5 Awesome Retro Superhero Games

For true comic superhero fans, there’s almost an inherent appreciation of all things vintage. That’s not to say new things aren’t exciting as well (let’s just say Avengers: Infinity War looks incredibly cool). But the old stuff is always great, whether because it’s amusing, high quality, or simply pure – or all three! And just as we sometimes look back at ageless toys from comic history, we’re at a point in which certain comic-related video games feel like canonical history also.
So with no further ado, I wanted to take a look back at five awesome retro superhero games, appearing below in no particular order.
Justice League Task Force

This one is weird the moment you start looking at it, because it’s actually a 1995 game that was produced by the still-popular (and much improved) Blizzard company. Built for Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, it involved several of the most prominent DC heroes and villains and was basically a 2D arcade fighter with a fairly ordinary underlying plot line. As one scathing retro review noted, it was meant to ride the coattails of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat success, but didn’t exhibit the same quality. That’s a fair assessment – it’s not a great game in and of itself. But looking back on it now, it was a very charming effort, and an early iteration, in a way, of the modern Injustice series.
X-Men (1992)

Designed by Konami as an arcade-only game in 1992 (and eventually ported to modern consoles and mobile systems), X-Men is about as pure as it gets. It was a side-scrolling beat-em-up game in which players could control various heroic X-Men going up against legions of sinister villains (including mutant crocodiles) in pursuit of Magneto. That’s about it – it was a perfect early arcade combat game.
Wonder Woman Slot

This is a different selection in that its gameplay doesn’t resemble that of any other game on this list. However, it’s become an increasingly interesting retro game in that it’s one of the few existing reminders (for non-comic fans that is) that Wonder Woman existed before the 2017 film. The game was placed on a list of “essential” retro slot arcades, and there it was written that it’s drawn to look just like the comic. It’s an accurate characterization, and one that makes it a very worthwhile game.
The Uncanny X-Men
Released for NES in 1989, this is actually the oldest game on this list – and it looked like it. Based on the Uncanny X-Men comic series, it was something of a dungeon crawler action game in which you could control different heroes at different. There was actually an option to play two-player as well and collaborate on the game’s missions, taking down various bad guys and eventually five villainous bosses.
Captain America & The Avengers
Frankly, the 1991 Data East arcade game (later ported to Genesis) was awesome. It was beat-em-up experience in which you (or you and a friend in two-player co-op) controlled Avengers, took down villains, and tried to stop Red Skull from blowing up the Earth with a giant laser on the moon (hey, why not?). There’s good action to be had in the game, and even the graphics aren’t bad for what it is. One review also includes “great heroic soundtrack and voices” as a “pro,” and I’d have to agree. There’s a lot of good-natured amusement in listening to the character phrases in this game.

34 thoughts on “5 Awesome Retro Superhero Games”

      1. Good luck playing. Saturday we went from 9am at 74 degrees to by the end of the game 49 degrees with a 20 MPH wind. It was horrible

        1. We had massive winds which was cold. The boys were on fire and my son’s homer forced us into the slaughter rule. 17-4 win. Joe had the three run home run, an rbi double, and an RBI single. The whole team had bats moving.

    1. I am from the Commodore 64 age (The Game Machine). And the comic related classic game that comes to mind is Batman: The Caped Crusader from Data East. Loved that game. I still have a C=64 and some games…so many memories.
      Thank you for the flashback, Anthony…if you continue this trip down video game memory lane in the future maybe consider releasing it on TBT (Throwback Thursday)!!! You might not get heat from those expecting only spec reviews on Monday/Tuesdays! Haha!

  1. I actually collect hard core for the NES and SNES. I dumped soooo many quarters in x-men arcade the big 6 player one they had in our mall. Wish I could find one of those and had room for it.

    1. Oh, if you find a working arcade one though, you make room for it. I’ve always longed for a full size original Galaga arcade machine, even found one worth buying. Wife turned me down.. that’s a sign I should have bought the arcade and made her move out. 😛

      1. Damn you Poyo. Galaga would be my prize. They are more expensive than I thought. Plus I can only find it combined w ms Pac-Man. Plus my wife said I’d have to put it in the garage….marriage is great.

        1. I’m at the point now that I would get more pleasure from an original Galaga machine than my wife.. I’m gonna die a lonely yet very happy old man one day. 😛
          So when we take the kids to Main Event here in Austin to play video games, I spend my entire time on what they claim is the worlds largest Galaga game. It’s literally around 12 feet tall screen. Yes, all the money on my card goes to playing Galaga the entire time. I once worked at a job where we had one in the breakroom. It was a great stress reliever.

      2. watching that video of the xmen arcade game was WILD. very strange sensation to remember certain sounds and images (e.g. the dirt monsters in level 5 who shrink down and disappear when you defeat them) when the last time you heard/saw them you were 13 years old.

  2. Sega CD. Spiderman vs the Kingpin. Doesn’t look very good today, but it was eye candy in the 90’s.
    Turtles in time Sega
    Batman 1989 Sega
    Batman Returns Sega
    X-Men Sega
    X-Men 2 Sega
    There was also a TMNT fighting game that was no Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, but still fun.

    1. Spidey Vs Kingpin was a favourite of mine too. Maximum Carnage was fun as well and who can forget the TMNT and Duck Tales games for the NES.

    2. Spiderman vs Kingpin was a great game. You’re talking to a Sega fan. I always preferred Sega over Nintendo back in the day.
      I still have a Sega Master System. I have Rampage still. I need to bust that game out before I take the kids to see the movie. 🙂

  3. You can add that Xmen game to a jailbroken Super Nintendo classic the Avengers game with white vision too. Video game wise Xmen Legends 1 and 2 Ultimate Alliance 1 and 2 will be hard to ever top.

    1. I still have Ultimate Alliance 1 & 2 for my 360. I literally have kept that system hooked up simply for those two games. I also recently played Spidey Shattered Dimensions on my 360. Solid, fun Spidey game too.

  4. What, no Superman Atari 2600 or Superman N 64???…Those were so bad they were actually…really, really bad, but what spectacular failures they were!!! Spider-man for the 2600 was actually pretty good…Like Crazy Climber but better…..I know I just dated myself there.

      1. there will never be a good Superman game..why ..because hes Superman ..what low level bosses or mid level really stand a chance against him

    1. You’ve really gotta put Superman 2600 in the context of its time, though. It broke ground on a LOT of concepts we take for granted in gaming today. A few highlights: first game with multiple screens, first game with animated human characters, first game with an in-engine cutscene, first game with a fully told story through gameplay. Not to be a total commercial here, but I did a video at http://Superhero.VG that breaks it all down.

  5. wow great stuff. memories. captain America and the avengrs arcrades girls in the acrade do the math kisses for quarters plus pizza and tmnt games but why no love for the atri Spider-Man game? the superman atai wa was fun as well blind adam out

  6. Great article. I remember a Spider-Man arcade game from back in the day, I can’t remember the name but I think you could be Spider-Man, Namor, Hawkeye and maybe someone else. Me and my cousin found it in an arcade at Kings Dominion and we were like forget the rides.

  7. This may be the only place on the internet that insinuates The Uncanny X-Men for NES is “awesome,” but each to his own. 🙂
    Fun fact about Justice League Task Force: Without it, there would likely never have been a Diablo. The two development teams working on it (Condor for Genesis, Blizzard for SNES) met at a CES to show off the game, they hit it off, and then they decided to merge into Blizzard North — the rest is history.

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