Capcom's stellar Marvel vs. Capcom series didn't just come together out of thin air – like the mutants that are so prevalent in the Marvel Universe, it evolved into one of the greatest fighting franchises ever released. While the Street Fighter games that are so heavily featured in the series date back to the 16-bit area, Capcom didn’t start creating fighting games for Marvel until 1994's X-Men: Children of the Atom. The first Marvel Vs. Capcom game wasn't actually released until 1998 (in arcades – 1999 and 2000 on home consoles), and even then there are three other releases in between the two games. Capcom and Marvel have an illustrious past that encompasses some of the most impressive fighting games ever made, and, to remind their fans of two of their best creations, they have collected Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel Vs. Capcom: Clash of Superheroes into one downloadable package for Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network, Marvel Vs. Capcom Origins.
The quality of both of the games included in this package has long been established. Marvel Super Heroes pitted classic characters like Captain America and Wolverine against each other in the hopes of taking down Thanos in a plot that is loosely tied to the Infinity Gauntlet. The game is unique because it incorporated the gems from the Gauntlet into the matches, offering them as temporary power-ups if a player controls them and activates them. Marvel Vs. Capcom, on the other hand, was the first game to see the universes crossover in a big way. With a huge roster that featured fan favorites like The Hulk, Spider-Man, Ryu, and Chun-Li alongside newcomers like Venom and Mega Man, MvC was groundbreaking for its time. Since these games are still played in fighting tournaments it's clear that they were and still are sound fighters, but this re-release does bring some updates to their tried and true formula.
Both games receive an (optional) graphical upgrade. Like most classic games that have made the jump to HD, you can play both releases in their original state, or with filters applied that smooth the sprites. You can also set the screen ratio to its classic 4:3 or stretch it for HD TVs. Capcom has done some interesting fan services with its previous re-releases, like Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online, and it continues with Origins since retains the options to include the monitor scan lines to help re-create a more authentic arcade experience. This time around, they have even gone so far as to offer arcade style views, so you can play or watch "over the shoulder" to really make you feel like its 1994 all over again.
Like 3rd Strike Online, Origins also includes an on-going unlock system, that rewards players for completing certain in-game tasks with points that can be spent on things like characters, concept art, and ending movies. All of these are a nice inclusion, and really reinforce replayability in order to unlock content from these classic games that you normally wouldn't get to see.
One shouldn't over look the most obvious current gen upgrade – online gameplay. Origins does a solid job of recreating the feeling of being in the arcades, at home, so many years later. Never be without someone to play courtesy of the game's well-tested GGPO netcode to make your matches play seamlessly.
Both of these games have been hot commodities on the collector's market for sometime now, and, if you were to buy them for your classic consoles they could run you upwards of $50. Instead, you could purchase them both on Xbox Live or PSN for a much more reasonable $15. While this may clearly drive the value of some collector's games down, it's a great opportunity for younger fans, who may have been introduced to Capcom's fighting games through titles like Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 or Street Fighter IV to explore the franchise's roots. If you've spent any amount of time banging away at the buttons, trying to get War Marchine or Zangief to do a Hyper Combo, pick up Marvel Vs. Capcom Origins – it's well worth the cost to help remember the good old days.