The 90s strike back! Marvel VS Capcom Origins Review

Ever since the console release of Capcom’s Street Fighter 4 in 2009 2d fighters are enjoying a good degree of popularity once again. Trying to ride the success of Marvel VS Capcom 3 and the Marvel Avengers movie, Capcom releases on PSN and XBLA a new collection called Marvel VS Capcom Origins, cointaining two 90s two dimensions fighters: Marvel Super Heroes and the first Marvel VS Capcom.
Do these two games still hold their own after all these years or will Capcom’s collection only attract nostalgics? Let’s find out.

Nostalgia calling

To be completely honest, I can’t really understand why these two games have been choosen for the collection.
The Marvel VS Capcom franchise main feature is the tag team mechanic, where each player chooses 2 or more fighters, can swap them anytime during battle and even unleash some devasting combination attacks; Marvel Super Heroes features the standard 1 vs 1 formula without any tag team option
It’s not like it’s a bad game, but I think including X Men VS Street Fighter or Marvel Super Heroes VS Street Fighter too would have been more appropriate, since they are the first steps of the VS franchise and, nostalgia wise, it would have been a better choice altogether.
And nostalgia definitely is one of the main selling points of this collection and Capcom didn’t even try to hide it!
The Games are identical to their 90s counterparts in every possible way: graphics wise, sound wise and gameplay wise these two games are a trip back in the 90s, when these big detailed sprites dominated arcade cabinets.
To improve the nostalgic feeling of the collection, Capcom added 2 video options, one to simulate old CRT televisions and another to slight distort the image, simulating an old arcade cabinet screen.
These options will probably be fun for a couple minutes and most players will revert to the regular video option after some time.
Gameplay wise, how do the two fighters hold up? Quite frankly, they’re still very fun, despite their shortcomings.

Avengers, Assemble!

As I mentioned before Marvel Super Heroes, the second Capcom fighter featuring Marvel comics heroes, sports a traditonal 1 versus 1 gameplay, where players can unleash special attacks through the usual 2d fighters stick motions and even more devastating attacks called Infinity Combo after charging a special meter bar placed at the bottom of the screen. The fighters roster is quite diverse and feautures many fans’ favourites like Captain America, Spiderman, Iron Man, Wolverine, Wolverine and Cyclops and a few villains like Blackheart, Shuma Gorath and Doctor DoomGameplay is enriched by the presence of special gems called Infinity Gems which grant some bonuses for a short amount of time during the fight.Graphics and sound wise we get what we could expect from a 90s 2d fighting game: sprites and backgrounds are nicely detailed and animated and the soundtrack manages to do its job, although some of the tracks sound a bit repetitive.

When two different worlds collide

Marvel VS Capcom: Clash Of The Super Heroes, released in 1998, is a turning point of the franchise: with this game Capcom started to expand the roster way beyond the Street Fighters characters including characters from other Capcom games like Darkstalker, Megaman, Strider and Captain Command. The Marvel roster gets expanded too with the inclusion of Spiderman’s nemesis Venom and a mix of characters already present in Marvel Super Heroes and XMen Vs Street Fighters.
Gameplay wise Capcom refined the tag team formula: players will choose two characters to use in combat and will be able to switch them at will during play. Nice additions are the Duo Team Attacks which allow the player to use both characters at the same time for a brief time with unlimited super moves usage and the Assist Characters which can be summoned for a limited amount of time to assist the player. These characters aren’t normaly usable so it feels like each time is composed by 3 characters, a prelude to the future evolution of the series.
Graphics wise we’re not too far from the other game in the collection except for a bit more details in both characters and backgrounds. The same can be said about soundtrack: it does its job well but there’s hardly anything memorable.

Now it’s time to take them on!

The only modern touch in the collection is, obviuosly, the online multiplayer mode. The online infrastructure is really well done: I experienced very little lag playing with people all over Europe and even when playing with someone far I didn’t experience too many problems.
The main issue with playing online comes from some unbalancing problems of the games: people playing online will try to win at any cost, so you’ll probably costantly fight the powered up versions of Hulk, Iron Man and Venom.
Not being technical fighters, the charm of these games lies in the easy to pick up and play nature and the unbalanced roster but with competitive play this may become an issue.
Final Verdict

I used to play these games when they were released and I had fun playing them again, probably as much as I did back then thanks to online play; nostalgia has probably a lot to do with this.
Players who never played these games in the past are probably better off looking elsewhere since some others 2d fighters are more refinite with more modern and compelling mechanics. Nostalgics like myself are probably going to really enjoying themselves, remembering those times where reading ” Insert Coins” on the arcade cabinets screens made them full of excitement!

The game is available on both PSN (12,99 euros) and XBox Live Arcade (1200 Microsoft points)

[xrr rating=3.0/5]







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