It is still hard for me to swallow that the two games contained in Marvel vs. Capcom Origins are 14 and 17 years old respectively. I remember them being new releases, and thus feel the need to tell current gamers to get off my lawn. Much like a fine wine though, these two games have aged well; almost to the point where they are better now than they were then. Booting both up and seeing scan lines and picture perfect arcade ports is enough to get my nostalgia meter registering full tilt, but the real question is, are these two titles really worth going back to?
It is easy to forget that Capcom was once mostly known for their fighters. The two in this collection, Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel vs. Capcom are both prime examples of why. I remember playing MSH on my Saturn with the 4MB expansion cart plugged in the back (it was the only true way to play outside of arcade) and thinking “how could it get any better”. Surprisingly the animations still hold up today. For some reason, 2D animation ages much better than polygonal titles.
Unfortunately, the problems from that era remain intact. While it was cool to place these characters alongside each other, some of them were highly overpowered. For example the unlockable characters from MSH are borderline game breaking. Take into account that this game is not likely to be tournament-worthy again anytime soon, but it’s still worth noting. Also expect to lose to the computer often. This game was designed to eat your quarters, and much like previous collections before it, that single player arcade mode is hard.
Even with these problems, I couldn’t help but be lost in the package. Hearing the fantastic stage music blaring in the background makes all the problems seem moot. Capcom and Iron Galaxy have also given this game the special treatment, much the same way they did with Third Strike. You now have challenges to complete that give you points to unlock new goodies. These challenges are pretty much the same as Third Strike; things like throwing 100 projectile attacks or performing super combos. All pretty standard stuff. You can then use the points to unlock concept art, movies and hidden characters.
As with any Capcom collection lately, MvC Origins uses GGPO in its online infrastructure. This gives matches much better latency, and from our tests it seems to be working well. Matches can be smooth as butter sometimes, and if you so choose, you can dig deeper into the settings to account for lag. This is much like the bevy of options in Third Strike. Outside of that, online is pretty straight-forward. One-on-one matches are the focal point, and the game never shies away from that. Let’s be honest, this is the type of game you will likely just hop into with a buddy, and pound on each other for hours at a time, so while the options are sparse, they are adequate.
The game still looks great. The animations are limited compared to today’s titles, but still impressive. There are also a ton of features to customize the look. You can switch views to arcade cabinet, complete with skewed perspective. You can add scan lines, switch it to zoom or full wide screen. The game offers up plenty of ways to tweak it to your preference. Sound is pure nostalgia. The tracks for each stage change up dynamically in some cases, and familiar tunes will blare through your setup. I also love hearing the old voice acting for characters. The simple menu system is also a plus. Switching between games is as simple as tapping the back/select button, and points for the vault are shared across both games.
It is hard not to appreciate what Capcom and Iron Galaxy have done with this collection. The visual filters will let you experience it like you remember, and the fun factor is still pumped up to 100. If you have fond memories of playing these games, or simply would like to know where the craze started, then your $15 is more than warranted. This is yet another solid collection of classics from Capcom. Now how about you guys throw us a bone and deliver that Power Stone collection finally?
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on Xbox 360.