The Crossover Classic that is the Marvel vs. Capcom Franchise
There is just something about fighting games – or any game that’s targeted for multiple players in general – that gives them an almost endless amount of playback value. It’s not even a matter of graphics when it comes to these brawlers; it’s more about the technical aspects, such as mechanics, combo systems, and the like that makes each and every installment of a fighting game unique unto itself. What I’m trying to say is that, for example, being good at a game like Tekken 4 doesn’t mean you’ll be as good at its prequel or sequel. And I think this applies to almost any respectable fighting game out there; it’s one of the genres that cannot change their in-game mechanics and formula too much, but at the same time can’t just rehash what has gone before. RPGs can easily do that, on the other hand. One look at the Final Fantasy series and you can see how the mechanics change dramatically from one game to another (the way others are turn-based while more recent ones are more akin to real-time mechanics). In other words, even if games like Square Enix’s FF series receive a total overhaul with each installment, they’re still going to be FFs (yes, even if you removed all the usual tropes like the Sid character or summoned creatures). If, however, Tekken 7 had a different game engine more akin to Street Fighter, then it’d be unrecognizable.
Now, if there is one franchise that has stood the test of time and more or less keeps its very own formula relatively similar with each installment it has had, it’s probably the whole Marvel vs. Capcom family of games published, unsurprisingly, by Capcom. From the days of the first Playstation, back when it wasn’t even called “Marvel vs. Capcom,” and instead only covered a much smaller portion of their respective properties in X-Men vs. Street Fighter, this whole franchise has become a staple in the world of gaming. After all, it is pretty exciting to see every nerd’s favorite friendly neighborhood Spider-Man web the crap out of that same nerd’s favorite video game character, like Chun-Li or Mega Man. Secondly, there’s just the sheer presentation of these games, which is really topnotch considering all the super moves and fast-paced actions their developers had to render. And, of course, as with any fighting game, it all boils down to the game mechanics.
Now, I am not entirely sure when I say that X-Men vs. Street Fighter was the first game to introduce a tag system (in fact, any help from you here would be very much appreciated), but I am confident enough to say that the franchise sure as hell popularized the system. It just adds to the excitement of the game to have multiple characters duking it out at any given round than just having a single one. More importantly, however, is how it introduces a whole new dimension and strategy to fighting games.
What, you thought it’s all about button mashing?