Friday, December 7

Marvel Superheroes Review

Version played for review: PS1
Available on: Sega Saturn, PS1, PS3, Xbox 360
Price I paid: £26.99
Other Notes: So I talk about the Infinity Gems here. I know in the MCU they are called the Infinity Stones but before that, they were known as the Gems. This is why I call them Gems and not Stones.

Honesty is what I believe to be the most important thing when sharing your opinion online. This is why I want to mention that my experience with fighters is rather lacking. I’ve played most of the Mortal Kombat games and a few Marvel fighters but that’s it. I’ve never owned a Tekken game and Street Fighter is a foreign concept to me. That being said Marvel Superheros is one of my favourite fighters just due to the rather small and therefore easy to learn moves list. It also helps that I’m a massive fan of the Marvel comic book heroes.

Similar to most fighters you have two buttons for punches, another two for kicks and then the movement buttons. Using these you can chain together attacks or pull off special moves that utilise the superpowers of the character you’re playing as. Spider-man will swing kick his opponent or tie them up with webbing while Captain America will throw his shield and so on. Compared to more modern fighters even in this same series, the gameplay is simple but that’s not at all a bad thing. For more armature players such as myself, this is a great entry point into the world of Marvel vs Capcom. For fans of the genre then this simple version allows for a more relaxed casual experience. Despite the limited move set, you can still pull off some advanced tactics once you get the hang of things. Characters like Magneto and Spidey are great for their air attacks so juggling your opponent keeping them in the air is easier when playing as these guys. The hulk and Juggernaut on the other hand tend to prefer being on the floor. These giants are able to take and dish out much more damage than other fighters but at the cost of speed and air combat. Marvel Superheroes laid the groundwork for the Marvel vs Capcom series which is now considered one of the best fighters of all time. It’s easy to see why when you go back to Marvel Superheroes. That’s not bad considering that it’s now over 20 years old.

Like most fighters of the era, Marvel Superheroes only uses its story as a framing device. This means that the only story to find is in the manual as well as a few lines of a plot for each character you beat Arcade mode with. All you need to know is Thanos is after the 6 Infinity gems so you need to collect them all before he can. You do this by fighting a series of 8 characters. These are random until the last two which are always Doctor Doom and then the Mad Titan himself; Thanos. Any fans of the MCU will recognise this story from the Avengers Infinity War. This is a classic plot and it serves as a wonderful backdrop to this fighter. The other thing it does is introduce the Infinity Gems into gameplay. You are able to use any Gem you currently have in your possession for a bonus that if used well can turn the tide of battle. Some of the Gems have pretty obvious abilities such as the Power gem that increases your attack strength. On the other hand, others such as the Reality gem are more obscure. I’m not going to go through all of the gems as I found playing around with them and learning when best to use each one to be a lot of fun. Another level of strategy introduced with the gems is knocking them out of your opponent’s hands. A well-placed hit will send a gem flying out of a character’s hand leaving it open for you to pick up. Seeing as each gem can only be used once per match making sure you’re the one to use them is important. Although if you use the Gems too soon then you may not have them when you really need them. This adds some interesting tension and strategy to every fight. On top of that nearly losing a fight only to knock the Soul gem away from your opponent allowing you to regain some much-needed health feels amazing!

It’s not just the gameplay of Marvel Superheroes that feels timeless as the graphics look as impressive today as they did back in 1995. Unlike other Marvel fighters on the PS1 such as X-Men Mutant Academy, this game doesn’t use 3D models. All the characters are drawn 2D animated images which give the look of classic 90’s comics come to life. This has to be one of the most beautiful games on the PS1. Marvel Vs Capcom would continue to use this amazing art style for all of their titles and it’s easy to see why. The sound design is just as great with fantastic music and voice talent. Characters don’t really say much but they will shout out the name of any moves you pull off. This is corny but it fits right into the bright campy feeling of 90’s comic book art and I can’t help but love it.

As you can tell Marvel Superheroes is just as compelling today as it was when it first launched. This is mostly thanks to a combat system and art style that’s almost timeless. It’s not perfect though as I do have a few minor nitpicks. I find it hard to pull off combo when most of the buttons you need to press are directional buttons. This is made even worse when you have to use diagonal directions that require you to press two buttons at once on the PS controllers. Still, this is a minor complaint that doesn’t stop me enjoying the game. If you’re into Marvel Superheroes or just fighting games then you have to at least have heard of this classic. I’d say if you can find a copy then it’s well worth picking up.

Recommendation Rating: 8 out of 10.

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