#113 – Captain America and The Avengers

But really, just Captain America and Hawkeye.
Simpler times.
Hawkeye strikes a pose in the heat of battle.




GENRE: Action

RELEASE DATE: December 1991

I’ve never understood the appeal of Captain America. Sure, during World War II, his existence made sense. He lent moral support to “the boys” overseas and made the women at home swoon. Unlike other comic book heroes who have grown with the times, though, I feel like Captain America is lost back in that tumultuous time. Does anyone really care about him anymore? I know there’s a movie that’s supposed to be coming out soon, and even it is being filmed in England. What does that say? The Avengers are still pretty sweet, but does Captain America need to be leading them? Important questions all, and I’m sure if I were a comic book nerd of the highest order, I could pretend to know what I’m talking about and answer them. As it stands, I’m an NES nerd, so said questions will remain rhetorical.

In the game, Captain America and Hawkeye are out to save Iron Man and the Vision from the clutches of Mandarin and the Red Skull. What this amounts to – besides just being your typical comic book plot – is that you can only play as Hawkeye or Captain America during the game. This makes the title feel like a rip-off – I want Captain America and the Avengers, not Captain America and Hawkeye his Robin-esque sidekick. I know this is a port of the arcade game – one of the few arcade brawlers I disliked as a child – but other four-player arcade ports like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II managed to include all four turtles, so what the fuss, Data East. This might sound like a paltry complaint, but it really is annoying to only be able to play as two characters.

The game itself is standard Contra ripoff fare, although the levels themselves are easier than Contra‘s. Throw your shield and shoot your arrows at baddies around none-too-crowded side-scrolling levels. There are little power-ups in floating canisters all along the level, but aside from the heart and a glowing orb that made the exit appear, I’m not sure what the rest of them did. The levels do ramp up in challenge eventually, but only in small increments. I plowed through the first few levels only to have both Captain Ahab and T. Hawkeye die horrendously in this one section, where wave after wave of enemies kept coming without end. There are no continues, so it was back to square one. This is where Data East failed to see the beauty of Contra. Whereas Contra is difficult the entire way through, Captain America has pockets of difficulty amongst otherwise easy, bland levels.

Sometimes mediocre games bother me more than terrible games. At least if a game is terrible, it’s terrible through and through. It’s admirable that the developers of crappy games are so committed to making a crappy game, that almost every aspect of their design is terrible. But when a game like Captain America has promise – decent music, good controls – yet fails to fully deliver or considerably fail, you have to wonder why Data East would even bother.


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8 replies on “#113 – Captain America and The Avengers”

I’m an Avengers apologist — by no means do I think it belongs in the pantheon of great NES games, but I can definitely imagine being a programmer charged with putting the arcade experience onto an 8-bit cartridge and ending up with the best possible result. I think of it this way: The X-Men and Avengers beat-’em-ups at the arcade were very similar.

But look at their NES iterations.

*mind blown*

Sometimes I feel like I’m needlessly hard on games. After I complete the quest, I plan on going back through and updating select reviews, giving games a second chance, etc. Perhaps I’ll give this one another go.

Dylan, I think your reviews are great. So far I have not disagreed with a single rating you have given a game that I have played – this leads me to believe maybe we have similar tastes. Thus I find your reviews a great resource for choosing games I hadn’t played to add to my collection. Thanks!

You are most welcome, thank you for the speedy response!

I started this morning at 10 yard fight, and after a break to go pick up my girlfriend after work I am now at Final Fantasy! I plan on reading them all (possibly in one or two sittings hah), I know I have enjoyed each review so far… but at the same time it’s a fairly tedious task catching up ^_^ I can’t imagine how much effort you have put into this! The fact that you kept going amazes me… As much as I love my NES, I surely wouldn’t have made it through some of those bad games. Truly a labor of love that is much appreciated.

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