Marvel vs Capcom Origins Review
With Marvel vs. Capcom 3 now in the fighting game spotlight and the Marvel name hotter than ever thanks to the success of this year’s The Avengers, Capcom has re-released some of its earliest entries in its Versus series with Marvel vs. Capcom Origins, a digital release containing both Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Heroes.
For many, this may very well be the first time playing these titles in their proper format. Marvel Super Heroes was released on the ill-fated Sega Saturn and arcade. Marvel vs. Capcom was released on both the Sega Dreamcast and arcade with a poor port on the PS1. Both games in the collection are presented in their original format including the hidden characters, artwork, movies, and a slew of enhanced options made for playing on HDTV.
Marvel vs. Capcom Origins comes with a wide variety of visual filters to help sharpen the original SD visuals. There is also a wide variety of aesthetic visuals designed like an arcade machine to give that authentic quarter-plunking feel. Whichever filter you choose, the visuals are incredibly sharp and detailed with bright and colorful backgrounds, large character sprites, and smooth animations. Despite their age, both games look incredible even when compared to most modern 2-D fighting games.
Origins also features an online multiplayer mode alongside the traditional single-screen versus mode. While most online tests went smoothly and had little lag, after only a few days of review, most of the online lobbies had little to no players.
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As for the core gameplay, it’s as entertaining and frenetic as ever. Marvel Super Heroes features a large cast of famous Marvel alumni duking it out. One aspect that sets Marvel Super Heroes apart is the use of gems that grant the player additional bonuses such as extra speed or regenerating health. It’s an interesting gimmick that does little to change the game significantly, as most fights (and even the end boss) can be easily won without them.
Marvel vs. Capcom plays differently, relying on an additional character to tag in and out with and to set up larger combos. Each player also receives a random “assist” character to help during battle. When compared to the series’ later installments, it's an interesting look back at where some of the staples of the series -- such as three-person teams and partner assists -- came from.
MvC also has an advantage over Marvel Super Heroes due to its expanded roster. This was when the Versus series started featuring more characters than strictly Marvel or Street Fighter. It was a novelty at the time so see Mega Man team up with Wolverine to fight Ryu and War Machine, and despite the slightly gimmicky premise, it’s still cool to see today.
Although through no fault of its own, if this release suffers anywhere, it’s in the controls. Both games require you to master combos, launchers, and aerial combos, and trying to pull these off on a controller is next to impossible without contorting your hands beyond their comfort zone. This is a game that requires a fight stick -- or, at the very least, a fight pad -- to do well. For newcomers interested in seeing where the fight between Marvel and Capcom started, the unwelcoming controls and unforgiving AI will make quick work of them. For a title with “origins” in the name, it’s surprisingly unforgiving.
Beginner’s flaws aside, this is a fantastic release of two excellent fighting titles and a slew of unlockables to go along with them. It might not have the flash and accessibility that modern fighters do, but it has enough content for those interested in seeing where the relationship between Marvel and Capcom first went sour and solid gameplay to keeps fans of both Marvel and fighting games entertained between matches of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and Super Street Fighter IV.
Marvel vs. Capcom Origins is more than worth your time and your dollar. If this sells well, hopefully Capcom will release a second compilation with X-Men vs. Street Fighter, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, or X-Men: Children of the Atom, all of which are just as good as the titles in this collection, and in some cases, even better.
*Editor's note: This was played on the PlayStation 3 console and downloaded over the PlayStation Network. This game was played using both a standard DualShock 3 and Mad Catz Tournament Fight Stick.