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: Captain America and the Avengers (NES)

It's nothing special to play a "Super Hero" game these days. With Hollywood finally achieving success with the Hero films, there's now a plethora of games based on our favourite characters. However, this wasn't the case in the early 90's. When the NES was in full swing, it was a pretty rare occasion to see a game based on the famous Marvel or DC characters. With the 1991 arcade release of "Captain America and the Avengers" systems were all getting their own versions of the game, and the first conversion to console was for the NES in 1992. The following years would see the console versions released on the Genesis / Mega Drive, SNES, Gamegear and Gameboy. NES having the first conversion, dramatically altered the game. Nintendo completely re-invented the game instead of converting it from the arcade. This could have been because of console limitations (considering the Master System never had a conversion).


Because I rarely purchased games, I would ride almost an hour into town on my pushy to the local video store and hire it with my well-earned pocket money. The tiring ride home with the cartridge swinging from my handle bars in a plastic bag as cars sped past me, was well worth it knowing that as soon as I was home I could sit for hours upon hours on my butt in front of the wood grain tv, nes controller in hand and hopes held high as I became Captain America, or when he died... Hawkeye.

The game begins with a great title screen and instantly gets into a fantastic openning sequence of dialogue between you and Wasp.


The story being that Mandarin (who strangely looks like the Shredder from TMNT)  has taken Iron Man and Vision hostage... I don't know how. I mean surely they're as tough as Cap and Hawkeye. I mean, minion after minion, mini-boss after mini-boss you progress through the game without being defeated... but he takes out Iron Man and Vision in one go?

 
How?! Did he catch them on the loo or something? So the first stage begins with you cast as Cap. The red, white and blue of his costume contrasted perfectly against the vibrant landscapes.



That inspiring midi filling you with hope and a sense of well-being and you casually stroll through TAMPA If there's one thing that should be complimented in this game besides the sprite quality compared to other NES games, it's the music. The NES was quite limited with the musical scores it was able to achieve, however this game really pushed the envelope. Boss battles had some very intense and original midi numbers, contrasting the relaxed and joyful feel of stages such as the 1st. This really helped the mind of a 10yr old subconsciously affix a sense of reality to the game. As the music shaped my state of mind, getting more and more serious as the game rolls on.

Another great thing this game explored in detail were the 'Special Moves' of  the heroes. Cap has a full range of attack and defense moves with his shield. He's able to block at torso height, ducking height and above him. Also, he was able to come out of a flip and aim the shield below him, enabling him to land on acid and water.



He can 'Shield Charge' his foes by Double Tapping the direction pad



One of the best things about his attacks is that they get stronger as you progress through the game. Hawkeye was pretty limited with his moves, having no defense at all. Although he did have the added advantage of being able to shoot arrows right across the screen and not just horizontal and vertically, but DIAGONALLY also!




But who cares? Hawkeye's a pussy.

Now bearing in mind how much I absolutely love this game, I feel it's also important to focus on some of the negatives. Previously, I mentioned the ability to power your heroes up. It's true, you can. But if you think the game will shed any light as to HOW, you're going to be in for a shock. The key is collecting the white crystals you find throughout the game.



I made the mistake of thinking they were meaningless, only there for point scoring. That was until a few levels into the game, I pick up a crystal and my health meter goes up! WOW! Now enemies don't take so many hits to kill either! How did that happen? Oh, it was that crystal wasn't it? Shit... maybe I should have been collecting them!!! The game FINALLY does elude as to the power crystal's ability to make you stronger... WHEN YOU FIGHT THE FINAL BOSS!!!

Now, something that also annoyed me is that strong sense of reality being that when your hero dies, he's dead! You can collect 1ups throughout the game, but let's face it they're as rare as a unicorn's turd! And even if you DO collect a 1up, if your character dies...you can't just pick up and start the lvl with him again. OH NO! That'd just be too easy, no you've got to go back like 6 cities and collect your wounded buddy!

Then begin the lengthy process of advancing through the cities again. You could try to complete the game with hero you've got left, but if you're like me and (after finally realising what the power crystals do) strenghthen only one character, you've got buckleys chance of getting anywhere! If you're looking for a game that absolutely mocks you right at the last minute, this is it! City after city I advance toward the final 3 stages and then what should happen? WE FOUND THE JET!! WOW! Now I'm free to fly over any city as I please! HOW F$%^#$G CONVENIENT! AND WITH ONLY 3 STAGES TO GO! Why did we leave the jet in f@#king Las Vegas in the first place?!

So you're on to the final boss - The Mandarin (don't even get me started on what a stupid name that is) Fighting it out with him in Avengers Park (which looks really cool btw, well before he blows up the Mount Rushmore immitation.



Then what should happen? You defeat this Shredder wannabe and he has a little cry and presumeably dies.


Then Crossbones shows up and eludes to ANOTHER boss... by this time it's getting a little tedious.

So he pisses off to warn Red Skull you're on your way and Wasp lets you know he's at THE COLONY... WHAT THE #@$% IS THE COLONY!!!?? THIS WAS NEVER MENTIONEED IN THE ENTIRE GAME! YOU'VE DONE NOTHING BUT CONFUSE AND LIE TO ME WASP! I WISH MANDARIN HAD BLASTED YOU IN THE FACE WITH A RAY OF SKIN-MELTING DOOM!
*ahem*

So you get this gnarly space ship to go kick Red Skulls' ass.


As you're flying to the COLONY, there's some whitty banter about Red Skull threatening to kill Iron Man and Vision. No word of a lie, the very next screen shot is Wasp saying she's released them both! ... ... she did what now?






WHAT THE @#$!!? IF SHE COULD JUST RELEASE THEM, WHY NOT DO IT AT THE START OF THE GAME!? THEN THEY ALL COULD HAVE TAKEN THE JET BACK TO LAS VEGAS AND PISSED THE NIGHT AWAY!
*note to everybody - Benny hates wasp*

So he blabbers on about the power crystal being the way to increase your power *SHOCK HORROR!*


then you kick his ass and he dies


I was so glad when I reached this point, however I must say I was worried. After all, I had been let down before by NES game endings (eg - TMNT 1) was this going to be a repeat? Well, not quite but it wasn't exactly great. Here's the gyst of it:

BLACK SCREEN WITH WHITE TEXT :

PAGE 1: THE FIGHT IS OVER

PAGE 2: CAPTAIN AMERICA AND HAWKEYE, WHO DEFEATED MANY ENEMIES AND SAVED AMERICA

PAGE 3: IRON MAN AND VISION, WHO MADE RESISTANCE WHILE BEING CAPTURED

PAGE 4: THESE FOUR AVENGER HEROES ARE NOW GIVEN A SHORT REST...

PAGE 5: A REST THAT WILL ONLY LAST UNTIL THE NEXT...

At this point my mind is wondering what the next page is going to reveal! Hoping this game isn't going to stiff me on an ending!

PAGE 6: FIGHT!

That was it? Just a small, poorly translated paragraph about havin a kip? I HATE YOU GAME!
I %##^$^ HAAAATE.... OOOOH.... STILL IMAGES!!! YAY! It wasn't a complete waste of time!




Thank you Marvel & Data East. Finally, I have this to say: This game was fantastic! Obviously you have to overlook the fact that it's only a 1 player game, and that some of the levels are absolutely horrific in terms of difficulty. Also, the fact that there is no save-game function, coupled with the lack of instruction, and the fact that you could be forgiven for thinking you'll eventually get to play as Iron Man or Vision only to be denied of that dream... it's still great. The many weekends spent cursing at this game have only grown my addoration for it's evil.

Ranted By Benny J
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Keep ur eyes peeled for the sequel to this review! When BennyJ reviews 'Captain America and the Avengers' on other platforms.


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