Reviews: Captain America And The Avengers

Delicious ham and cheese

I remember first encountering this game in the arcades as a kid. It was surprisingly loud for an arcade machine. When I heard "The A-VEN-GERS!!" delivered in an epic yet hammy voiceover, my eyes were drawn to this game and its amazingly detailed and colored backgrounds, and its more simple cartoon coloring for the heroes and villains standing in front. The game's hammy presentation just screamed epic. And in hindsight, it also screamed cheese.

And that was just the attract screen.

The gameplay is your standard beat-em-up for the time, with a little bit of variety. Each hero has a long-distance attack performed by pressing jump and attack at the same time. There are moments where you fly through the sky, space, or in the water, shooting down enemies. Sometimes items can be picked up and thrown. That was largely it. Not bad, but not great either. Really just okay.

What made the game somehow work was its presentation. Everything is ham or cheese or both. There's onomatopoeia everywhere, like "POOM" and "WABOOM" and "WHHT". A generic superhero voice is used for all four of the playable characters, saying the same things for all of them. Generic things like "Avengers, assemble!" "Leave it to me!" and "You can't escape!" That last one, I might add, is followed up by the villain saying, "You will be the one escaping!"

Wait, what? Oh yeah, the game's Engrish. Yes, there is occasionally some rather odd dialog. The ungrammatical dialog ("Why should it goes well?") is not spoken aloud, so someone must have caught that mistake.

Boss fights are usually started with dialog ranging from taunts ("You can't go through!") to sarcasm ("Where is the laser?" "Ask the police."). When the fight is nearing its end, the fight music is swapped out for an upbeat superheroic theme as your hero shouts, "Okay, go!" There's also a hammy narrator who urges you to continue after death by saying, "America still needs your help!" Should you be unable to continue, the narrator is still upbeat: "No matter how strong the forces of evil may be, the Avengers WILL be there!"

Cut scenes are glorious. They consist of little more than a few well-drawn comic book-style panels with narration explaining what's going on. And what is going on? Red Skull has shown his wealth to a bunch of villains and then used a mind control machine to make them commit crimes, and build a giant laser on the moon to destroy Earth. None of this is drawn out; it's bluntly stated on the screen what's going on after each level. And I find the picture of Captain America checking his watch which he apparently wore over his superhero outfit for just a single panel, a lot funnier than it should be.

The whole game is just fun comic book superhero cheese, particularly if you get to play it multiplayer. The game may not be great, but the experience sure is.