About twenty months ago, in the lead up to the digital release of Marvel vs Capcom 2, I wrote a guide to the dozens of characters in that game and thought how cool it would be to have some new blood in that series. I knew it was foolish, as both Marvel and Capcom made it clear that there were no plans for a sequel, that this rerelease was a onetime deal. So I forgot those dreams until much later when Marvel and Capcom shocked the world in announcing a third MvC, and I dreamt of the possible roster once more.
Above: The super cool Japanese box art
Now that the full roster has been revealed, it has its highs and lows, and probably everyone has a favorite they wish was included, (seriously, where the F*** is Mega Man?!?!), but I think it’s a satisfying and surprisingly deep group of characters. So deep in fact, that you may be at a loss to understand just where every character came from. That’s why I devised this primer that will make everything clear, even if you’re a Marvel Zombie that’s never heard of Darkstalkers or the type of person glued to every EVO live stream and has never read Giant-Sized X-Men #1.
Big thanks to Brett Elston for his help
First Appearance: Super Street Fighter II Turbo (Arcade)
Also known as Gouki, Akuma is the not so nice brother of Gouken, Ken and Ryu's aged sensei. Until Gouken’s return in Street Fighter IV, it was assumed Akuma had killed his brother, though Akuma definitely did kill his teacher after discovering the dark powers that fuel him, and as tribute he wears his late master's prayer beads around his neck. Though he’s a brutal fighter, Akuma is fueled by an urge to be the strongest, not to terrorize society. He's normally cast as Ryu's main enemy in the Alpha series, and perennial loser Dan sees Akuma as a rival, while Akuma just ignores him. Akuma is closely linked to the MvC series, having appeared in basically every Marvel fighting game Capcom has produced.
First Appearance: Resident Evil (PlayStation)
Chosen by the Umbrella Corporation at a young age for his intellect and guile, Wesker worked within the company until ultimately joining the S.T.A.R.S. team of Raccoon City Police as a double agent to make sure they never found out Umbrella’s secret plans in the area. After betraying the team, Wesker escaped death by using an experimental virus that game him incredible speed and strength. After Umbrella’s defeat, he swore revenge on all those he blamed for his troubles, including Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine and ultimately the rest of the world. His plans for global genocide were eventually foiled, as he met his end after falling into a volcano and then being blown up with rockets, which was too much even for his incredible healing powers.
First Appearance: Okami (PlayStation 2)
Ever heard of Okami, a game we keep telling you is awesome no matter how much you don’t play it? Well Amaterasu is the star of that superlative title, and we couldn’t be happier to see her finally make a return to gaming in MvC3. An ancient Japanese sun goddess, Amaterasu came to earth in the form of a white dog to battle and ultimately destroys the evil spirits that were returning to the earthly realm. She travels old Japan with a celestial paintbrush that creates whatever she needs in a few brush strokes, dispatching any demons that stand in her way, as she returns life and beauty to a world that has lost it.
First appearance: Ghosts ‘n Goblins (Arcade)
We’d like to say Arthur is a powerful knight armed with all manner of divine weaponry, but in reality he’s one of the frailest heroes of all time. Ever since his arcade debut (and subsequent NES, Genesis, SNES and PSP adventures), he’s had to deal with armor that explodes into nothingness after one hit, at which point he valiantly continues fighting in nothing but his boxer shorts. Naturally this makes his games among the most difficult in history. As far as MvC3 goes, he’s nowhere near as flimsy – Arthur can power up his lances, daggers and axes until they’re brimming with energy, and his odd size and jumping ability make him a hard one to pin down.
First Appearance: Captain America #1
A patriotic but sickly kid, Steve Rogers wanted to serve his country in WWII, and was finally able to when given an experimental super soldier serum that put him at the peak of physical perfection. When that was joined by a colorful costume and an indestructible shield, Captain America was born, and he was punching Hitler regularly. At the war's end he was accidentally frozen in ice and awoken in modern times where he consistently lead Marvel's premier team, the Avengers, when not keeping America safe solo. Seen as an inspiration to all the heroes of the world, Cap leads with strength and humility, and is one of the best fighters on the planet, with or without his shield.
First Appearance: Resident Evil (PlayStation)
A member of the S.T.A.R.S. team of special operatives, Chris Redfield probably wasn’t expecting to end up stranded in a mansion fighting zombies, but that’s exactly what happened. Chris and a few members of S.T.A.R.S. barely survived the ordeal, and they weren’t helped by the betrayal of teammate Albert Wesker. Eventually, alongside his close compatriot Jill Valentine, Chris destroyed Umbrella, the corporation responsible for the outbreak, but it took him even longer to stop his arch enemy Wesker. The strong and silent type, Redfield has killed hundreds of zombies all over the world, and will continue to do so until the dead stay dead.