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The Dark Sprite Rises: Ranking 15 Of DC’s Best Video Games

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The Dark Sprite Rises: Ranking 15 Of DC’s Best Video Games

While superheroes are just now becoming the kings and queens of cinema, video games starring our favorite costumed characters have been around for several years. Batman, Superman, and the rest of the DC gang have all had their share in the spotlight when it comes to these games. As you might expect, though, many of these DC games haven’t been up to snuff (just ask Batman: The Dark Tomorrow). There have been several instances where we’ve been disappointed at the result of a game, whether it be how it handles, the lore of the characters, or how it works as an experience.

RELATED: 15 Worst Marvel Video Games Ever

We know you comic fans need a few ways to blow off some steam, so we’ve done our playthroughs and research to compile our favorite DC games ever created. We’ve taken some hits from all genres, so there should be something in here to scratch your itch (whatever it may be). Get your wallets out and your consoles (or PCs) ready, because we’re breaking down our list for the top 15 best DC games in history. Keep in mind will be keeping it as one entry per franchise, so don’t expect to see each game in the Arkham trilogy here.

15. JUSTICE LEAGUE HEROES: THE FLASH 

Because this game is a spin-off and only released on one console, we felt that it was different enough to include on this list. Justice League Heroes: The Flash was meant to complement Justice League Heroes but solely from the perspective of the Wally West version of the Flash.

This game is an action-based beat em up that released on the GameBoy Advance. While that may lead to a worse game, it’s actually better than the console editions of Justice League Heroes. It was developed by Wayforward (makers of the Shantae series), and they had a solid grasp on how to put a video game together. Sure the visuals are dated, but how many games are out where you get to play as the Flash and use your super speed to get the job done and beat the baddies?

14. BATMAN: THE VIDEO GAME 

batman the video game

The NES was a gold mine for platformers, and it was high time for the Dark Knight to get his shot at the genre. Released in sequence with the 1989 Batman film starring Michael Keaton, Batman: The Video Game took some of the iconic moments from the movie and put into a game that players could experience after seeing the blockbuster movie.

At its core, this game was extremely well-designed. Taking elements from the Ninja Gaiden series, Batman could wall jump and throw several different projectiles to deal with enemies. What was impressive about the game was how several DC villains were thrown in as boss fights, such as Killer Moth and Deadshot. Despite these changes, the game still ended with a fight against, who else, the Joker.

13. MORTAL KOMBAT VS. DC UNIVERSE

mortal kombat vs dc universe

Many fans of the Mortal Kombat series love to hate on Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe. While we won’t argue that the story is any good or that the lack of the trademark violence makes the game better, it’s hard to deny that this game was designed well. Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe, for all of its quirks, is a solid fighting game. Besides, seeing Batman and Scorpion duke it out is plenty of fun.

While the story is passable, the fun comes down to fighting against your friends with DC’s finest and the power players of Mortal Kombat. The same combo-based gameplay is present here, with dynamic environments and a Rage system that helps to even the playing field. The only unforgivable aspect is that there were ways to pull of infinite combos. They’re tricky, but they exist.

12. THE DEATH AND RETURN OF SUPERMAN

death and return of superman

Platformers weren’t the only dominating genre for video games in the early days. Beat’em ups were another popular way of crafting an experience that felt like you took the action off of the page and turned it digital. Take a look at The Death and Return of Superman, arguably one of the best Superman games ever created (which isn’t really saying much).

You play as the Man of Steel and follow the events of the “Death of Superman” storyline. Using all of your powers, you take on multiple enemies which culminate in fights against villains like Cyborg Superman and Doomsday. You can play as five different characters throughout the story, and the difficulty curve is gradual and fair. It’s a solid game and one of the only Superman titles worth playing.

11. LEGO BATMAN 2: DC SUPERHEROES 

lego batman 2

There are three Lego Batman games on the market, but of all of them, we have to go with the second one as the best of the bunch. Where the first Lego Batman game didn’t really have a plot and featured only Batman characters, the second game expanded the lore, brought in the entire Justice League, and gave a streamlined story for players to follow.

However, it’s in the gameplay where Lego Batman 2 really shines. It was the first Lego game to feature a massive open world that players could explore in their free time — something that even the third game didn’t do well. While the game didn’t pack in as many characters as most Lego games do nowadays, it’s still a great time to play through the levels and explore everything Gotham City has to offer.

10. DC UNIVERSE ONLINE

DC universe online

Taking the world of DC and bringing it to an online MMO seems like a bad idea at first, but when you look at how DC Universe Online handled it, you might change your mind. This online game is a great time in terms of both gameplay and story, and is a celebration of everything we love about the world.

You create your own character at the start and join the Justice League or The Society. You can team up with other iconic heroes and villains to tackle missions as well as move forward in the story which adapts several popular comic storylines. The game is still being worked on and expanded with new content and missions to tackle, and the best part is that it’s free to play. Sure, that might come with some asterisks attached but you can’t argue with such a low price.

9. BATMAN RETURNS

batman returns SNES

Unlike Batman: The Video Game, Batman Returns takes the events that occurred in the film it was inspired by and recreated them faithfully. This game sees you take the role of Michael Keaton’s Batman as he battles the minions of the Penguin, but what’s different here is that many versions of the game were created for the SNES, NES, Mega Drive, and SEGA Genesis.

It seems that the one to get is the SNES version, which is a sides-crolling beat’em up where the Dark Knight takes on many of the villains from the film. The game even features some different levels that vary the gameplay — there are more 3D levels as well as a chase scene where you get to control the Batmobile. How can one not enjoy that?

8. SUPERMAN: SHADOW OF APOKOLIPS

Superman Shadow of Apokolips

After the tragedy that was Superman 64, there was a lot of hesitation when a new Superman game was in the works for the PlayStation 2 and Gamecube. Thankfully, Superman: Shadow of Apokolips defied expectations. While it’s not a perfect game, it does a lot of things right to make enjoyable one time through at the very least.

The game follows a style similar to Superman: The Animated Series, which serves to the game’s benefit. All of the voice cast returns to the characters and the graphics are cel-shaded to make it look like animation. On top of that, all of Superman’s abilities are present here, which allow him to zip around levels as easy as you might expect. This can lead to some glitches, but when you consider how the game could’ve turned out, this was a victory in and of itself.

7. GOTHAM CITY IMPOSTERS

gotham city imposters

Is it sacrilegious to have a Batman game without Batman himself? Gotham City Impostors seeks to prove that it can be done and be good in the process. Instead of having the Dark Knight and the Clown Prince of Crime go at it, this game sees two teams inspired by those respective characters take each other on for control of Gotham. The game is a first-person shooter that allows for customization and different equipment for each character.

Each team is allowed six people as you try to take the other team down. There are also four different modes to choose from that each bring something different to the table. When all is said and done, Gotham City Imposters may not hold a candle to more focused class-based shooters or first-person games in general, but it’s a fun time if you like the Batman mythos.

6. BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD — THE VIDEOGAME

There are countless times where games alter their art style to match the source material that they were created from. When it comes to Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the developers decided to go with a 2D style that allowed to almost identically create the look from the show of the same name.

This game not only follows the show in visuals, its gameplay is inspired by it. It’s a side-scrolling beat’em up, but each level sees the Caped Crusader teaming up with different heroes, like Plastic Man and Blue Beetle. It came out for the Wii and DS simultaneously, with the Wii version allowing for local co-op and the DS version being more of a single-player experience. That said, both games are similar in terms of quality and are both worth your time.

5. SCRIBBLENAUTS UNMASKED

SCRIBBLENAUTS UNMASKED

Scribblenauts has been praised since its creation for giving players an unprecedented amount of options. One can type in nearly anything and it will appear to help them solve various puzzles. Scribblenauts takes the series to the DC Universe, and with it, is one of the best experiences for massive DC nerds, as odds are that if you can think of a hero to summon, they’re probably programmed in the game.

The Legion of Superheroes is represented, obscure Batman villains are present and everything you can imagine is accounted for in this game. Furthermore, the game presents challenges and puzzles that are made more enjoyable if you’re a DC fan. The game isn’t unplayable if you don’t know anything, but it certainly helps you out. Either way you look at it, though, Scribblenauts Unmasked will provide you with a great time.

4. BATMAN: THE TELLTALE SERIES

batman-telltale-6

Telltale Games has a classic touch and their reach has recently extended to Batman. Batman: The Telltale Series was a project completed in 2016, and with five different episodes to get lost in, there’s plenty of content here for fans of the Dark Knight.

The game takes the approach of allowing equal time as Batman and Bruce Wayne. However, because it’s a Telltale game, you’re given the option of how to handle each event. Would you rather have some clever wordplay as Bruce Wayne, or would you rather rough up some thugs as Batman? Every choice you make holds a different outcome that changes how the game progresses. Due to the popularity of the first entry, a second season has been announced and will release in August 2017.

3. JUSTICE LEAGUE HEROES 

Justice League Heroes

Where Marvel had Ultimate Alliance, DC’s answer to that was Justice League Heroes. This game sees players taking the role of two DC heroes and traveling through levels where they fought tons of enemies and villains. It allowed for co-op gameplay where players could switch heroes on the fly and work together to tackle various situations. It doesn’t require a lot of thought to play, but it’s a great time nonetheless.

It’s important to note that there are multiple platforms that you can get Justice League Heroes for. The one that handles the game the best is, without a doubt, the PSP. In this version, it manages the gameplay much better, allows for more variation, keeps the action moving at a breakneck pace, and even gives the player some customization options. Most of the other versions are pretty abysmal.

2. BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY

batman_arkham_city_74

You all knew an Arkham game would make it on this list, and the best one to this day is still Batman: Arkham City. After Arkham Asylum introduced us to what a Batman game could truly be, Rocksteady perfected their formula with the sequel. Featuring a much larger open world this time around, Arkham City built on everything that made the first game so great.

On top of that, the story this time around was much more interesting. Tying into the events of the first game while building on the lore of the world, there was little downtime for players. The combat was also improved this time around, bringing better animations, more options for combos, and new gadgets to the mix. Arkham City incorporated better puzzle solving to allow players to genuinely embody everything the Dark Knight has been for the over 70 years.

1. INJUSTICE 2

injustice_03

Injustice: Gods Among Us was an impressive game from Netherrealm, but they really outdid themselves when crafting Injustice 2Basically, every big complaint about the first game was out the door, as the studio really listened to what fans had to say. The production value was improved, the presentation was even better, more characters were brought into the fold, and the story continued the events of the first game.

Injustice 2 refines the fighting system that made the first game so popular and nearly perfects it in every way. Furthermore, the Multiverse mode and customization system gave players incentive to keep going back for more battles each and every day. While you might still get battered online within seconds, there’s so much fun to be had in Injustice 2 that it almost doesn’t matter.

Did we forget a DC game that you love from this list? Let us know in the comments section!

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