It is difficult to deny the popularity of superheroes in entertainment, but one area where they are most prolific is the realm of video games. Players have enjoyed countless titles about their favorite costumed crime-fighters. A number of those games have come from Marvel. However, several characters in this comic company have been shortchanged here.
Many worthy heroes in the Marvel pantheon have appeared as supporting players, but the center stage is often reserved for heavy-hitters like Spider-Man, the Avengers, and the X-Men. It doesn’t help that whenever lesser-known characters like the Punisher and Silver Surfer get the spotlight, they’re relegated to low-effort schlock or movie-licensed slop. However, that shouldn’t stop developers from giving them a chance.
Among the more low-key characters in the Marvel lineup, this Man Without Fear fights criminals as a lawyer by day and a shadowy vigilante by night. Daredevil may be blind, but his other senses are so enhanced and his training so intense that he makes 20/20 vision look like a joke.
Given these gifts and the hero’s nighttime noir escapades, it doesn’t take much imagination to draw comparisons to Batman. A developer could probably recycle the gameplay of the Arkham series and please many fans with the result.
However, Daredevil differentiates himself from the Dark Knight in more than a few ways. For instance, he questions crooks in both personas, so players can’t always rely on scaring the info out of them. They’d have to use the hero’s heightened senses to determine whether a suspect is lying. Without the computerized info of Detective Mode, this might be more immersive. After the exceptional Netflix show (and the character’s potential involvement in the Spider-Verse flick), what better time for Daredevil to jump back into video games?
9 Jessica Jones
Unlike most superpowered members of Marvel, this jaded outcast has largely abandoned her colorful costume. Jessica Jones continued as a PI, solving crimes on a case-by-case basis and only using her enhanced strength when needed.
Incorporating that into a game would immediately set it apart from most other superhero titles. The cynical sleuth’s exploits could herald a welcome return to LA Noire-style detective gameplay, gathering clues and questioning suspects, but it would even be unique among this genre. Jones’s super strength would grant her access to more areas, so a whole new range of mobility is unlocked, requiring players to think about their approach. A more slow-burn superhero game like this may be less marketable, but it would be infinitely more respected than most.
Considering how many Spider-Man games players have seen through the years, it’s safe to say that developers have nailed down the web-slinging experience. However, that also means that controlling Peter Parker has grown pretty tired. Luckily, last year’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales showed a willingness to branch out to more recent wall-crawlers.
A potential next step is Gwen Stacy, an alternate universe version of Peter’s deceased love who was imbued with spider powers instead. She would be an even fresher breath of air than Miles. Gwen’s spirited personality and lighthearted atmosphere lend her tales the high-flying energy of youth, and she comes with a slew of novel occupations and relationships distancing her from her predecessors. Just have her collect tunes to play in her garage band, and you’re all set.
7 Moon Knight
It’s clear just from looking that this guy has a similar “Batman” appeal to Daredevil. Moon Knight’s name loudly proclaims his status as a nighttime warrior, which lends itself to the same stealth and combat that makes the Dark Knight’s games so fun.
The catch is that this nocturnal hero is far more mentally disturbed. This would let developers play with the visuals and subject matter to a twisted extent. Players and protagonist alike would question their sanity and sense of reality. Think Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice with superheroes.
This may be bending the rules. However, the villain in question has since evolved into more of an anti-hero. This sinister symbiote has always been popular among Spider-Man fans, and that popularity was only reaffirmed with his solo flick’s success. If anything, it makes you wonder why Venom hasn’t taken the center stage before now.
Just look at how well his sections in Ultimate Spider-Man turned out. Venom outshined the web-head in his own game. Jumping around the city and wreaking havoc with toughness and tendrils was such a blast that the web-swinging do-gooding seemed dull by comparison. It’s just a shame that no developers ever expanded on those mechanics (unless you count Prototype). Thankfully, this is a chance to remedy that.
This showy figure is a striking sight even among his mutant peers. Nightcrawler would rather pray than fight, but he was practically made to be a video game character. On top of instantly teleporting from one place to the next, his circus background gives him incredible agility to traverse virtually any environment.
Nightcrawler’s sections were some of the few bright spots of X-Men: The Official Game, as they beautifully combine his acrobatic prowess and mutant powers to flow through the environment. Apply that to the myriad of stealth mechanics created through the years, and you have an instant classic of the genre.
The world looks much more imposing and exciting from a smaller perspective. That’s something that countless movies, TV shows, and games have demonstrated as a single sequence or level, but surprisingly few of them have dealt with as a central concept. An Ant-Man game would be the perfect opportunity to explore that idea.
The adventure would be right in one’s own backyard. Seemingly mundane objects like tables would appear as towering skyscrapers, and even household pets could present fatal danger. The superhero/thieving missions would also feel unique due to the multitude of smaller pathways that the character could use by changing size at will. Series like Rayman have shown how to seamlessly integrate that mechanic without breaking the flow. There’s no reason that Ant-Man can’t do the same.
3 Doctor Strange
Plenty of games have placed players in the shoes of wizards, but none have been quite like Doctor Strange. Not only does this magician practice his craft within the modern, colorful setting of the Marvel universe, but his mystic exploits are a deep dive into psychedelia. His life is a constant acid trip of colors, concepts, and creatures.
The weirdness is only increased by the seemingly limitless number of artifacts and locales instrumental to his understanding. The lore is there; all that’s left is to tie it into a decent progression system. If the developers accomplish that, then they’ll have an immersive RPG that easily distinguishes itself from the superhero pack.
This little psycho originated as a Wolverine clone in the underrated X-Men: Evolution, but she was re-popularized as the Canucklehead’s successor in Logan. Maybe the video games should take a similar trajectory.
Players already know how much fun it is to tear through enemies as their favorite clawed mutant. The X-Men Origins: Wolverine game excelled at that, but X-23 is arguably more bloodthirsty, especially when she flies into a rage. This would give developers a chance to evolve the gameplay further.
In addition, X-23 has proven more capable of espionage than her dad, probably because she’s not a hairy ape-man. Some lethal stealth kills out of Assassin’s Creed would be an effective nod and a fun way to mix things up. In short, let this clawed kid shine in a video game the way she already has in film and television.
1 Howard The Duck
Without a doubt, this is one of the dumbest characters Marvel has ever come up with, but that’s the point. Howard the Duck is supposed to be out of place. That’s why he’s thrown into all these different worlds and scenarios, as it leads to a slew of funny farcical storylines. It makes ordinarily serious subject matter look utterly ridiculous.
Why not put Howard into a mascot platformer? Considering how well Crash Bandicoot 4 fared with its dimension-hopping antics, it’s easy to see how such a game would suit Howard the Duck. Jumping from one satire to another would do wonders for level variety, and his wacky abilities and cartoonish aesthetic could translate into infectiously amusing gameplay. Yes, one of the Marvel heroes most deserving of a game is a duck.