A local pizza place in my home town had a select few arcade machines to enjoy while you were waiting for your food. For the longest time they had a Street Fighter: The Movie cabinet, which I thought was cool at the time, but now I’m second guessing their choices. But eventually that game was removed and replaced with a significant upgrade: Marvel Super Heroes.
Originally released in 1995 in arcades by the mighty Capcom, Marvel Super Heroes was a spiritual sequel to Capcom’s prior Marvel fighting game, X-Men: Children of the Atom. As the name would imply, the earlier game focused only on the X-Men (and is an awesome game in its own right), whereas this game featured characters across the larger Marvel universe. Again a fighting game, Marvel Super Heroes included a mechanic allowing players to obtain and collect the Infinity Stones, which would grant special powerups like increased speed or damage for a short period of time. Mixed with a small but sweet cast of characters, this game would pave the way for what would become the Marvel vs. Capcom series.
I think a lot of folks forget about this game when looking back at Capcom’s partnership with Marvel. It could be because they think of the SNES game similarly called Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems and pass it off, because that game is a mediocre beat’em up. This arcade fighter though featured the return of the fighting system from Children of the Atom, but with the added twist of the Infinity Gems, as well as a bunch of new characters. Despite this, even I would be remiss to say I like this one less than other games in the Marvel vs.series.
The cabinet I grew up remembering had this industrial look to it’s controller overlay. I didn’t get it at the time, but I think this was done so arcade operators could easily upgrade and change their Capcom fighting game cabinet to whichever new game they wanted. Then they wouldn’t have this weird Street Fighter artwork and stuff for a game featuring Spider-Man and Captain America. Not as cool in my opinion as the dedicated artwork seen here at Galloping Ghost, but I can totally understand why one would go this route.
I can also recall this game’s attract mode with Spider-Man fighting opponents and the game’s announcer essentially yelling “INFINITY” when Spidey would use a gem. It was a neat way to draw your attention and to highlight what the game offered over other fighters.
Though not as fun to play nowadays as others, this is still an incredibly well made fighting game. It also only saw one truly well made port, on the Sega Saturn, and then an arcade port to Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network in 2013 in the Marvel vs. Capcom: Origins package.
*Played at Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfield, IL 2019