Marvel vs. Capcom Origins is a new downloadable HD collection from Capcom containing Marvel vs. Capcom Clash of Super Heroes and Marvel Super Heroes, though the collection’s title is slightly misleading as these games are neither the first Capcom fighting games to feature Marvel characters nor are they the first game where the two universes fought one another. Unlike JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, this port was done by Iron Galaxy, the company behind the excellent Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition. The combination of Iron Galaxy and MvC should have made for a stellar remake, but while Iron Galaxy did a decent job assembling and updating the games, though both games lack character specific challenge modes, they can do little to hide the fact that the original games in the package are some of the weaker fighting games that Capcom has put out.
Both MSH and MvC use the standard Capcom six button layout with three punches and three kicks. The games share this layout and some characters, but otherwise have very little in common. MSH, released originally in 1994, is a more standard fighter with each player choosing a single character. You can choose from a fairly small roster of classic Marvel heroes and villains. The unique system in the game is the gem system. After the first hit and when a character loses most of their health a gem spawns on the stage and the players can pick it up by moving over it. When activated the gems give bonuses like life recovery and extra damage. Unfortunately the fighting doesn’t feel very good, the game isn’t terribly well balanced, and it moves very slowly. Fortunately MvC is a much better game. You choose two characters and one assist character. During the actual match you can switch between the two fighters and call in your assist character to help you out. It moves much faster than MSH and is overall more satisfying to play. Unfortunately it still has its share of balance issues with characters like Gold War Machine, who are very difficult to beat, especially at lower levels of play.
Both games have three modes: arcade, versus, and training. All of the modes work pretty much as well as you would want them too, but these are pretty much the bare minimum you need to put into a fighting game these days, and it’s disappointing that Iron Galaxy didn’t include a character specific challenge mode which was included in Third Strike. There are challenges in the game, but they act as an in-game-achievement system, granting you points to spend on artwork and other bonuses.
On the graphics front this is a great port. Iron Galaxy has included all sorts of views and filters to customize your playing experience. If you want super smooth pixels filling your entire screen, they have that. If you want a screen with curved edges and scan lines like an old CRT, they have that too. Everyone is sure to find some view that they enjoy. Artistically the game looks good as well. The Capcom characters are well drawn and designed and the Marvel ones are solid adaptations of their comic book counterparts. The game does reuse sprites from other Capcom fighters, though so you may have seen some of these models in action before. For example, the models for Wolverine and Spiderman in MvC and MSH are pretty much identical.
Iron Galaxy made some strange decisions in this game that impact the game. For example, instead of letting you choose your assist character in MvC they keep the random select in. There are specific button combinations you can press to get each character, but it’s a hassle and you need to memorize each one. It would be much easier if you could just select the one you wanted. It’s also strange that the hidden characters are locked at the start of the game for non-online modes. These are things that should have been updated to make this package more enjoyable. For the actual gameplay, MvC is a fairly decent fighting game, but it’s still not as much fun to play as MvC 2, which is also available on digital services for the same price. It lacks the sequels large roster and is a less balanced game, as well as just not feeling as good to play. MSH is just not a good fighting game and you really shouldn’t consider it much of an added value.
Marvel vs. Capcom Origins is an acceptable package. While Iron Galaxy did a decent job updating these games in terms of visuals and online play, they couldn’t change the basic gameplay. One of the games included in this package is fun to play and the other is pretty poor. It’s not the worst HD remake you could buy, but there are just too many other ones to make this a must buy.