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Video Game: Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects

Clash of the Super Heroes.
Back of the Box

Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects (2005) is a game that was launched for the PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PSP, and Nintendo DS and was promoted by a comic miniseries. It is most similar to Power Stone, Ehrgeiz, and Super Smash Bros. Gameplay consists of a fairly free-form fighting system, complete with dodges, blocks, get-up attacks, uppercuts, and air tackles. Using the super button allows the super version of each of these abilities, being more powerful but also depleting the super bar.

The game structures itself around the city of New York falling into chaos with an alien invasion, where heroes such as Captain America (depending on the console) and the Hulk are seemingly killed, and the appearance of a mysterious new superpowered group called the Imperfects. This also sets the game up for its dark tone.

Nemesis was supposed to be followed up by a sequel in 2008, but EA and Marvel terminated their partnership following the game's disappointing critical reception. Many early announcements identified the game as "Marvel vs. EA", and if you're having trouble naming any iconic EA characters (John Madden aside), then you understand the initial skepticism the game received before it was announced that the non-Marvel characters would be all original. It sank so hard, Marvel ultimately cut all ties to EA and returned to Activision for video game business.


Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Evil Counterpart: Many of the Imperfects are clear parallels to the Marvel characters. Hazmat's a gooier Spider-Man or Venom, Solara's an alien-empowered Human Torch, Brigade is Wolverine with guns instead of claws, etc. The Wink is the only such character whose heroic analogue (Nightcrawler) isn't in the game.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: The home planet of the Big Bad was subjected to this. His entire plan is to raise an army or create a weapon capable of retaking his home world.
  • Finishing Move: Can occur once per match, not necessarily needed to be the finishing blow (which raises the question of Iron Man disintegrating Venom with a large Uni-Beam only for him to come back for more.)
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Niles Van Roekel is trying to create a weapon or raise an army to liberate his home planet from invaders, becoming a ruthless invader himself.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The EA Hype Machine fully at work. The game was initially promoted as a fighting game akin to Capcom's Versus Series, but as time grew closer to the release date, previews made it more obvious that the game was closer in genre to a Beat 'em Up, and most of the fighting game elements were relegated to multiplayer (and being closer in style to EA's own Def Jam Series.)
  • Original Generation: The Imperfects.
  • Real Is Brown
  • The Worf Effect: Used to an absolutely shameless degree with Captain America, the Punisher, and the Hulk, the last of which is barely shown, to establish just how dangerous the aliens are.
    • This is required more or less for gameplay purposes. When 4 Marvel heroes' storylines have been completed, a "sacrifice" mission is required to be completed before the story as a whole can continue. These missions involve the player taking control of an Imperfect (using the Wink against Electra or Hazmat against Venom) or a corrupted hero (Spider-Man vs. Human Torch or Wolverine vs. Storm) to kill off a hero. By the end of the game, only 3 characters can survive. One more thing: out of all the Marvel characters, Magneto never survives despite the player's actions. His sacrifice mission is needed to process.
  • Wolverine Publicity: The Trope Namer is in the game and prominently displayed in marketing as well as on the cover.


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alternative title(s): Marvel Nemesis; Marvel Nemesis Rise Of The Imperfects
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