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Old 05-03-2012, 07:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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One Hour Retrospective: Captain America and The Avengers

The summer movie season is about to bring the ruckus to all us unsuspecting cinemaphiles. Recent trailers for is-it-or-isn't-it-an-Alien-prequel Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rising have set some ridiculously high expectations for this this season, causing equal parts excitment and terror. This weekend marks the unofficial start of this movie theater bonanza with the US release of The Avengers. After enjoying the hell out of Joss Whedon's take on Earth's Mightiest Heroes, I decided to take a quick dip into Marvel's gaming past with a look at Captain America and The Avengers, a SNES port of the arcade game.

If you're anything like me, you spent a depressingly large chunk of the early '90s in the smoky din of your local arcade. Never being that into fighting games, I spent a bulk of my loose change punching my way through any brawler I could get my hands on, especially if said beat-em-up was based on a licensed property that piqued my interest. Aside from the phenomenal Simpson's: Arcade Game and anything starring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, my property of choice was Marvel, specifically Captain America and The Avengers. The game was fun enough to mug me of my milk money as a kid, but does it hold up well enough to steal from my now-precious scotch money? Well, the whole money thing is kind of irrelevant since I played an hour of the SNES port.


Immediately given the option to choose which Avenger I wanted to...um...avenge as, I obviously chose Hawkeye because Jeremy Renner was pretty great in The Town. Captain America and Iron Man already get enough love, and Vision is a robotic creeper who was thankfully omitted from this weekend's film. After choosing your hero, you hear a tinny voice proudly shriek, "America still needs your help!" The patriotic inspiration that this line conjured made me wonder if President Obama played this game religiously during his time at the University of Chicago. After the narrator's emphatic plea, you're thrown in a rightward fracas that feels like any mediocre brawler you've ever played. The combat feels sluggish and doesn't contain the physicality found in some of the premiere entries in the genre. There is a noticable lack of collision between your fists and the enemies which never quite allow you to get into the flow of the game. Visually, the bold colors have a nice pop to them, but the character sprites are uniformly small and muddled. You can recognize the most iconic characters, but the rest of the cast looks bladly smeared.

Early on in your journey to protect the world from Red Skull's Nazi nonsense, you'll engage in fisticuffs with Marvel villains like Whirlwind, Mandarin, and a variety of mutant-hating Sentinels. But despite these familiar characters, the game simply fails to hold your attention. What's even worse than the mechanical problems is the god-awful music that invades whatever space you're playing the game in. The sensory bedlam that exists in any arcade helped mask the terrible sounds that emanate from Captain America and The Avengers, but the silence of my bedroom left the doors wide open for this ungodly racket of a soundtrack. The looped sample sounds eerily similar to when I sit down at a drum-set and just proceed to smash things with no musical prowess whatsoever. It's only fitting that the lone redeeming quality of this game's sound is the comic book action bubbles that appear above an enemy after you score a powerful hit. Sadly, all the thwacks, smashes, and kabooms in the world can't salvage this aural assault.


Like bocce ball, an arcade brawler is infinitely more fun with a group of buddies and a terracotta army of empties. The SNES port of the arcade game only supports two players as opposed to the original four, which is honestly an automatic ding in my book. The recent XBLA and PSN release of The Simpson's: Arcade Game was able to replicate that original nickelodeon nostalgia so perfectly that playing through this Avengers title just felt lacking in so many ways. Where Springfield is rife with references and nods to series, this game could easily have a sprite swap and become any other property.

Despite the game not aging as well as I had hoped, this wet blanket of a title couldn't tarnish my love for the cinematic version of The Avengers. Unless you're seriously fiending for a dose of digital assembling, I'd advise that let Earth fall into the wrong hands this time around.



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Old 05-03-2012, 07:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: One Hour Retrospective: Captain America and The Avengers

Captain America and the Avengers - Arcade/Coin-Op
Captain America and the Avengers - Sega Genesis
Captain America And The Avengers - Super Nintendo
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Old 05-04-2012, 01:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: One Hour Retrospective: Captain America and The Avengers

I was going to ask why the guy with the bow can't shoot arrows but can throw empty coke cans. Then I figured out pressing both buttons fires.

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"You cannot escape."
"You will be the one escaping."

Ha. Best come back ever.
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