It’s hard to think of many comic book characters that have been represented in game as frequently over the years as Spider-Man. The web-slinging hero has appeared in numerous console, mobile, and casino games, and the gaming world is hungry for more with the release of Spider-Man PS4 right around the corner. Few would argue against the Marvel superhero being the prime candidate for game representation amongst his peers. The question is, does anyone else come close?
Spider-Man has been ever-present in the game world ever since the Atari 2600 offering in 1982, and this is perhaps down to the fact that the character has remained a much-loved figure all this time in popular culture. The wall climbing superhero has been one of Marvel’s best-selling protagonists, and according to ThoughtCo, he is the most recognisable Marvel character of all time. For this reason, developers know that the name alone will sell games and attract players.
The attributes of the friendly neighbourhood crime fighter are another reason why he is perfect for games. The combination of fighting, climbing, swinging, and running mean that the possibilities in the game world are endless, and this was demonstrated perfectly in 2004’s hugely popular Spider-Man 2 title from Activision which received a favourable score of 80 percent on Metacritic. Characters like Superman have failed to translate into the game world, perhaps because the Man of Steel’s abilities are too advanced and it makes it hard for developers to make the games challenging.
Hellboy is a much more recently conceived superhero, created by Mike Mignola in 1993, but has shown some potential to be a computer game favorite in the years to come. The massive demonic crime fighter with superhuman strength and healing abilities makes for a pretty cool game character, but the 2008 release for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Hellboy: The Science of Evil, was met with fairly unfavorable reviews. However, it was generally criticised for its repetitive gameplay rather than there being anything wrong with the characters.
Because the 2004 film from Guillermo del Toro was so popular, and has a score of 81 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the character could be welcomed in another console outing. This is illustrated by the success of the online slot game, which is one of the few online slots at William Hill Games based on a superhero. The game created by iGaming giants Microgaming stays true to the comic books, with similar artwork and all the main characters appearing on the reels.
Despite the popularity of this iGaming offering, Hellboy is still way behind Spider-Man. The only character that most people would agree on that comes close to Peter Parker is Batman. The caped crusader has also featured in the game world in countless adventures, and the recent Arkham series of games from Rocksteady Studios are considered as some of the best superhero romps ever made. Spider-Man has a chance to get back on top and reassert himself as the greatest, however, when Spider-Man PS4 comes out in spring next year.