film & game reviews, the retro way.
AND THE AVENGERS
While this NES port of Captain America And The Avengers bears the same title as the arcade version, it really doesn’t have much to do with it in terms of gameplay. Sure, The Avengers are in it but you only get to play as (and switch between) Captain America and Hawkeye since Iron Man and Vision somehow got captured by The Mandarin.
The real Mandarin, not Trevor.
There are some other similarities with the arcade version, including the silly dialogs and the fact that Red Skull is the main villain.
That’s about it, though.
The game is not a beat ’em up but a side-scroller in which, initially, Cap runs around a DuckTales-style setting throwing his shield at bad guys.
There are gems to find pretty much everywhere, again, sort of like in DuckTales
The trees have exit signs on them, you’re fighting an army of robots and you have a bow and arrow (or a shield). None of this makes sense. Embrace it: it’s a video game.
Playing as Captain America is a lot of fun since he can not only boomerang his shield at enemies but run super fast and use his shield to bounce on the heads of baddies like, well, Scrooge McDuck and his trusty cane. Hawkeye is a little more generic, which begs the question: why not have Iron Man or Vision instead as main characters?
They fly, shoot laser beams…
Plus it would have made more sense for Hawkeye to get kidnapped. Just have him run out of arrows or something. Was Tony Stark drunk-flying again? Even then, playing as a wasted Iron Man sounds infinitely more fun.
Sorry Hawkeye, it does!
That said, please don’t shoot me, purple man.
There are lots of bosses but you tend to fight them in front of surprisingly psychedelic backgrounds. It's as if Dr. Strange himself set the stage. This is more distracting than it is stylistically pleasant, frankly.
I feel like the game is inviting me to layer these characters onto goofy backgrounds in Photoshop.
Of course, I’m much too busy to indulge in such tomfooleries.
I’m not sure I like this new version of Red Skull.
Not quite how I pictured the character but hey, Marvel know what they’re doing.
(also hail giant Red Skull chicken)
The bosses in the game include the likes of Crossbones and good old Ultron, who is sadly not voiced by James Spader here.
He’s actually pretty easy to beat in this game since his flight pattern is rather predictable. During the boss fights, I’ll admit, you do wish you were playing the arcade version as it was crazy fun when it came to all-out face punching action: the music, the sound effects, the pacing, it’s all missed here.
Um… anything you’re not planning on saying through gritted teeth, Mandarin?
I can’t tell if he’s always happy or always angry.
Sort of reminds me of my face when the infamous Iron Man 3 “twist” was revealed.
Yes, I'm still salty about that. I'll get over it when that Shang-Chi movie comes out, don't worry.
The final boss is, of course, Red Skull and, this time, you don’t get to fight him in his normal state and then his “Mecha Red Skull” form like in the other ports. Instead, he uses a bunch of gems to become…
You ready for this?
ALMOST NAKED MUSCLEBOUND RED SKULL.
Suddenly, the Red Skull can perform flying kicks, spin kicks and has a six pack like he’s Zangief from the Street Fighter games or something.
Short of having that aforementioned Red Skull chicken finish the game as its final boss, this is the best ending the NES could have ever given me and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
This all reminds me of that dude from Samurai Zombie Nation:
I guess we know who stole Red Skull’s red Speedos…
A few more things I like about the game include the idea of an Avengers-themed Mount Rushmore:
Mount Avengersmore: now there’s a Disneyworld attraction I could get behind.
I’m not sure who built this but I’m guessing Tony Stark probably had something to do with it. The man’s got an ego, and a bank account, the other three just don’t have so I think it makes sense.
Actually, forget about Disneyworld. It’s a great idea for an actual place and we should Kickstarter this beautiful bloody thing right now.
Another cool thing about the game is this map:
It’s quite simply one of the most adorable maps I’ve seen in a game full stop.
It’s also incomplete and inaccurate, I should point out. Just in case you’re ever in Tampa looking for some giant disembodied Captain America head.
Finally, there’s the stinker dialog and oddly worded writing throughout the game:
Did they make resistance?
I didn’t see them making resistance, did you?
I saw no making of any resistance whatsoever.
Is lying down making resistance?
Is “making resistance” really a phrase people say?
So anyway, that’s my review of the other Captain America and The Avengers: an underrated NES side-scroller that’s a solid challenge and a lot of fun, especially if you’re a Marvel fan. It’s a bit of a cop-out to have two playable Avengers instead of four and the game lacks some of the energy and, obviously, the vibrant graphics and colors of the arcade port but it’s still well worth playing.