Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage (1994)
Speaking of beat ‘em ups, here’s a particularly crappy one that tied into Marvel’s fourteen-part Maximum Carnage storyline. However, it did so several months after the story was wrapped up, so even I (as someone who ravenously read every issue) had a hard time giving a shit. Cap’s role is limited to a brief cameo, where he tosses his shield and then tags out. I thought those colors weren’t supposed to run, Steve?
The Avengers in Galactic Storm (1995)
What the Liberty Bell is this? A ‘90s fighting game with Marvel characters that ISN’T from Capcom? Yes, somehow Data East held onto its Avengers license long enough to slip out a 2D scrapper based on a massive 19-part story that spanned all Avengers comics. There were only four playable fighters, but as the leader of the Avengers, of course Cap was included.
While the game itself feels clunky, Cap’s moves are actually fun to use and look remarkably similar to those in Capcom’s Marvel Super Heroes (more on that in a second). He can combo an enemy into the air, then hit ‘em with a shield toss before they hit the ground, plus execute that fancy kick you see above. Marvel fans will also notice a move eerily similar to Cap’s Charging Star – interesting, because Galactic Storm also features assist characters, a good three years before Marvel vs Capcom.
Marvel Super Heroes / Marvel vs Capcom (1995/1998)
By 1995, Capcom had two successful fighting fronts: the Street Fighter side (which itself was split between Alpha and regular), and then the Marvel side, which first gained steam with X-Men: Children of the Atom. Marvel Super Heroes expanded the X-Men roster to include heavy hitters like Spider-Man, Iron Man and, obviously, Captain America.
The sprite introduced in Marvel Super Heroes was recycled (in true Capcom fashion) in several other games, including Marvel vs Capcom 1 and 2. Luckily it was a badass, well-animated sprite that put some extra meat on his bones and made him a formidable fighter. Charging Star, Stars and Stripes, Final Justice… all special moves with suitably patriotic names. This may be the most well-known videogame version of Captain America.
Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems (1996)
Seeing as the SNES wasn’t powerful enough to handle a full conversion of Marvel Super Heroes, Capcom slapped together a side-scrolling beat ‘em up with a similar cast and Infinity Gauntlet-inspired story. Hulk, Iron Man, Spidey and Cap were the primary characters, each with standard moves and a handful of Street Fighter-esque specials that dealt more damage.
Just as Marvel Super Heroes lifted ideas from Children of the Atom, the SNES version copied gameplay from an earlier X-Men game, Mutant Apocalypse. Both mixed Final Fight-style mechanics with additional moves triggered by Street Fighter command inputs. Neither is particularly great, and this specific Marvel game slipped in just as the SNES was finally dying off.
Not much to say about Cap in this one, other than he’s a drab-talking supporting character and plays poker with Daredevil, Punisher and Spider-Man in the ending. Then the Human Torch interrupts to dance in front of them. This totally happened.