10/24/2016

Rhino in "The Amazing Spiderman" game
Every superhero video game needs supervillains, and Rhino is a villain who's shown up in many of them. In 1966, Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. created the supervillain with superhuman strength, speed, and bulletproof skin. Since then, Rhino has fought Spider-Man and the Hulk lots of times in the comics, and he's often used as a boss character in Marvel video games. We noticed that boss fights against the Rhino in video games tend to goes this way: Rhino charges at the hero, the hero jumps out of the way, and the Rhino bashes his head. It makes sense, since rhinos in real-life are known for charging at their enemies, but it does make his game mechanics pretty repetitive. Here's an overview of his twenty appearances in video games so far, and which ones just involved charging, jumping, and head-bashing.


1. Doctor Doom's Revenge

In 1989, Rhino made his first video game appearance in the PC game Spiderman and Captain America in Doctor Doom's Revenge (Doctor Doom's Revenge for short). The side-scrolling beat-em-up game featured many classic Marvel villains such as Electro and Mysterio, as well as more obscure characters such as Eduardo Lobo and Machete. The gameplay was pretty rudimentary with either Spider-Man or Captain America limited to small jumps and punches. All the villains were pretty much the same, too, just moving back and forth and doing some animation that represented an attack. Rhino just poked his head out to indicate damage. Defeating him involved doing the same thing you did with every other villain - punch and kick. You could also jump over him, but that really wasn't necessary.
Charging: Yes
Jumping: Yes
Head-Bashing: No


2. The Amazing Spiderman

In 1990, Rhino returned again as a boss in the Nintendo Game Boy title, The Amazing Spider-Man. However, for some unknown reason, Rhino is called Neanderthal . . . even though it's clearly the Rhino. The game is another side-scroller, but with way more interaction. Spider-man jumped, kicked, and webbed his way through a gauntlet of villains. Amazing first introduced the charging mechanism Rhino would continue to use in future games. When Rhino - uh, I mean, Neanderthal - showed up at the end of an alley, he alternated between standing and getting ready to charge, and charging from one end of the screen to the other. Spider-man had to defeat him by jumping over him when he charged, and attacking when "the Neanderthal" got ready for the next charge.
Charging: Yes
Jumping: Yes
Head-Bashing: No


3. Arcade's Revenge

1992 brought a new game to the Super Nintendo system, Spiderman and the X-Men in Arcade's Revenge. Let's call that one Arcade's Revenge for short. Arcade's Revenge was later ported to the Genesis and Game Boy systems, and it allowed the player to control Spider-man as well as X-Men members Storm, Wolverine, Gambit, and Cyclops. Spider-man fought across the rooftops to face a tag team of Rhino and Carnage. Once again, Rhino just ran left and right across the bottom of the level, slamming into walls. Spider-man didn't even really need to jump much here. He could just stand on a platform above Rhino, and web-swing into Rhino to defeat him. We're making progress.
Charging: Yes
Jumping: No
Head-Bashing: No


4. The Incredible Hulk

In 1994, the cross-platform title The Incredible Hulk was released for the SNES, Sega Genesis, SMS and Sega Game Gear. In this side-scrolling beat-em-up, you played as the Hulk, trying to stop the Leader. That basically boiled down to jumping on platforms and punching a variety of enemies. Rhino was one of five bosses that appeared in the game, along with the Absorbing Man, the Abomination, Tyrannus, and the Leader. In the Rhino boss fight, Rhino charged from one end of the level to the other endlessly while the Hulk had to do uppercuts to damage him. The Hulk didn't jump, so the battle only included one of the three cliches.
Charging: Yes
Jumping: No
Head-Bashing: No


5. Spider-Man Animated Series

The game Spider-Man Animated Series was released in 1995 for the SNES and Sega Genesis, based on the popular cartoon series of the 1990s. It was another side-scrolling platform game starring your friendly neighborhood Spider-man. The game wasn't that successful due to weak graphics and sound, and limited combat skills. Its only redeeming factor was that Rhino appeared as a boss in one level. It's in a funhouse, and Rhino did what we've come to expect from his games: run back and forth from one side of the screen to the other. Spider-man had to throw web grenades at him until he died. Spider-man didn't even need to jump over him, since he could stand on a gap in a roller coaster track that Rhino couldn't cross.
Charging: Yes
Jumping: No
Head-Bashing: No


6. Spiderman

In 2000, Rhino appeared in the PlayStation game simply titled Spiderman, which was later ported to Dreamcast and the Nintendo 64. The game differed from previous entries in going three-dimensional instead of 2-D. It was a smash hit, allowing players to jump, punch, and swing through rendered levels as the beloved web-head. The story involved Spider-Man beating up villains like Doctor Octopus and the Lizard. And of course, Rhino. In the game, Rhino attacked by (you guessed it) charging at the player. You couldn't punch or injure him at all. You could only stand in front of barrels and generators so he would charge into them and take damage. And so the template for almost all future Rhino combat began.
Charging: Yes
Jumping: Yes
Head-Bashing: Yes


7. Spider-Man: Mysterio's Menace

Rhino appeared as a boss in the Game Boy Advance game Spider-Man: Mysterio's Menace in 2001. In the game, Spider-man fought Hammerhead, Big Wheel, and Mysterio in a 2D side-scrolling beat-em-up. It was pretty standard stuff, but what do you expect for a handheld console? This game flashed back to 1990's Amazing Spiderman game with its Rhino boss fight. Rhino ran left and right across the screen. Spider-Man had to defeat him by jumping over him when he charged, and attacking when Rhino paused to get ready to charge again. At least there was no head-bashing.
Charging: Yes
Jumping: Yes
Head-Bashing: No


8. Spider-Man 2

In 2004, Rhino returned in the Spider-Man 2 game loosely based on the movie. In this game released for the GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox, Spider-man was able to freely roam around a three-dimensional version of Manhattan. Sort of like Grand Theft Auto, except Spider-man would stop crime instead of starting it. The Rhino was the first boss Spider-man battled in the game. In the console versions, you damaged him by waiting until Spidey's Spider Sense went off. Then when you hit Rhino, he'd get dizzy, and you could hit him. In the PC Game, there was actually a double dose of Rhino. In the beginning, Rhino got caught in a cage made of lasers. The only way for Spider-Man to beat him was to wait for him to charge, jump out of the way, and get Rhino to smash into the cage until he wore down. Rhino returned later on when Spider-Man had to fight him in a generator room. Guess how? Yup, make him charge into generators until they wore him down. It was two charging battle cliches for the price of one!
Charging: Yes
Jumping: Yes
Head-Bashing: Yes


9. Ultimate Spider-Man

In 2005, Ultimate Spider-Man brought the games into the Ultimate comic book universe. This was another three-dimensional combat game for the Nintendo DS, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Microsoft Windows and Game Boy Advance. Spider-man battled multiple enemies, including Venom, Electro, and Silver Sable. In this one, Rhino underwent another name change to R.H.I.N.O., a shrimpy guy in a rhino-shaped armored suit. In the boss battle, Spider-man had to chase him through city streets until R.H.I.N.O. was cornered in a parking lot. There, Spider-man had to jump onto R.H.I.N.O.'s back in order to damage him. This mechanic was a rare one for Rhino, an original concept! Except for the jumping.
Charging: No
Jumping: Yes
Head-Bashing: No


10. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

Rhino took on another boss role in the 2006 video game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. In 2006, Ultimate Alliance was released as an action role-playing game for PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, the PlayStation Portable, Xbox and Xbox 360, Wii, and Microsoft Windows. In the game, Rhino was working with Doctor Doom, Shocker, and Arcade. But the gameplay in this game was pretty standard for RPGs with an overhead angle of the combat area, and all the characters just doing brief animations to symbolize attacks. It didn't vary much with Rhino. Attack, attack, attack, and you beat Rhino. He didn't even charge that much.
Charging: No
Jumping: No
Head-Bashing: No


11. Spider-Man: Friend or Foe

In 2007, Rhino returned in Spider-Man: Friend or Foe. This beat 'em up game for XBox, Playstation, and Windows PC had Spider-Man teaming up with other heroes to beat various villains like the Lizard, Doctor Octopus, and the Green Goblin. The twist was that once a villain was defeated, that villain could become Spiderman's sidekick on future missions. In the battle with Rhino, we got a return to the old standard. Rhino charged, Spiderman jumped out of the way, and Rhino zapped himself on energy pillars around the level. But after that, Rhino joined Spiderman, so you could put his horns to good use.
Charging: Yes
Jumping: Yes
Head-Bashing: Yes


12. Spider-Man 3

In 2007, an action game based on the Spider-Man 3 movie was released. Since Rhino appeared in the Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 version, and not in the movie, it was a loose translation at best. But it was another sandbox-type of game where you roamed Manhattan. In this game, Spider-man teamed up with another supervillain named Scorpion (long story) in the boss battle against Rhino. Spider-Man couldn't beat him from the front, so he had to attack Rhino from the back. Rhino did charge in this battle, but mainly to smash up the room so he could grab huge pillars of debris to swat Spider-Man with. It was a more original take on the standard dynamic.
Charging: Yes
Jumping: Yes
Head-Bashing: Yes


13. Spider-Man: Web of Shadows

Rhino appeared in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows on a variety of platforms in 2008. The game had a unique dynamic of choosing between "good" (in the red-and-blue suit) and "evil" (in the black suit) paths of the story. In the game, Spider-man encountered Rhino on Ryker's Island. But in the PlayStation 3, PC, Xbox 360, and Wii version of the game, Rhino was not just a boss, but actually helpful. Spider-man could jump onto Rhino's back and ride him, making him launch attacks on enemies and break walls and obstacles in the level. So it was the same old thing, except you could actually benefit from it.
Charging: Yes
Jumping: Yes
Head-Bashing: Yes


14. Ultimate Spider-Man: Total Mayhem

Total Mayhem was the first mobile game to feature Rhino. Released in 2010, the game was another one set in the Ultimate universe, and had Spider-Man fighting Sandman, Electro, Venom, Dr. Octopus, Green Goblin, and (of course) Rhino. It was also another 3D game where you tapped to punch, swing, and shoot webs. Rhino appeared in a level where he robbed a bank. Rhino would charge Spider-man repeatedly, and the player had to jump over him. Once Rhino hit something, he had to pause to recover, and Spider-Man could inflict damage. In other words, we were back to that again.
Charging: Yes
Jumping: Yes
Head-Bashing: Yes


15. Spider-Man: Edge of Time

In 2011, Rhino appeared exclusively in the Nintendo DS version of Spider-Man: Edge of Time. In Edge of Time, Spider-man teamed up with the futuristic version of Spider-man from 2099, thanks to wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff. The Nintendo DS version returned the series to a 2D side-scrolling game. That also meant a return of Rhino's old standard. Rhino charged, Spider-Man jumped out of the way, and Rhino had to recover when he bashed his head, allowing the player to punch and kick him into oblivion. Which begs the question: if Rhino knows hitting his head will hurt him, why does he keep doing it?
Charging: Yes
Jumping: Yes
Head-Bashing: Yes


16. The Amazing Spider-Man

In 2012, another movie tie-in game arrived with The Amazing Spider-Man. The game followed the movie and featured an open-world game with a complex combat system. In this game, Rhino's origin changed from a guy in a suit to a genetic hybrid of a man and a rhino. Rhino was, of course, a boss fight, and followed the familiar formula: Rhino charged, Spider-man dodged, and you beat on him when he got his horn stuck into something. It's worth noting this game also featured a Rhino DLC, with an alternate mode where you could control Rhino and try to cause as much damage as possible throughout the city. Yes, you too could charge your head into walls and cars. Fun for all.
Charging: Yes
Jumping: Yes
Head-Bashing: Yes


17. Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2

Marvel: Avengers Alliance was a Facebook game until the sequel was released in 2012 as a mobile version for iOS and Android. It was a multiplayer RPG where Marvel superhero characters fight in a series of missions against supervillains. In Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2, Rhino was a boss villain. However, much like Marvel Heroes, the combat was about numbers, not movement. It was all turn-based combat with a variety of animations of characters attacking. Rhino's attack animation was the Rhino charging, but you couldn't jump out of the way, and Rhino didn't slam his head into anything. You basically just take turns attacking and watching him charge until he was defeated.
Charging: Yes
Jumping: No
Head-Bashing: No


18. Marvel Heroes

Marvel Heroes was a massively multiplayer online action role-playing game released in 2013. It's been rebranded as Marvel Heroes 2015 and Marvel Heroes 2016 in recent years. Since it's an RPG, most of the combat was the same - enemies had attack animations on your heroes while you performed attack animations on the enemies. Rhino was a boss character in this game, but he just went around punching like any other enemy. No charging, no jumping, no head-bashing. Whether that's good or bad depends on how much you love that sort of thing.
Charging: No
Jumping: No
Head-Bashing: No


19. Lego Marvel Super Heroes

Rhino's always been pretty dumb. But in 2013, Rhino turned into a real blockhead in the popular game Lego Marvel Super Heroes for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. In this 3-D action game, players got to use various Marvel superheroes to fight their way through a story involving the Red Skull, Magneto, and Loki. The whole time, they broke apart and assembled Lego pieces. Rhino appeared at the end of one level where Captain America, Storm, and Thing went to an island. In the boss battle, Rhino charged around the level, smashing things apart. Players jumped or moved out of the way until there were enough Lego pieces on the ground. The pieces could be assembled into a giant pumpkin that Thing knocked Rhino into, defeating him. Even in Lego form, Rhino fell for the same old tricks.
Charging: Yes
Jumping: Yes
Head-Bashing: Yes


20. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

In 2014, a new Amazing Spider-Man 2 game was released, but the console version didn't include Rhino. Which is odd, considering Rhino was in the actual movie. However, the iOS and Android mobile game did include our favorite head-banger, Rhino. Just like the movie version, Rhino was a thug wearing an augmented power suit shaped like a Rhino. Also like the movie, Rhino relied more on rockets and machine guns to get the job done. Spiderman had to dodge a volley of attacks from Rhino, waiting until Rhino stopped and got within range. At that point, Spidey could punch Rhino until he won. This had to be one of the most original Rhino fights in all of videogame history.
Charging: No
Jumping: Yes
Head-Bashing: No

What do you think of Rhino? Which Rhino games have you played? Which are your favorites?

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