Wolverine.. you have been through hell. With the debut of the newest Wolverine film, we'd like to reminisce on the 10 Best Wolverine Games ever made. But for a character that has lived as long as Wolverine, there is a dark side to his past, especially when it comes to the combined curses of movie-based, superhero-based, and comic-based video games. Wolverine has broken a lot of hearts in the past, and the hearts of gamers apply here as well. Let's hope that these 10 Best Wolverine Games and The Wolverine film do not disappoint, because we have a certain amount of respect for Canada's prodigal slasher. Don't forget a light for your cigar and hit on the nearest, married redhead as we unleash the berserker rage of the 10 Best Wolverine Games, bub.
Our first entry of the 10 Best Wolverine Games happens to be the first game produced by a long and fruitful partnership between Capcom and Marvel. In Mutant Apocalypse, players must choose to play as one of five X-Men and liberate fellow mutants being held at the mutant-prison camp of Genosha. The characters' abilities may have been fairly limited in hindsight compared to the other titles on our list, but Mutant Apocalypse was a solid, action-packed, side-scrolling adventure, and was the first X-Men title to have Psylocke as a playable character. Nevertheless, it is still one of the best Wolverine titles out there. *Sknit*
X-Men for the Sega Genesis was one tough game. Players could switch between Wolverine, Cyclops, Gambit and Nightcrawler as they would go through multiple Danger Room simulations of famous X-Men locales. In particular, the lighthouse stage was quite memorable for its number of X-Men clones that would randomly appear to attack, and it was also remembered for the surprise guest fight in the attic with Apocalypse. Don't forget, after defeating Mojo in level five, you'll see computer codes filling up the screen like a system error. When the screen says to "reset the machine", do just that and reset the console itself. Speaking of clones...
Sega ups the ante from their previous X-Men game by adding in three more playable characters and by expanding upon the gameplay mechanics. Wolverine and the team have additional moves they are able to perform and each mutant plays significantly different and unique compared to each other. Wolvie and Xavier's squad team up with Magneto in order to stop the Phalanx, a cybernetic species that tries to force and convert all organic life into their techno-organic collective. A cybernetic army might sound impressive, but we're pretty sure they're not adamantium-proof.
Adamantium Rage's story starts off the way any decent Wolverine story should: Logan gets a cryptic message from an unknown person with infomation hinting at his past, he leaves Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters (despite Jean, Rogue, Jubilee or Storm's warnings), he drives out to the coordinates given and, of course, he ends up at a hidden military installation in Canada. This place turns out to be the site of the Weapon X program, the place where Logan's bones were infused with Adamantium. Wolverine ends up cutting through Sabertooth, Lady Deathstrike, Bloodscream and Shinobi Shaw in his quest to learn the truth. A unique thing about Adamantium Rage was that the Genesis version was much more action-oriented (with more attack variations), but the SNES edition allowed Wolverine to climb walls with his claws for sake of stealth and avoidance (not that he needs it).
Cathal J. Dodd may have been our favorite voice of Wolverine throughout the years (mainly in the '90s animated series), but X2: Wolverine's Revenge showed that Mr. Luke Skywalker, a.k.a. The Joker himself, Mark Hamill, is able to pull off a great Wolverine. The console versions of Wolverine's Revenge were fairly mediocre (though it did have some decent combat, stealth, tracking mechanics, and badass stealth kills). The Game Boy Advance edition was a great hack and slash title with smooth graphics, tight controls and excellent hit-detection. The ability to pull off stealth kills may not have been as excellent as it was on the console editions, but this GBA game was much better than its big budgeted counterparts.
If you are old enough to see people crowding around this arcade cabinet, then you remember how awesome it was when you first saw it. Nearly 20 years later, the X-Men arcade game might not be as impressive as we first saw it, but it is still a solid beat 'em up. Why does this game peak at number five on our list of 10 Best Wolverine Games? Because we remember the arguments people would have over wanting to play as Wolverine and no one wanting to play as Dazzler. "Nothing can stop the Blob!" Well, we're pretty sure adamantium-laced claws can.
X-Men Legends 2 was supposed to be a joint effort between the X-Men with their old adversaries, Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants, united in arms to take out the forces of Apocalypse. Despite having an array of 15 different mutants to play from, with about a dozen more NPC mutants, Wolverine appears to be the frontman of the entire joint-operation. X-Men Legends 2 had the perfect balance of action, RPG-elements and Diablo-esque gameplay to keep most of us thoroughly entertained all the way through to Apocalypse's demise. Apocalypse just didn't know who he was messin' with, bub.
Take Marvel's entire dream team (basically every major superhero you would possibly want to appear in the next Avengers movie), and put them all into a game using the X-Men Legends 2 format on a more powerful system. The resulting experience is not only heaven for Marvel fanboys, but an amazing expansion beyond X-Men Legends 2. Again, with Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and Spider Man on the same boat, Wolverine takes the spotlight for many of the cutscenes and is a fan favorite because of his personality, stronger melee strikes and health regeneration.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine was the superhero game we have been waiting for most of our lives. After failure and failure of so many horrific movie/superhero/comic-based titles, Origins finally got it right. You take Wolverine, slap on an M rating, and watch the blood fly. Nothing is more impressive than watching old James Howlett getting shot at a dozen times, leaping onto the front of a helicopter, pulling the pilot through the windshield and watching Logan throw the pilot's body into the chopper's propellers as his bullet wounds are healing on his body. It is the best hack and slash experience you could ever have as Wolverine. And a hack and slash experience is all you could hope for from the guy who is the best there is at what he does.
We know what you're all thinking, "What about Wolverine in Marvel vs. Capcom 1-3?" Well, Children of the Atom is the fighter that started it all. Capcom created Children of the Atom by recreating Street Fighter 2 with characters from X-Men. It was such a success, that the roster's entire repertoire of moves and sound-bites were reused in six different franchise-crossover fighting games until Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Somehow, Capcom was able to get the voice actors of the animated series to do the sound bites for each character, which is why you hear Cathal J. Dodd's infamously gruff voice as Wolverine in MVC 2. Before each of Atom's characters were recycled and tweaked for each sequential crossover title, Children of the Atom was uncomplicated, experimentally bold and downright fun. And for these reasons, we consider X-Men: Children of the Atom to take the throne of our list of 10 Best Wolverine Games.