Box art that got it all wrong

Offender - Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

Crime - Spider-Man swinging with a goddam rope

Spider-Man, perhaps the only fictional character in history known for swinging from rooftop to rooftop via his own stringy webs, is here depicted using a rope. A rope. What the blistering hell is this? That's like putting Wolverine on the cover brandishing knives instead of, you know, the foot-long claws already growing in his arms.

We could go on about how Spider-Man generally doesn't hold his hand like that while shooting webs (it should be palm up, unless in the black costume), but this rope nonsense is enough. But if you want proof...

Yes Spidey, it was a dumb thing to do, putting your hand like that on the cover. Glad we're on the same page... of Spectacular Spider-Man 93.

Offender - Mario Kart Wii

Crime - Um, karts please?

The name is Mario Kart Wii. Mario's on there. You know Wii is on there because of all the blinding white, but where are the karts? In other words, where is the thing you'll actually be doing? You're not running and jumping with Mario, so "kart" is the key word here. Wait, wait a second... oh there they are, buried under a mountain of logos and copyright bullshit.

Even with all that white coating the cover, and an extra large package designed to accommodate the Wii Wheel (which does receive proper attention), they still couldn't sneak a kart in anywhere? No, instead let's get the wheel in there four times plus wrist straps on Mario and Luigi. Their quest for details ended up omitting the one thing that should have stayed.

Offender - Dragoneer's Aria

Crime - Favoring smoky dragon over sexy upskirt shot

No disrespect to the talented Juno Jeong (who provided the game's fantastic artwork), but this is boring as hell when it comes to covers. However, blandness simply makes this bad box art, not necessarily something that misses the point. But compare this sleepy cover to the instruction booklet and it's clear which should have received top billing:

One has a tired dragon lying in total darkness... the other has gorgeous characters and an elven upskirt shot. It's an RPG, and what's one of the most important aspects of any RPG? The cast, not monsters, and that's why Aria makes the list - for nixing sexy character art in favor of a steamy-mouthed lizard.

Hey dragon, I have a prediction for your crystal ball:FAIL.

Brett Elston

A fomer Executive Editor at GamesRadar, Brett also contributed content to many other Future gaming publications including Nintendo Power, PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazine. Brett has worked at Capcom in several senior roles, is an experienced podcaster, and now works as a Senior Manager of Content Communications at PlayStation SIE.