Genre: Beat-’em-up Developer: Realtime Associates Publisher: Mindscape Players: 1 Released: 1993
Until just recently, Marvel’s lineup of super heroes always seemed to get the short end of the stick when it came to gaming. While there were a few good games, like the X-Men and Punisher arcade machines, most never rose above mediocre and aren’t a whole lot of fun to play. The Avengers had an interesting series of games which started with a rather popular arcade beat-’em-up that I have rather fond memories of. Sadly, that game never translated well to any of the game consoles or handhelds. On the Game Gear, Realtime Associates kept the theme of the arcade but translated everything into a platform game with beat-’em-up elements, which in my opinion, is what hurt it the most.
There are five stages in total here, with six parts to each stage and boss fights throughout, but everything feels too long. Many of the stages feel like they’re just the same screen repeating itself over and over again. The developers left the game with several flaws in the conversion to platforming. To start, there are branching paths, depending on whether you go up or down on a specific set of platforms. Many times, I ended up losing lives when I didn’t know if a blind jump was the right or wrong way to go. The hit detection is also really poor. If you’re too close to an enemy, you’ll miss with all of your punches, so you have to be in the exact spot to hit them. Enemies also take too many hits, which leads to a lot of lost health. The arcade’s unforgiving quarter-munching antics are also present here when they shouldn’t be, as you don’t recover health between any stages or levels. All of these things are acceptable in an arcade original beat’-em-up game but are not welcome in a home port. As a result, we’re left with a game that’s quite frustrating and too hard for its own good.
All four Avengers from the arcade game are present here and selectable, but none are any different to play, and it’s just up to you to decide which one is your favorite. There are also several flying stages present, but it felt like they were rushed and just added for the sake of doing so, offering nothing to the already lacking gameplay. Add to this the fact that each and every stage is uninteresting to look at visually and has characters and bosses that are animated poorly, are too small, and have boring music; and we’re left with a game that is really not a lot of fun to play. I had to use a Game Genie to finish it fully, as I was only able to make it to stage three before I ran out of lives and continues. It got tiring just sitting with it that long, and by then I just wanted it to be over with. Surprisingly, it does have a decent ending. It’s a single screen with a lengthy text ending that scrolls up the screen, but it’s still better than a lot of games of the time had.
As it sits, Captain America and the Avengers is yet another Game Gear release that’s just not worth the time to track down. The Game Gear doesn’t have a very large library of quality titles, and this isn’t making matters any better. It is, however, notable for being one of the rarer titles for the system, and it doesn’t turn up nearly as often as you’d expect. In that aspect, it’s worth grabbing if you find it for a handful of bucks or so, but you’re not losing out on much if you don’t ever bother playing it.
SCORE: 3 out of 10