|Marvel super heroes are all the rage and with The Avengers movie coming out this summer it is not difficult to understand why. This article is not about the film adaptions produced by Marvel Studios but something a little bit more of a retro feel. Before the stellar popularity of the films there was comic books and video games, and Marvel and its super hero creations was at the forefront of the genre. Several super hero video games were released for the home consoles (Super Nintendo, Genesis), but none ever sold at a fever pitch. The reason for slow sales on video games involving a super hero was simple; the games were just below average adventures rushed into the market to sell off the name of the super hero or Marvel. Just about every super hero had a game, except for The Avengers. A video game player could easily find a Superman or Batman game, it was easy because both of those Detective Comics heroes was overdone and constantly pumping out below average titles. The game industry changed and moved forward with a coin operated gem released in 1991 titled “Captain America and The Avengers.” The first game of the genre to attract major attention and became an instant classic not only with the home consoles but in the dwindling business of the arcades in the 80’s.
This side scrolling brawling designed by “Data East” was different because it was a four player adventure with multiple joysticks and buttons galore to make any player happy. Once you slipped in that quarter into the slot and ready for action the player had the decision to pick their hero. The choices were of the typical Avengers lineup originating from the comic book, heroes like Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, and the revamped Vision. During the early 1990’s Captain America was the beloved popular hero at the time and his name obviously stamped the credibility of the title. Each character had their own super powers straight from the comic books for example Captain Americas shield or Iron Mans palm blasters, along with punch techniques.
Graphics – Simply amazing for its time, this platform game had all the makings of a classic with detailed specs of the characters. Along with the above heroes mentioned many other heroes would appear to help guide the main characters like Wasp, Quicksilver, Namor – The Sub Mariner, and the rarely seen Wonder Man. The great thing about the graphics was that a player could actually say in their inner monologue, “Hey that is Wasp!” It was very cool at the time to see special appearances of other heroes from the Marvel universe. The graphics also laid out some eye candy for those vile enemies we all enjoy beating up like Red Skull, Ultron, The Juggernaut, Mandarin, Whirlwind, Living Laser, Wizard, Grim Reaper, Crossbones, and the X-Men villains The Sentinels who just look amazing with the graphics.
Controls – Is very simple with one joystick per player and a couple of buttons for punching and using special attacks like Visions beams. The controls make it easy to move the characters back and forth the screen with little to no mishaps of characters getting stuck in corners like some platform games. The home versions basically the same except for the joystick, using a control pad instead. The Sega Genesis was the first home console to bring the game home and later for the Super Nintendo, Game Gear, Game Boy, and surprisingly for the original Nintendo (NES) which was now petering out from the home console industry.
AI – There is not much to say about the artificial intelligence of the foes that a player has to scroll through to beat this classic. It is basic side scrolling enemies with basic attacks. Once a player masters the basic henchmen they will find it a breeze to scroll through, except for the bosses at the end of every level. The bosses are something of a challenge and will be difficult to beat, expect a fight and a thinking process of beating these foes.
Replay value – Extremely high, and expect to be coming back to this game for years to come. Once beating the game a player will find themselves coming back for more, even years after they have played it. This is what makes a video game classic is the replay value. Captain America and The Avengers is still the best Marvel game to date and not even the graphics of today can beat the game play of this legendary classic.
Where to find this classic – A player who really wants to play this title or add it to their collection can find it on Ebay or Amazon, and for all consoles. Expect to find a price range of $9.50 to $50.00 depending on the seller. The coin operated game is not easy to find and may be impossible to purchase, but if you live in the Bay Area, California you can find the game at a local Round Table Pizza.