Marvel vs Capcom is a series that split fighting game fans in half. Those in favour relish the absurd over the top nature that rewards the player with bombastic visuals whilst others simply dismiss the game as mindless flailing that simply takes zero skill to play. Honestly? I’m on the fence in regards to later games; however in playing Marvel vs Capcom: Origins I discovered a great slice of fighting game history that passed me by. It’s incredibly easy to see how Marvel vs Capcom and Marvel Super Heroes laid down the blueprints for this series of over the top fighting games as both these games hold the purest form of nonsense that the Marvel vs Capcom series is so well known for.
Marvel Super Heroes is the oldest of this two piece package and, well, it shows. It’s essentially a virtual time capsule showing you just how it was back in 1995 but despite this age it can still thrill players. Selecting one of the, slightly oddball (Shuma-Gorath?), Marvel characters throws you into a stunningly animated game. Focusing on the use of gems, air combos and hyper combos, you stomp through the traditional 8 stage set up to eventually overthrow Thanos.
Marvel vs Capcom 1 is still the same deal, essentially. It introduces various new extras such as a second fight to tag in and out along with an assist mechanic that allows you to select an assist during a match instead of the later games system of using another one of your fighters. I feel this two man system is much better and makes me somewhat upset at how much the series has twisted and turned to the point where Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is barely recognisable in comparison. The character roster is nice and simplistic though slightly lacking, but all the major players are here.
Capcom have built upon the fantastic framework that was debuted in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition which brings various challenges to the table. They can vary from the mundane “win a set amount of matches” all the way to “perform specific cancel and air combos” which can help track your progress as you slowly begin to understand the intricacy of each game. Upon completion of these challenges vault points are given out, the value is dictated by the difficulty of the challenges. Then, using these points, various pieces of artwork and video content can be purchased which really extends the idea that Marvel vs Capcom: Origins is a piece of interactive history. It’s a nice novelty but one that’ll keep your interest for a very limited amount of time.
Origins feels like it’s too niche a title. Not only is it within the obscenely particular fighting game genre, but it also suffers from the fact that only two, key audiences will be interested in the game; fighting game fans that are willing to accept some scrappy, old school gameplay to experience the beginnings of Marvel (like me) or fans of the game wanting to relive the magic and experience it once again with some new online modes. These online modes, however, are spare and generally uninteresting. At the time of writing pretty much nobody is playing either game so if you’re purchasing the game expecting a solid online component then make sure you have some friends you’ll play with you, though the netcode is solid enough so it is functional at least.
Marvel vs Capcom: Origins is Marvel through and through. Big, dumb, throwaway, simple and yet complex, it’s a formula that continues to excite to this day and it’s definitely worth checking the game out especially if you’re a fighting game fan who hasn’t tried it before. Sure, it’s niche as anything and many will be instantly put off by the gaudy, eccentric presentation but give the demo a try and see if it’s for you. After all, it’s Marvel Baby. Get hype.
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