Characters from Marvel Comics with their powers and costumes have garnered such a cult following over the years that they’ve made their way into several non-Marvel properties too, at least in the case of video games. Considering how Fortnite often relies on crossover collaborations, it’s not surprising to find the online battle royale game includes weapons and gear from popular Marvel characters.
Other than ambitious crossovers like X-Men vs Street Fighter or the ongoing Marvel vs Capcom franchise, Marvel heroes and villains appear in some form or the other in other games like Minecraft, LittleBigPlanet, and the Tony Hawk series.
The online video game by Epic Games is nothing short of a phenomenon. Apart from its gameplay, Fortnite dominates pop-culture conversations with crossovers like a Travis Scott concert and features characters from franchises like DC, Marvel, Star Wars, and Borderlands.
In the case of Marvel, several crossover events have taken place that introduce iconic Marvel characters in the game’s narrative. While most of them are playable characters, some are non-playable (like Galactus) and others are secret characters (like Deadpool). In 2019, the Avengers Endgame crossover event was heavily praised. This mode allowed players to take up the roles of Avengers and Chitauri soldiers as they split up to find the Infinity Stones.
LittleBigPlanet aka LBP is a series of puzzle platform games that feature skins based on several Marvel superheroes. In 2010, these Marvel-themed costumes and toolkits were introduced as downloadable content for the game’s PS3 version.
The costumes included the likes of Iron Man (in his Mark VI armor from the MCU), Thor, Elektra, Storm, Venom, Captain America, and many more. This was followed by a Marvel Arcade Pack for the PS Vita version. However, by 2015, the franchise’s deal with Marvel expired and all of the Marvel DLC had to be pulled off from the PlayStation Store.
8 Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
The second installment in the Tony Hawk franchise of skating games, Pro Skater 2 is still considered to be one of the highest-rated sports games of all time. As has been the tradition with the franchise, several guests are included as playable characters.
Pro Skater 2 included thirteen real-life skaters along with unlockable celebrity guest skaters. In the latter category, members of the South Korean music group Fin. K.L were featured along with Spider-Man. His moves like Spidey Flip and Spidey and Spidey Grind are still memorable amongst fans of the game. This would be the first of many collaborations between Marvel and Tony Hawk.
Much like Fortnite, Minecraft too has had tie-ins with numerous franchises although mostly in the form of skins, rather than any Marvel-influenced storylines and missions.
One of the earliest examples of the Marvel downloadable content was the Avengers Skin Pack in the Xbox 360 version of the game. This package included 35 downloadable skins from the Marvel Cinematic Universe comprising of not just Avengers like Black Widow and Hulk but also supporting characters like Agent Coulson and Loki.
6 Tony Hawk’s Underground
Continuing the custom of including Marvel characters in the series, Tony Stark met Tony Hawk in Tony Hawk’s Underground. The game featured Iron Man in a cameo appearance, alongside KISS bassist Gene Simmons and a parodied version of the C.H.U.D (rechristened as T.H.U.D.).
Iron Man can be unlocked by players once they complete the Beginner storyline. Despite the character’s iconic status in the comics, he hasn’t had a successful run in his standalone games. In the 1990s, Marvel and Valiant Comics also had a crossover starring Iron Man and XO Manowar in a game that was yet again largely rejected by critics and audiences.
5 The Revenge Of Shinobi
Released in 1989, this Sega classic serves as a direct sequel to the side-scrolling ninja-themed action game Shinobi.
Now, unofficially, several pop culture icons appear as bosses in some levels including Godzilla, Batman, Sylvester Stallone, and Spider-Man. As the game’s director Noriyoshi Ohba revealed in an interview, ‘I made some rough sketches of characters from my mind and from some photos due to my lack of drawing ability. Unfortunately, the designer of the sprites reproduced my drawings a bit too faithfully and you know the end result.’ This eventually led to licensing issues but in 1990 a new version’s copyright screen acknowledges the presence of Spider-Man as Sega acquired the character’s license with Spider-Man vs The Kingpin.
4 Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3
Wolverine appeared in his vintage yellow-and-blue glory as a playable character in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3. The adamantium-clawed mutant can be unlocked on the GameCube, PS2, and PC versions once players complete all career goals and win gold in the three competitions (as two separate characters).
In the case of Nintendo 64, one must complete every gap in the game. It was pretty amusing to find Wolverine combines his skateboarding skills with his claws, leading to tricks like Claw Punch and the Claw Drag.
3 Kingdom Hearts III
The Kingdom Hearts franchise has been a collaboration between Square Enix and Disney. This explains the recurring appearance of various Disney and Pixar characters in each installment’s story. Guest stars on Kingdom Hearts III include members of the superhero team Big Hero 6, marking the first-ever appearance of Marvel characters alongside those of the Disney universe, although they were removed once from their original comics forms, and it was their Disneyfied renditions who appeared in the game.
The cyberpunk-inspired San Fransokyo world (a city that appears in both the comics and the film) serves as a major setting in the game.
2 Disney Infinity 3.0
While Disney Infinity 2.o was entirely centered upon Marvel heroes, the third entry in the Disney action-adventure sandbox video game franchise chiefly focuses on Star Wars storylines with supporting story arcs of Finding Dory, Inside Out, and Marvel Battlegrounds.
Marvel Battlegrounds reintroduces every character from Disney Infinity 2.0 with an original story that includes Loki and Ultron joining forces. The villainous alliance leads to the creation of robotic doppelgangers of Marvel heroes, prompting them to fight each other while they themselves scrounge for the six Infinity Stones.
1 Disney Magic Kingdoms
A freemium Disney venture by Gameloft, Disney Magic Kingdoms yet again features characters from Big Hero 6. However, once more, the characters are directly taken from the film of the same name, with hardly any influence from the original Marvel comics.
While the characters and their powers are similar in the film adaptation, the story heavily deviates from the comic issues along with a few character changes. For instance, Baymax was originally a bodyguard robot if one is to read the source material. However, now, the iconic Disney version ensures his legacy as a medical assistant.
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