Worst superhero video games

Superheroes and video games might seem like the most natural combination in the world, but they're a trickier fit than you'd think. More often than not, our video game versions of superheroes fail stupendously, never living up to the exhilaration that their comics adventures promise—and some games are bad enough to make you abandon all hope. Here's a look at a few of the all-time worst offenders.

Superman: The New Adventures (Nintendo 64)

We might as well begin with the most obvious example. Superman: The New Adventures, or as it's more casually and hatefully known, Superman 64, is an example of a superhero title in which absolutely everything went wrong. Titus Software took an incredible cartoon series and reduced it to a pile of insulting bugs that they had the audacity to call a game. It's tedious, glitchy, and nearly unplayable, and the very words Superman 64 have become shorthand for failure. Titus blamed Warner Bros. for limitations placed on the game, but that's kinda like blaming your hands for punching your brother in the face. You probably had a reasonable amount of control over the situation.

Because it came out in 1999, the game still achieved bestseller status based on the greatness of the animated series alone…and because gaming sites were still a relatively new thing, warnings didn't travel nearly fast enough to save innocent players from wasting their lawn-mowing money.

Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis (GameCube/Xbox)

With an average Metacritic score of 26, Aquaman's only solo video game outing was an absolute tragedy (as though the guy didn't already have enough insecurities to deal with). A game without much of an obvious reason for existing, Aquaman: Battle for Atlantis suffers primarily from the fact that the character isn't the most dynamic or exciting in the DC stable. While Aquaman is able to call in assistance from nearby marine life and execute a few fancy moves, the game ended up being just a mindless button-masher. Further embarrassment followed when the TV show X-Play created the Golden Mullet Awards in "honor" of Battle for Atlantis, inspired by the undersea hero's questionable digital hairstyle.

Batman: Dark Tomorrow (GameCube/Xbox)

A noble attempt to bring a comic-accurate Batman into the video game world, Dark Tomorrow is an even bleaker experience than its title implies. While the premise of fighting through Batman's entire rogues' gallery sounds excellent from a distance, the game's biggest downfall lies in one single flaw: it pretty much forces you to lose. If you fail to find a single device that's mentioned nowhere in the game, Ra's al Ghul destroys the world. While that's pretty much how a truly well thought-out crime would go down, it just doesn't work as a video game.

The whole title collapsed in development hell under a pile of of cinematic cutscenes, open-world exploration, and an orchestral score. General confusion, a terrible fighting system, and the same janky camera angles that plagued all early 3D games sent the game plummeting to a pitiful Metacritic score of 27. The world would just have to wait for Rocksteady to save Batman.

X-Men Destiny (PS3/Xbox 360/Wii)

It's not only DC Comics that make for some terrible video games—Marvel is equally guilty of sucking the life out of your console. X-Men: Destiny seems like the mutant video game that every fan had always dreamed of playing, pulled straight from the comic pages. You take on the role of a young mutant fighting against anti-mutant forces…except as far as the game is concerned, none of your choices really affect the overall outcome. It's like ordering the soup and getting a pile of rubber bands instead.

Aside from cruelly pretending to offer the player free will, X-Men: Destiny has also been criticized for feeling unfinished, and having some pretty dull combat mechanics. Silicon Knights has made some great stuff, but according to Kotaku, the studio was in a state of irreparable disarray at this time this was being made. The result is a game that's more Morlock than mutant, and a dud with a Meteoritic score of 44.

Silver Surfer (NES)

We can dig pretty deep when it comes to awful Marvel games, but 1990's SIlver Surfer for the NES is pretty much the worst. While Nintendo games are generally pretty difficult, Silver Surfer combines your standard side-scrolling shooter with the grace and agility of a baked potato. As the shiny superhero, all of your amazing powers are reduced to shooting weak silver dots. Worst of all, if you touch anything at all, you're dead, which isn't really a fair representation of the Power Cosmic.

Levels include Neon Ancient Rome, Brown Moon Swamp, Haunted House, and Galactus' Intestines… and every single one of them is ridiculous and nearly impassable. We get it. Being a superhero is hard… but if you're taken down by a jack o' lantern, you're probably not cut out for heroing.

The Tick (SNES/Genesis)

Indie heroes can suck too, and The Tick is another busted attempt at turning a great comic into a game. While it's a pretty standard side-scrolling beat 'em up, a la Double Dragon, the game destroys itself by making the entire first level a joke—and then forgetting the punchline.

Called "Night of a Million Zillion Ninjas," the level contains so many ninjas that it literally takes about an hour to play through it, all the while mashing the same couple of buttons. After a ton of ninjas, it's a little funny. After the second ton, it just stops being fun. Subsequent levels are more of the same endless onslaught of identical goons, and your final reward for giving yourself permanent thumb injuries and night terrors? A picture of The Tick and Arthur on a motorcycle. Even in the days before you could just download a picture of the blue buffoon, this was a prize on par with Christmas socks.

Iron Man/X-O Manowar in Heavy Metal (Sega Saturn/PlayStation)

Comic book company crossovers are usually a pretty big deal. After all, Groot doesn't really meet Swamp Thing every day, even though they'd totally be best buds… pun intended. But crossing Marvel's Iron Man with Valiant Comics' semi-obscure X-O Manowar was possibly the most expensive non-event ever created. The two teamed up pretty much only because both dudes like wearing armor, but that's about it. It made as much sense as forming a band with two bassists, and no one else. No one even liked the first bassist.

The resulting game was panned for a long list of fatal flaws, from sluggish faux-3D graphics and animation to boring gameplay. The adventure spawned a two-issue comic miniseries… and a miserable 4 out of 10 score average from the game review magazines of the era.

Incredible Hulk (Xbox 360/PS2/PS3/Wii)

Based on the 2008 film of the same name, Incredible Hulk was a whimpering follow up to 2005's awesome Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. Movie tie-ins generally don't work as more than a quick cash-grab, and Edge of Reality's Incredible Hulk doesn't even try to break the mold—which is doubly disappointing considering that breaking stuff is pretty much what the Hulk is supposed to do.

Critics gave the game an overwhelming meh, even with the inclusion of awesome enemies like the U-Foes and Bi-Beast. After all was said and done, Incredible Hulk fared about as well as the movie, marking a pretty awkward time in the blooming Marvel Cinematic Universe and a pretty nasty bout of disappointment for gamers.