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Like Batman, Captain America has no superhuman powers. He can’t fly, he can’t stick to walls, he can’t run at the speed of sound. But it’s these limitations that make him so fun to root for; he’s constantly up against world-ending villains yet (like the Dark Knight) he can use superior fighting ability and brilliant tactics to stop evil dead in its tracks. However, with no nifty powers – other than unlimited stamina and an indestructible shield – he doesn’t make a particularly interesting videogame character, and therefore hasn’t starred in as many games as Spidey or Bats.
Above: Or as many cartoons, thanks to this crap
That said, Cap’s game history still spans decades, even if the actual number of games pales to other heroes. In light of the new film (and accompanying videogame) finally releasing and directly leading into next year’s The Avengers movie, let’s see how far this Super Soldier has come.
Near as I can tell, this is Cap’s first game appearance, and hoo boy is it unbecoming of the Star Spangled Sentinel. Released on various consoles in the late ‘80s, it pits Cap against the ridiculously named (and entirely new) villain Dr Megalomann. Why developer Erbe Software saw fit to invent a villain instead of using Marvel’s immense cache of bad guys is beyond me; surely Marvel wasn’t charging license fees on a per-character basis? Can we get some Red Skull or Ultron up in here?
Above: Cap standing proud with his vibranium-infused shield
I suppose you clumsily rummage through laboratories and secret hallways in an attempt to escape/destroy said Doom Tube. Hard to tell from the screens, which are literally 50% HUD. Points for all the stars though, they really set the mood. Maybe this is a good game? There’s next to zero information about it, no active discussions and no clips of gameplay. Guess it’s lost to the ages, just as Cap was entombed in ice for so many years…
Apparently Cap’s star power was not sufficient, as his next game appearance required a team-up with the Ever Bankable Spider-Man. He and Cap split gameplay 50/50, battling B-level villains like Electro, Batroc and Machete, then ultimately staring down Dr Doom in what is surely a riveting climax.
Above: I assure you, Rhino is in there
As with Doom Tube, there’s nothing particularly noteworthy about this game. It’s completely straightforward and boils down to smashing robots and slowly walking right until you smash something else. Even Cap’s shield-throwing animation is lame, and fails to convey the awesome might of hurling an invincible projectile at someone’s face.
Above: Taste the liberty
Perhaps the most noteworthy thing about Dr Doom’s Revenge is that it also happens to be Dr Doom’s first videogame appearance – I’ll make sure to jot that down for the inevitable “history of Dr Doom” feature. This game also came packed with an exclusive comic book, so collectors should take note.
Perhaps the most well known Captain America game of all time. It’s one of the dime-a-dozen beat ‘em ups from the early ‘90s, each of which starred three to four heroes fighting a seemingly endless number of thugs – this included everything from the Simpsons to Ninja Turtles. In this case, it was Cap, Iron Man, Hawkeye and Vision battling Red Skull, Mandarin, Whirlwind and, uh, The Living Laser.
Above: Look at that windup!
As far as Cap goes, this is the first time you really get a good sense of his shield’s power. He hurls that sucker across the screen with an appropriately superhuman stance, dealing damage and knocking enemies on their ass. The prior games simply didn’t visually channel that power.
Above: And somehow he generates several of them to throw in this shooter level
Perhaps the best known aspect of Captain America and The Avengers is its bizarre, nonsensical dialog. At the time, speech in videogames was still pretty nifty, so we overlooked how out-there it really was. Today, it’s pure hilarity and indicative of a time when neither Marvel nor its licensee (Data East, in this case) paid close attention to how well the game represented the brand.
Above: Why should it go well?
As with most successful ‘90s arcade games, Cap and the Avengers was ported to SNES and Genesis. It was also converted into a completely different NES game with the same name and cast, only Iron Man and Vision have been captured and Cap/Hawkeye have to save the day.
Above: I liked the sprite so much, I built one out of PixelBlocks!
Next page: Capcom gets its hands on Marvel’s super soldier
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