What is it about superheroes and side-scrolling brawlers? Over the last few decades we've been witness to countless 2D beat-em-ups starring our favorite comic book characters. Between the X-Men, Justice League, Marvel's Ultimate Alliance and Batman, it feels like every big name hero has found his way into a generic Double Dragon rip-off. Sadly, Captain America and the Avengers is no exception.
On one hand the genre is perfect. This is a style of game that involves a lot of beating bad guys up, something you see a lot of in the pages of comic books. However, by reducing these crime fighters to nothing more than street brawlers, it actually diminishes what people love about the characters. Iron Man is more than just a guy who can punch thugs; he can fly around, shoot out powerful rockets and, most importantly, deliver a one-liner like no other. Yet most of that is lost in a game as simple as this.
As the title suggests, this is a game about Captain America and the Avengers ... but not all the Avengers. He's backed up by Hawkeye, the aforementioned Iron Man and Vision. The game allows for two players to pick and choose characters and then take on Wizard, Whirlwind, Grim Reaper, the Juggernaut and countless other big name baddies. You'll fight through five repetitive levels before ultimately defeating Red Skull and saving the day.
Much like Double Dragon and so many other 2D brawlers, Captain America and the Avengers is an incredibly simple game with very little depth. Each hero has only a few moves, which include both long and short ranged attacks. You can pick up weapons along the way, through everything seems to be of the exploding variety. For the most part, gamers are forced to walk left to right mashing buttons until everybody has been knocked out.
Thankfully there's a nice selection of bad guys to beat up. What's more, the game wisely switches from a generic brawler to ... a 2D shoot-em-up? It's true, the game has a tendency to switch gears and let you fly around the screen shooting at incoming airborne crafts. While this doesn't add much depth, it does manage to break up the repetitive action for a few minutes.
The graphics are surprisingly close to the arcade original. Having said that, the character models are small and lack much detail. Both versions of the game show their age, which is not an endearing attribute for an old timey beat-em-up. On the other hand, the whole thing is over so quickly that you'll hardly notice that the bosses are microscopic and many thugs are nothing more than palette swaps.
Captain America and the Avengers can be a lot of fun with a friend alongside, but most serious gamers should just avoid this disappointment. There isn't a whole lot here to grab on to, which is probably why it's not as fondly remembered as Konami's X-Men. Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man and even Vision deserve better than this.