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Biggest wastes of a superhero's powers

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Games have always been the perfect medium for escapism. Whether you’re taking on a walking nuclear tank with a stealthy pensioner, triple jumping through a distant galaxy with a portly plumber or blowing up a planet-sized ring with a stoic supersoldier; videogames have always been a vehicle for the fantastic.

You’d think then that games based around superheroes would be the ultimate expression of these impossible feats and incredible powers. Nope. Unfortunately, most superhero tie-ins have had more tedious tasks than chances to protect the planet. And the following games all have moments where their hero’s powers are woefully wasted.

As seen in Spider-Man 2 (balloon retrieval) for GameCube, PC, PS2 and Xbox, and Spider-Man 3 (Mary Jane taxi service) for 360, PC, PS2, PS3 and Wii 

Who wants to swing around the Empire State Building or stop bank heists with the webbed wonder when his games give you the choice of saving children’s balloons from precarious skyscraper ledges? Not exciting enough for you? Don’t worry. Spidey 3 frequently forces you to swing Mary Jane home in timed races. Next time, get the subway like every other New Yorker you lazy bint. We’ve got bags of air to save.

Doc Ock brutally murdered a bus of school children while the webbed wonder saved these balloons

As seen in Fantastic 4 for GameCube, PC, PS2 and Xbox

The power of flight. Something man has dreamed of mastering ever since the dawn of time. Being able to glide gracefully through the air is clearly a big burden for the Human Torch, though. He’d rather take a cargo elevator – which drops all of twenty feet – in the first level instead of doing his best Supes impression. Icarus would be crushed.

Flame off! Anyone else going to the seventh floor?



As seen in X Men: Wolverine's Revenge for GameCube, PC, PS2 and Xbox

Adamantium is quite the metal. Once cooled it’s indestructible, and, with it coating Wolverine’s entire skeleton, you’d think nothing would get in his way. Wrong. Wolvy’s retractable adamantium claws are apparently no match for a locked door. And even though they should be able to cut through titanium like a hot katana through butter, Logan is still forced to find and collect keycards to progress through the game.

Adamantium: No match for a barely boarded-up door

As seen in Iron Man for 360, PC, PS2, PS3 and Wii

Why would Sega go to the trouble of giving you control of a hero with a flying, billion dollar, missile-launching suit and then force you to do the job of a glorified electrician? Among the countless menial objectives Tony Stark has to blow up, nothing gets the blood pumping like taking out some power couplings. Next time your city’s about to be wiped out by Blizzard, don’t bother calling the metal man - just pick up the phone directory instead.

Iron Man Electrics: He's in the book

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7 comments

  • ryno - July 5, 2011 5:35 p.m.

    i REALLY hated when i heard "my ballon" in spiderman 2 i got out of the area as fast as possible before i became annoyed
  • Pottyaboutpotter1 - April 12, 2011 4:56 p.m.

    How about optimus prime in "Transformers the game". He has two giant rocket launchers that don't even hurt half of the decepticon forces. Or in ultimate alliance where the hulk and the thing are only as strong as spidey.
  • Lycanthrokeith - June 30, 2010 6:13 a.m.

    Some of these are right on (Wolverine especially; see the first episode of the X-Men cartoon for a perfect example of how Wolverine deals with locked doors). I have to disagree about the Hulk game, though. A big theme in the comics is the Jekyll-and-Hyde aspect; the character is every bit as much about Banner as it is about the Hulk. Logic vs emotion, rationality vs chaos, reason vs anger. Having two aspects to the game to focus on the character as a whole, rather than just the Hulk side, drives the idea home much better than playing as only the Hulk. You get to understand why Banner is the way he is, because you have to do the things he does. Having said that, I do prefer the Hulk in Ultimate Destruction, but only because he has a better look and moveset, and things are much more freeform. I think in terms of staying true to the character concept, the original Hulk game did a much better job. After all, Banner rarely ever wanted to hulk out; he always did so when he couldn't control himself. Ultimate is set up in a "We need this, go Hulk out and do it" pattern. Banner literally seems to hulk out four or five times a day, runs roughshod over the city and breaks something, jumps back to the island (which is somehow out of the city's jurisdiction; wasn't that the plot of every episode of The Dukes Of Hazard, too?), and seems to be only marginally bothered by it. Lather, rinse, soap in my eyes makes me angry, rargh, relax, repeat. Though to be fair, Banner only consents to this because it is leading to the goal of a possible cure. So, yeah, there's merits to both, I believe. Ultimately, if I'm a fan of the character, I'll prefer something that does justice to the concept over something generic. Same thing with Spider-Man. He'd do anything for MJ, and he's also fighting a constant battle to win the hearts and minds of the public. If he can make someone happy by getting their kid's balloons back, he'd do it in a heartbeat. That's who Spidey is. Put it this way: If you wouldn't be willing to do what the character would do, something you know is consistent with their personality and writing, why are you playing as the character? Someone like a Master Chief or Kratos is already established as a destroy-all character; having them do these kind of things would be ridiculous. Spidey and Banner are well-established as performing these kinds of acts; they're not out of character, and a fan of the character should know what they're getting into. There's a simple solution in that case; if you just want to break buildings and smash tanks, play Rampage or Prototype. If you want to be the Hulk, Banner is part of the package, and any fan of the Hulk should know that.
  • LaughingOcto - June 29, 2010 8:16 p.m.

    Can I ask people, is anyone else getting the username and password request for going onto the "Our boring masked heroes" page?
  • tehperson123412 - September 23, 2008 9:55 p.m.

    in "superman" for the snes, you have to take the subway. someone who can move faster then light...is taking the subway...-_-
  • DARK_SIDE - September 6, 2008 11:52 a.m.

    HA! Great stuff GR i'm wondering where those usless ideas come from i mean the heros don't do that in comics or any where else. would you do any of those things if you were a super-powered being I wouldn't. it's things like that that non-games can say we truly are wasting our time.
  • Vandalizer - June 29, 2009 9:54 p.m.

    in a load of games you have to go somewhere and you can see it but there is a small rock or sumtin in de way and u hav to take a longer route but its ok cos it only adds on ohhhhh i dunno bout 20mins!!!!(ok i kinda exagerated but message me if u see where im comin from)

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