Remember when I said we were rounding out the fighting game releases of the year with Dead or Alive 5? Well I lied. Sort of. Before we can put a great year in fighting games to rest, we have to revisit the roots of one of the most legendary fighting franchises of all time. And it’s a twofer. That’s right, kids. Get ready to get your ass handed to you in Marvel Vs. Capcom Origins.
Marvel Vs. Capcom Origins, if nothing else, packs a great deal of value into the release. For the $15/1200 MSP, you get both Marvel Super Heroes and the original Marvel Vs. Capcom. Which is a bargain considering how many quarters you’d dump into the game if it was still in arcades.
Although you should be familiar with how Capcom fighting games work by now, a quick recap. Marvel Super Heroes is a fighter starring entirely Marvel’s finest heroes and villains brawling against each other. The main mechanic is augmented by a gem system, not unlike the gem system in Street Fighter X Tekken earlier this year. Some gems might activate brief invulnerability, increased attack power, increased speed, etc.
Marvel Vs. Capcom, on the other hand, centers around tag-team action and assist moves, as well as racking up ridiculous combos and unleashing completely over-the-top moves. Both games are incredibly fast-paced and can take quite a bit to get used to. Keep in mind, you’re also playing a game that was literally designed to make you rage so hard that you emptied an entire Ziploc bag of spare change into the arcade machine just to get past the third match. These games are hard, so prepare yourselves.
The tricky thing with a re-release like MVCO is updating enough things to make the game feel less dated, while simultaneously not changing too much in order to keep the nostalgia factor alive.
Thankfully, Capcom has managed to find a way to please those clamoring for a big update as well as the veterans looking for a walk down memory lane. Underneath the expected options of choosing volume levels and your save destination is a screen filter mode. Want to get the best out of your picture? Put it into widescreen mode to get the most out of your fancy HDTV. Were your best memories playing the game in the bowling alley when you got home from school? There’s a mode to put the screen into the classic “arcade tilt” that comes with the arcade cabinets of old. Want to re-live the combined glory and pain of playing in 4:3 ratio? There’s another filter for that, complete with “tube flicker.” Even if you were the friend who simply watched everyone else be awesome at the game, there’s an “over-the-shoulder” mode that’s built for you too. If nothing else, MVCO certainly has plenty of options for a variety of players. Even if some of the filters feel like more of a novelty.
The game(s) also come with a new XP system that works across each title. These measure certain achievements from simply winning a match to performing a combo over so many hits to remaining undefeated through the course of an entire arcade run. The XP is used for the impressive collection of unlockables that cover each game. Everything from concept art to unlockable characters can be found here, and there’s enough to keep players busy for quite a while.
However, not everything is as improved as it could be.
You see, there were a host of balance issues when each of these games released several years ago. Particularly with unlockable characters like Gold War Machine and Red Venom. Those characters are still in, although they need to be unlocked via the XP system now. These characters being just as they were so many years ago means the online community is largely made up of the cheap characters. Online mode is plagued by combatant after combatant spamming Red Venom for his unlimited combos or Wolverine for his insanely quick attacks. It ruins the game quite a bit, but it’s always been quite a risk to go online with most fighting games.
So if you’ve got an itch to revisit Marvel Vs. Capcom‘s roots, or have that nostalgia biting at the back of your neck, this Origins collection might be worth looking into. However, the desire to leave the games largely unaltered and as close to the original releases as possible comes at the price of everything that made the games frustrating to begin with. I suppose I can’t really complain, but it would have been nice to have some sort of “modern” mode where everything was a little more balanced. After all, there are a ton of modes that affect only the visuals, why not a simple one for gameplay?
Oh well. At least we’ve got a pretty neat museum-esque game. That alone is worth the price of admission, even if you’ll probably be a little frustrated along the way.
This review is based on a copy of the game provided to us for review purposes.