Marvel Vs. Capcom Origins (Xbox 360) Review
Posted by Marc Morrison on 09.29.2012
How do Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel Vs. Capcom stand up in a slightly updated package on a modern console? Find out inside.
Well, Marvel Vs. Capcom Origins is among us, and is a slightly odd package. It contains both Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel Vs. Capcom 1, but is missing a few notable other Marvel games within it. Both games feature similar gameplay, however both vary somewhat in the specifics of their fighting systems, and more importantly, their overall quality. I’ll begin with the better of the two first:
Marvel Vs. Capcom 1 is still a superb fighting game to play. While it doesn’t have the blown-out roster of MvsC2 (having only 15 normal characters), it is generally balanced better, with no characters being completely over-powered. Zangief still sucks though.
The gameplay of MvsC 1 is standard for the series; hyper-jumps, special moves, screen-filling super attacks, tag-team switching out and so on. It all feels solid, with true players being able to run rings about new player’s online, but new players able to have a fun time during the arcade mode. The roster for MvsC 1 includes Ryu, Wolverine, Gambit, Mega Man, Captain Commando, War Machine and others and it’s solid. This edition of the game also has the secret-arcade characters, Red Hulk, Roll, Shadow Lady, etc., that you can either unlock normally, or buy within the Vault store.
One system that is (fairly) unique to MvsC 1 is the partner system. After you pick your two main characters, the game randomly picks a partner for you and your enemies to use during battle. You have a limited supply of each partner, with some having only 3 or 4 uses, while others might have up to 7 or 8 uses. The system is random, to a degree, but if you’re quick, you can pick your preferred helper, when he or she is highlighted. There is also a system of choosing the helper you want, if you hold Start and press the right code to bring them out, but this system doesn’t always work great.
The other difference between this game, and others like it, is that you can use a “Two on One” attack. When your super meter is full, you can call out your other partner and you control both of them for a limited period of time. During this time, you have an infinite super meter, so you can just keep mashing the super moves out, to try and defeat the other player. Besides this system, and the partner stuff, this game is like most other Street Fighter 2 variants, only faster, and with more graphical flair.
Marvel Super Heroes is the slightly worse game in this collection. While, MvsC 1 is 14 years old, it still feels fast, and holds up decently well. MSH is 17 years old and isn’t quite as solid as MvsC 1 is. The gameplay is a lot like other Vs. games, throws, special moves, super moves and so on, but the game feels sluggish. I would assume this is accurate to the original game (and not related to this HD collection), but the gameplay just feels slow at times. The roster only has 10 characters in it, from popular ones like Wolverine, Hulk and Iron Man, to slightly less unknown Shuma-Gorath and Blackheart. There are a few other hidden characters as well, which you can also buy in the Vault.
The big gameplay system in MSH is the Infinity Gem system. During a match, different Infinity Gems can sometimes spawn on the stage, and either you or the other fighter can pick them up. You can activate the gem you have in your inventory which gives you a beneficial boost like speeding your character up, refilling some of your life-bar, making their attacks more powerful, and so on. You can also do an “Infinity Counter”, which counters an attack, if you have some of your super meter filled up.
The problem with this system is that you can’t select which gem you want to activate. If the Power Gem is selected, but you need the Soul Gem (life recovery) instead, you either need to get hit a few times for the Power Gem to get knocked out loose from your character or just burn the Power Gem up and wait for it the Soul Gem to become available.
Both games are contained in a typical “Collection” wrapper that seems to be becoming the norm. You can switch between either game at the press of a button, with the color background as the way to tell which game you’re playing (Red is MSH and Blue is MvsC 1). Both games have their single-player, multiplayer (local and online using GGPO), leaderboards, training mode, and challenges. The online works, as I experienced no lag, and didn’t have GGPO rewind any. The challenge system is exactly like the previous Capcom HD re-release, Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition. On the left side of the screen, you’ll see constantly changing and updated challenges during the matches. These vary from doing 10 charged moves, to using 100 projectile moves, to kicking the opponent after the match 10 times, that sort of thing. Once the first tier is set, it usually unlocks a second tier (usually just to do more), and then a third tier. Doing Challenges gives you experience points, which ties into the level system. This is how you unlock achievements and trophies in the game. More importantly, it the experience points are used in the Vault system.
The Vault is basically like the Krypt from Mortal Kombat games, only with a less stupid layout. You can buy concept art, movies, and (the most important thing), character unlock codes, or just the characters themselves. So, instead of having to fight to unlock Shadow Lady or Thanos, you can just buy them from the Vault instead. It’s also color cored (like the main menus), with blue being MvsC 1 content, and red being MSH content.
The missing feature in this game, which Street Fighter III Third Strike Online Edition had, is the Trials mode. In SF3, the Trials mode was a mission mode that taught you how to play the game. It broke down that game’s systems, and every character, to introduce you to their special moves and combo’s. It also highly tied into the Challenge mode as well.
Well….this game doesn’t have that, and it suffers greatly from it. Without this mode, there is no real introduction for new people on the gameplay systems. Neither game is overtly complex, but it can be frustrating for a new player to be air-juggled for a 30 hit combo and not have any idea on how to stop it. This omission is the second biggest black mark of the game.
The biggest problem with this game though, is the randomness of the games included. There have been 7 Marvel-themed fighting games that Capcom has made (not counting updates or ports), but they see fit to only include the 2nd, and 5th games in the franchise. You can’t include MvsC 2, or MvsC 3, but the games before it, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, X-Men Vs. Street Fighter, or X-Men: Children of the Atom should have been included in this collection. These two games are selling for 15$, which is kind of a lot to ask for. The much more ideal solution would’ve been for Capcom to make the frame-work of the games free, and let the consumer pay for the Rom files (for around 5$). If you only wanted X-Men vs. Street Fighter, then download the shell, and buy the Rom file. If you wanted all 5 games, maybe sell them for 20$, as a deal on the bundle. By only selling games 2 and 5 in the series, Capcom is not caring where these games come from, or what their legacy is. It also feels like a greedy maneuver, when the eventual other bundle comes out (that has been long rumored) that contains the other 2 or 3 games.
Well, what can you really say, about two games from over a decade ago? The HD-ificiation is pretty subtle with their being only minor improvements. MvsC 1 looks better than MSH, but each looks a bit grainy and blocky. There are a few graphical filters to try, none (original), crisp (which makes everything a bit sharper), or smooth (which rounds everything out fairly well). You can also set scan lines on or off, for that old arcade feel. Along with that, there are several viewing angles, normal, wide screen, stretched, arcade cabinet (which tries to emulate an arcade screen), retro (arcade cabinet screen, but at a sloped angle), and over the shoulder (an angled look at an arcade cabinet screen with the game playing). Wide screen is probably the best option, with the arcade stuff being novel but kind of unplayable. MvsC 1 ran fine through and through, but MSH had some nasty slowdown occur, especially when I fought against Dr. Doom’s character.
It’s all original audio from each game. MvsC 1 had some amazing music (specifically Roll’s and Strider’s songs), so that is good. The music in MSH is a little less memorable, but is still very close to other Capcom music. The sound effects and voice acting is largely the same between both games, the only difference is that MSH has a hard to understand male announcer, while MvsC 1 has a clearer female announcer.
Well, the Challenge mode will keep you entertained for a fairly long time, as will trying to unlock everything in the Vault. The online multiplayer is where the game will really live on, with support for player matches, ranked matches, and a GGPO control panel for some more specific options.
Marvel vs. Capcom Origins is an odd game to consider. While Marvel Vs. Capcom 1 is still a classic, Marvel Super Heroes has less going for it. You can have fun with both games, but MvsC 1 is the clear winner, between both games. The inexplicable omissions of the other “Vs.” games confuses me, but still, for 15$, this is worth a look. It’s especially good if you have fond memories of playing it in the arcade.
The game’s look a little blocky but a few filters try to smooth them out. MvsC 1 still looks amazing, with great animation and nice attacks.
Well, half of the collection is a classic and the other half is less so. The two balance each other out, and show a good evolution of the series.
The soundtrack of MvsC 1 is amazing, still. Voices, and sound effects are from the original games. It’s low quality, but still sounds great.
A fun challenge mode with lots of things to accomplish, a nicely laid out store to buy stuff from, and an online mode powered by GGPO. It has everything you’d want.
It is still amazingly fun to play Marvel Vs. Capcom 1, either by yourself, or with others. Marvel Super Heroes is kind of a curiosity, but is still an interesting curiosity.