Friday, 26 July 2019

Top/Bottom 3 Virtua Superhero Games - How's my Cape Look?

The superhero genre has always been celebrated ever since Siegel and Shuster created one of the most iconic caped wonders back in the late 1930’s. Over the years, changing tones and changing times have brought them back and forth from fame to shame and back again. Well, now superheroes are back in action after over a decade of success. Unfortunately, the system we celebrate here on Planet Virtua was not created during one of the comic book haydays. It took a while after the system was discontinued for masked heroes to climb to the new heights they have today. So, sadly, there was not a huge push for the genre.

That doesn’t mean it was a barren concept, though. In fact, this was when the Fighting Franchise vs Fighting Franchise idea really took off. Marvel vs DC was so well received that Capcom looked at their licenses and went “We can do this!” God bless them for this! Thanks to Capcom’s gusto, we have a large line of fighting games that incorporate many of our favorite characters from our favorite comics! There were, sadly, some duds along the way too.

Top 3 Superhero Games!

3. X-men: Children of Atom

This was the first superhero game released for the Sega Saturn and they got it right! Once again, the system shows off its capabilities by showcasing arcade-style graphics with minimal slowdown. The real gripe for this game is a limited roster, however, with so few characters, they chose the right ones. Other than the sentinel character, you can pick and choose among some favorites. In top Capcom fashion, the fighting is satisfying as hell.

2. Marvel vs Street Fighter

Now, we have one of the front runners of its time. This game was a gigantic hit in arcades and the fact that Saturn could simulate that experience to a high degree made it a very strong title. It is still played today, even with Marvel vs Capcom games coming out with strangulated regularity, people still gravitate toward the classics. Of course, it features your favorites: Spider-man, Wolverine, Captain America and the main cast of Street Fighter. However, there were also some very odd choices. Shuman-Gorath hasn’t exactly been well known through the Marvel universe but he makes his debut video game appearance here, much to the puzzlement of the vast populace. Why did they need a tentacle monster in a game with anime style cha--- You know what, never mind. NEXT!

1. Marvel Super Heroes

What’s this? A Marvel game that came out in 1997 and is somehow even more relevant today? Be still, my beating heart! A game based on the storyline behind the “Infinity Gauntlet” arc in the comics is something of a novelty to begin with, let alone the fact that two blockbuster hits came out based on the same thing. By some grace and miracle, Thanos is an unlockable character in this amazing title. Add him on top of all of the Marvel favorites and you’ve got arguably the best superhero fighting game on the Saturn! Not to mention the return of Shuman-G--OH CRAP! HE’S BACK AGA--

Bottom 3 Superhero Games!

3. Batman Forever: The Arcade Game

Don’t panic, this is not the SNES Acclaim reject that should have never been. This is just a 2D beat’em up featuring Batman, Robin, Two-Face and the Riddler. Finding this title is rather easy and it is fairly cheap by comparison to other Saturn games. There’s a reason for this. While many arcade games made a nice, smooth transaction to the system, this one did not. Not at all. With missing frames, cheap looking graphics added to the repetitive nature of the Beat’em Up, you pretty much have a forgettable title. There’s really not much else that can be said about this one. It’s really just mediocre and bland. In fact, with the SNES tie-in game, you at least have some complaining you can do to entertain yourself. Not that I… complain about games… to entertain… alright, moving on.

2. The Incredible Hulk: The Pantheon Saga

Not to be confused with a good Hulk game… if there is such a thing. The Hulk has to traverse through buildings that he can literally crumble with one smash. Now he has to take his time, hit levers and smash glass cases to figure out puzzles. The fighting is so mediocre and boring, and so is the game as a whole. Worst of all, the Hulk is weak and can apparently be taken down with very little fire or a couple of bullets. He’s not so much the Hulk as he is an Ulk… or maybe just an Lk.

1. The Crow City of Angels

Yes, you’re right, bit of a Virtua Retread, but this game really can’t be bad talked enough. When your game’s best quality is its backgrounds and horrific voice acting of joy, you screwed up big time. Whether there was any other dialogue other than “Hey, clown face!” I really cannot say because that seemed to be all the thugs said when you approached them. The graphics on every single character look like someone held them over a fire for a few minutes and threw them into the game. They didn’t even make a video game for The Crow’s original movie. Why in the hell did they go for the ridiculously terrible sequel?! It’s really no wonder no one remembers him as a Superhero at all, more just a cult classic movie starring Brandon Lee. Let’s just remember that movie and act like nothing else came out of the franchise.

Due to the Sega Saturn's somewhat limited number of popular licenses, there really were very few games to choose from. Capcom more or less cornered the market when it came to playable comic book crusaders. Unfortunately, that means that it’s relegated down to simple fighting games. It took a long time for the comic book industry to recover from the hard hit it took during the 80’s and 90’s in popularity. As it turns out, film was where the superheroes belonged, it just took the right vision to put them there.

Take that as you will. With less Superhero games than we all would like, the Saturn struggled with the genre. However, what we had was entertaining as hell. If you can get ahold of any of these titles, be sure to do so. Even the terrible ones are fun to poke fun at. Especially when you feel slimy tentacles wriggling over your arms and neck and cutting off your air ways so you can’t brea---AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!

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