Marvel Super Heroes is Capcom's second fighting game based in the Marvel universe, after X-Men: Children of the Atom. The game introduces an Infinity Gem system that alters the stats of each character. The character assets would be reused in later Marvel vs. games.
The gameplay system used in Marvel Super Heroes is similar to its predecessor, X-Men: Children of the Atom, including multi-screen vertical jumps. Marvel Super Heroes adds Infinity Supers and the Infinity Gem System (below) . Also new for Marvel Super Heroes is the Aerial Rave, which allows the player to continue a combo after the opponent has been launched into the air.
Infinity Gem System
During the fight, collectible gems appear when damage is inflicted on the player's opponent. Activating these gems increase stats for your character. Examples include a shield, raising attack, reality, health recovery, increased speed, and more.
Gives the character greater attack damage, as well as more powerful grabs and throws. Some characters receive unique attacks. For example, Spider-Man can create a clone/duplicate on the opposite side of the opponent, Captain America can change his special attacks into super attacks, Wolverine can cause a trail to follow him and increase his hits/combos, and Psylocke can create three shadow versions of herself that deal damage.
Speeds up character movement. Characters with unique attacks for the Time Gem are The Hulk (can more rapidly fire his strongest attacks), and Shuma-Gorath (normal attacks turn opponents into stone).
Increases the character's defense. Characters with special uses are Juggernaut and Magneto, who become immune to enemy attacks, as in X-Men: Children of the Atom.
Adds elemental effects alongside normal attacks, such as flames, icicles, and lightning bolts. When using this gem, Blackheart also turns invisible.
The character regenerates health. When using the Soul Gem, Iron Man gains extra electric damage with his normal attacks, which also drain energy from the Super Attack Gauge.
Allows the character to regenerate their Super Attack Gauge. In the single-player arcade mode, the player is not able to use this gem until the final battle, as it is in Thanos' possession. To obtain this gem, the player must take the five other gems from Thanos, and only then take the Mind gem by using super combos.
Each gem is named after each of Thanos's super-attacks.
Creates a little sun, then throws his opponent at it.
Reduces his opponent's speed by half.
Opens up a hole in space and drops asteroids on his opponent.
Crushes his opponent with two stone walls.
Uses an energy pulse that drains his opponent's health into his own health bar.
Reverses his opponent's controls for a short period of time.
Thanos doesn't need the gem to use that specific super-attack, but the CPU controlled Thanos will not use the super-attack without that specific gem. A player-controlled Thanos, however, can still execute the super-attacks without the corresponding gem.
Marvel Super Heroes also introduced the iconic Infinity Supers, such as Iron Man's "Proton Cannon", Spider-Man's "Maximum Spider", and Hulk's "Gamma Crush". Some of the X-Men characters, like Wolverine and Psylocke, have more than one infinity super.
As in other Capcom fighting games, each character has their own story line. The player picks a character and fights a random sequence of opponents, always ending with the final boss, Thanos. After beating Thanos, the player is rewarded with an animated cutscene that is unique for each character. Most of the end cutscenes are just a few minutes long, and each one follows the character's specific continuity within the Marvel universe.
*Anita is only available in Japanese home versions of Marvel Super Heroes (though can be accessed in western versions through cheat devices). However, she is playable in all versions of Marvel Super Heroes included in Marvel Vs. Capcom Origins. She is test character that was left unfinished and unbalanced. When selected her icon appears as Thanos (As an icon was never created for her) and her name is not said when she wins a match even though it says "Anita Wins" on screen.
In 1997, ports of the arcade game were released for the Sony PlayStation and the Sega Saturn. Both versions contained the same characters, levels, and musical score, unchanged from the arcade release, although the intro movie was altered for the home releases.
The PlayStation version suffers from significant frame rate issues. Most notably, the game can drop to as few as 20 frames per second when activating gems. The Saturn port also suffered from frame rate problems, but not as badly with the (optional) use of a 4MB RAM expansion cartridge, which, despite the lack of US release, still functions with the US Version of the game. The RAM cartridge also enabled additional frames of animation, making it the more popular choice of the two ports.
The original arcade version of the game was remastered along with the original Marvel Vs. Capcom in HD as Marvel vs Capcom Origins for XBLA and PSN.