Marvel vs. Capcom Origins is Capcom’s recent re-release of Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel vs. Capcom 1, and it is a love letter to days of fighting games past. It’s not necessarily a love letter to the Nineties, although these games are dripping with that decade’s flair right down to their MIDI board guitar riffs. It’s not even necessarily a love letter to the Marvel vs. Capcom franchise as the collection omits X-Men vs. Street Fighter, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, and X-Men Children of the Atom, which we all very instrumental in the success of the Marvel vs. Capcom series. No, Marvel vs. Capcom Origins is specifically a love-letter to a time when it was OK for games to be broken. It’s a throwback to when fighting game developers just sort of threw a whole bunch of characters and game mechanics into a pot and saw what came out. Marvel vs. Capcom 1 and Marvel Super Heroes are probably the two most broken games in vs. series history and that brokenness translates over intact in Marvel vs. Capcom Origins. Simply put, you have to be OK with that If you are going to pick up MvCO. This isn’t a game you can play competitively in any serious way.
In terms of gameplay, the two games are ported over from their arcade counterparts precisely. All the old cheap infinites are back and just about every character has them. The rosters in both games are horrendously unbalanced, with Gold War Machine and Red Venom in MVC1 being particularly horrid examples of overpowered broken-sauce characters. The gems in Marvel Super Heroes return, and once again they give you incredible effects like speed up, which allows you to complete even more damaging infinite combos; life up, which actually gives you life back; and reality, which makes all of your attacks fire mini-projectiles. All of the secret characters from both games and secret assists from MvC1 can be selected through the complex button codes you could use in the arcade. However, if you want them to be more easily accessible, you can also unlock them for normal selection by spending in-game points, which you earn as you fight.
In addition to extra fighters, you can unlock a variety of different concept art pieces and other assets for both games. These provide an interesting little history lesson on the origins of the series. There’s tons of them to unlock, and while individual pieces of art aren’t that hard to unlock, completing the collection will take ages. In addition, this game integrates the “scrolling achievements” that Third Strike Online integrated, so that you can always see your achievement progress as you fight. It’s enough to keep perfectionists obsessed for hours.
By far, the best element of Marvel vs. Capcom Origins is its online suite. It’s easily the best integration of GGPO rollback netcode we have seen yet. Connections are silky smooth and you can dial up or down your button delay to make them even smoother. Your ping is expressed in plain numbers not amorphous bars, which shows you just how good your connection is going to be. Your opponent’s connection rate is also shown before you play him, so you know if you have a rage quitter on your hands. Then again, who can rage quit in a game where nearly every touch can lead to an instant death combo?
You can ban certain characters in player lobbies, but you can’t in quick or ranked matches. This means you are going to be seeing a lot of Wolverine, Red Venom, Gold War Machine, Anita, Thanos, etc. in online play. This might get, what’s the word, infuriating for anyone who is just trying to learn the game, but that’s kind of the point. It’s actually a little too late to learn these games now. Marvel vs. Capcom Origins sells itself on one point and one point alone: nostalgia. If you don’t have fond memories of placing your quarter up on the ledge of your local MVC cabinet just to lose to the same guy who knew how to spam Red Venom’s standing hard punch all day, then this probably isn’t the game for you.
However, if you are the type of person who has fond memories of the arcade scene, this game is going to make nostalgia pour out of your armpits. As usual, there are a variety of graphics options available. You can smooth the graphics or stretch them if you are boring. However, if you really want to turn the nostalgia up to eleven you can turn on scanlines to give your game that old CRT monitor feel. You can bow the image to make it look exactly like it did in an actual arcade cabinet. You can even turn the game to “over the shoulder mode” which causes you to view the cabinet from an angle reminiscent of the times that fat kid wouldn’t let you get your fair amount of space on the cab. Ah, memories.
If I haven’t made this perfectly clear, these two games are broken, so I wouldn’t invest too much time in attempting to play them seriously. That being said, here’s a quick rundown of both games. Both are standard old-school versus style games. They both operate off of a three punch three kick system and the light, medium, heavy magic series is here in full force. Dashing and super jumping are present in both games and each game uses a three stock meter. Aerial combos are the name of the game as are dash cancel infinites and broken strategies using the games’ many wonky mechanics.
Marvel vs. Capcom 1 is a team fighter that uses a separate assist cast with limited charges. Most of the time you will be looking to build up to a maximized three stocks of meter so that you can execute your team up attack, which brings both characters on screen at the same time and gives both of them infinite super meter for a limited amount of time. You can fill the screen with so many rockets, bombs, animals, and lasers that there’s absolutely nothing your opponent can do.
Marvel Super Heroes is less crazy but even easier to abuse. The characters in this game have incredibly broken synergy with the gems that randomly fall onto the screen as you fight. Speed gems can allow you to do infinites simply by mashing buttons. Power gems can allow you to kill a character in one hit. Still other gems allow you to attack without flinching. It’s absurd.
In my humble opinion, Marvel vs. Capcom Origins is the best retro fighting game remake that has been released yet. It’s just a shame that all of these awesome options are lumped onto games that, as I have said time and time again, are completely and utterly broken. However, if you can take a step back and not take your losses too seriously, MvCO is an amazingly fun time with smooth netcode and awesome extras.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.2 Graphics
Ever wanted to play from over some other guys shoulder? Now you can! 4.1 Control
Button macros can make some combos too easy, but overall the game controls well. 4.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
It’s so delightfully retro! Midi rock for the win. 4.2 Play Value
Its strangely addictive even though it’s unfair. 4.1 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend|
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid||2.5 – 2.9 = Average||3.5 – 3.9 = Good||4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy|
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor||3.0 – 3.4 = Fair||4.0 – 4.4 = Great||5.0 = The Best|