With Marvel Entertainment promising a future of epic video games, a spotlight has been shone on the relative lack of attention that top Marvel heroes have received in major video games. A few, like Spider-Man and Wolverine, have been attached to plenty of decent games over the years. But for others, including Avengers characters who have been made significantly more popular by the last eight years’ worth of MCU movies, you have to dig around a little bit to find interesting gaming appearances. Iron Man, in particular, can seem almost absent from the gaming industry at a glance.
There’s isn’t really an Iron Man game that stands out in the same way as Rocksteady’s Batman “Arkham” games, or even some of the movie-based Spider-Man titles we’ve seen. That said, Iron Man may have more (and better) video game roles than you might be inclined to give him credit for. If that sounds intriguing, read on for some unique and entertaining examples.
Tony Hawk’s Underground
We’ll start off with a silly one that’s still pretty awesome for Marvel fans. This 2004 skateboarding game for Xbox, GameCube, and PS2 featured several bizarre and unexpected unlockable characters, and Iron Man was among them. As noted in one write-up on Iron Man in gaming, there’s just something cooler about performing skateboarding moves when you’re making Iron Man do it and not “some dude in cargo shorts.” Also of note is that Iron Man road a hoverboard in the game, a classic Tony Stark move if we’ve ever seen one.
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Among the most popular Marvel console games have been Ultimate Alliance and Ultimate Alliance 2. These are RPGs that involve a lot of superhero characters, but Iron Man features prominently in both of them. Tony Stark is present with multiple outfits and special abilities that make him one of the most effective heroes in the games. In the first one, Stark Tower is even used as a sort of home base for your RPG team.
Iron Man 3 Slots
It’s not a category that everyone has come across, but a guide to online casino gaming reveals that there are quite a few slot machines out there based on Marvel characters. There’s an Avengers game, games based on Thor and the Hulk, and there are multiple Iron Man titles as well. But Iron Man 3 stands out as one of the best in this genre for its vivid recapturing of images and scenery from the film of the same name. Primarily designed like an arcade slot reel, it’s a lot of fun for anyone with an interest in the movies or the character.
Iron Man 2
Sure, the film is often viewed as one of the weaker entries in the MCU, and the game didn’t get great reviews. But Iron Man 2 for PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii was actually a decent game. It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s probably the best example of a chance to brawl in the Iron Man (and War Machine) suit. The graphics are fairly sharp for its time, and Don Cheadle and Samuel L. Jackson lent their voices to the project, making it feel all the more legitimate. Ultimately, developers have had trouble capturing the thrill of piloting Iron Man, but managed to make the experience work in this game.
Contest Of Champions
Finally there’s Contest Of Champions, which is one of Marvel’s popular mobile games. If we’re being honest, Iron Man, one of dozens of playable heroes and villains, is not always the most enjoyable character to control. However, there’s a team building component to this game, and defense comes into play. And having Iron Man on your defensive team is pretty awesome. He’s one of very few characters who regenerates most of his health the first time he’s almost defeated, so he essentially has double the life span of your other defenders.
The list could actually go on a while longer. There are other mobile and online games in which Iron Man stands out among large collections of heroes and there are also some older console and arcade games from before the MCU where he’s a perfectly enjoyable character. But this small sampling shows that although there hasn’t been a definitive Iron Man gaming adventure, the character has done alright for himself.