RELEASED: December 1991
AVAILABLE ON: NES
DEVELOPER(S): Data East
PUBLISHER(S): Data East
Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in 1941, and he became Marvel's first lead character in a series of his own. The ongoing World War II and Captain America's inspirational themes based around that war made him an extremely popular superhero for a time, right up 'til the war ended. Almost two decades and many tries later, "the Cap" was finally successfully revived as a member and occasional leader of the Marvel ensemble known as The Avengers. Captain America was not the first Marvel superhero to make a break in video games, nor was he ever a very popular choice for a lead character among game developers. Still, a few games with Captain America in a central role have emerged through the years. Probably the most known game in the bunch is Data East's 1991 arcade beat 'em up game Captain America and The Avengers, which got ported to the Sega Genesis, the SNES, Game Boy and the Game Gear. Oh, but before that, Data East also made a whole different game of the same title for the NES. And it ain't good - the little light at the end of the tunnel fades very quick.
Captain America - The Worst Avenger
The Mandarin manages to incapacitate and abduct both Iron Man and The Vision. Captain America and Hawkeye go on a cross-country rescue mission, assisted by Wasp.
First, about my relationship with Captain America. It's easily explained, as there is none. I might dislike DC's Superman, I most definitely dislike Green Lantern, but Marvel has their own rotten egg in Cap U.S.A.. I think that by far the only reason they made that ridiculous Captain America: The First Avenger flick was that they couldn't have an Avengers flick without Cap, and everyone else in that ensemble movie had had their own namesakes made. I think that the original Captain America backstory of a frail young man being shot full of super-serum and becoming a war hero was quite inspirational, especially at those times, but ever since that backstory was somewhat forgotten, Captain America became a waste of perfectly good crayon in my view. Let's not beat around the bush: he's ridiculous. And about that suit Chris Evans wears in the movies... Adam West as Batman, anyone?
|In the jungles of Tampa. Yep.|
First of all, the game's version of The Avengers consists of five members - Cap, Hawkeye, Wasp, The Vision and Iron Man. The Vision and Iron Man are knocked out in the game's beginning, never to be seen in action - that's two of the best assets in this bunch, gone right away. Wasp only appears between levels, providing some extremely generic advice, and if you didn't know your Marvel Comics, you'd think she's just a frail, little secretary instead of one of the feistiest heroines in the Marvel universe, who could've easily fit in is a third playable character. That leaves us Cap and Hawkeye - the latter overshadows the namesake in both theory AND practice, but isn't nearly enough to save this boring, confusing fuckfest from almost total oblivion.
The graphics are of the basic NES fare of the time. Nothing too special, but colourful and satisfying enough. Something like three or four songs repeat all the time, and they're not good at all.
|The green tinted sewers from just about every|
third NES game ever made.
What really makes the game confusing on top of being boring and annoying is the way a loss of life always seems to put you in a really random situation. You might switch characters without any good reason between deaths, ambushes which haven't been cleared yet suddenly have, or they've switched places, and you've magically made it through cities you haven't even visited yet - while after another failure, you might be back at the very root of the map, forced to start over. It's all very confusing and inconsistent. At some point, you'll stop caring, and hoping that the next death will bring you to the final threshold of the whole game. I don't know it it's possible, but I wouldn't be surprised. I sincerely don't know if this is a huge error in programming or if there's some ill logic to all of this. Or if I'm just missing something out of boredom.
There's not really much more to say about Captain America and the Avengers for the NES. It's easily summarized as boring trash that rides on the wind of a fairly popular arcade game, a true port of which I'll be taking on next and expecting a more entertaining experience - perhaps not by much, but I think a side-scrolling 16-bit beat 'em up theoretically fits the bill a bit more better than another stiff 8-bit platformer with stock level design. We'll see. Perhaps this one has the potential to please the most hardest of hardcore Marvel fans, but them only and only by its somewhat rare theme.
+ The better shades of better games, such as Bionic Commando
+ Hawkeye's inclusion as a playable character; he's cooler than Cap, he has a better moveset, and finally, a moveset that actually has some use
- Having Captain America as the star of the show ain't a huge draw for me
- The best characters are taken out of the fray right off the bat, and we're left with "Captain America and No Avengers"
- The randomness of death, and the random consequences
- Stiff controls
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