Remembering Marvel's excellent past video games

Despite Marvel's current success with the MCU, their gaming department seems to focus on tired mobile games that seem to push story towards tired past stories and microtransactions. But Marvel used to have some of the BEST games. Here's a look back at some of the more creative ones.
Jubilee (voiced by Holly Chou) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL.
Jubilee (voiced by Holly Chou) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL. /
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Marvel has a long history with video games going all the way back to Spider-Man for the Atari in 1982. After a good amount of trial and error Marvel started knocking out some absolute bangers in the 90s. Things would continue, more and more games would come out and we got to witness Marvel characters in a slew of different formats.

Now though, thanks to Marvel's move towards that accursed Iso-9, a magic crystal that was literally designed as a McGuffin to justify microtransactions in the various Marvel games (whether they be for unlocking new characters, items, or boosting stats) the games started to suffer. In fact, right now, outside of Insomniac's recent Spider-Man games and the criminally underrated Guardians of the Galaxy game the only other big Marvel game right now is Marvel Snap, the collectable card game on mobile devices.

The truth of the matter is, the majority of Marvel's games are based around the concept of getting as much money as possible and then dropping service and moving on to the next thing in order to get that rush of money again. For every Marvel Snap and Marvel Future Revolution, there's a list of cancelled Marvel games that people loved like Marvel Avengers Academy, Marvel Heroes, and the incredible Marvel Battle Lines.

But, believe it or not, there was a time before microtransactions and during this time, Marvel put out some truly incredible games with unique ideas. Ideas so different from what we're used to that they just absolutely would never get released today because Marvel would worry about the bottom line. Here's a look of some absolute greats that would have never existed if modern Marvel thought of them today.

X-Men Destiny - 2011 - Silicon Knights

I'm going to start this one off with a personal favorite. Silicon Knights is, without a doubt, a game Marvel wouldn't make today. And, I'm assuming, based off some of the reviews they'd be somewhat justified. The problem here is that Silicon Knights lost a lawsuit before more people could try this game for the absolute joy it was and were forced to destroy all copies.

In X-Men Destiny, instead of getting to play as a famous Marvel Mutant, you picked one of three kids that, for various reasons, were at a Mutant Rally that falls under attack forcing their powers to activate for the first time.

The character choice allowed you to face themed normally not covered in any other Marvel game. You picked between Aima, who is the daughter of Sunfire, who was sent to America in order to get away from the incredibly violent reaction to mutants Japan is currently struggling with. Adrian, who was raised by a racist xenophobic mutant hate group who is haunted by hallucinations of his dead father. And Grant, a Berkley football player who went to the rally to score MGH (a drug called Mutant Growth Hormones) that gives normal humans a boost in strength and speed.

After picking from each of these characters you progress through a California under attack by the U-Men, Sentinels and more. At the same time Magneto and his Brotherhood attack. And based off your interactions with the various mutants of the X-Men and Brotherhood you eventually pick what side you want to be on, essentially giving the game six different endings.

As you play through the game you steer your mutant power in various different directions that completely change up how you play. Befriending various famous characters allow you access to their "X-Genes" which allow you to boost your character in various ways like Quicksilver's giving you increased speed.