Today is a big day for followers of the Marvel Universe. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe proper has been building to its own climactic clash of heroes, the people at FOX have been working on stories revolving around Marvel's merry band of mutants, the X-Men. Among the rights it currently holds are for one Merc with the Mouth named Deadpool and today marks his official big screen debut. (Well, as long as you forget that… other thing he was in.)
While Deadpool's big screen presence has been limited over the years, he does have a few video games to his credit. So to celebrate Wade Wilson's taking Hollywood by storm this weekend, Shacknews is going to take a look back at some of his more memorable video game outings.
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (2006)
Deadpool technically made his video game debut in Raven Software's X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse the year before this, but Activision's all-out event featuring all of Marvel's finest is where Deadpool truly stands out. Much of the appeal of this four-character dungeon crawler is assembling some of the all-time great Marvel teams: the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men. Everyone has united for the purpose of stopping Doctor Doom and the Masters of Evil in a conflict where the very world is at stake.
Then there's Deadpool, who's in it for the kills and the laughs. Ultimate Alliance uses Deadpool as some much-needed comic relief, especially if he's paired with fellow quipper Spider-Man. There's also a story reason for his presence, as members of his supporting cast, like Weasel, are assisting S.H.I.E.L.D. with the search for Doom and the Masters.
However, Ultimate Alliance also offers the perfect introduction to Deadpool for those unfamiliar with the Merc's antics. He can be found in one of the game's central hubs where a dialogue option will ask him why he treats everything like a joke. The answer captures Deadpool's character in a nutshell, expositing on his cancer diagnosis and his subsequent treatment from the Weapon X program that also created Wolverine. Deadpool was given an equally amplified healing factor, but as explained in the game, the process left him so scarred (both physically and psychologically) that his whacked-out humor is more than a result of psychosis. It's a coping mechanism, since the procedure would have driven lesser men insane (well… a different kind of insane than Deadpool's, anyway.).
Best Deadpool Wisecrack: "The day my father Odin banished me from Asgard, I was bitten by a vampire and had radioactive waste dumped into my eyes. To make matters worse, my mutant ability to control weather activated just as I was hit by a blast of gamma radiation. Nah, actually, I got this way by volunteering for the Weapon X program. They promised to cure my cancer. And they cured it all right, by giving me an outrageous healing factor. Then they labeled me psychotic and tossed me into a prison lab. So I escaped and became what some people might call a 'mercenary'. I prefer the title 'cleaner of the gene pool'."
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (2009)
Activision's second dip into Ultimate Alliance didn't feel quite as memorable. Part of that was the switch over to developer Vicarious Visions, but it was also because it was hard to build on the scope of that first game. So while basing the story on the Civil War story arc was a nice novelty, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 didn't offer that same pizazz as its predecessor. But hey, there was still Deadpool!
Deadpool didn't have as many memorable character moments or dialogue this time around. In fact, his best moment might have been when he first popped up in the story and ranted about cherry blossoms. Even Deadpool knew his role was somewhat diminished, which is why he decided to confront the Vicarious Visions developers during the game's end credits.
This confrontation stands out as one of the funniest moments of the game and perfectly illustrates what makes Deadpool such a fun character. It also wouldn't be Deadpool's last hostile run-in with a game developer, as we'll see shortly. Those curious about Deadpool's encounter with a game programmer can listen to the full scene here. (That's provided you don't mind spoilers, of course.)
Best Deadpool Wisecrack: "I refuse to say some clever quip because you set down the controller."
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (2010)
In 2010, players got to explore four different versions of Spider-Man, including the one hailing from the Ultimate Universe. For those unfamiliar, the Ultimate Universe of Marvel Comics attempted to tell Marvel tales with a fresher, more modern twist. That also led to alternative versions of different characters, which includes Deadpool. The Ultimate version of Deadpool was an antagonistic mutant hunter and over the course of his plan to kill off the X-Men, he ran afoul of Spider-Man.
This game appearance represents Ultimate Deadpool's attempt at revenge. And while this version of Wade Wilson wasn't exactly the same fourth-wall breaking psychopath, he got to bring out his more humorous side by putting on a deadly reality television show. As one might surmise from reading this, Deadpool wasn't playable, but he was rather this stage's boss. As players navigated the level, they'd have to take out Deadpool's cronies while the Merc with a Mouth cracked wise in the background.
The stage would culminate with a one-on-one against Wade himself, as he'd use a dimensional fragment to amplify his power and split himself into three pieces. Aside from making Deadpool more powerful, it also meant Wade could literally tell jokes to himself, highlighting another aspect of his manic personality.
Best Deadpool Wisecrack: "I love this! Finally, someone to laugh at my jokes! Hey, what's green and makes noise? The Incredible Honk!"
Marvel vs. Capcom 3/Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (2011)
Deadpool didn't quite take off in mainstream popularity until well after the heyday of Capcom's "Vs." series. So when Capcom's best returned to clash with Marvel's mightiest, Deadpool definitely had to be on the invite list. Sure, the game had its fair share of loudmouths and jokers like Spidey, Devil May Cry's Dante, and Dead Rising's Frank West, but those are mere pretenders to Deadpool's crown.
Wade fit in like a glove with his array of powers and abilities. His katana and sidearms were perfect for special moves, while his teleporter allowed him to bounce around the stage. But not was Deadpool relentless with his one-liners, he also used the very fourth wall that he breaks so much as a weapon! His Level 3 Hyper Combo sees Wade grabbing his life bar and clubbing his opponent over the head with it before whacking them into the distance. It's still one of the oddest and funniest attacks seen in a fighting game.
Best Deadpool Wisecrack: "I just beat Mag-freakin'-neto! Where yo' curleh mustache at?"
Marvel Heroes (2013)
In the spirit of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, Gazillion gathered together the farthest corners of the Marvel Universe for its first MMORPG. Naturally, Deadpool needed to be a part of the action. Like in Ultimate Alliance, he's a valuable source of comic relief, but this time around, the solo nature of the game helps capture the 'mercenary' idea much better.
Gazillion has also gone a few steps further in helping capture the spirit of who Deadpool is through his various character builds and skill trees. Players can specialize in Wade's firearms and heavy weapons (Hurty), his potent hand-to-hand combat and his expertise as a swordsman (Fighty), or his craftiness on the battlefield that sees him utilizing traps and other unexpected methods (Tricky). The developer has also honored the various phases of the character's life, offering costumes for Detective Deadpool, Pirate Deadpool, X-Force Deadpool, and even Lady Deadpool.
Deadpool isn't done getting love from the Gazillion team, either. As part of the jump to Marvel Heroes 2016, Deadpool received a character revamp that's offered up new animations, effects, and nine new moves for the battlefield.
Best Deadpool Wisecrack: "I'd sing some Black Sabbath right now, but the bean counter says we spent all our money on writers. What a waste."
Well, if any game was going to spell out just what it means to be Deadpool, it was this one. After reviving the Transformers franchise from the drudges of movie tie-in junk, High Moon Studios set out to do Wade Wilson justice. That didn't just mean an action game. It had to be an adult action game.
While Wade's other game appearances have been friendly for all ages, this game (much like the movie hitting theaters today) needed to be for a more mature audience. Hence, this is Deadpool's first and only M-rated game. And boy, did it nail everything on the Wade Wilson checklist. Fourth-wall breaking? Check! Ultraviolence? Check! Naughty swear words? Check-a-roonie!
Voice actor Nolan North was certainly no stranger to this character by this point, but he was truly allowed to cut loose here with some of the funniest dialogue given to the character in a game yet. The jokes not only gelled with Deadpool and his existence as a comic book character, but it even took shots at the nature of video game development itself. The game started off with Deadpool getting threatening messages on his answering machine from High Moon for blowing their budget and essentially ruining them (a joke that, in hindsight, maybe isn't so funny today), while a later scene follows up on this by briefly sticking Wade in a top-down 8-bit adventure, since that's all that the studio could afford. There's a later sequence that sees Deadpool pumping so many exploding kegs into an area, he breaks the scripting in the stage. The only trouble here was that sometimes the jokes came at the expense of the gameplay. For example, Deadpool joked during the endgame sequence about repetitive, monotonous battles and lazy design, but at the end of the day, the player still actually had to play those repetitive, monotonous battles. That's part of the reason that Deadpool's game, while doing total justice to the character, wasn't quite the masterpiece that we hoped it would be.
But time, much like Wade's healing factor, heals all wounds. Three years later, Deadpool's first game is mainly remembered as an exemplary (if imperfect) showcase for this marvelous character, which is part of the reason that Activision brought it back for next-gen consoles. Those looking for an idea of what an R-rated Deadpool will look like in the movie theater should first take a look at the Deadpool game, which delivers a lot of that same adult humor. While High Moon suffered heavy layoffs after the game's development, the studio ultimately put together the best love letter to Wade. Hopefully, the film will do well enough that another conversation can be had about giving Deadpool another shot at his own game.
Besides, what's Wolverine got that he doesn't got?
Best Deadpool Wisecrack: "That's what happens when you mix C4 with a bean burrito! Now be honest... I'm not the only one with a little bit of s*** in my pants, am I?"
Any favorite Deadpool gaming moments you'd like to share? Join the conversation and leave some in the comments.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Chimichangas! A Brief History of Deadpool in Video Games
It's a fun game for $20!