film & game reviews, the retro way.
Beat 'em Up
Sega Genesis, Arcade, SNES, Game Gear, more.
AND THE AVENGERS
With Avengers: Endgame still fresh in our minds, why not take a look back at a game that brought Marvel’s titanic superteam to life in 16 bit form and made my personal Sega Mega Drive game collection that little bit more special?
The early 90’s didn’t have as much as we have now in the way of kickass "Avengery" things and, tragically, that soporific Captain America movie from 1990 just didn’t cut it so you can imagine how much fun it was to play a game like Captain America And The Avengers.
This was an epic, relentless arcade beat 'em up with the choice of 4 classic characters to play as, Marvel cameos aplenty and a good mix of villains to battle. I should mention that, out of the 4 characters to choose from, Captain America was clearly the safest bet with the boomerang shield action proving much more effective than any of the other weapons available. Vision and Iron Man’s attacks both feeling much too stiff in comparison, while Hawkeye's arrows never seem to cause quite as much damage as a vibranium shield to the FACE.
The story is obviously pretty simple. Having stolen some kind of “mind-control machine”, the Red Skull has set out to lead an army of supervillains to destroy the Earth with the use of some laser cannon setup on the Moon. Why? Not clear on that… maybe fun? Anyway, The Avengers are called in to put an end to that dastardly plan, yada yada yada.
Speaking of the supervillains or, I should say…
They include the likes of Whirlwind (laughs like a goat), The Sentinels (absurdly easy to beat), The Juggernaut (of Vinnie Jones fame), Grim Reaper (not that one) and, of course, Red Skull (absurdly hard). Getting through these guys is no picnic but it sure is an adventure worth embarking on.
You’ve got Double Dragon-style street levels where you get to fight and throw soda cans at robots (good luck with that), relatively straight-forward flying/sea levels during which Hawkeye and Captain America look like old people driving their little carts to the supermarket…
Actually, one of the most fun things you can do in this game is punch walls. It’s mindless but I could do that for hours. One level should have just been walls, to be honest (this is why I’m not a game designer btw). Seriously though, the fist-fights in this game are loads of fun as are the special moves, when you can get them right. The Genesis is by far the most satisfying version of the game out there: there's an urgency to it, like something is actually at stake.
That said, the SNES version improves the speech audio radically (they're hilariously inaudible on the Genesis) as well as the comic strips in between levels. The characters also look more detailed and the music sounds more polished but I still prefer the rugged look and feel of the Genesis version, it just holds on to that arcade vibe and I love it. Even with its nonsensical dialogs.
Honorable mention goes to the Game Boy version which actually expands the levels, makes the game slightly less linear and is pretty adorable as a whole despite being a tad slow. There’s an NES version as well but it’s completely different, opting for a more generic side-scroller instead of the sugar-rushed arcade mayhem of the other games. It’s not bad, just different.
Playing the Genesis version of the game today is still just as addictive as it always was. Sure, everyone speaks like they’re chewing cake, but it doesn’t matter. This is one beat 'em up you start and never look away from again until either your entire team has perished, you’ve somehow beaten Mecha Red Skull or your eyeballs have fallen out of their sockets.
It’s simply irresistible and, for me, it remains one of the most reliable titles on the Genesis. So quickly “assemble” 1 to 3 friends and give this very entertaining game another go… or the Earth gets it!
I leave you with more inspired dialogs.
Oh no you di’n’t!