Just saw the Avengers last week and it was great, superhero-powered action from start to finish. That said, the arcade game was also a lot of fun back in the day. It greeted players with that immortal rallying cry back in ’91 and so did the home version for the Genesis in ’92 in a remarkably solid port.
It was developed by Data East as a side scrolling beat ’em up in the same vein as Capcom’s Final Fight or Konami’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Players picked from four heroes: Iron Man, Hawkeye, the Vision, and Captain America. Versions of the arcade stand up allowed four way co-op while others only allowed two, but the one I saw in the arcades around me allowed for four-way heroic goodness.
Action took place on the ground, flying on bikes or with super powers in other stages, and the game featured a smorgasbord of villains from Marvel’s Infinity Stable which ranged from familiar baddies such as the Mandarin to titanic Sentinels walking through the city. Behind it all is the Red Skull who has bought the allegiances of these villains and then has brainwashed into his control with super science in a bid to dominate the world!
The Avengers was straight up pummeling from beginning to end. You had projectile attacks, could pick up things like barrels and toss them into villains, or punch the hell out of anything in your way with words like “Smash!” popping up as if you were in a living comic book. The Genesis version had the intro from the arcade but without the neat stills such as the Red Skull presenting a giant pile of treasure like an evil Vanna White to the villains he was about to brainwash.
For the most part, the game wasn’t bad especially if you had three other friends (or hopped in on a game with three strangers) to blast through its stages. I usually went with Cap or Iron Man. It wasn’t the “best” looking beat ’em up, though, even though it was two years removed from Final Fight. Compared to Capcom and Konami’s efforts in the beat ’em up space, it didn’t look quite as sharp, but it certainly wasn’t short on the action or the presentation that loved to use digitized samples for voices.
The Genesis version didn’t look bad, though it wasn’t quite picture perfect despite handling the action like a carbon copy. The music was alright, though the arcade version was still clearly the best iteration. Aside from the Genesis, it was also ported to a few other platforms like the SNES, the Game Gear, and the Game Boy. Surprisingly, it’s not out on the Wii as a Virtual Console title – or anywhere else for that matter.
In true comic style, we can see our heroes readying themselves to save the world in their “super poses” for dramatic impact as the Red Skull’s disembodied face leers at them from the upper right hand corner. The message was clear: right from the arcade and straight into your Genesis. It even came with a Collector’s Pin!