Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Review: Marvel vs. Capcom Origins (360)

A compilation of Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes on Xbox Live Arcade is another stunning example of how far we've come in terms of graphics and twitch-based fighting games. (See our review of Marvel vs. Capcom 3.) But it also reaffirms just how awful I was -- and continue to be -- at both games.

Against human opponents and any round beyond the first, I acted as a punching bag. That was my role but it would have been much more efficient to slap down $4 worth of quarters on the change counter at the arcade and say, "Keep it."

The game succeeds at stirring the nostalgia pot and layering in a series of "challenges" that offer a meta game of sorts, but what I appreciated most is the way the play screen "bulges" by way of rounded corners that evoke those old CRT arcade screens. More than a few times, I felt my eyes being tricked: playing a on flat screen and still seeing a bulge minus any 3D shadow box effect via glasses.

From memory, both games play and sound exactly like the arcade versions.

The only two character's I ever developed any proficiency with sound and play like I remember. Wolverine's "This is a barrage!" and Iron Man's "Proton Cannon!" lines are pitch perfect. Even the likes of Morrigan, Captain Commando, and Hulk are spot on. I can't find anything specific to point to with any authority and say, "This isn't how I remember it."

While both games are faithful to the arcade source, I have to say I still choose Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heros over Marvel Super Heroes. Though I like the Infinity Gauntlet trappings of Marvel Super Heroes -- I liked both the Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity War comic mini-series -- the expanded roster of Clash of Super Heroes offers more variety.

For 1200 MS Points, the compilation will appeal to fans of the arcade titles if only for the sake of nostalgia because there are plenty of better fighting games available. (Fighting games that I can actually win more than a handful of rounds.) It's also a bit of a shame more retro content and developer commentary was included as part of the package. Features like that tend to help justify these compilations as historical documents of a sort.

- Aaron Simmer

The Good:
- The games are exactly as I remember them
- The "bulge" of the screen
- Quarters not required
- Online play seems to work just fine, but I'm not sure why there's a spectator mode

The Bad:
- Not enough extra retro features, like developer commentary
- For curiosity seekers and old school arcade fans only because much better fighting games exist

Score: 8.0 / 10