Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Definitive, Absolutely 100% Petty Complaining and Pointless Digression-Free Guide to Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

With the recent release of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the Marvel vs. Capcom roster is now bigger than ever before. (Provided one defines “ever” to exclude Marvel Vs Capcom 2.) With 48 characters to choose from and no ability to select multiple iterations of the same character so that you can just pick three Sentinels and crush everybody like in Marvel vs. Capcom 2, selecting your team of three can be a daunting task. Fortunately, my friend and guest co-author Kevin Folliard- screenwriter of the Press Start Adventures online animated series and the two Press Start live-action films from Illinois-based independent film company Dark Maze Studios and an innovator in the field of video game parodies that have actual jokes instead of nostalgic references standing in for jokes- and I are here to provide guidance with this piercingly insightful look at some of the characters, both new and old, who will be doing battle in Ultimate Marvel v. Capcom 3: The Fate of Two Worlds. So, without further delay, let us begin, starting with perhaps the only character renowned and fearsome enough to march in the vanguard of so mighty a host:

Tron Bonne

John: A returning character from Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Tron Bonne appeared in the Mega Man Legends games and her own spin-off, The Misadventures of Tron Bonne. Tron Bonne was one of four Mega Man characters to appear in MvC 2, along with Servbot, Roll, and Mega Man himself. In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the developers had a great idea- make Mega Man's red-armored, sword-wielding, and still-reasonably-masculine-despite-that huge-blond-ponytail comrade-in-arms Zero playable. Alas, this time they could only dedicate two playable character slots to characters from the Mega Man universe.

So, they did the obvious thing: Ditched the central character of the franchise and one of the most iconic characters in the history of video games so that they'd have space to keep one of the secondary antagonists from a short-lived Mega Man spin-off series that last had a game released over a decade ago. Which makes sense, because... because... Kevin, help me out here.

Kevin: I think that.... Well it makes sense due to her…. Mega Man has always been loathed and….. I’m afraid I’m of no help to you. Not only is Tron’s inclusion over Mega Mann a bonafide headscratcher, it has also opened a Pandora’s Box of outrage from scores of pissy Mega Man fanboys throughout the internet. The level of self-importance and immaturity from the E-outcry has been growing exponentially since the Blue Bomber was snubbed yet again in Ultimate MvC 3, and a growing cesspool of childish pouting and image spam has begun to suck out what little shreds of dignity might have existed in the fan community. For God's sake, Capcom, please give us Mega Man. It’s not about his iconic status at this point. We need to quell this embittered mass of negative emotion before it becomes sentient.


Kevin: Albert Wesker, the main antagonist of the Resident Evil series, has finally made it into the Marvel vs. Capcom universe. But like some other characters, he has something of a complex. Wesker seems concerned with maintaining an image of intimidation. With every teleport and counter he implores: “Do I frighten you?! Do I frighten you?! Do I frighten you?! Do I frighten you?! Do I—Do I—Do I frighten you?”

Yes, Mr. Wesker,” I want to reply, “you frighten me very much. It’s going to be okay.” My current theory is that the machines of Wesker's Tricell Genetics Laboratory are somehow fueled by fear, like the society from the movie Monsters Inc.

John: Insert lazy political joke about the politician, political party, or socioeconomic system of your choice here.

Kevin: In any case, however, at this point the motivation behind his obsession with frightening his opponents remains unclear.

John:Well, I'm not ashamed to admit he frightens ME. The combined effect of Wesker's all-black clothing, coldly disdainful expression, and pale ultra-Nordic blondness always makes him look like he ought to be in some sort of creepy German electronic band that Dieter from Mike Myers' old “Sprockets” sketches would listen to. I half-expected his victory quote to be, “Ve believe in nothing, Redfield! NOTHING!”

Phoenix Wright

Kevin: The heroic Capcom Lawyer Phoenix Wright is perhaps the most controversial addition to Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. It seemed like half the fans were psyched to see what form his play style will take, while others feel slighted that a legal professional has been invited to go toe to toe with some of the most powerful fighters in fiction. I say, lighten up! Marvel characters have been getting beaten up by lawyers for decades. There’s She Hulk, there’s Daredevil. There’s that little-known story in which the Carnage Symbiote got on Johnnie Cochran. And who can forget when Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor got her hands on the Ultimate Nullifier?

John: I was never a big fan of that issue, to be honest. Sandra Day O'Connor was so overexposed in the early 90- she had her own series, she was a member of the Avengers, she was in what seemed like half of the X-books, she kept popping up in The Punisher for reasons that never really made sense, the whole Sandra Day O'Connor/2000 AD/Stormwatch crossover... Just got tired of it after a while.
Phoenix Wright makes his closing argument before the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals during the historic case of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms v. von Doom.

Kevin: Honestly, they can make Phoenix as goofy as they want for all I care. This is a game that asks questions like “Who would win in a fight: Tron Bonne or Dormammu?” At this point, adding a clumsy lawyer to the mix can only make it more serious.

John: I mostly just enjoy the fact that there's a character in the game with a “projectile “attack- for lack of a better term- that consists of some girl running in from offscreen while flailing her arms like a 5-year old. I also like the move where she rushes out in front of you to create a defensive energy barrier; “hero who uses a woman as a human shield” had always been an underutilized design niche until now.


Kevin: You can’t have a Capcom Fighting game without Akuma! Why… why can’t we please have ONE god- forsaken game without him?

Akuma was introduced in Super Street Fighter II Turbo as an overpowered hidden fighter who throws fireballs down from the air, growls at everyone, and performs the highly questionable “Raging Demon Attack” which is censored for some reason by those little exploding flicks that happen when Street Fighter characters punch one another. Since then, he has continued to be both “hidden” and overpowered in nearly every appearance he makes. For almost two decades, he has caused the expression “Here Comes a New Challenger” to grow and swell exponentially in its irony.
In MvC 3, they’ve tweaked him quite a bit to distinguish him from the already-included Ryu. Akuma now has a fireball, a hurricane kick, and a shoryuken uppercut. Which makes him a worthwhile inclusion because....

Son of a bitch!

John: Agreed, Akuma was a very poor choice for inclusion. The Tron Bonne of contemporary East Asia, if you will.

Strider Hiryu

John: My all-time favorite 1980s action game character named after a mode of ambulation makes his return in Ultimate Edition. My favorite thing about Strider has always been his weapon. It's basically a tonfa, an old Okinawan weapon with a short handle perpendicular to a long wooden shaft- already inherently cool because the hero in Suikoden II used them- except instead of a long wooden shaft there's a giant sword blade. Because, well, why not?

More weapons need to take a cue from Strider and incorporate swords. Flail? Sword on a chain. Handgun? Swordgun, even though I have no idea how the hell that would even work, or whether it would be a sword that can fire bullets or a gun that fires swords, or what. Nerve gas? Cloud of microscopic swords that enter the bloodstream and dismember the enzymes in people's neurons on the molecular level. Plasma cannon? Fires blasts of highly energized copper ions produced from vaporized bronze swords. And so forth.

Kevin: You're forgetting Strider's best weapons of all: his army of robotic birds and sabretoothed tigers! What is not to like about this guy?

John: Those robotic birds need to be replaced with motorized winged swords immediately. The sabretoothed tiger is fine as-is.

That's all for now. Join us next week- that's right, you're not getting off that easy- as we delve deeper into Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3: The Fate of Two Worlds. Will Mike Hagar's ability to hit people over the head with a pipe be enough to fell the all-powerful Galactus, devourer of worlds? Will I resist the temptation to go for the obvious joke about Dr. Doom's “hidden missile” attack? Will Kevin's loathing of Akuma fill him with so much rage that he succumbs to the dark power of the Satsui no Hado and becomes the very thing he hates most? Will either of us ever say anything with any sort of actual gameplay relevance? Join us next week to find out!

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