With Iron Man 3 arriving in theaters today (by the time you read this, we’ve all probably seen in), the buzz for Tony Stark and actor Robert Downey Jr. is at a fever pitch, as the sequel is set to rake in the millions this weekend. With all his success at the box office, Iron Man has appeared just as frequently in video games.
Some video games aren’t quite up to speed with last year’s cinematic blast The Avengers, but a lot of them are more fun than you might expect. Some of them are well worth playing again as you get prepped to see the latest of Stark’s movie adventures.
So here now is a rundown of some of Iron Man’s best game appearances, whether it’s as a brawling opponents, an all-out superhero, or…a skateboarder?
Captain America and the Avengers (Data East, arcade)
“Avengers are nimble!” Before we came to recognize Iron Man as Robert Downey Jr., we only considered him “the man in the suit” in Data East’s old-school brawler. Teaming up with Captain America, Vision and Hawkeye, this foursome set out to stop Red Skull from taking over the world with his vast army of villains. Featuring great beat-up action and shooting stages – in which Iron Man used his trademark beams – Captain America is worth hunting down at your local arcade.
Iron Man and X-O Manowar In Heavy Metal (Acclaim, PlayStation)
Most of Acclaim’s licensed fare was pretty forgettable back in the 32-bit gaming era, but this heavy metal comic book team-up stood out. This side scrolling action game features both Iron Man and his buddy Manowar as they take on supervillains, using both traditional lasers and one that can be fired through the chestplate. Though the graphics are primitive by today’s standards, we’d still rather play this any day of the week than Fantastic Four on the PS One.
Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade) and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (PlayStation 3, PS Vita, Xbox 360)
We decided to give both of these games mentions because they’re equally stellar fighting efforts. Both use Iron Man to a great extent, allowing him to blast all sorts of lasers at enemies. He’s also made appearances in Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom, which you can both find in Marvel vs. Capcom Origins for PSN and XBLA. It’s also nice to see War Machine get in a little action as well.
Marvel Super Heroes in War of the Gems (Capcom, SNES)
Following the release of X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, Capcom returned to side-scrolling super hero battling territory with this quasi-sequel. Marvel Super Heroes in War of the Gems featured several selectable allies taking on Thanos, who had access to the Infinity Gems. Among all the characters in the game, Hulk stands out along with good ol’ Iron Man. This one’s pretty rare these days, but it’s worth tracking down in a second-hand game shop if you’re collecting SNES oddities.
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (Activision, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii)
Iron Man plays a central part in Activision’s long-awaited follow-up to Ultimate Alliance, as he’s part of a “civil war” storyline where he butts heads with former ally Captain America when it comes to super hero registration in America. He’s not very fond of being kept on a leash, and recruits a number of fellow heroes to get his point cross. Though the plotline sounds quite political, the game is a lot of fun with plenty of beat-em-up action and combination attacks to keep things interesting. Iron Man has an ability to fire his beam at Wolverine’s claws, spreading them out so that they hit every enemy in sight. Now that’s awesome – shame we won’t be seeing it in the movies anytime soon.
The Punisher (THQ, Xbox, PlayStation 2)
Iron Man isn’t a playable character in this over-the-top action game. He still pops up when Frank Castle enters Stark Towers, hunting down the dreaded Jigsaw as he goes looking for armor and weapons to fight back with. Iron Man’s costume appears in the hallway, and it almost looks like he’s scorning the Punisher as he mows down enemies in the hall. You can afford to clean that up, right Stark?
Marvel’s The Avengers: Battle For Earth (Ubisoft, Wii U, Xbox 360)
Though it missed out on the movie’s May release, Ubisoft’s latest game based on The Avengers was worth the wait anyway. It’s interesting over-the-shoulder fighting game that lets you take control of various heroes and villains while fighting for superiority. Stark’s Iron Man is one of the better characters, with his full arsenal of weaponry and near-unmatchable speed. Even the Hulk has a tough time keeping up with him. If you like good motion-controlled games or just want a brawler you can play with younger players, this is well worth a look.
Tony Hawk’s Underground (Activision, Xbox, GameCube, PlayStation 2)
Just like Wolverine and Darth Maul before him, Iron Man shows up as an unlockable character in Tony Hawk’s skateboarding universe. We’re not sure how Stark has so much flexibility grabbing onto the board in that suit of his, but he’s fun to watch regardless. It’d be interesting to see him do a grind-off with Hawk himself, just to see who really is top dog.
What’s your favorite Iron Man game experience?