Strip Talk #33: Marvel vs. Capcom 2 still irritating after 22 years

Y’all, I swear that I love Marvel. If I could spend the rest of my life researching Marvel, I would do it. If they offered a doctoral program, I would be the first to sign up and spend hard-earned money on the mere suggestion of obtaining a degree in Marvel science and lore.

With that said, my love for Capcom is not so great. Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of different Capcom fighting game series. But there is a certain element to how Capcom does things that doesn’t sit right with me on several different levels. And Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is a shining example of the disdain I feel for the home of Mega Man and Ryu.

The premise of the series is cool: Take a large roster of who’s who from Marvel and Capcom and mash them together in teams of 3-on-3 fighting. With at least 90 percent of the roster appearing in a previous Versus title, you’ve got name recognition from the previous games. You’d think this would make an excellent experience considering if you’re playing this, more than likely you’re already familiar with some of the characters. No, you’d be wrong, because somehow out of 56, maybe 10 are viable, decent characters. Considering long-established tiers, the S tier includes five surefire, tournament-winning characters and then characters used for the assists. Five though?

And imagine what the learning process was like when the game was first released. Chaos, pure and simple. I was around for that, and it was beyond frustrating. The general atmosphere of the fighting game community was trash, but then add the fact that some folks hated on others simply for their choice of characters and you have a toxic mix of arrogance and stupidity behind a fighting game based on superheroes, mutants and dudes who throw their burning fist energy at each other internationally.

Beyond the garbage tier list establishment and the toxic community surrounding Marvel as it were, let’s get into the game itself. The mechanics were kind of trash and could have stood to receive a patch or 10. Guard breaks, while useful, happened way too much in the meta of the play scene. Yes, it’s about matchups and knowing how to counter at the right time and execute. But one character dominating teams shouldn’t have been normal. For awhile there, before the top echelon of fighting game competitors like Justin Wong and Sanford Kelly proved you didn’t need Cable to be viable, you could get a random assortment of characters played in competition and maybe a Cable thrown in every so often. But, once everyone learned about five bars of meter with Cable on point meant punishing assists with Tiger Knee Air Hyper Viper Beam, well, you were in for teams featuring Cable 1,000 percent of the time. Casual play went out of the window quickly, which quite frankly, got old fast.

As much as I enjoyed the series in the early days and Marvel in general, I never could quite move past Marvel vs. Capcom 2. After some years of reflection, I realized it just wasn’t the game for me. I was among what I believe is the minority that wasn’t sad to see Capcom lose the Marvel license for 10 years, and I wasn’t particularly invested or interested in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, either. Come to think of it, it really was Marvel vs. Capcom 2 that doused the flame of my love for fighting games for a good 15 years. It’s 2022 and I’m just getting back into enjoying Street Fighter and other fighting game series after a long hiatus. I blame MvC2 for that. Despite loving Marvel, this is a direct product that I have learned to do without.

Lyndsey Beatty is editor-in-chief of Gaming Insurrection. She can be reached by email at lyndseyb[at]gaminginsurrection.com

Top 5 on The Strip: Marvel supers edition

Cable-Time Flip

Cable, “Time Flip”

Cable is game-breaking. Cable is top tier. Cable is one of the few characters that can counteract himself in the game’s tier rankings. So, when his least usable super is shouted, you’re probably going to be shocked enough to get hit by it. Time Flip is useless, but it looks cool. Also, it’s taken 13 years to figure out if he’s saying time slip or time flip. We’ve settled mostly on flip. And nothing is more cool than watching Cable shake his fist angrily when he misses with the move and wastes super meter. We hate Cable.

 Spiral-Hyper Metamorphose

Spiral, “Metamorphose”

Amazingly, this super isn’t used that much if you’re fighting a lot of Spiral players. And you will, because she’s a popular girl. And by popular, we mean just about anyone who has any knowledge about tiers in MvC2 will know that she’s worth using. The Dance isn’t used that widely because why use it when you can throw a wall of Dancing Swords? But we digress. The move still looks cool as hell as she morphs into all of the Marvel roster. Protip: The move always ends with her kicking you in the face as Cyclops.

 Blackheart-Heart of Darkness

Blackheart, “Heart of Darkness”

Once upon a time, there was a team nicknamed Team Giggles. The trio was composed of Blackheart, M. Bison and Dr. Doom. Blackheart, of the demented group, seems to do the most giggling and it’s mostly because of this super. For a dude who’s the spawn of the lead demon in Marvel’s Hell, he sure seems to have a lot to laugh about. And, no doubt, if you’re able to connect this after trapping someone with a previous Inferno and watching your little demon friends come out do massive damage, you’re probably going to giggle a bit, too.

 Iron Man-Proton Cannon

Iron Man, “Proton Cannon”

It was hard to choose between Iron Man’s version or War Machine’s version of the big beam super. We love the simplicity with Iron Man’s move, but we also love War Machine throwing out that random “It’s my Sunday best!” in Marvel vs. Capcom, too. It was too cool to attempt to figure out what War Machine was getting at the first time around. And that giant super beam of doom? Good luck blocking that thing if Iron Man decides to use it. At least he isn’t using the Iron Man infinite.

 Rogue-Goodnight Sugah

Rogue, “Good Night Sugah”

Rogue doesn’t have much to go on here, but the one super she has is cute. Sure, it’s pretty obvious that she’s going to do it. And you’re going to have try to get around the crazy concept of blocking that your opponent has. But, hey, once you launch that rush and you connect with your kiss of attribute thievery, you’re well on your way. And the fact that the theft of an attribute happens is pretty amazing. You have to love this particular brand of Southern charm.