PlayStation / SEGA

Why Marvel vs. Capcom Made Me Love Fighting Games

The Game Boy was my first console. I didn’t get a video console until 2003 when I finally got a Nintendo 64. By then, it was already out of production for a year. I had to use it on my mum’s inherited black and white television and used that for the PS1 I bought that same year. And that brings me nicely to the point of this article.

My friend had a PS2 and waxed lyrical about this game called Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes. I’d never played it but the title gave me all the information I needed: Marvel characters fighting Capcom characters. Spider-Man vs. Ryu. Wolverine vs. Zangief. I loved Marvel Comics and I’d played Street Fighter before. My friend didn’t have the game but I felt compelled to buy it for him. In hindsight, it was a foolish thing to do as I should have really kept it for myself but I did things to make others happy more than myself. Anyway, back to the game…

Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes debuted as an arcade game in Japan and North America in 1998 before being ported to the Dreamcast in 1999 and the PlayStation in 2000. This version was different in that you could play as more than just Street Fighter characters – different Capcom franchises were included this time. The Dreamcast port was the better of the two but the PlayStation version was still top quality. The graphics were amazing and the gameplay was stellar. Capcom managed to preserve as much of the arcade experience as possible. The Dreamcast was capable of more in that department but the PS1 was capable of holding its own.

I was a Spider-Man fan but my fighter of choice was Zangief. The hairy-shinned Russian wrestler had a move that I craved to use – the Final Atomic Buster. He would grab the opponent, perform two Atomic Suplexes and finish with a Spinning Piledriver. It was WWE on superhuman steroids. I was always happy to land it when I could but I’ve never been good at fighting games because whoever I play is always better. So I lost a lot. But being able to play at all was a dream. I was drawn to the graphics and speedy gameplay the most. When the PlayStation came out, it was notable for its polygon-based graphics and the speed you could navigate them. But I was still used to the 8 and 16-bit generation of games. Sprites were my favourite and they still are.

If I had one criticism of Clash of Super Heroes, it’s that there were only 15 available characters: 7 from Marvel and 8 from Capcom.

Marvel charactersCapcom characters
Captain AmericaCaptain Commando
HulkJin Saotome
Spider-ManMega Man
VenomMorrigan Aensland
War MachineRyu
WolverineStrider Hiryu

I fought as Zangief, Spider-Man, and Wolverine because I knew them. I had no knowledge of the other Capcom characters besides Chun-Li, Ryu, and Mega Man. Hopefully, I’ll get the game again and I’d main as Venom because I love Venom.

The PlayStation version also removed tag team battling and replaced Variable Assist with Variable Cross, allowing players to summon their teammates to perform special attacks. But none of that bothered me. I’d never experienced the arcade games so what I got was just fine.

If I could turn back time, I’d have kept that copy of Marvel vs Capcom (which only cost me £15 on Amazon in 2005 but now costs a lot more) and just let my friend borrow it. I don’t have a PS2 anymore but there are other ways of playing I suppose *ahem* The graphics and arcade gameplay still fill me with happiness like I was playing for the first time. I’ve got a date with a hefty Russian beast.

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