The Marvel vs. Capcom series is one of the most celebrated fighting game crossovers to ever hit the market. Considering when the game originally came out back in 1998, the concept of characters from different games duking it out was still novel. Generally speaking, the Marvel section of the game has well-known faces like Captain America and Spider-Man. The Capcom side, however, often had some truly obscure and sometimes newly created characters with bizarre backgrounds. Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes brought back the entire cast of the first game and several new faces to the roster, many of which never returned in future installments. Let’s take a look at some of the most unknown faces from this entry!
One of the original characters introduced in Marvel vs. Capcom 2, SonSon is the granddaughter another character named SonSon from the 1984 arcade game titled, you guessed it, SonSon. Both characters are based on the character Sun Wukong from the Chinese novel Journey to the West, of which fans of Dragon Ball are keenly aware as Goku is also heavily derived from that work. In the game’s story, SonSon’s village is afflicted by a strange disease when antagonist Abyss awakens from its slumber. She attacks with a staff, also based on a weapon Sun Wukong fights with, and has Hyper Combos wherein the staff grows to a tremendous size and pummels her opponents. She can also transformer into a giant ape and shoot beams from her mouth, another trick fans of Goku will enjoy.
Returning from Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes, Jin is originally from the game Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness, a game with one of the best titles in the history of everything. Cyberbots is another fighting game made by Capcom in 1995 and featured giant mecha, called Variant Armor, wailing on each other. Jin fights for the memory of his slain father, which the circumstances of that death slowly start to become more nefarious. Similar to that of Captain Falcon from the Smash Bros. series, Jin is pulled from his mecha, BLODIA, and fights with a mix of hand-to-hand combat, fire based explosions, and BLODIA coming in to give a giant punch to the face. Jin was always my favorite character, with his passionate yells of “BLODIAAAAA!” when doing a Hyper Combo, his clothes literally exploding OFF HIS BODY for certain special attacks, and a taunt where he rubs his back so fast with a cloth that he sets it on fire. What a guy.
Arguably the central character for Marvel vs. Capcom 2, this was another wholly original entry for the series and absolutely one the best parts. A French speaking pirate captain, Ruby Heart travels the world on her flying ship Partenaire (French for partner) in search of magical objects to add to her collection. When Abyss awakens, she begins to gather the strongest fighters from the Marvel and Capcom roster to defeat the evil. Her fighting style involves anchors, whips, and a haunted treasure chest! One of her Hyper Combos is literally opening a chest FULL of ghosts that attack her opponent. It’s a shame that Ruby Heart never made another appearance because she’s so utterly unique. Allegedly, her design was originally rejected as part of the Darkstalkers games, where series mainstay Morrigan hails from, before being shifted over to Marvel vs. Capcom. Maybe she’ll make her triumphant return to the seven seas one day soon.
Making his one and only showing in the series, Hayato comes from the Star Gladiator series, a 3D fighting game released by Capcom in 1996 with a sequel, Plasma Sword, in 1999. He wields a Plasma Blade, basically a Lightsaber, and is a bounty hunter from the year 2348 out to stop Dr. Edward Bilstein form world domination. His moves consist of mostly slashing the opponent to shreds with the Plasma Blade, complete with the typical anime trope of dashing in, having the screen go black while sound effects of the blade striking play loudly, and cutting back with Hayato in a ridiculously cool pose while the foe flies away with their injuries. His outfit and design looks like something out of a Metal Gear Solid game and now I want that crossover to happen.
Now THIS is an original character for the ages. Part of the Man-Plant race, Amingo is potbellied cactus man with a dope hat and a sunny disposition. He speaks by saying his own name, similar to that of a Pokémon, and is adventuring to find the cause of all plant life being suddenly killed off by Abyss. Most of his fighting moves revolve around him shape shifting into various sizes of plants, often with spikes. He can also plant a smaller version of himself who will seek out the enemy with just the cutest precision possible. Definitely the most peculiar of the new characters, Amingo has also never appeared again in the fighting game series. Personally, I think we could have used an early 2000s Amingo game for the Dreamcast.
Also playable in the first Marvel vs. Capcom, Captain Commando returns with all the pizzazz of his previous outing. Originally from the arcade game Captain Commando, the Captain was one of four playable characters in the side scrolling beat ‘em up adventure released in 1991. He comes equipped with armor and an energy glove that allows him to attack with fire and electricity, both taken from the beat ‘em up game. He starts each fight dressed in a dashing suit before donning the red shades and being fitted with his futuristic armor. Both of his Hyper Combos incorporate his fellow Commandos, consisting of Mack The Knife, a mummy-like alien, Ginzu, a highly trained ninja, and Baby Head, a super genius literal infant who fights with a giant robot he built himself. They even strike a pose that is similar to the promotional art from Captain Commando after completing a Hyper Combo and it’s just beautiful.
BABY BONNIE HOOD
Also known as B.B. Hood, this murderous character comes from the Darkstalkers series of fighting games. A monster bounty hunter by trade, she dons the Little Red Riding Hood getup as a ruse to fool unsuspecting prey. Her basket has a full arsenal of rockets and guns, which she uses liberally during battle. Her Hyper Combos involve unloading massive amounts of bullets from a semiautomatic weapon, along with two burly looking goons, as well as jumping on her opponent, firing more countless bullets, and then jumping off and dropping several comically gigantic bombs. The ridiculousness of it all is half the charm, and it’s almost criminal she only appeared as fighter in one installment. Maybe we’ll get another Darkstalkers game in the near future and we’ll pull out the picnic basket of doom once again.
Although Strider definitely has more games to his name than most on this list, and appears in more entries in the Marvel vs. Capcom series, his origins still remain relatively under the radar. Debuting in Strider, a hack-and-slash platformer released to arcades in 1989, he also appeared in two follow ups and several ports. Although primarily known for video games, he actually first came into existence in a Japan exclusive manga titled Strider Hiryu, which came out in 1988 and seems like a genuinely interesting story with some charmingly ‘80s artwork. Hiryu is a Strider, an elite mercenary warrior ninja using high-tech weaponry to carry out missions for their covert group. His attacks consist of slicing and dicing with his blade, as well as jumping off walls and using mechanical animals to jump in and attack. One of his Hyper Combos sees him commanding an army of robotic saber tooth tigers and falcons, covering the screen and laying waste to all who stand in his way.
BRING THEM BACK
All of these characters, except for Strider Hiryu, have not returned in any recent entries, the latest being Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, a decidedly middling affair released back in 2017. Although rumor mills swirl about a follow-up or a re-release of older games, nothing has happened yet. The licensing for Marvel characters would almost certainly be a nightmare at this point, but I would love to see some of these lost gems make a return to the fighting ring, even if it was in a somewhat different game. Time will tell if we’ll ever get to see BLODIA’s arm fly across the screen again, but until then, we can always remember the good times.
Lastly, can I just say – what killer art this entire game has. All done by Bengus, a Japanese freelance artist, his work has also graced other Capcom games such as the Street Fighter series, both Power Stone games, and the Darkstalkers series. His talent is a treasure and something we should all be thankful for.