Featured Columns

October 29, 2009

The Comics Console: Marvel Super Hero Squad & Team-Up Games

THQ and Blue Tongue Entertainment’s Marvel Super Hero Squad is a perfect example of how a lot of modern comic book super hero games are being treated – as extensions of a larger property. Nothing big or fancy, just developed for its target audience, in this case, young children. Not that any of this is always a bad thing, you just become immediately aware that games like this are not intended to blow the minds of Marvel fans or gamers, and they don’t always deserve the same brutal beating of a review that the big budget games get.

946219_20090918_790screen007

"Come to me, my adorable little herald!"

Marvel Super Hero Squad is based off the Cartoon Network series that’s based off the Hasbro line of horribly disfigured toys. We get to see our favorite Marvel characters like Wolverine, Hulk, Silver Surfer, Iron Man, Thor and Dr. Doom all in uber cute Chibi forms. The story for this game is ripped right from the TV show; An Infinity Crystal has been shattered and you must gather its pieces before Dr. Doom does.

Gameplay consists of beating up countless enemies and getting from point A to B. Keep in mind, this one is for younger fans. Aside from the story, there is a cool little brawler mode that works like a watered down Super Smash Bros., allowing up to four players.

The game has an expected lightheartedness to it — again, keeping in mind that this is a kid’s game — with a sense of humor that can be pretty hit and miss, but I couldn’t help but chuckle after Magneto says, “You interrupted me while I was erasing hard drives just for fun!” That evil mutant bastard! The voice acting is very crude and the camera can get a bit out of hand at times, but things like this aren’t going to stop the 8-12 year old demographic from having fun.

946219_20090918_790screen001

"I'm the best at what I do. And what I do isn't — OH MY GOD WHERE DID ALL THIS LAVA COME FROM?!"

Marvel Super Hero Squad isn’t for all Marvel fans, and if you want a more mature Marvel team-up experience then look no further than Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. But MSHS does its job well- It simply serves as an extension to its television counterpart. And it’s just adorable. 3/5

One thing in comics that just seems to never get old is team-ups. Fans love to see their favorite heroes working together to conquer a common threat. Something fans like even more is seeing their favorite heroes fight against each other. Thankfully, the video game industry has cashed in on this theme as much as the comics have.

Our minds were first blown in 1991 with Captain America and the Avengers in arcades where fans could, for the first time, assemble the Avengers to take on Marvel’s nastiest C-list enemies. This game still holds up as fun, challenging, and hilarious.

In 1995 DC pitted its greatest super heroes against each other in Justice League Task Force. You’ll fight against evil clone Leaguers all across different cities in the DCU, getting to the root of this twisted conspiracy: Darkseid! JLTF isn’t a perfect fighting game, but was a dream come true for DC fans at the time. This was the first time we actually got to play Superman vs. Batman, or any other mix up of heroes including Aquaman, Flash, Despero, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Darkseid, and Cheeta. (On a side note, if you can, check this out on the Sega Genesis. It’s much better in my opinion.)

justice_league_task_force

Mullet Superman is the best Superman

A year later, Marvel superstars Spider-Man, Wolverine, Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America searched for the gems of the Infinity Gauntlet in Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems. The game is a side scrolling beat ’em up and isn’t half bad. It was also the beginnings of a beautiful relationship with Capcom. In 1997, Capcom published Marvel vs. Street Fighter, which eventually led to the epic fighter, Marvel vs. Capcom. In typical Capcom fashion, the game was amazing and had fans all across the board pumping in quarter after quarter to break their fingers on one of the best games of the year.

In 2000, Capcom multiplied the power by three with Marvel vs. Capcom 2, allowing three-on-three battles. To this day MvC2 is considered one of the greatest fighters of all time, and was re-released earlier this year on Xbox Live Marketplace and Playstation Network.

OH SH****T

OH SH****T

With the popularity of the Justice League series on Cartoon Network, two tie-ins were developed for the Game Boy Advance. Like Marvel Super Hero Squad, and so many other television tie-ins, the games were good for some quick fun as your favorite league member, but not much more than that.

In 2005, Marvel took on a class of fighters much more inferior to that of the Capcom fighters in Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects. Imperfect indeed. The game was bold, ambitious, and, honestly, a really cool idea, but lacked execution. The game was mostly an arena brawler with a few third-person action elements that were fun and intriguing at first, but got stale quick.

A year later, and practically at the same time, both Marvel and DC collected their finest heroes for the Xbox, Playstaion 2 and Gamecube with Marvel Ultimate Alliance and Justice League Heroes. Both games were dungeon crawling role-playing-games with somewhat repetitive gameplay, but exactly what fans had been waiting for for years. However, while Raven Software had two games to perfect the style with their X-Men Legends series, Justice League Heroes, while still a good game, fell short, was looked upon as an X-Men Legends rip-off, and was forgotten.

"Batman, I'm going to give you the biggest hug a Martian can give!"

"Batman, I'm going to give you the biggest hug a Martian can give!"

After thirteen years, DC returned to fighting games in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. The game didn’t couldn’t touch the quality of Marvel vs. Capcom, but was the best Mortal Kombat game in years. At its core, it was a solid fighter with a healthy cast and decent story, but probably didn’t spend much time in disc trays.

Not long ago Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 was released, and Marvel has since held the championship belt for best super hero team-up games proudly over its shoulder, but may soon be met with an unspeakable challenge. In 2010, the Playstation 3 will house DC Universe Online. A massive¬†Multiplayer Online game featuring many of DC’s top contenders, that will have fans creating their own DC hero and fighting crime alongside the big names in cities like Metropolis, Gotham City, Central City, Coast City and all over Earth.

Once upon a time, Marvel had struck a deal with Microsoft to release Marvel Universe Online exclusively for Windows Vista and the Xbox 360. The war of comics was set to enter the war of consoles, but unfortunately Microsoft felt they were “unable to compete in the MMO marketplace.” Marvel Universe Online eventually became Champions Online — a super hero based MMO with no essential ties to Marvel.

The MMO would seem to spell out the beginnings of the quintessential super hero team-up game, allowing the fans themselves to team with their favorite heroes; however I still hold that the ultimate super hero team-up game would be my long fantasized Marvel vs. DC fighting game.

dc-vs-marvel

This is another game that will probably never happen due to all the licensing discrepancies that would occur, but I keep faith that one day… one day…Warner Bros. and Disney can make all our dreams come true.

Next week on The Comics Console we go over some of ComicAttack.net‘s favorite games!

Andrew Hurst
andrewhurst@comicattack.net

Share/Save





5 Comments


  1. InfiniteSpeech

    I’ll probably pick up a copy of MSHS for my PS2…i was a little miffed it wasn’t on the newer systems but ah well. Marvel vs Capcom 2 has got to be one of the best fighters of all time!! I play it to this day just to keep my skills sharp lol

    I remember playing JLTF as well and it was a pretty decent game. I used Flash and Superman a lot!


  2. billy

    My kids would love that game! I’ll have to pick it up.



  3. So is this Marvel’s version of Lego Star Wars?

    And MvC2 is one of the best games I’ve ever played.

    Once again Andrew, kick ass job!!


  4. Aron White

    Santa brought Marvel Super Hero Squad for my 4 yr old son for the Wii. He loves it! He loves to be all of his favorites and beat up bad guys! “Destroy them!”, he’ll yell.

    I tell you what, though…..the Wolverine mission with the lava (as you have pictured) is very very HARD! I’m an old dog when it comes to video games, so I can imagine it could frustrate a lil’ guy (or lady) to tears! I never expected anything nowadays directed towards young children to be so difficult!

    But so far, that’s the only hard part. The rest of the story mode I’ve played, is really very fun!



  5. […] for you with Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet! The sequel to last year’s Marvel Super Hero Squad game based off the TV show and toy line, looks to follow about the same story as Jim […]



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *