Genre: Fighting
Year: 2000
Developed by: Capcom
Published by: Capcom
Platforms: PS2, Arcade, Xbox, Xbox 360, PS3, Dreamcast, iOS
Feeling Like: Taking you for a ride

It took me 10 years to finally have a go at Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Its reputation had preceded this eventual meeting. It was impossible not to be aware, if you patrolled the greasy carpets of  Johnny Zee’s arcade. The queue was about as long as any other machine, with onlookers roaring approval at the selection of their favorite superhero, Street Fighter, or obscure character that only the most dedicated nerd would be familiar with.

I WANNA TAKE YOU FOR A RIIIDe! seemed to blare out all the other exclamations from other cabinets.

This wasn’t like any other fighting game I’d ever seen before. The soundtrack was jazzy and upbeat, a far cry from classics like Street Fighter 2 or Mortal Kombat. The roster was absolutely mind boggling; familiar faces like Wolverine and Ryu were there, but also less famous characters like B.B. Hood, Marrow and Servbot. Instead of going 1 on 1 like most traditional fighters, players got to pick a trio of unlikely allies and tag them in at any time to assist them. The sheer number of possible combinations is staggering; according to my suspect math, it’s over 26,000.

That’s not all! Jumping didn’t simply levitate you a few feet in the air, but rather launched you into the skies above, to the point where you couldn’t even see your opponent. Beyond that, each fighter had three different fighting styles/types you could choose in addition to a super power each.

It’s almost as if Capcom created an entirely new genre within the fighting genre.

I never had the courage to give it a spin in front of a dozen teenagers looking on, so it would have to wait until my fabled Halifax trip in January of 2010.

This one! (See Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2!)

Dave recommended we give it a try, since the multitude of characters would lend itself well to replayability AND we could switch controllers depending on who won/lost/was too tired and needed another energy drink to perk up.

Although if Zangief backhanding the Hulk won’t perk you up, nothing will.

Since we were already knee deep in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, this seemed like an apt choice for switching up the action. I’m thankful we did, and preferred the fighting game to the action RPG, despite being absolutely terrible at…well, both.

The spectacle was insane. This had the single biggest, best lineup of a fighting game until Super Smash Bros. Ultimate dethroned it just last year. Everything from aliens with disgusting powers, to towering robots, to a cactus with a sombrero is up for grabs and they all have different styles and strengths. I still get a thrill from watching experts select team combinations I’d never thought of.

I can’t go into too much detail about the gameplay, since my experience with it was only skin deep. I can only imagine how much further up the list Marvel vs. Capcom 2 would have been if I had proper access to it throughout the aughts.

Memo to the Marvel Cinematic Universe…

So many little touches stay with me still. How each player can walk towards, or away from each other before the actual fight begins. The stellar animations on all the characters. The vibrant backdrops, the endlessly endearing/irritating menu theme, the amount of times you can call in your allies to assist you with wickedly dangerous combos and how deep the entire experience can be, solo or multi-player.

True fighting fans can explain how great this game is, and I’m missing out on a ton of core concepts like the super abilities of fighters, the proper “types” each character should be selected with, how there’s a fighting style for everybody, how Wolverine is ALWAYS a good choice and just how vibrant the entire package is.

I’m not worthy to expand any further. But I’d play this again in a heartbeat.

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