Out of all the 2D fighting games, the Street Fighter collection stands out as one of the best, if not the best. Marvel Superheroes, uses the SFII engine, which was also used for the popular X-men COTA game. These Superhero games introduced some new techniques as far as the SFII collection goes and although the rest of us didnít care, it sure pissed off SFII purists. The insane jumping, ridiculously high combos of 29 hits or more, the lower number of moves etc. Most of us however, just thought it was cool to play as Marvel characters, so we didnít care much. Thatís a good way to some up this game: Itís cheap, itís more flash then content, but Iím playing Spidey against the Hulk and Iím loving every minute of it.
Marvel Superheroes involves such Marvel staples as: Spiderman, Hulk, Wolverine, Psylocke, Captain America, Iron Man, Juggernaut, Magneto, Shuma Gorath, Blackheart and the bosses, Dr. Doom and Thanos. Not a bad collection and you can even enter a code and play as Doc Doom and Thanos (and Anita too! Thanks Cheat Code Central!) Pick your man or woman and go kick some heads in. The one innovation that Capcom added to this game over itís previous X-men COTA (now available on PlayStation as well) are the Infinity Gems. These are the very reason why Captain America is smashing Spiderman over the head with his shield. It seems everybody wants these things! And for good reason! Once in your possession, these gems can really add to your powers. More on these little gems (ahem) in a minute.
All I have heard is negative things about this game in the video press, saying that tons of animationís were taken out so that the PlayStationís minuscule 2 Megs of ram could actually run this mother. Well, Iíve played the Saturn version and it looked good, and to be honest I donít even notice a difference between the two. Yes, the load times are slightly longer on the PlayStation version but so what? You canít wait 15 seconds? Now I didnít spend much time on this game in the arcades, so you arcade frequenters might notice a difference in animation, but unless you want to buy an arcade machine to play this game, Iíd say, "Live with it."
The graphics are colorful (maybe a tad, washed out for some reason) and well drawn. You wonít have trouble recognizing your character. Your characters respond as they would in the comics: Spidey swings and shoots webs and is extremely agile, while the Hulk is slow and powerful, Wolverine is just as he was in X-men COTA and blah blah blah you get the idea.
The control is as tight as it probably could be as this game is kind of a spastic one. Youíll be taking to the air and jumping around a lot and for the most part, so it takes a while to get used to the pace. Also, due to the size of some of these characters like Juggernaut, you had better take to the skies because he takes up alot of screen space.
The music is somewhat "fanfare-y" whatever that means. Itís the kind of music that you would expect to hear if you were a superhero. And I repeat: whatever that means. The sound fx are a little lacklustre; when the Hulk hits you HARD, I want to hear it and feel it! It would be nice if it was dual shock compatible but it isnít. The voices are muddy and somewhat hard to hear at times, especially at the beginning of the match. Both heros speak at the same time as the announcer and youíre lucky if you can make out what anybody says.
Now for the gameplay. If you Ďve played a Street Fighter game or the X-men game youíll know what to expect. The special moves are accomplished by fireball movements and Dragon Punch movements for the most part. If you pull off special moves you build up your Infinity Combo Gauge which will allow you to pull off a major special move. This works exactly like the powerup gauge in the SF Alpha series. In conjunction with that, if your character captures an Infinity gem, doing a fireball motion (Down, Down-Right and Right) and pressing all three punch buttons will activate the gem. If you have more than one gem in your possession you can scroll through your collection with the select button. Using this gem ups the ante as far as gameplay and nicely adds to the playability of the game, especially when your opponents can knock the gem out of your possession. The 6 gems will provide you with extra powers such as: Super Armour, Super Speed, Health Refill, Super Strength , New Powers, Infinity Combo Gauge power.
As for options you can select the difficulty from 1 - 8 stars (8 being the hardest), select the rounds 1, 3 or 5 per match, Time limit, Turbo speed (Normal, Turbo 1 and Turbo 2) and the shortcut. This shortcut cuts down on load times by not loading the regular arcade character select screen. It also does not show who your next opponent will be after winning a match. However, you will not be able to select the different color sheme for your hero or villain if you use the shortcut. (Refer to Cheat Code Centralís PSX code section for the method). You can also re-assign the buttons to make things more comfortable for you. This is a handy option because I do reassign buttons. Of course there is also the VS. Mode which allows you and a friend to battle it out, and you can even select the same hero. Bonus.
My one and only complaint is the level of difficulty that the CPU plays at. Now, wait for it: There is no difficulty! This game is a cake walk on the hardest level!! I am not a fighting game master by any means, and I can kick ass on this game, and thatís just wrong. Iíve actually been looking for gameshark codes to make this game harder! I was hoping the PSX version would be harder than the Saturn version, but alas I was disappointed. I personally felt that the X-men COTA Saturn version was ridiculously tough,(re: Magneto) so I was hoping for a happy medium. On the bright side this means that younger children who will delight in playing their favorite heroes like Batman and Superman (just kidding, I wanted to see if you were paying attention) will LOVE this game. Trust me they wonít be saying, ĎThis gameís okay, but there are 52 animations missing." As well, the versus mode is perfect for those who can easily beat the computer, and of course have a friend.
Remember what this game is all about when you play it. Itís not Tekken 3 and it doesnít claim to be. If it featured Smurfs against Carebears it would suck. So it really is the Marvel characters that sell this game. Think of it as Street Fighter Lite or Tekken with a lobotomy. Thatís not to say you canít have fun with it! Itís just good clean wholesome punching and kicking without the mess. For those of you looking for more of the same, try X-men (Children Of The Atom) on PSX or wait for the soon-to-be-released X-Men vs Street Fighter. But be warned, the tag-team feature in X-Men vs SF has been altered dramatically. You can no longer switch between players, you can only call in your "team-mate" for super moves. You can thank the 2 Megs of ram for that. If you have a Saturn I highly recommend all three of these games, due to the use of the Saturn 4 Meg upgrade, although it cannot be used with Saturnís X-Men COTA game. As well, Sega has not and at this point probably will not, release X-Men vs SF in North America. Thatís fair isnít it? I hope this tells the number of Sega fans out there, just how much Sega cares about their loyalty.
On a side note, donít forget the Marvel Superheroes game for SNES by Capcom. It features all of the same heroes in a side scrolling action game, which is a great game for kids. And the characters share many of the same moves with their fighting game counter-part. I played it and liked it.