With the recent news of Arcade1Up producing a Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 arcade cabinet with seven additional games, Marvel and fighting game fans are celebrating that they can get a piece of the arcade experience in their own homes. Sitting in anyone’s gaming space alongside modern Marvel games, this an ideal way to expand anyone’s collection if they aren’t fortunate to have a copy of it.
From the ’90s up until today, Marvel characters have been the source of some of the greatest arcade games of all time that any gamer should try at least once. Some may be hard to get, while others received ports to other systems. These games helped shape the video game industry and should be remembered for their contribution.
Marvel: Contest Of Champions
One of the newest fighting games to feature Marvel characters in recent years, Marvel Contest of Champions was loosely based on the comic book arc of the same name that brings together multiple heroes and villains from the Marvel universe. And with updates and additional characters to coincide with the latest movies and television shows, it’s still as active today as it was upon its release.
While many will know the game as an IOS and Android title, it was transformed into an arcade cabinet for various Dave & Buster’s restaurant locations to celebrate the release of Captain Marvel. Being able to bring the fighting game to arcade cabinets was an exciting venture, but it was a shame that it wasn’t released at all locations for gamers to try.
Captain American And The Avengers
After their work on the Batman video game in 1990, Data East continued to make arcade video games and developed and released Captain America and the Avengers. With the popularity of side-scrolling beat ’em ups in the ’90s, they focused their efforts on this gameplay where up to four people can play the Avengers to defeat the Red Skull in one of the best video game appearances starring Captain America.
While this would end up being ported to the Sega Mega Drive and Super Nintendo, the arcade game remained one of the best side-scrolling games to feature Marvel characters. It helped to expand team-based multiplayer side-scrolling games and should be played for its historical context alone.
Konami may not be the video game company it once was, but back in the early ’90s, they were responsible for creating some of the best side-scrolling games of all time. After working on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time, they brought Marvel’s mutant superhero team to arcades.
If gamers know anyone with a digital copy of the game on the PS3 and Xbox 360 games, or access to the cabinet itself, they’ll know that this is a hard game to come by. But it’s one of the best games in the arcade, as up to six people can fight alongside one another, with each hero having their own abilities and powers.
Avengers In Galactic Storm
Returning to develop another arcade game featuring Earth’s mightiest heroes, Data East loosely adapted the pages of the Operation: Galactic Storm comics for their next arcade game. While Captain America would be a playable character for their game yet again, he would be joined by the Black Knight, Crystal, and Thunderstrike, as well as some Kree characters too.
While not as remembered fondly today compared to other Marvel video games that players have today, the developer did try to push the technology and use 3D models for their characters. It was compared to Killer Instinct with how well the models looked for fighting games at the time, making it one of the best Avengers video games.
Capcom developed one of the best side-scrolling beat ’em ups at the end of the ’80s, with Final Fight released in 1989. Four years after they debuted their hit series, they released The Punisher for arcades and it was regarded as one of the best.
While the ports for The Sega Mega Drive and Sega Genesis weren’t as well received, the original arcade game was regarded as one of the best at the time. Combining melee combat and shooting mechanics, the variety of the combat, and the option for a second player to control Nick Fury, made it a popular cabinet at the arcades.
Spider-Man: The Video Game
Before Insomniac would eventually create one of the best Spider-Man games of all time, Sega developed Spider-Man: The Video Game for arcades in 1991. In a year that would see many games from the iconic studio become classics, Spider-Man remained one of their best-reviewed games from that year.
While it was not the first Spider-Man game, it is certainly one of the best and should be worth playing to see how one of the best Spider-Man games of the ’90s could compare to the Spider-Man games of today. Unfortunately, the cabinets are difficult and expensive to find, and the game was never ported to other systems.
The Marvel vs. Capcom series may not have been as strong as it once was, with the last entry becoming one of the most disappointing games of 2017, but the earlier games remain one of the best fighting titles of all time. And it all started with Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes when it hit arcades in 1998.
Despite many studios moving to 3D for their video games at the time, Capcom continued to make some sprite-based games that kept up to the action of modern titles. It was even ported a year later to PlayStation and Dreamcast. And while not being quite the same experience as in the arcade, it should still be explored to see where it all started.
X-Men: Children Of The Atom
After the success of their arcade machine on The Punisher, Capcom released X-Men: Children of the Atom in 1994. Featuring the cast of iconic X-Men heroes and villains, players fought it out within arenas inspired by iconic locations from the Marvel comics.
The main reason that this game should be sought out is that this was the first fighting game Capcom developed with the Marvel license. This would be the major stepping stone that would lead to the creation of the iconic Marvel vs. Capcom series.
Marvel Super Heroes Vs. Street Fighter
Following up from the X-Men vs. Street Fighter game, Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter saw the iconic fighters of Ryu, Akuma, and Chun-Li battling it out with the likes of Captain America and Spider-Man. Released in arcades in 1997, it was eventually ported to the PlayStation and Sega Saturn at the end of the ’90s.
By opening up the selection of Marvel characters outside from the mutant superheroes, the game offered more variety for Marvel fans to choose their favorite heroes and villains. And it would eventually take Capcom a step closer to creating one of the best fighting game franchises of all time.
Marvel Super Heroes
One of the greatest Marvel fighting games of all time, Marvel Super Heroes was developed yet again by Capcom and was one of the best ensemble of Marvel characters in a video game. It even bested the MCU movies, as it adapted the pages of the Infinity Gauntlet comic book storylines.
After enjoying success at the arcades in 1995, it was ported so many times that most gamers could get their hands on it. Available on the original PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and released digitally on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, it is worth seeking out. Whether a fan of Marvel or fighting games, this was a great harmony of the two that can still be enjoyed today.
NEXT: 10 MCU Characters That Should Appear As Fighters In Marvel VS Capcom