Marvel vs. Capcom: Origins Review

By Dog of Thunder, 6 years ago
Out of all of the re-releases I have played on the Xbox 360, none have made me feel quite as old as Marvel vs. Capcom Origins. Back in 1993, when in the interest of full disclosure, I was 10 years old and a die-hard comic book fan that thought Fox's X-Men Animated series was the greatest thing EVER, simple screenshots in GamePro of X-Men: Children of the Atom sent me into a frenzy. I, like every elementary school boy my age, loved Street Fighter II and so the thought of an X-Men fighting game was amazing! A year later, Marvel Super Heroes was released in the arcade and this one featured The Avengers! Thanos! Spider-Man! When it hit the Playstation in 1997, I hapily showed it to my uncle as the greatest fighting game EVER!

Now, we are nearing the end of 2012, I'm staring down the barrel of turning 30, and Capcom has brought back a flood of memories with Marvel vs. Capcom: Origins. Why is my past association with this series so important? It's because the latest Capcom re-release is, by the "Origins" in the title, nothing more than a walk down memory lane and a reminder as to roots of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and Both Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel vs. Capcom are relics of a different time for the fighting genre.

For starters, the roster of Marvel Super Heroes is small compared to the bloated, 30+ fighters of modern Capcom games. From X-Men: CotA, Wolverine, Juggernaut, Psylocke and Magneto all return while Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, Black Heart, Spider-Man and Shuma-Gorath make their debuts. Doctor Doom, Thanos and Anita (the little girl that follows Donovan around in Darkstalkers) are all unlockable with points you earn by completing challenges. If you've played any other game in the franchise, including Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, then you know how every character plays.

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The one wrinkle Marvel Super Heroes offers which has never appeared again, is the Infinity Gems. These gems are from the Infinity Gauntlet cross-over and add extra twists to the gameplay, such as Space giving your character super-armor, or Reality allowing anyone to toss fireballs with every basic move. Different characters have extra-benefits from certain gems, but thankfully, there's no guess work involved since the helpful "Moves List" will tell you which gem to use with which character. Likewise, Capcom included an extensive "How to Play" section that goes from basic moves to more advanced moves, such as "Infinity Counters".

While the foundation of the game is basic, the gameplay is fast and horribly broken in the best of ways. The entire Marvel vs. Capcom franchise has always been a little "off" in terms of game balance and Marvel Super Heroes, despite being a 1v1 title, is just as busted with infinite combos all over the place. The graphics remain bright, vibrant and incredibly fluid especially with the new HD polish. It's amazing how well everything looks no matter how crazy the action on screen gets with multiple super moves going off at the same time.

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Marvel Super Heroes is enjoyable, but the quirks in the fighting system and overwheming feeling of "I've seen this all before, and it was done better" make it more of a curiosity then anything to play for an extended length of time. There is multiplayer, and while it uses the excellent GGPO netcode, it's just not fun when playing some young punk abusing infinites all day.

The other side of the package is the original Marvel vs. Capcom, which expands the roster to 21 characters and the team size from 1v1 to 2.5v2.5. Why "2.5" characters on each side? Assist characters, chosen almost at random before every match, make their one and only appearance in the franchise. These characters, such as future Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 characters Thor and Arthur, or the incredibly random Devilot, Lou and Unknown Soldier, are called into the battlefield to do one move and then they leave. It's the same role used in later games by the inactive team members. The catch is that these assist characters, while strong, can only be called a very limited number of times per match.

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Beyond the addition of assist characters, there is very little in Marvel vs. Capcom that Marvel vs. Capcom 2 doesn't also do but much, much better. This is pretty obvious of course, but it's 2012 and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was re-released in 2009. The roster of 15 basic characters, all of whom are found in the sequel, provides variety but since we've seen all these characters in these exact forms before, the excitement is very short lived. There are 6 hidden characters with exciting names such as "Orange Hulk" or "Red Venom" that offer interesting quirks, such as the super armor of "Gold War Machine", but again, the excitement lasts perhaps two matches.

Thankfully, the graphics of Marvel vs. Capcom also remain crisp and fluid no matter how filled the screen gets with fireballs, assist characters and duo team attacks. Judging by the Ryu and Zangief sprites, Marvel vs. Capcom is based off the Street Fighter Alpha graphics engine, which still looks good in this day and age. The one big difference between Marvel vs. Capcom and Marvel vs. Capcom 2? The music. Every time you tag in a character, the music changes to that character's theme song which is a really cool touch and sadly went away in the next game as the music decided to "take you for a ride."

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Are you still with me? Good, because this next section is all about the achievements. Using the same challenge system from, you can track your achievement progress during the matches. Most of the achievements take both games into account, such as "Grinder" requiring you to play 500 matches. Multiplayer matches (both online and offline) and arcade mode, in both games, counts for this total. Finishing off your opponent with a super move or performing an aerial combo? Both games let you work towards their achievements as well. This was a great design choice by Capcom as it lessens the pain of going for the achievements.

Sadly, you're going to have to finish each game with every single character in order to earn all 400 gamerscore. Even with my nostalgic love for these games, it's already feeling like a drag as I need to beat Onslaught, the boss of Marvel vs. Capcom and one of the cheapest end-game bosses in gaming history, over and over again. Despite the boredom, the achievement list is easy to complete and can be done in under 10 hours. I already have it over halfway complete and that's playing late at night when I'm already tired.

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In the end, you either have already downloaded this game or you're going to wait for a sale. The need for a nostalgic draw towards mid-90's arcade fighting games is basically required to get the full enjoyment out of Marvel vs. Capcom: Origins. While both games are still solid fighters, they are dated and are likely to make you replay Marvel vs. Capcom 2, which is such a good game it overshadows every other Vs. title that came before it. 1200 MSP is simply too high for those of you that don't really love this franchise, but if you do, this is a great trip down memory lane.

The reviewer lost track of how long he played both games, though he did play every game mode, including Local Vs. against non-fighting game fans and the online MP against young punks that kicked his butt in roughly 10 seconds.