Retro Review Friday 03 - Captain America and The Avengers - Header

With the Avengers: Age of Ultron coming to theatres soon, I felt it was the perfect time to give a review on Captain America and The Avengers, the arcade game released by Data East in 1991. A generic side-scrolling brawling and shooting beat-em-up, it features a number of Marvel Comics superheroes on a mission to defeat Red Skull, and evil tyrant bent on world domination.

From the game start, the Player is able to select from one of four playable characters: The Vision, Iron Man, Captain America and Hawkeye.

Screenshot 1 - Selection Screen

Each character fights using hand-to-hand combat, can pick up and throw various dropped items, and offers their own ranged “Avenger Attack”. The Vision and Iron Man have an energy beam attack, Captain America throws his shield, and Hawkeye fires arrows from his bow.

Two versions of the arcade game were created – one allowed up to four Players to play at once, and the other permitted two Players to choose from any of the four characters.

Screenshot 2 - Generic Baddies

Gameplay includes fighting through the common baddies, which will use combinations of hand-to-hand and ranged attacks to keep you busy fighting through level upon level. Taking cues from games like Double Dragon, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, these mobs of generic attackers serve to fill the majority of the game, trying to dissuade our hero completing from his quest.

When the Player collects special power-ups, other Avengers appear to temporarily aid them. These Marvel superheroes include Wasp, Quicksilver, Wonder Man, and Namor the Sub-Mariner.

Sorry, the Incredible Hulk doesn’t make an appearance in the game, so we don’t get to see his big green hands wrapped around the Red Skull’s neck in this one!*

Screenshot 5 - Cut Scene 1

The game is presented in an episodic layout. At the beginning of each, the Player is presented with a cut-scene, showing the general plot progression before fighting through each of the five different episodes.

Screenshot 6 - Boss Battle 3

What would a beat-em-up be without a Boss Battle? At the end of each episode, the Player has to fight a boss – someone with special powers or abilities that are a special challenge to the character.

(FINALLY, Iron Man gets to beat down the REAL Mandarin! No Ben Kingsley-slash-Trevor Slattery here, my friend!)

With Marvel villains including Klaw, Living Laser, Whirlwind, the Sentinels, Wizard, the Grim Reaper, the Mandarin, Ultron and Crossbones, each offering a unique challenge, the Player has to keep on his or her toes!

Screenshot 7 - Coming for the Red Skull

At the game’s end, the Player gets to face off against Red Skull himself – a very challenging opponent with a few tricks up his sleeve. I won’t give the ending away, but it’s safe to say you definitely can’t trust the game’s main antagonist when it comes to fighting fair…

Overall, Captain America and The Avengers offers an enjoyable, albeit generic, beat-em-up experience, in-line with what you would expect from a generic quarter-muncher. You’ll fight wave upon wave of your standard bad guys, a number of high-powered bosses, and then, when you’re done, you fight the Red Skull himself.

Most people – myself included – have to pop in quarter after quarter to get passed the masses of evildoers, but if the Player is able to complete the game using one… single… quarter… then they are greeted by a special ending.

So, if you’re ready to join the ranks alongside Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye and the Vision, suit up, pop in a quarter, and let’s give the Red Skull what for! Avengers Assemble!

* (Special thanks to Quasifun, from his reply on Reddit, for noting the following: “The Hulk was an Avenger before Cap, Vision, or Hawkeye. He was an original member, along with Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp.” My original notes regarding the Hulk were erroneous.)

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