We're celebrating the May 7 (April 28 internationally) release of "Iron Man 2" with Iron Man Month 2010! Get ready for a monthlong mega mix of all things Shellhead right here on Marvel.com!
Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas.
This week we're focusing on 10 of our favorite Iron Man video game appearances, from arcade beat-'em-ups to his current headlining gigs.
As always, these picks reflect the personal choices of the Secret Cabal, not the official opinion of Marvel or Marvel.com, and can be considered subjective at best. Enjoy!
By TJ Dietsch
10. "Marvel Super Heroes in War of the Gems" (SNES; 1996)
Iron Man in "Marvel Super Heroes in War of the Gems"
In many ways, games like 1996's "Marvel Super Heroes in War of the Gems" acted as a predecessor to current games like the "Marvel Ultimate Alliance" series, offering players a variety of characters to play as while battling through a digitized version of a much-loved crossover. "War of the Gems" gave players the choice between playing as Iron Man, Captain America, Wolverine, Spider-Man and Hulk in sending them after the Infinity Gems and facing off against Thanos, much like INFINITY GAUNTLET and INFINITY WAR. Depending more on his fists and repulsor blasts than tech, playing as Iron Man offered fun and sleek visuals, but didn't quite capture the character's video game potential.
9. "X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse" (Xbox, GameCube, PS2, PSP, PC; 2005)
Iron Man in "X-Men Legends II"
While obviously not a straight-ahead Iron Man game, 2005's "X-Men Legends II" curiously--and wonderfully--offered Tony Stark's alter ego as an unlockable character. Whys and wherefores aside, Iron Man's multiple special abilities and armors secretly gave fans a taste of the goodness to come from the "Marvel: Ultimate Alliance."
8. "The Punisher" (Xbox, PS2, PC; 2005)
Iron Man in "The Punisher"
Essentially a cameo, but still faily crucial to the game's story, Iron Man shows up in "The Punisher" after Frank Castle goes on a rampage through Stark Towers only to find out that Jigsaw wants to get his scarred hands on some armor and weapons. Fans will note that the Golden Avengers sports his Extremis armor, but also claims to need a drink before flying off.
7. "The Invincible Iron Man" (GBA; 2002)
Iron Man in "The Invincible Iron Man"
A fun side-scrolling shooter/platformer, "The Invincible Iron Man" marks the first time the techy hero starred in his very own game. Sporting sweet graphics for Game Boy Advance titles of its era, "Invincible" also scores points for using the then-current Iron Man logo, as well as putting Tony's powers to good use.
6. "Captain America and the Avengers" (Arcade, NES, SNES, Genesis, Game Gear, Game Boy; 1991)
Iron Man in "Captain America and the Avengers"
Predating "War of the Gems" by five years, "Captain America and the Avengers" started out as a four-player arcade beat-'em-up allowing players to choose from Iron Man, Captain America, Vision or Hawkeye. The variety of options and the inclusion of just about every Avengers villain made "Avengers" one of the greatest games around, so great that it eventually made its way to home and portable consoles, though the NES version only gave players control over Hawkeye and Cap. While Iron Man's limited to flying, punching and blasting, that doesn't detract from the game's classic feel.
5. "Marvel: Ultimate Alliance" (PS2, PS3, PSP, GBA, Xbox, Xbox 360/Wii/PC; 2006)
Iron Man in "Marvel: Ultimate Alliance"
Taking a page from the "X-Men Legends" playbook, "Marvel: Ultimate Alliance" was an amazing game mixing deep RPG and action elements with characters from all over the Marvel Universe, along with a host of unlockable characters and costumes. Iron Man took center stage in the game, even offering Stark Tower as a base for much of the game. In addition to a myriad of power upgrades, Ol' Shellhead also comes with four distinct armors to choose from: Extremis, classic red and yellow, Ultimate and War Machine.
4. "Tony Hawk's Underground" (Xbox, GameCube, PS2, GBA, PC; 2003)
Iron Man in "Tony Hawk's Underground"
Iron Man and skateboarding might not seem like the most obvious combination, but much like Adamantium and Vibranium or tacos and tacos, they're two great tastes that taste great together. "Tony Hawk's Underground" offered a variety of unlockable characters including Iron Man, who actually rocked a hoverboard instead of an old, analog skateboard. Kick flipping and acid dropping just feels so much cooler when you're making Iron Man do it instead of some dude in cargo shorts.
3. "Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2" (DS, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360; 2009)
Iron Man in "Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2"
Impressively upping the ante with this 2009 sequel, "Ultimate Alliance 2" may have reduced the number of alternate costumes--Iron Man gets his Extremis armor and then a more classic version--but the way the game took events from SECRET WAR and CIVIL WAR and turned them into a dense game deserving multiple play-throughs is truly impressive. Iron Man, of course, stands out as one of the first four characters players control and also being one of the leaders of the two factions.
2. "Marvel vs. Capcom" series (Arcade, PSOne, Saturn, Dreamcast, PS2, PSN, XBLA, PS3, Xbox 360; 1996-2010)
Iron Man in "Marvel Vs. Capcom 2"
The first series to really grasp Iron Man's full potential, the "Marvel Vs. Capcom" games have given him epic combos and devastating powers that allowed his techy side to show through, like the massive Proton Cannon. We couldn't pick just one game to spotlight from the three currently available "Vs." titles featuring Tony since they're all rightfully beloved. And with "Marvel Vs. Capcom 3" joining "Marvel Super Heroes Vs. Street Fighter," "Marvel Vs. Capcom" and "Marvel Vs. Capcom 2" next year, the ante is about to be upped!
1. "Iron Man 2" (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PSP, DS; 2010)
Iron Man in "Iron Man 2"
Learning from the mistakes of the previous "Iron Man" video game, Sega has crafted a game that not only utilizes Iron Man's signature abilities like flight, repulsar blasts and Unibeam, but combined them with simplified controls in such a away that really gives the player the feeling of piloting the Iron Man armor. Additionally, gamers can harness War Machine's unparalleled firepower throughout the game. Having just been released to coincide with the Friday release of "Iron Man 2" movie, the game still holds plenty of mysteries yet to be combed through!
Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as billionaire industrialist Tony Stark, aka the super hero Iron Man in this sequel to the 2008 blockbuster. RDJ, Paltrow, Cheadle and Rockwell are joined by Samuel L. Jackson as
"Iron Man 2" is one of a continuing slate of films being produced by Marvel Studios based on the Marvel characters, including "Thor" on May 6, 2011, "The First Avenger: Captain America" on July 22, 2011 and "Marvel Studios' The Avengers" on May 4, 2012.
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