effort.
Sega’s Captain America Game
Rounding out the list is Sega’s best MCU title to date, Captain America: Super Soldier. Essentially a Batman: Arkham clone, Captain America: Super Soldier has some surprisingly engaging combat, fun parkour elements, and neat Easter eggs referencing the wider Marvel universe. While it’s certainly Sega’s best MCU offering, it still isn’t stellar, suffering from some rough visuals, a washed-out color palette and a mind-numbing story.
Sega’s MCU line-up delivers a sad legacy, and the tie-in marks the end of the licensed game era. Thankfully, Marvel is now selecting credible AAA developers for its new projects, with lots of fans around the world speculating that devs like Insomniac Games are in store.