Batman, the X-Men, Spider-Man, the Marvel Cinematic Universe crew, and many other superheroes are tailor-made for awesome video games filled with action and epic adventure. But when game companies decide to create their own heroes instead of leaning on comic books for inspiration, the results are oftentimes equal parts weird and sad. Here are some video games starring ridiculous not-ready-for-prime-time superheroes. The games might have been good, but the heroes were less “Superman” and more “kid trying to fly by wearing a towel and jumping off the roof.”
12. Boogerman: A Pick and Flick Adventure (Sega Genesis, SNES, 1994)
If a seven-year-old boy didn’t create Boogerman, then a man-child with the mind of one did. Boogerman: A Pick and Flick Adventure introduces the most disgusting superhero imaginable: an obese, giant-chinned slob with holes in his costume, no shoes, and a grade-schooler’s obsession with gross body stuff.
The alter ego of millionaire Snotty Ragsdale (of course that’s his name), Boogerman belches, farts, and flicks boogers to destroy enemies and conquer levels with names like “Flatulent Swamps.” Unlike Super Mario’s pipes, you warp through levels by entering dirty, disgusting toilets you can barely fit in. You can fly by using your flaming farts as rocket fuel. It’s all pretty icky, overall.
The game itself was a fun platformer, but snot-joke nostalgia only goes so far. Boogerman’s designers attempted to fund a sequel back in 2013 via Kickstarter, but fans reacted to it like they would a wet fart, donating just $40,000 toward the $375,000 goal.
11. Blasto (PS1, 1998)
Captain Blasto, of Blasto game fame, is basically Johnny Bravo if he preferred heroism over flexing. A barrel-chested, chicken-legged moron, Blasto only cares about saving the galaxy because it also means getting the chance to save Space Babes. Many of these Space Babes, as you probably already guessed, hail from Uranus. It’s video game humor, not Mark Twain-level social satire.
Captain Blasto’s mostly famous for two things: the insane difficulty of his game, and for being voiced by the late Phil Hartman. Blasto was actually one of the final projects Hartman worked on before his murder in 1998. There’s never been a sequel, and there probably never will be because once you attach Hartman’s voice to a character, you simply can’t replace it with anything else (this is why The Simpsons simply retired his characters, rather than re-cast them). Besides, in 2018, a womanizer masquerading as a superhero would only invite more controversy than giggles.
10. Kid Chameleon (Sega Genesis, 1992)
As a game, Kid Chameleon has a pretty cool setup. A virtual reality machine goes rogue and starts kidnapping players, until one player goes inside and fights the machine from within. While inside, you don various helmets to become anything from a knight to a sword-wielding samurai to even Jason Voorhees — you’re a different character in almost every level.
What’s so silly about that, you may ask? That would be the Kid himself, who might be the most early ’90s hero imaginable. He has one personality: cool. His default attire is jeans, a leather jacket, and sunglasses that he almost never removes, even while being a housefly. When he gets hurt and loses his costume, he reacts with “bummer!” He even rides a skateboard in the game’s cover art. Kid Chameleon’s still a fun game to play today, but the Kid is as hilariously dated as Bart Simpson telling us to eat his shorts.
9. The Great Giana Sisters (Multiple Platforms, 1987)
The Great Giana Sisters is a side-scrolling adventure starring a couple of badass sisters stuck in a surreal land filled with strange monsters. Problem is, that land was already conquered by Mario and Luigi, so to speak.
The Great Giana Sisters is basically a lukewarm imitation of a Mario platformer. The first few stages are almost note-for-note the first few stages of Super Mario Bros, right down to level 2 being underground, and level 4 being a castle with the boss chilling out on a bridge at the end. Perhaps most insultingly, the developers couldn’t even be bothered pretending their story is real — once you win, you wake up and the entire game is revealed to be a bad dream.
The game has become something of a collector’s item over the years, as Nintendo immediately pressured publisher Rainbow Arts into pulling it off shelves due to its Mario similarities. You can always watch a longplay on YouTube, which is an improvement over playing the game because you’re … well, not playing it.
This free point-and-click Flash game introduces what might be the stupidest superhero of all time: Failman. He’s called that because, as you may have guessed, he fails at everything. His priorities are completely out of whack: he’ll retrieve a little girl’s doll from a lake by drinking all the water and killing the fish. He’ll see a burning building and put out the fire using flammable liquid. In the final stage, he’ll react to a lunar eclipse by destroying the Moon with a rocket, dooming all of humanity.
Your goal is not to help him succeed, but rather help him fail in the most epic way possible. In the very first level, you make him break into a bank and give a man a big bag of money because the ATM was out of cash. That poor man is then arrested for bank robbery, but when you’re Failman, that simply means you’ve done your job.
7. Pepsiman (PS1, 1999)
Pepsiman was actually a ’90s Japanese Pepsi mascot, but he’s obscure enough that he might as well be a video game original. Not that his gaming debut is worth writing home about, since it’s little more than a quickie commercial for soft drinks disguised as fun.
As Pepsiman, you run through stages and avoid obstacles, delivering Pepsi to the thirsty. That’s about it. Along the way, all sorts of people and vehicles will attempt to stop you, including Pepsi trucks for some reason. You’d think of all the truck drivers on Earth, they’d be the ones most on your side. The final boss is a giant can of Pepsi out to crush you, which again seems like odd advertising. “Pepsi: the soft drink that wants you dead.”
Your reward for winning is video of a fat guy on a couch shilling for Pepsi. Clearly, our hero has done his job.
6. Impossamole (Multiple Platforms, 1990)
Impossamole is exactly what the name advertises: a mole superhero named Monty Mole. A bunch of aliens recruit him to retrieve their “scrolls of eternal life” and save their civilization, though it’s honestly hard to see why. Other than wearing a knockoff Superman costume, Monty actually displays very few superhero qualities. He mostly just walks (very) slowly from one end of the screen to the other, though he does have a pretty powerful kick. That kick’s enough to destroy the final boss, which is a tornado with eyes for some reason. It shoots baby tornadoes, because hey, why not? It’s not like this game makes much sense to begin with.
Believe it or not, Monty Mole was in a few games before Impossamole, playing a coal miner turned fugitive from justice who eventually retires to his own private Greek island. How he gained super kicking powers is never explained aside from, ‘it’s gaming, don’t ask questions.” Fair enough.
5. Captain Novolin (SNES, 1992)
The point of edutainment games was to be both educational and entertaining. Captain Novolin is certainly educational — the good captain is diabetic, and the game is littered with diabetes trivia and advice on eating healthy — but you’d be hard-pressed to call the game “entertaining.”
Captain Diabetes’ mission is to rescue a diabetic mayor, who’s been kidnapped by aliens that look like junk food. You do this by walking across the screen, avoiding the junk-food aliens and collecting healthy food. You never fight the aliens, beat them up, shoot them, or even fly over them. You simply walk, jump, eat apples and sandwiches, and answer questions about insulin. That’s literally his only power: knowledge of diabetes. The only enemy you fight is the final boss, and all you do is flip a switch so electricity targets him instead of you. Overall, this game is like a diabetic diet: not very sweet.
4. Superhero League of Hoboken (DOS, 1994)
In post-apocalyptic New Jersey, the only heroes left will apparently be ridiculous ones. That’s the premise of the point-and-click text adventure Superhero League of Hoboken, where a nuclear wasteland has produced scores of mutants with strange, mostly pointless powers. Several of them come together to form the League, and now you have to put up with them.
Such heroes include the Iron Tummy, a guy who can eat incredibly spicy foods without a problem; Captain Excitement, with the power of boredom(?); Mademoiselle Pepperoni, who can see through pizza boxes; and The Crimson Tape, who has the ability to create organizational charts. Your goals are to fight crime and complete missions like “destroy jalapeno peppers” and “stop a flock of rabid sheep,” which will help the team earn reputations as actual heroes, and not just a band of technically-superpowered misfits even the Mystery Men gang would scoff at.
3. Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley (Xbox 360, 2010)
Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley is a fun, humorous side-scroller as tough as any old-school hair-puller that dominated your childhood. It’s also one of the more bizarrely meta superhero games ever made. Captain Smiley, a muscular, moronic hero with a smile emoji for a head, jumps into other comics to complete missions and become more popular, in order to revive his own failed comic series. Once he does so, Smiley’s second go proves a smash success, until the game’s developer, Twisted Pixel, takes all the money and leaves poor Smiley destitute and rather un-smiley.
The game sells its “Smiley sucks” angle with real-life footage of kids and adults alike poo-poo’ing Smiley’s comics. A comic book store owner offers to give away the comics for free, and a guy on the toilet has nothing to wipe with, until he rips a page from Smiley’s book. More like Captain Sadface, right?
2. Captain Rainbow (Nintendo Wii, 2008)
Chances are, you haven’t played Captain Rainbow, as it was never released outside of Japan. That doesn’t make the hero, and his story, any less goofy. Captain Rainbow, a washed-up superhero who wields the yo-yo of doom (it’s a Japanese game, that’s why). As Nick — his nerdy, mild-mannered alter ego — he travels to a place called Mimin Island, a land that magically grants wishes. His wish is to make people care about him and his yo-yo once again, of course.
On Mimin Island, Captain Rainbow encounters various old Nintendo characters, like Birdo and Little Mac, and helps them with their problems. The more he does, the more chances he has to either grant his own wish (renewed popularity) or their wishes. Once you grant your own wish, the game ends, but you can keep being unselfish and help other characters as long as you like. True heroes think of others first, after all.
1. Wonder Dog (Sega CD, 1992)
Wonder Dog isn’t the DC hero of the same name, but rather an obscure Sega-CD title starring an alien dog from the appropriately-named planet K-9. Like Superman, Wonder Dog was sent to Earth as a puppy, only to discover his superpowers later in life. Unlike Superman, he quickly says “sayonara” to our puny little planet, travelling back to K-9 to combat its evil overlords, the Pit Bully Empire. Apparently, Pit bulls get a bad reputation all over the universe.
Wonder Dog is a simplistic side-scroller where you collect bones (because: dog) instead of coins. Wonder Dog, sadly, looks unimpressive for a supposed superhero. For one thing, he’s a cute little dog, not a ferocious wolf. Also, his costume consists of gloves, red shorts, and giant shoes. Sound familiar? He’s one color swap away from inviting a lawsuit from the real empire: Mickey Mouse’s.