In 1996, Capcom released X-Men vs Street Fighter, a dream come true for any kid who grew up reading comic books. Most of the gaming world was already obsessed with Capcom’s fighters during this era – now there was a new game where you could play as superheroes! This quickly grew into a very successful and iconic franchise for the company, eventually leading to the simplified title Marvel vs Capcom.
This superhero fighter became one of the major pillars in Capcom’s franchises and produced classic fighting games still played to this day. The first two games came out fairly close to each other with Marvel vs Capcom: Clash of Heroes coming out in 1998 and Marvel vs Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes releasing in 2000. This was a massive one-two punch, with the sequel improving on the first in several crucial ways. Both were well-received and garnered a huge following of both casual and professional players.
Then it disappeared off the face of the Earth. The next ten years went by without a single word from Capcom on a new entry in the series. It was strange because the games seemingly did well for the company. However the franchise seemed for all intents and purposes dead, at least in Capcom’s eyes. This was a huge disappointment for the series’ many loyal fans who still kept the first two games alive over the hiatus. We now know that this delay was because of several legal issues between Capcom and Marvel for the rights to use the properties.
However, in 2010 during a press conference in Hawaii, Capcom made dreams come true by finally announcing Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds. The wait was absolutely worth it – this was nearly everything fans had been hoping for.
MvC3 featured a huge roster of characters that spread across the fiction of both companies. The gameplay was similar, yet added much more to the table like the introduction of the love/hated “X-Factor”. It was also a gorgeous-looking title at the time, as vibrant and energetic-looking as a comic strip. Critics generally received the game well, and it gained a huge player base right at launch.
What’s really amazing however is the game’s life after its release. MvC3 continued on for years after its initial launch, being a main staying point for professional fighting games for nearly eight years. There was a massive and lively competitive scene that managed to keep bringing the game to the biggest stages like EVO, even as newer games were coming out.
Anyone who’s seen a match of this game understands why – it’s a thrill to watch. It genuinely provides some of the most insane competition you might ever see. It’s a parade of colors, combos, and trade-offs. Watching Virgil kill Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, and Nemesis in less than three minutes is something to behold. It’s just pure gaming and nerd joy distilled into a concentrated package. Go watch some old tournaments as you’ll see what I mean.
Marvel vs Capcom 3 is still fun to play today and is certainly better than the series current offerings (the latest of which is really not that good). If you have any interest in either of these companies it’s worth trying, even if you don’t play fighters. It’s easy to pick up and play with a focus on simplifying the gameplay for new players. Just doing the arcade mode a few times is a trip and feels like massive fan service. It’s arguably one of the greatest fighting games ever made and its legacy will live in tournaments for a long time to come.
If you wish to play Marvel vs. Capcom 3 on your current console, then the definitive edition – Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 – is on the Xbox Store.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, my team consists of Captain America, Frank West, and Wolverine. Stars and Stripes!