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Game Guys review - Marvel vs Capcom Origins

1:41 PM, Oct 3, 2012   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: SCREENSHOTS: Marvel vs Capcom Origins (PS3, 360)
  • 'Marvel vs. Capcom Origins' includes games 'Marvel Super Heroes' and 'Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes'.
  • 'Marvel vs. Capcom Origins' includes games 'Marvel Super Heroes' and 'Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes'.

Until roughly a decade ago, the arcade was the go-to place for the best fighting video games (and some of the best video games in general) around.  For a quarter per play -- even as much as 50-75¢ in some places -- gamers lined up four or five deep waiting to have a crack at the hotly-popular Capcom "vs" games.  At the heart of these were two titles:  Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes and Marvel Super Heroes, with the latter being part of what started Capcom's "vs" craze.  Roughly seventeen years after Marvel Super Heroes's release and fourteen after the original MvC, Capcom is allowing console gamers to experience the games in the comfort of their own homes in the XBLA/PSN downloadable title Marvel vs. Capcom Origins.

This two-game compilation is one that will breed a level of nostalgia with gamers who are old enough to fondly recall playing either of the two games in their local arcade, convenience store, or comic book shop.  Featuring the now-iconic sprite-based 2D fighting action over a detailed and animated 2.5D background, both Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes and Marvel Super Heroes provide a fighting experience that is just as enjoyable in 2012 as they were in the mid-to-late 1990's.  The games do, however, show their age in more than just outdated (yet original) graphics.  That said, these pixel-based fighting games have aged much more gracefully than polygon-based ones.

While the visual may have been updated to look good enough on an HD screen (save for a fairly annoying frame around the action), the controls and gameplay mechanics didn't make the jump quite so cleanly.  While innovative in their day, unique gameplay elements such as the power-up gems used in Marvel Super Heroes come off as passe compared to more modern titles.  The same could be said for the randomly-selected assist character that MvC puts at the player's disposal.  Still, the games and their mechanics are no less solid now as they were back then -- and playing a fighting game on a gamepad rather than an arcade stick is just as awkward with a game from 1995 as it is one from 2012.

Being that each of Origins' two games are separate titles, they each have their own roster of fighters (though a number of the same characters are available in either game).  Those characters that do repeat in one form or another (ie: Iron Man in MSH and War Machine in MvC) play nearly identically in either game, offering continuity at the detriment of variety.  The rosters themselves, however, aren't all that big.  Marvel Super Heroes offers a scant ten fighters.  Unlockables add another three hidden ones.  Marvel vs. Capcom provides a better selection with fifteen.  It, too, has a few unlockable characters/character variants to further increase that number.

While Capcom's goal with Marvel vs. Capcom Origins was to preserve the original integrity of these games rather than update them, the company did add a couple of features not found in the arcade originals.  One-on-one multiplayer, for example, was a key element in the arcades -- an element that gets further enhanced within Origins thanks to online play.  Matchmaking works very well and the action moves right along.  The competition, however, is quite fierce and those who are not at least above average at fighting games will find themselves losing more online matches than they win.

Capcom did well with this console release of two iconic 1990's arcade games.  While the overall experience isn't quite there compared to standing at the arcade cabinet itself, both fighting games show that they can withstand the test of time well enough.  Sure, they show their age when stacked up against modern 2D fighters such as Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Persona 4 Arena, but both MvC and MSH have plenty of play value left in them.  Now, if only they could find a way to allow players to pop quarters into the Xbox 360.

Oh wait, that's what DLC is for.  Nevermind.

Final Game Guys grade: B-

(Capcom supplied a copy of this title for review.)


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