Platform | Release Date
360, PS3 | September 25, 2012
Developed by Iron Galaxy
Published by Capcom
The heroes of Marvel are back on the fighting ground, ready to do battle with Capcom’s greatest legends, and with each other. In Marvel vs. Capcom: Origins, you get two classic 90s Marvel arcade games for the price of one! Both Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel vs. Capcom play like their original arcade versions – with fast-paced, over-the-top fighting action – but now feature upgraded HD visuals and customizable appearances, online play, replay-saving and spectator mode, and a dynamic challenge system that earns points for unlockable goodies. Fight like a hero, play like a legend!
Most of the Marvel vs. Capcom catalog has been lost in time. Trapped in arcade machines and inferior console ports, playing anything older than Marvel vs. Capcom 2 in its original form is mostly an exercise in futility. Capcom’s latest fighting game re-release, Marvel vs. Capcom Origins, aims to address that.
This downloadable compilation contains a one-two punch from Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes. Of the five pre-Marvel vs. Capcom 2 releases, these two best represent the roots of the franchise. The former is a one-on-one fighter that makes use of a power-up gem system, while the latter is primarily a two-on-two affair, with a third character serving only as an assist. After playing these games in sequence, it’s clear to see how Capcom refined the formula into the three-on-three format that has stood for over a decade.
Both of these titles are emulated to arcade perfection. All of the moves, combos, and cheats are intact. If you’ve managed to stay sharp in either title after all of these years, jumping into this should prove to be second nature. Upon first booting it up, it even goes out of its way to look like you’re playing it on an arcade machine thanks to its 4:3 aspect ratio and CRT filters. If you don’t care for this default view, there’s no shortage of display settings to noodle with.
Though nostalgia for the source material isn’t mandatory, it goes a long way towards the overall enjoyment of this package. Without that context, it can be hard to enjoy this collection at face value. Both titles are well over a decade old, and Capcom has refined this Versus formula a number of times since. As it stands, the gameplay feels dated compared to other similarly-priced downloadable fighters on the market. Where its age is most apparent is in its distinct lack infinite combo countermeasures. Against a seasoned veteran of either title, your opponent can finish you off with a morale-crushing infinite combo before you’ve had a chance to hit a button.
If you haven’t played these before, the game’s weak teaching tools don’t make the process of learning easy. It comes with a How to Play section in the menus to read, though this is no more helpful than a regular instruction manual. Training mode is also included, but it’s as barebones as any featured in a fighting game within the last few years. Without any recording or playback options, all you can really do is beat up a stationary dummy. A trial mode – which is standard on almost all modern fighting games – would have been a great way to introduce players to basic concepts and combos. Unfortunately, this compilation does not feature one. Making its exclusion extra disappointing is the fact that Capcom previously put in the effort to include it in Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition.
Without much in the way of helpful in-game resources, you can resort to guides, or learn the old-fashioned way by competing against others. Thankfully, the online experience is powered by GGPO netcode, which is the industry standard for seamless net play within the genre. Almost all of my matches ran smoothly with no real noticeable drops in performance. Another nice touch is the ability to watch replays of other people’s matches. However, toggling the game speed at the character select screen is disabled when facing off against an online opponent. You’ll have to fight on normal speed, which may put a damper on things if you prefer to play on turbo.
Though I have my fair share of gripes with Marvel vs. Capcom Origins, diehard fans of the source material will gladly eat this up. It achieves the primary objective of being faithful arcade ports that are playable on modern platforms. For them, this is well worth the $15 or 1200 Microsoft points. For everyone else, this collection just doesn’t stack up well against Skullgirls, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, or other downloadable fighters for the same price.