Remember that crappy fighting game from EA, the one that had a whole list of Marvel characters act horribly out of character and literally stab and smash each other to death? The PSP version featured Captain America as an exclusive character. And that’s all I want to say about this mess.
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (2006)
For all intents and purposes, this grab-bag of Marvel heroes is the modern equivalent of the aforementioned Captain American and the Avengers. Pick a character, claw through a crapload of enemies, fight a boss, repeat until the end. But in this case, the cutscenes were handled so exceptionally well they’re worth the price of admission alone. They also portray Cap as the fearless leader and expert fighter that he truly is. As for in-game feats, I think the Ultimate Alliance games may be the first to acknowledge how agile the shield can be; one of Cap’s big moves is bouncing it off the walls to strike multiple enemies before returning to his hand.
He appeared again in Ultimate Alliance 2, which introduced Fusion combo attacks (like Storm blasting Cap’s shield, as seen above). Strangely, Marvel UA used Cap’s Ultimate costume, which is slightly more militaristic and lacks the head-ornament wings; in Marvel UA2, he’s back in his usual duds.
Marvel Super Hero Squad (2009)
Somehow Marvel got the idea that Spider-Man, Cap and its other heroes weren’t kid friendly enough (even though most readers today started as kids but WHATEVER), so it super-deformed ‘em into the Super Hero Squad. They look pretty ridiculous, but hey, if they do magically make kids interested in comics, I’m all for it. As for the game… it’s some button mashy beat ‘em up stuff, including the more recent Infinity Gauntlet version.
Marvel vs Capcom 3 (2011)
What would a new Marvel fighter be without Cap? Naturally Capcom included the super soldier, but it also made sure to toss in a few alternate costumes – namely shout-outs to Red Guardian, his classic MvC coloring and Punisher dressed up as Captain America.
Not long after launch, Capcom released a new classic skin, which gave Cap his ‘40s shield (which lacked many of the cool functions of today). As for his in-game presence, he’s still a fun, fast character to play around with, and one of my favorites in the game. Fittingly, his tossed shield now hits once on the way out, and then again on the way back.
Marvel Pinball (2011)
Developer Zen Studios made the rather excellent Pinball FX2, then later released Marvel Pinball, a re-skinned version of its already fun virtual pinballer. This year, it released the Captain America table, complete with Red Skull and Baron Zemo status to menace Ol’ Winghead from afar.
Captain America: Super Soldier (2011)
And that brings us to the just-released movie tie-in from Next Level Games. We’re still working on a review (Sega didn’t send us a copy until the day it was released) but the word on the street is that it’s better than Sega’s previous Marvel efforts (Iron Man, Thor and Hulk are all quite bad) but still can’t be ranked among the better superhero games. It learns a bit from Arkham Asylum, and if Next Level had more time it could have been something more.
As for Cap-ishness, Super Soldier implements some very cool ideas, like bouncing the shield between multiple enemies and reflecting bullets back at baddies. It’s very close to replicating the true Cap spirit – which isn’t backing a government, but an idea, and the right for people to choose their own fate – but isn’t quite there. Maybe his role in the inevitable Avengers game will finally deliver an authentic Cap adventure? If not that, perhaps Next Level will be able to spend more time on the likely tie-in to the Cap movie sequel…
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