So bad is the track record of these games that it can feel like a breakthrough when they offer a mediocre experience rather than something like Iron Man.
Thankfully Eidos has swooped to the rescue with Batman: Arkham Asylum, the best superhero game yet.
Sure there's little in it that hasn't be done before. The simple two-button combat system will probably horrify fanboys addicted to button-mashing beat 'em ups. The levels offer little freedom to explore and you could also moan about the lack of variety in the goons that Batman regularly dispatches.
But such criticisms miss the point because the beauty of Batman: Arkham Asylum is in the execution.
From the way the viewpoint shifts between close up and middle distance during combat without upsetting the action to unexpected surprises such as the encounter with the Scarecrow.
Not to mention the joy of swooping down from above to pick off one of the Joker’s minions before disappearing with the aid of a grappling hook to the sound of panic below.
No wonder the game has just landed the Guinness World Record for being the most critically acclaimed superhero game ever within a week of its release.
Let's hope Marvel, which recently promised not to make any more "crappy" movie-based games about its superheroes, is paying attention.
Batman Arkham Asylum - The launch trailer from Eidos and Rocksteady