Which Marvel NOW! series would make for a cool video game?

Unlike my previous video game discussions, where I've focused on characters or teams, I thought this time around I would turn to current on-going series...

ALL-NEW X-MEN/UNCANNY X-MEN

I've put these two together because, for the moment, they are both intertwined. I don't think either would make for a good video game, however. All-New's roster is just too big, which would only suit a MUA-style game, but doing that would then lose the intimacy the series is going for. Uncanny has a much tighter roster, but so far it is mostly about recruiting new members. Also, besides Mystique's little troupe, neither series really has a villain as yet, so either game would be about fighting the other team, which doesn't really sit right with me. Besides, games need cannon-fodder, and so far, neither of these series has had any, save one brief scene with the Angels.

AVENGERS

Avengers storyline seems, to me, like it would make for a good video game. There are missions, cannon-fodder, and villains. The only problem, again, would be the large roster, so it would have to be an MUA-style game. In this case, I don't think that would necessarily be a bad thing.

AVENGERS ARENA

From the outside, this series screams video game. Hell, it even features powerbars. However, when you think about it, it really wouldn't. The story is an intimate, character-driven one, and simply having a deathmatch-type game would not do it justice. There is also a distinct lack of cannon-fodder, so it would essentially be a fighting game.

CABLE AND X-FORCE

So far I've really been digging this series, and it seems like it could work as a game. It has a nice, tight roster of non-flying characters (which I'll explain further in Iron Man). Cable is dispensing out the missions, one of which featured some decent cannon-fodder in the form of virus-infected humans. The main problem I can see is that Domino, Dr. Nemesis, and Forge's power-sets would be hard to realize in a game context. I mean, how do you interactively convey luck?

CAPTAIN AMERICA

I only read the first few issues of this series, but I do remember it had a villain and fodder, which is a good start. Now Cap did have a game fairly recently, and despite less than stellar reviews (60% on Metacritic), I actually enjoyed it, so I would definitely be willing to give another one a go.

DAREDEVIL

I admit, I dropped off this book around #16, but as I've mentioned before, I do love the character and think he has great potential for a video game. In fact, there was one in development years back that never saw the light of day, and looks like it would have been very cool.

DEADPOOL

This guy's lucky enough to already be getting his own game come June...

FANTASTIC FOUR

Another series I'm not reading, but really, Fantastic Four stories hold endless possibilities as far as a game would go. My only concern would be how Reed's power would be utilized offensively.

FF

I was just thinking the other day that FF would make for a fun kids game. I'm not sure what style exactly, but it just has that sort of fun vibe about it.

GAMBIT

I've always loved Gambit from way back in the animated series days, and I think he would make for a cool video game lead. This series, however, lost me after only a few issues, so I'm not sure how it would serve as a basis for one.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

It's too early to tell where this series is heading, but I do remember thinking thinking that DnA's run would make for an awesome game back when I read it. The introduction of Iron Man to the team, however, adds that pesky issue of flight again.

HAWKEYE

I lost interest in this series ages ago (sacrilege, I know), but I think Hawkeye as a character would make for a great game character... though his gimmick of never missing would not work. The archery components of Skyrim, and more recently, Tomb Raider, are some of my favourite features of those games.

INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK

Hulk has had games before, but they have never been too... deep. I think this series format of SHIELD-issued missions would in a game context, however, and would like to see Banner incorporated in the gameplay somehow.

IRON MAN

I said I would explain why flight is an issue in games, and here it is: When you have a character that can fly--not just glide, or swing, but actually fly--you run into several problems. First of all, you need a sandbox big enough that you're not just going around in circles, and secondly, you need that massive area to be detailed enough that when you land, it still looks good. Iron Man has had games before, but your freedom was severely limited, as was the graphical detail of each level. The Superman Returns game had a similar problem. It's world was big enough, but once you landed to fight the bad guys, it was like you travelled back in time to GTA 3. I'm not saying it couldn't be done (GTA 4 had flight and was fine), but it adds a LOT to the production costs. Something which superhero games are usually lacking.

MORBIUS: THE LIVING VAMPIRE

If there is potential here, I'm not seeing it. I don't even know how he got his own series to begin with. Based on sales figures, it won't be around for much longer anyway.

NEW AVENGERS

Despite my lover for this series and its characters, I think it's just TOO epic for a video game. It also (for now) lacks any villain or cannon-fodder.

NOVA

Nova has the flight problem again, and is made even worse by being interstellar flight. I'm sure it could be made into a kind of space flight sim, TIE Fighter style, but then you would miss out on the intimate character stuff that is making the series great so far.

SAVAGE WOLVERINE/WOLVERINE

Wolverine has had games before, and being so popular, I'm sure he'll have more to come, so I'm not really going to focus too much on him.

SCARLET SPIDER/SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN

I've lumped these two together because of all Marvel's characters, Spider-Man gets the most games, and I don't think either of these two variations would add enough to make a new one much different to the ones that exist.

SECRET AVENGERS

I'm not reading this series, but I think it would hold a lot of gaming potential based on the roster alone. I mean, Nick Fury Jr, Hawkeye, and Black Widow? That sounds like one awesome game right there!

THOR: GOD OF THUNDER

Thor recently had a film tie-in game that was horrific (38% on Metacritic), but that's not to say he couldn't have a decent game. With all the realms, his powers, and supporting cast, I think you'd have to be crazy to dismiss it outright.

THUNDERBOLTS

I have to say, I'm not really digging this series. It does have the whole mission-based thing going for it, as well as lots of shooting and fighting, but I'm just not feeling it. Perhaps it's my hated of Rulk. Who knows.

UNCANNY AVENGERS

I'm not reading this one, but I think it's large roster would pose the same problems as I've mentioned before. It also has several flyers on the team.

UNCANNY X-FORCE

I only recently discovered this series (and loved it), but it hasn't been going long enough to really judge any gaming potential. Psylocke would make for a very cool game character though.

VENOM

Despite similarities to Spider-Man, I think the addition of guns and shape-shifting would provide enough difference to make a Venom game rather cool.

WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN

I love this series and the characters within, but I'm not sure how it would work as a game. The enemies they've encountered have been more about scheming than outright fighting. I guess there were some zombie clowns in the last arc. Again, though, this team has a fairly large roster, so would have to be an MUA-type game I think.

X-FACTOR

Even though I'm not reading this one, I would really like to see a game based on a mutant detective agency. I could even see it as more of an adventure game than a fighting one, more along the lines of The Walking Dead game.

X-MEN

This series hasn't actually come out yet, but I think the team has a lot of potential.

X-MEN: LEGACY

I think Legion, with his endless array of powers, would make for a very cool video game lead, but I'm not sure this series would make the best base for one. The concept of his mind being a prison-like location would make for some interesting play and story mechanics, but other than that, it doesn't really have that much fighting.

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Which Marvel solo act would make for a cool video game?

Spider-Man seems to be the only Marvel character that gets any serious video game love, so I thought I'd take a look at some other prospects. Because a game developer would want to back a "popular" character, I've made the following list of characters that have current solo titles, in order of sales:

1. Captain America

Cap recently had a game, but it was somewhat tied into the film, so its potential was limited (in my opinion). I'm sure if they based it in current continuity it could be much better.

2. Hulk

Hulk has had a few games before, but none have ever been particularly amazing, focusing simply on smashing as much as possible. I'm not sure if his character really suits the game medium.

3. Wolverine

Again, Wolverine has had a fairly recent game, again tied to a film, which as I mentioned with Cap, limits potential scope. His lack of "moves" lead to rather repetitive gameplay.

4. Daredevil

I believe Daredevil would make for an interesting game character. I picture Assassin's Creed's city free-running combined with Arkham City's fight mechanics. Then there would be the inclusion of his radar-sense, as well as enhanced other senses. I think it could really work.

5. Thor

Another character who has had a recent film tie-in. I never played it, but it received terrible reviews.

6. Iron Man

Aaaaaaaaand, another who had a terrible film tie-in. The fact that flight is one of his main abilities makes him a difficult character to work with.

7. Winter Soldier

I know many people who believe Bucky would be great in a game. If teamed up with Black Widow as he currently is, I agree that it holds a lot potential. Something spy-like, with stealth and action would be great.

8. Scarlet Spider

I intentionally left Spider-Man off this list, and even though Kaine has a few different powers, I imagine his game would end up just like all the other Spider-Man ones.

9. Venom

A Venom game would be pretty interesting I think. Combining the shooting with the symbiote would probably end up something like The Darkness game, which wouldn't be a bad thing.

10. Deadpool

Deadpool could provide for a great game. It would probably end up playing like Arkham City with guns, but the dialogue and story would give it a completely different tone. He certainly was fun to play in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2.

11. Red Hulk

See "Hulk" above...

12. Punisher

There was a pretty cool Punisher game back on the PS2 and Xbox, but I think a modern remake is overdue. Something along the lines of Max Payne 3 with cameos from Spider-Man, Daredevil, or Moon Knight. I'd play that game :)

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Superman fighting Hulk

No, this isn't a battle discussion, I just wanted to share some cool videos I found on YouTube. The creator is posting them as they're made and Part 2 just went up yesterday, so I thought I'd share them with you all. Enjoy!

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Moon Knight Casting Call

Seeing as I doubt we'll get a Moon Knight film any time in the near future, I thought it would be fun to fantasise about who I'd like to see cast if one was getting made:

Marc Spector

Jensen Ackles

I don't know why, but any time I have ever envisioned Marc as a real person, this is the guy I see. Not sure if he knows any martial arts, but they could always use a body-double for his Moon Knight scenes.

Marlene Alraune

Charlize Theron

Charlize is no stranger to action, and I think she has that model-esque figure that Marlene is typically drawn with.

Jean-Paul "Frenchie" DuChamp

Jean Dujardin

To be honest, I don't actually know of this guy. I just Googled French actors, and I felt he looked the part :P

Raoul Bushman

Michael Jai White

This guy just has a screen-presence that is made for superhero movies. Imagine him with some white face paint, speaking with an African accent. Perfect.

The Profile

Sam Rockwell

I'm sure David Finch already had Mr. Rockwell in mind when drawing The Profile. Their similarity is just too similar.

Anyone Else?

Is there anyone else you would like to see in a Moon Knight movie? Who would you like to play them?

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All Your Comic Are Belong To Us: X-Men

Something I often do--which is no doubt a waste of time and yet I cannot help doing it--is to consider how a game of my favourite character or team would be. This time around, I'm going to go with...

X-Men

As with most comic-readers my age, I fell in love with the X-Men during their first animated outing, X-Men: The Animated Series. Since then, I have always had an interest in them, but just found it hard to keep up with their myriad of books. There have been many attempts to adapt the X-Men to video games, but none (in my opinion) have been particularly good. From the X-Men arcade game, where you get to choose from huge selection of six characters, to the lacklustre X-Men: Next Dimension fighting game, to the recent X-Men: Destiny, where you don't even get to play as an existing character. I think the X-Men are long overdue for a decent game, and this is how I think it could be done:

Who, Where, and When?

Even though the X-Men roster is constantly in flux, the core members haven't changed in a long time, so it wouldn't really matter which you chose. For the sake of recognition, it would probably be best to use the post-Schism groupings. Also, by doing this, you could increase your storytelling options by being able to use Utopia and the school, rather than just one. For those who haven't been following, here is how they stand:

What and How?

The "what" for an X-Men game is near limitless. Whether an attack on the group, or the world, there is always some source of conflict for the X-Men. What I'd like to see is separate problems for each team, including X-Factor (who I just realised aren't on the chart), that turn out towards the end to be related, most likely orchestrated by a singular villain.

The "how" is where I think I'm onto something. There is a game whose template I believe would work perfectly for an X-Men game, due to their shared tone and drama. That game is Heavy Rain. Before you scream at me, just hear me out. One of the problems with superhero games, is that when using a team, you have to even out each character's powers for the sake of balance. I remember playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (MUA) and feeling that characters such as Thor and Hulk had been severely watered-down, and this, as a comic fan, annoyed the hell out of me. In Heavy Rain, the entire game is scripted, though still controllable through QTE (Quick Time Events), so you could have a sequence where powerhouses like Magneto or Rogue are kicking butt, but then still be able to include weaker characters, such as Dani Moonstar or Dr. Nemesis, into the storyline without having to bring the others down to their level. It would also alleviate the problem of variety, where a character such as Storm with all of her abilities could stand next to a one-trick pony such as Cyclops without having to limit her power-set. What you essentially get is an interactive movie. When you think about it, it's the characters and drama that drive X-Men titles, and as soon as you put the characters into a top-down action/RPG game, you lose all that, and I think that is why a Heavy Rain-like game would work.

Conclusion

So there you have my take on how an X-Men game could be done. Do you have any additions? Would you do it differently? And more importantly, does it sound like something you would play? Feel free to write your own either in the comments section here or in your own blog. I look forward to seeing what everyone else would do with their favourites. Game on!

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My Top 10 Comics of 2011

As someone who was basically just a Marvel-reader at the end of 2010, the year of 2011 has been a big turning point as Marvel now take up less than half of my pull list. So which Marvel titles remain? Which other titles made the cut? Let's see, shall we...

10. Red Lanterns (DC)

Before reading any DC, I knew that there were other colours of Lanterns than Green, but I knew nothing of who they were or what they did. I'm not sure why the Red Lanterns were the only ones to get their own series, but I'm glad they did. It's chock-full of brainless action—which I love—but behind this there is also a burgeoning story of trust and betrayal that is enough to keep me hooked and coming back for more. With the changes made to Bleez, she has become one of my new favourite comic characters.

9. Secret Avengers (Marvel)

I'll be honest, the reason I love this series is due to Moon Knight's presence. Sure he has his own solo series, but as you will have read in my forum postings, that is not really Moon Knight but The Insane Cosplay-Man. The Moon Knight featured in Secret Avengers, however, is the real deal. It also helps that it features another favourite of mine, Beast, and is well-written... but mostly it's just Moon Knight.

8. Aquaman (DC)

I admit, before The New 52, I was of the Super Friends mindset that Aquaman was lame and useless, but right from the get-go, Geoff Johns' new series had me. Sure it was a self-parody, but each "joke" was answered with a display of awesomeness. I felt issue #4 slumped a little, but only due to its ramped-up pacing, and I have high hopes that Johns will continue the series as the fun ride it has been.

7. Daredevil (Marvel)

I've always thought Daredevil was an interesting character and yet I'd never found any of his stories to be particularly interesting. This all changed when his series was relaunched this year. The art is fun, as are the stories, and most interestingly, we get to see Matt's powers in different ways. No longer dark and depressing, Daredevil is quickly becoming one of my favourite characters.

6. Red Hood and the Outlaws (DC)

Once again, I had never even heard of any of these characters before the relaunch, and once again, they have become favourites. Well, Jason Todd has anyway. Since discovering this series, I have watched the "Under The Red Hood" animation and bought the trade it was based off, as well as "The Lost Days". I like that he's so similar to Batman and yet has no qualms about using guns or killing. He's a true anti-hero, which I love.

5. Avengers: The Children’s Crusade (Marvel)

There's not much I can say about this series that I haven't before. It is beautiful, well-written, and well worth reading if you aren't already.

4. The Flash (DC)

As I've mentioned before, The Flash is my favourite DC character, and this series has done nothing to convince me otherwise. The art is amazing and the story that is unfolding feels fresh and interesting. I think Barry will remain my favourite for a long time to come.

3. Thunderbolts (Marvel)

As I said in my "Best of..." list, I jumped into Thunderbolts at #144 when Luke Cage took over as leader, and I have enjoyed the ride ever since. The team has fluctuated since then, but there has never been a time when I've felt like a character's addition or subtraction was unjustified or gimmicky. Jeff Parker is doing such a great job with the series and I have faith that he will continue this through 2012.

2. Batman (DC)

What can I say about this series but, "Wow!" If Batman was DC's top player before the relaunch, then this series has just raised the bar forever. I'd always had a liking for Batman, but never so much as to chase down his comics. Scott Snyder's Batman changed all that after only the first issue. The mystery that is unravelling before us is exciting and new and is brought to life perfectly by Capullo's amazing art. This series would have been #1 if it wasn't for Jim Lee being on...

1. Justice League (DC)

I see Justice League as the comic book world's summer Hollywood blockbuster. Yes, there are better stories out there, but this book tops my list because it is over-the-top action and has all the big names. Not just the creators, Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, but all the top DC characters, together in a single book. Once Lee's tenure has passed, this title will no doubt drop down the list, but until that day comes, it's staying right where it is, at the top.

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10 Things I’ve Learned from The New 52

#1. Superman can be interesting when given an attitude…

Many people—myself included—have found Superman to be a tad boring in the past because he’s always acted like a goody-goody boyscout, but in The New 52, we are see a much different Supes, dropping men off of balconies to make them confess and beating up Batman, Green Lantern, and The Flash.

#2. I really like Aquaman…

I never thought I’d see the day when I would find Aquaman to be an interesting character, but in The New 52, Aquaman has turned out to be one of my favourite series.

#3. Sex in comics is “controversial”…

Sex has been part of films, TV shows, and even music videos for years, so I don’t understand why there was such an uproar over the recent Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws titles.

#4. I shouldn’t believe the hype… or anti-hype…

Until the DC relaunch, I had been a Marvel-only reader, so everything I knew of DC titles was learned second-hand. One such piece of here-say was that the Green Lantern books were terrible. Even though I’m not a fan of Green Lantern Corps, I’m really enjoying Green Lantern and New Guardians, and like the concept of the other coloured Lanterns.

#5. I like the Justice League roster more than the Avengers…

Even though I still consider myself more of a Marvel man, I have never been a fan of the Avengers roster. I loved the Thor and Iron Man films, but neither character does anything for me in comics. In contrast, I’m loving the new Justice League with the classic roster of Superman, Batman, Flash, and Green Lantern.

#6. I sure love an anti-hero…

Moon Knight is my favourite Marvel character, and one of the things I like about him is that he has no qualms about hurting or killing the bad guys to get the job done. Hulk is another example. Even though he’s apparently never killed anyone, he does smash the place up quite often, which is fairly unheroic. In The New 52, one character I’ve come to love is Red Hood—aka Jason Todd, ex-Robin. He’s still fighting the bad guys, just as Batman taught him, but he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty to do it… unlike Batman.

#7. Red Lanterns!

Still on the anti-hero topic, Red Lanterns is another new favourite. Though originally just a group of aliens who were wronged so terribly that their rage consumed them, The New 52 is tuning this and making them agents of vengeance of behalf of others who have been wronged, which I think has a lot of story potential.

#8. The Flash is still my favourite DC character…

Even though I had never read any DC before the relaunch, I had always liked The Flash. I’m not sure where I liked him from—be it some cartoon I saw as a kid or that short-lived TV series—but the fact remains. His new series was one of the ones I was most excited for in The New 52 and it did not let me down. What they are doing with him has only reinforced my mysterious preconception.

#9. Damian is annoying…

I know it’s his character to be annoying, but I don’t really find that to be entertaining.

#10. I don’t think I will ever like Wonder Woman…

I don’t know what it is about her, but the character just does nothing at all for me. I’ve felt this way for as long as I can remember, but I was honestly hoping this relaunch would change that… but it didn’t. Sorry, Wonder Woman, I tried…

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All Your Comic Are Belong To Us: Thunderbolts

Something I often do--which is no doubt a waste of time and yet I cannot help doing it--is to consider how a game of my favourite character or team would be. This time around, I'm going to go with..

Thunderbolts

I've only recently finished reading the Thunderbolts: Cage TPB, and I am well and truly hooked on the title. I love the characters, I love the story, and I love the art. So as I mentioned above, my thoughts inevitably turned to a video game adaptation, and here's what I came up with:

Who, Where, and When?

Thunderbolts

I would use the current roster of Thunderbolts, not only because they are my favourite, but because they are the ones current readers will associate with, and therefore be more likely to buy the game. It would be cool if previous rosters and missions were available as DLCs, but that's digressing.

You would start as Luke Cage, jumping down to The Raft. Upon landing, as per the comic, you would have to meet up with Fixer, Songbird, Mach-V, and then Man-Thing. This would lead you around The Raft, teaching you the basic controls such as walking, running, looking around, and using things such as door controls.

You would then have to meet the Ghost. Juggernaut, Moonstone, and Crossbones in their respective cells. It would be a cool Easter Egg to include other well-known villains in the cells you pass on the way, possibly even allowing a simple dialogue with them. Once you've been introduced to each team member, the tutorial phase would be over and you'd be into the game proper.

What?

The game would be mission-based, along the lines of Mass Effect. The Raft could be traversed at will (as Luke) in between missions, and you would enter Warden Walker's office when you are ready to take a new one. Each of your team could also be selected for training within The Raft, but would be limited to their respective training room. This would provide tutorials for their specific powers. Some of the missions would be story-based, taken from the book, but most would simply be provided for the sake of raising XP and possibly collecting various items. I'm not sure how the game would end, however, as the series itself is still on-going.

How?

At the beginning of each mission, you would choose which character you want to play as (though Man-Thing is non-playable). All the others will either be AI controlled, or another player via co-op mode. The game would be third-person like Batman: Arkham Asylum, where you're looking over the character's shoulder. The missions would be relatively linear, though large "arenas" would be needed for Juggernaut to get a good run-up.

Each character, due to their varying skill sets, will have different functions. For instance, if a computer needs to be hacked, then Ghost would step up, or if something big needs to be smashed, then Juggernaut will have to.

In single player mode, the mission will be over if the player dies, but whilst in co-op, the other human players will have a chance to revive you. If they don't get to you in time, however, the mission will end. All the AI characters, if knocked unconscious, will simply revive after a certain time.

Conclusion

So there you have my take on how a Thunderbolts game should be done. Do you have any additions? Would you do it differently? And more importantly, does it sound like something you would play? Feel free to write your own either in the comments section here or in your own blog. I look forward to seeing what everyone else would do with their favourites. Game on!

11 Comments

Old School Review: Fist of Khonshu

Old School Review  

 

Moon Knight: Fist of Khonshu   

  
Moon Knight: Fist of Khonshu is a six-part mini-series that was released in 1985. It might not be Moon Knight's most well-known series, but it did leave a legacy, being the series that introduced (and ended) his moon powers. It felt more like a cancelled series to me, rather than an actual planned mini-series, in that there was no story arc, and no defined ending. Each of the six issues was self-contained.
 
In Fist of Khonshu, Marc Spectre, who had given up the role of Moon Knight since the previous series, is mysteriously drawn to Egypt and into a strange, cliff-side cave. Within, he meets the priests of Khonshu who tell him he must once again become Moon Knight and present him with new weapons. As an added bonus, he is also granted the aforementioned strength, based upon the phase of the moon. At its height, Moon Knight is seen ripping a foot-thick steel door from its frame! With these new abilities, Moon Knight is guided upon missions telepathically from the priests. Each issue sees a different foe, the only known one being Morpheus
 
I found the writing to be nothing special, with plenty of the expository thought balloons that were common at the time. The first four were written by Alan Zelenetz, while the last two were Mary Jo Duffy and Jim Owsley respectively. I can't really say any were better than the others however. The art, as well, was less than spectacular, with many of the colours running over their outlines. I haven't read enough older comics to know if this was normal for the time, but I found it rather poor. 
 
I'm afraid to say that this series has very little to offer outside of the fact that Moon Knight had moon-phase super-strength. The fact that this power became non-existent by the very next series makes it even less important. 
 
Writing: 2/5
Art: 2/5
OVERALL: 2/5
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