Revisiting the Captain America and the Avengers Arcade Game
A reminder that classic arcade games are just strange relics of pop art.
First thing’s first: Captain America and the Avengers is not a bad arcade game. In fact, it was considered a favorite among arcade-goers back in the day. Sure it wasn’t a classic — like the X-Men, The Simpsons, or The Ninja Turtles arcade games — but it was perfectly playable. That was a long time ago, though, and upon revisiting the game, one is reminded just how strange these arcade games, which were made in Japan before coming stateside, actually were. A lot of mistranslations and hokey presentation went a long way when essentially designing a machine to eat kids’ quarters.
Captain America and the Avengers was a class arcade beat-em-up developed by Data East in 1991. You take the role of either Steve Rogers or one of the other Avengers as they fight the Red Skull, who is out to destroy the world. Aside from Captain America, you can play as Iron Man, Vision, or Hawkeye. I guess I was a little surprised by the roster but that’s only because I’m not really familiar with the ‘90s lineup of the Avengers. Vision and Hawkeye seem like strange inclusions, but I supposed The Hulk would be too hard to recreate graphically at the time.
Also did you know that Captain America’s day job was as an illustrator? I think I forgot that.
Still, that’s not nearly as bad as the Vision, professional Adventurer. I suppose he gave up that life when he decided to settle down with his family?
Lost in Translation
Like most arcade games at the time, Captain America and the Avengers was made in Japan, and eventually was ported over for the Nintendo NES and Sega Genesis. As such, mistranslations and strange localization are fairly common in these games. “Welcome to die” is a fairly infamous one found in the X-Men arcade game.
Still, as many of those translations have become stuff of internet humor, there are some real gems to be found in Captain America and the Avengers.
“Don’t disturb us” is a pretty intimidating threat when robbing a bank.
The villain says this to Captain America in response to Cap telling him that he cannot escape. Note: the large bag with the dollar sign.
In addition to the sidescrolling fighting sequences, Captain America throws in a handful of these sidescrolling vehicle chases as well.
There’s Captain America on his flying liberty scooter.
And then there’s Captain America in space.
Surprise boss fights
What really did impress me was the characters that ended up making an appearance as boss fights. Many of these names should be familiar for anyone who has watched a Marvel film in the last 10 years.
There’s Ultron who actually looks pretty cool in the game.
Crossbone who will be making an appearance in the upcoming Captain America Civil War
And of course, Wizard, and the evil thing he has done. (I don’t know who this character is either).
Also, Quicksilver stops by every now and then to drop off power-ups.
The game ends when Captain America faces off against the Red Skull and his evil, giant, Red Skull robot.
Of course with enough quarters you’ll win and the game ends there. The day is saved all thanks to…