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 Ultimate Alliance - 2006 - Activision

In theory the Marvel Ultimate Alliance games are still around but there's a massive "KINDASORTA" sign hovering over the franchise.

It spawns two sequels with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 being a story that heavily jocked off the Civil War storyline and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 being a Switch only mess that grasped at as many straws at possible to try and tie the game into as many current movies and TV shows as possible. The first one though...the first one was exceptional.

This is a completely unique story not taken from any comic and it went absolutely buckwild. I'm going to try to cover it in a few paragraphs. *ahem*

Doctor Doom and the Masters of Evil attack a SHIELD helicarrier. Nick Fury sends out a distress signal to all available heroes who can make it. A ton show up and help them fight back the villains. Fury turns them into a strike force just in time to find out MODOK has taken over a SHIELD mobile science lab with the help of Mysterio, Crimson Dynamo, and a slew of failed super soldier experiments.

The team must then travel to Atlanta to face Attuma who, with the help of the Mandarin and a kraken have overthrown Atlantis and imprisoned Namor. When the crew finally catches up to the Mandarin they find he's actually Loki in disguise. Before they can chase him to Asgard they find out what he's up to Jean Grey and Nightcrawler have been kidnapped.

They track Nightcrawler to Castle Doom but when they teleport there they're actually rerouted by Baron Mordo to Arcade's Murderworld where they must face off against a brainwashed Jean Grey who escapes after beating her. You then find out that Nightcrawler was kidnapped so that Doctor Doom could access a portal to Limbo. Upon getting there, you find Blackheart. He has Jean Grey and Nightcrawler in separate cages. Both cages are hovering over the Infinity Vortex and are told that whoever you save means the other one dies actually happened. I saved Jean Grey and Nightcrawler died, like out of the game dead.

After that joyful time you then go to Asgard where you find out that Loki, the Wrecking Crew, a slew of other villains, and an army of super soldiers are attacking Valhalla. In freeing Valhalla, Doom ends up stealing Odin's powers and before he can kill your team, Uatu the Watcher teleports you to the Inhuman Base on the moon. Uatu tells the team that Doom's powers will destroy the universe and the only power that can stop him is by using an M'Kraan Crystal to steal the Muonic Inducer from Galactus who is currently attacking the Skrull homeworld. But first, the team needs to go to the Shiar empire to get the crystal piece where they're tasked with getting the true empress back on the throne after Deathbird and the Imperial Guard took over.

Eventually you get the crystal, head to the Skrull planet, and, with the help of Silver Surfer, defeat Galactus and get the defuser. Your team returns to Earth where you've find that Doctor Doom has taken over after violently killing the majority of heroes left on the planet in a very fun fight scene where you get to watch Doom absolutely lay out Cyclops and Colossus. Using the crystal and defuser you eventually manage to weaken Doom who is then struck down by lightning via a rejuvenated Odin. Fury disbands the group. Galactus swears revenge, roll credits.

Long story short, it was great, crazy, and wonderfully unique. It also featured a LOT of love for the characters involved including fun scenes that could only be witnessed by playing through the game a second time with characters you couldn't unlock originally. Having Spider-Man in your party when facing off against a villain he'd know gives you an extra scene filled with quip. Having Deadpool in your party (this was before the movies) when you encounter the Deadpool boss, equals a scene in which Deadpool questions the game's editors for not realizing there was going to be a moment in which there would end up being two Deadpools.

The game was so fun and unique and, sadly, every sequel after took away so many features. But the original is still wonderful. And because of the top down view the game aged very well as no backgrounds really needed to be rendered on a regular basis.