Marvel vs Capcom: Origins has arrived on the scene sporting a furious tag team of two superhero themed arcade units brought lovingly into the 21st century with a big lick of digital paint. It's here to ensure you remember the feel of the arcade joystick, the click of the brightly coloured buttons and the sensation of getting lighter as money is transferred from your pockets to the coffers of the arcade.
The game is an amalgamation of sorts, fusing Marvel Superheroes and Marvel vs Capcom: Clash of the Superheroes into one tidy package. Marvel Superheroes takes the usual Street Fighter format we know and love with weak, medium and heavy blows to pummel your opponents and special moves executed through the usual combination of thumb numbing d-pad presses and button combinations. This is all with the added bonus of mid match power ups which can give you a speed boost or health regeneration.
Marvel vs Capcom: Clash of the Superheroes takes the guise we all know and love from the later instalments in the series. This is where the divergence from the beat-em up norm of one on one started to the tag team set up and on the fly swapping during battles. This aspect is unaltered vs the original arcade, but is however limited to two fighters contrary to the current staple of Marvel vs Capcom 2 and Marvel vs Capcom 3 where three fighters is the norm. You do however have an assist character which you do not control but will jump in and help with the extravagant combos you and your team member can pull off with a few button presses. Take solace in the fact that all the Marvel and Capcom staples are all present and correct with Spidey, Ryu, Wolverine and Chun Li along with the less mainstream characters such as Capcom's Jin and Marvel's Dr Doom to name a few.
The temptation to tinker with the basic fabric of the games must have been immense for Iron Galaxy, the developers tasked with bringing Origins to the masses, but they have resisted and as a result have brought the games to the table in their truest form even down to their faults. Marvel vs Capcom: Clash of the Superheroes for instance suffers from balancing issues during the campaign as you will find that the game is somewhat brutal at times snuffing out a significant lead within seconds and seeming a little cheaply. This would link in with the arcade mentality forcing you to part with yet more money when dealing with later bouts and bosses. There are a few characters which do carry a bit more weight in the overall balance of the game, (we won’t spoil it so you know who to go for straight away) the temptation to use them will be much greater when the limitations of the other fighters just won’t cut it against the final boss and other more experienced players online.
The multiplayer experience is well laid out and shows a lot of thought has gone into the interface with automatic match making, queing of matches and a rather user friendly experience throughout - it even pops up hints about router settings if you aren't getting connected to matches quickly. There are some compromises to contend with vs the single player mode, the lack of mode selections in bouts such as turbo mode can be jarring when you are used to the more lightning quick setting, we are assuming this is to maintain a good speed when online and it is preferable to lag on a game where reaction times are everything. The balancing issues also rear their ugly head online with Marvel vs Capcom: Clash of the Superheroes as those characters with the upper hand (who will not be named) will pop up more often than not online as everyone else has figured out the advantage they bring. So the phrase “if you can’t beat them join them” springs to mind which may put some people off online as your playing style may not fit with these characters.
The added lick of digital paint the Iron Galaxy team have brought to Marvel vs Capcom: Origins is pretty extensive and very welcome. For instance, the Vault situated in the game is your treasure trove of items found throughout the game and they can range from unlockable characters to mini movie clips. It’s a nice touch and one of the things which if you are into the subject matter will interest you more than others. The other side of the digital renovation is the addition of many options to manipulate the picture quality, effectively giving you everything you would and maybe wouldn’t want to alter the aging pixelated graphics. You have everything from aspect ratio changes to mock CRT monitor effects and even an over the shoulder arcade cabinet view, which is a nice idea but is probably about as useful as a rubber screwdriver.
Marvel vs Capcom: Origins is a great game and a great way to relive those days back in the arcade (if you’re old enough that is). The Marvel vs Capcom series has always brought something different to the table offering a more fun and flashy version of the stock beat ’em ups of the mid to late nineties. Marvel Superheroes is a more vanilla beat 'em up and wouldn't be considered the main attraction of this package which is in our opinion Marvel vs Capcom : Clash of the Superheroes. Newcomers may be disappointed by the lacking roster of fighters, and unbalanced gameplay in comparison to the later instalments in the Marvel vs Capcom series and the very steep learning curve may put some people off as this is unfair at times. These shortcomings are understandable seeing as it is the first game in the series and doesn't detract from the fun too much but if you have already mastered the other later titles you may enjoy Marvel vs Capcom: Origins but the majority probably won't. This re-mastering is probably more fan service to those who played and loved them back in the day and they still stand the test of time even with the shortcomings of balancing and online modes. So time to tip your hat to the old pair who can still stand with the young ’uns and give them a damn good thrashing!