Capcom can be real geniuses sometimes. When Street Fighter to slow in popularity as a series, Capcom developed other fighting series making use of the Marvel license. The most famous game was Marvel vs. Capcom 2. The fourth entry of the "Vs." series, MvC 2 is the perfect example of a game company taking what's best of their previous games and bring it all together to create an excellent game.
The story of MvC 2 is pretty slim. The Earth is beginning to die, and Ruby Heart, some sort of female pirate, calls upon the greatest heroes to destroy an evil being called Abyss. Thus a roster of 56 consisting of characters from Capcom games and the Marvel comic books was created. On the Capcom side, most fighters are from the Street Fighter series such as Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Akuma and the lovable loser, Dan. Other Capcom games that were tapped into include Mega Man, Strider, Resident Evil and Dark Stalkers. On the other side, Marvel's lineup consists of heroes and villains from the company's many comic books. The majority of fighters come from the Xmen series. Other heroes and villains include Spider-Man, Venom, Iron Man, Dr. Doom, and the Hulk.
The gameplay used in MvC 2 is an evolution of Capcom's previous fighting games. Players select a team of three characters. After picking a character, you will have to decide on how they will assist. Once all three characters have been chosen, the player or the one who decided last (in a two player game) will pick of the speed whether it be Normal or Turbo. Once fighting begins, the first character on the team will begin the fight but that can be changed by pressing the correct button before the fight starts. Each character has their own life bar, but the team will share one super combo bar. When the fight stars, you will have to make use of the character abilities and special moves to deal damage to your opponent. Most notably each character has a launch move, and a specific combo that can follow that launch move providing you press the right buttons based on the character and that you have the correct timing for the combo.
With a team of three, your teammates come into play in various ways. Primarily, you teammates can be tagged in. Pressing the corresponding buttons, one of the other members of your team that is off screen while fly in, doing a jumping kick attack on the way in, and the original character will tag themselves out. While tagged out, any character will slowly rejuvenate health as long as the health amount is not greater than the portion of the lifebar that's in red. The tagging of character can do as many times as you see fit as long as you have teammates to tag out to. Once an entire team is defeated, they will be the loser and the other player will be the winner. Matches can also be decided on which team has the most cumulative health when the timers reaches zero.
Your teammate's second function comes in the form of assists. When you selected each character, you were given a choice of their assist type. These types include healing, anti-air, or projectile to name a few. There will be a button representing the character in 2nd position and a character in 3rd position. When pressing either button, that teammate will come out and do whatever assist that was picked. Depending on the character, these assists can be a total waste of time, or they can be timed just right to control your opponent.
All characters have multiple super combos at their disposal. The super combo bar will fill whenever your character take or deal damage. It will only be reduced when a super combo is used. Use of the super combo can begin once the gauge reaches 1 which can be done at the very beginning of the match since it will always start at 1. Super combos are pulled off by doing a certain motion and pressing certain buttons varying from character to character. Since you have a team, the team members can help deal even more damage with their super combos. One way to increase the damage is to have whichever character on screen do a super combo. Then at the right time and with the right motion/buttons, you can tag in a teammate who will automatically start their super combo. This can be done for a third time as long as you have enough on the super combo bar to warrant a super combo and that you have a third teammate. Secondly, and probably the most fun, is the team super combo. When the super combo gauge surpasses the number 3, a team super combo can be unleashed with whoever is left on the team. Once again, doing the correct motion and pressing the right button will make this happen. With the right team structure, this super combo can be absolute devastating resulting in a 100+ hit combo easily. If you don't have the proper setup, your teammates will pull off the team super combo but their moves will not be in-sync to do massive damage. A classic example of a team that does big damage is one that consists of Cable, Ryu and Iron Man. When using their team super combo, they will all proceed to do a super projectile that will do an incredible amount of damage if it hits. A bad team make-up in regards to team super combos is Ken, Spiderman, and M. Bison. This team will have their moves go in different directions and not hit at the same time for the max amount of damage.
There are two main modes in MvC2. The story mode is a single player mode where you face off against computer controlled teams until you face the boss, Abyss. Abyss comes in three shapes from a giant suit of armor, a human shaped being with a gun for an arm, and a big black sphere with a giant monster attacking for it. Once you destroy Abyss, the game is technically finished, giving you a minimal ending, credits, and then game over. After completing the single player mode on the home console version, you're given a certain amount of points that can be used in the Store to purchase more character, suits, and other items. Versus mode is the second mode for the game and it's self-explanatory. You pick your team, the other player picks a team and the two of you go at it with the winner staying as champ.
As a 2d game, MvC2 is great looking. Each character is very detailed with even small accessories on the outfits visible. You get the best showing of the graphics when pulling off the super combos that can look stunning. If there's one aspect of the audio that's memorable it would be the main theme. Every gamer who has spent time with the game will have that tune while picking characters in their head for awhile. On the other hand, the most annoying bit of audio is the voice over guy that always saying something while you're choosing characters or gives the loud "CAPCOM" when starting. Sadly, for some deranged reason, they've kept this voiceover tactic around with all their games including the new Street Fighter IV.
MvC2 was released on three consoles (DC, Xbox, PS2) and the arcade. While the DC is the most like the arcade version, the PS2 version is the most sought out after. Reason being is that the PS2 and Xbox version had a very limited quantities made because Capcom had lost the rights to the Marvel license. Then of course, you have the fact that with more PS2s, more people want the game. The arcade version still has a better look and an arcade stick will always be better than control pad.
All in all, MvC2 is a perfect example of videogame evolution. Start off with Street Fighter 2, getting the super combos from Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, the art style of Xmen: Children of the Atom, the tag team mechanics of Xmen vs. Street Fighter, and the assist moves of Marvel vs. Capcom. It took several games but the wait for a game like Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is why gamers continue to game.