- Publisher: Capcom
- Developer: Capcom , Iron Galaxy Studio
- ESRB Rating: “T" for Teen
- Genre: Fighting
- Pros: Marvel vs. Capcom is solid; lots of unlockable goodies
- Cons: Marvel Super Heroes is pretty meh; poor character balance
Marvel vs. Capcom Origins is a tale of two different games, really, but we'll cover the things that the two have in common first. To start with, you get as close to arcade perfect ports of Marvel Super Heroes (from 1995) and Marvel vs. Capcom (1998) as you'll find all for just $15. The games have been updated with a ton of visual options (between aspect ratio an different filters, there are dozens of different visual options total) to make the games look however you want, whether you want to replicate an old arcade cabinet in 4:3 with scanlines or stretch it to 16:9 to fill your HDTV screen. There is even an "over the shoulder" view like you're watching someone else play in the arcade. The games have selectable difficulty levels, customizable controls, move lists via the menu, and all of that stuff we've come to expect from more modern fighters. You can also play 1v1 fights online on Xbox Live - no lobbies - and it works fine.
A great touch is that the game uses a challenge system that tracks everything you do - every punch and super move and more - and you earn points for each of these challenges you complete that you can spend on unlockable items in The Vault. The Vault has hidden characters, artwork, and cutscenes. We're big fans of actually having to unlock stuff in fighters, so this feature is very welcome in the current era we're in where everything is unlocked from the start in most fighting games.
Marvel Super Heroes is a one-on-one fighter starring Marvel comics characters like Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Psylocke, Wolverine, and the like. Most of the characters actually play just like their MvC versions, so if you have played MvC 2 or 3 you should know what to expect. Except, you know, there are no tag teams or assists or crazy stuff here. What sets MSH apart, however, is the gem system that gives the character that uses it extra powers or refills the health bar among other things. The gems kind of throw the game balance out of the window, though, and someone that knows what they're doing (or the CPU) will frustrate you to no end because it just makes things cheap. See, Street Fighter x Tekken wasn't the first game to be semi-ruined by gems. The game overall is kind of slow-ish and bland as well. We know it is a classic, but we didn't love it.
Marvel vs. Capcom
The original Marvel vs. Capcom, on the other hand, has actually aged fantastically well. This one pairs Marvel characters against Capcom stars (though it wasn't the first, X-Men vs. Street Fighter came before it) and you can definitely see the roots of the Marvel vs. Capcom we've come to know here. It is a 2-on-2 tag game, unlike the newer entries' 3-on-3, and lets you call in an assist character that is randomly selected before each match. For the most part, it plays just like what you should be used to with the newer MvC games. Tag team, assists, crazy screen filling hyper combos, and a surprising amount of depth and technique hidden under the button mashing exterior. Unlike newer fighting games, however, the character balance is all over the place with some characters being underpowered garbage and others being overpowered cheap monsters. It makes it a game where you'll see everything that is worth seeing fairly quickly.