Comic icons came out to play.
The Mad Titan named Thanos has collected the Infinity Gems collectively known as the Infinity Gauntlet. He plans to rule all and several superheroes have gathered to stop him in a tournament like battle. The fight for survival has begun. -summary
Capcom were on the way towards re-dominating arcade rooms once they saw their gameplay formula for Street Fighter Alpha was a hit. They were able to obtain the rights to Marvel Comics characters, and they were to create a fighting series combining the two. The first was X-Men: Children of the Atom which did pretty well but was ported from the arcade to the Sega Saturn first, and for awhile was only on that console. Capcom then decided to reuse the formula with more Marvel characters instead of just one team. The result was Marvel Super Heroes, and the story of the game followed Marvel's big event the Infinity Gauntlet, which saw Thanos on a crusade to obliterate life in the universe. Many comic fans were uptight about the character selection since it did feature playable characters that had nothing to do with the original story, but at the same time they should've been grateful for Capcom being bothered with Marvel, because it resulted in more exposure at a time when Batman was still dominating the mainstream as far as movies and animation were concerned. The game itself was pretty good at the time, but I don't recall it dominating the arcades in '95 to '96 that convincingly due to stiff competition from the Mortal Kombat 3 updates, Killer Instinct, King of Fighters 95, and even Samurai Shodown II, which was still pretty hot.
This is a 2D one on one fighter with 10 playable characters being Wolverine, Blackheart, Psylocke, Captain America, Hulk, Juggernaut, Spider-Man, Shuma-Gorath, Iron Man, & Magneto, with two secret characters, Dr. Doom & final boss Thanos. The rounds are decided in 2 out of 3, with 3 out of 5 as an option. Similar to Street Fighter Alpha, the speed can be adjusted between normal or turbo, and the latter creates some very fast paced action. The characters can link chain combos into special moves, and they can also perform combos in the air for some flashy damage adding more depth. The special moves for the most part are things that the characters pull off in the comics, such as Juggernaut running full speed into anything and keeps on going. Spider-Man using his web shooters in different ways along with springing from walls, and Hulk crushing his opponents with boulders. There's nice fan service for the comic lovers.
The fighting engine is well rounded, with a Super Special power gauge to perform the high damaging Infinity Specials; and if that isn't enough, the characters can obtain the Infinity Gems that form the Infinity Gauntlet, with each gem possessing some type of ability such as super speed, strength, durability, and even health increase. It's possible to carry all the gems at once and select which one you want to use. Some characters handle certain gems better than others. Characters like Hulk and Juggernaut become even more destructive with extra power, while Spider-man and Psylocke take advantage of speed.
I like Capcom's attention to detail in regards to the characters individual strengths. For example, in the comics Juggernaut is unstoppable, and this carries over by him being able to rush through most normal attacks to deliver his punch. The result is Juggernaut being vastly over powered in comparison to let's say Captain America, but this is how the character was written. The same goes for Dr. Doom and his high damaging projectiles, that's just what he's all about. While speedsters like Spider-Man can dominate a match off speed alone if used perfectly.
The AI is fairly easy but there are times it can be quite tough; thankfully outside of characterization there's nothing too unbalanced going on here and this game can just be picked up and played. The game is lacking modes with only a 2 player vs. mode to choose from. Fortunately the instruction booklet tells you everything necessary and the learning curve isn't steep at all. Besides being terribly out dated because the fighting engine had seen some serious fine tuning over the years across many games in the Capcom vs. Marvel series, the music just so happens to be the biggest fault.
There's a few characters for everyone's taste for sure complete with their own endings for story's sake, but I always found the roster lacking with only 10 playable characters and two secret bosses. Games that were around at the same time like Mortal Kombat 3, Samurai Shodown 2, and Real Bout Fatal Fury had more than this, and when done right a fighter with plenty of characters will always add to the game's depth. Especially when there's a good amount of female characters added to the mix, in which Marvel Super Heroes only has one being Psylocke.
The Marvel vs. Capcom series is known for being extremely newbie and casual gamer friendly, and this game is probably where it really started. The game uses the Street Fighter six button format, with the Alpha series 3 button special located in there. It's way too easy to pull off all moves, and button mashers can make it through the entire game without mastering air combos or counters. They can even get lucky and pull off wins against people who know how to play. Wolverine was specifically made with beginners in mind, and he's the easiest to learn how to play in any fighting game I ever seen. The controls are smooth and responsive for the most part, but there is a sluggishness when performing air combos.
The graphics aren't arcade perfect for the PSone, in fact the Sega Saturn looks a lot better than this with less grain. The sprites look fine staying in line with the comic. However, Juggernaut towers over the Hulk for some reason, and this was always something comic fans did not like. The animations look good, with Spider-man standing out the most with his flexibility during quick attacks. He makes those air combos look amazing. The backgrounds work well into some of their characters, but the final stage is the only one that stands out with some of the heroes turned to stone in the background as you battle Thanos. The music is atrocious elevator tunes that does nothing for me at all. There's no sense of urgency to deliver a blood pumping vibe. The sound effects are average at best and voice overs feel kind of muted, yet the dialog can be made out.
Marvel Super Heroes isn't a bad game at all and back during its console release it would have made a good purchase, mainly because it was so easy to get into. Some time ago it was released as DLC along with Marvel Vs. Capcom. It just hasn't aged well; it's like going back to rekindle that same spark in Street Fighter II: World Warrior. Yeah, I'm sure it will still be fun with the nostalgia glasses on, but it will get boring quick with so many updates to the series. That's the main thing here, and to make matters worse there were so many better fighters around at that time, and many of them can be found on collection sets. In closing, this is something to check out only to see the humble beginnings of the Marvel and Capcom team up, but I don't recommend going out of your way to play this.
Pros: Very easy to get into, anyone can pick up and play
Cons: Very bad music, doesn't hold up in the here and now, not enough characters