Batman: Arkham City came out this week, and gamers everywhere have retreated into their own caves to finish the game before Kotaku can spoil anything else about its plot. I was running the midnight launch at GamePorium, so I couldn’t help but give in to the hype and bring it home that night to put in a couple hours before passing out. So far it’s about what I expected, but I haven’t been blown away by it. If you’ve played the first game, you know exactly what you’re in for. What I want to see is some game companies shaking things up with comic games.
Many comic book characters have been around for decades, and have been involved with many more activities than just hitting dudes in beanies and black turtlenecks. Here are some ideas I have for comic characters that don’t get enough love and are due for their own title.
Aquaman has been the punching bag of comic book fans for decades now because of how he was portrayed on one outdated cartoon where every member of the Super Friends acted like a moron anyway. People forget a lot of the cool things he can do. First of all: super strength. Have you ever been to the bottom of the deep end of a pool? Let’s multiply that pressure about a thousand times. Aquaman lives in these conditions. He’s the king of everything underwater. Do you know how much of this planet is covered in water? All of that is his.
And of course there’s the fish thing. Let’s clear this up: Aquaman doesn’t talk to fish. He commands them. Thus the perfect genre for an Aquaman game would be a nautical-themed RTS. Control waves of underwater creatures from guppies to tigersharks. And don’t forget about aquatic mammalia! You’d keep your mouth shut about Arthur Curry and his methods of crime fighting if you had a beluga whale barreling down on you.
Leisure Suit Nightwing
The accomplishments of former boy wonder Dick Grayson extend beyond super heroics. Throughout comics, we’ve watched him grow from a wide-eyed sidekick to a strong independent superhero with a name of his own. He has led several incarnations of the Teen Titans, the Outsiders and even the JLA. During his career, Dick has become the poster boy for why sidekicks should be taken seriously and not just the comic relief or a moving target. Not to mention the fact that he’s bedded every super heroine in the DCU between Earth and Tamaran.
In Leisure Suit Nightwing, players explore the more social side of being a street-level crime fighter. There are fewer costumes but you’ll still spend just as much time in alleys, seedy bars and the back seat of the Batmobile.
You can’t just throw tights into a washer at a laundromat, and dry-cleaning is expensive. Poor Peter Parker needs to make his scratch somewhere so he can pay his rent, mix web fluid and keep MJ happy (plus a little Gwen Stacy on the side). In Spider-Man Snap, you’ll learn to position a camera with webbing to get that perfect shot of Spidey clocking a crook to choke out a few bucks from J. Jonah Jameson. And in between each photo mission, players will enjoy exciting, unplayable cutscenes of Spider-Man swinging to his next objective. Other games focused on this as the play mechanic, but I believe SMS finally finds what players have been wanting from a Spider-Man game. It’s at least a lot closer than whatever Activision keeps putting out.
Sim City: Hulk
Property destruction is no laughing matter. In Sim City: Hulk, play as the city planner of New York City who really has his work cut out for him. Arrive on scene just as the Hulk has left and survey the damage, discuss costs with the city’s budget manager and hire non-union independent contractors. Hundreds may have died in the carnage, but you’re the one who’s making a killing!
Rock Band: DAZZLER
Come on. Green Day got one.
Shoot Matt an email if you have an idea for something you’d like him to cover. Have any more innovative comic game ideas? Let us know in the comments.