Dateline : 2nd November 2011


Unable to contain his fascination for all things spandex any longer, RetroBear dons his own superhero outfit and in true Kick Ass fashion gets his clock cleaned by the Red Skull and friends. Honestly officer, this Spider-Woman costume was the only one they had left in the shop….


This is how it looked in the arcade......see below for the Mega Drive effort


For a time comic book fans like myself longed for the chance to play at being their favourite super-hero. Running round the playground pretending to be Spider-Man was ok but you always felt there was something missing. You had to go to extremes, although wearing ones underpants outside of your trousers seemed a bit daft, and you got some very strange looks. Especially if you hadn’t washed them. Anyway we had the comics and could at least let our imaginations run wild.


Then games companies had the bright idea to start making computer games about our favourite super-heroes. All of a sudden we could actually be Spider-Man without fear of scaring the neighbours. Of course not all those games could be good ; stinkers included Spider-Man (Atari 2600), Dr Dooms Revenge (most 8 bit and 16 bit home computers) and Superman 64 (Nintendo 64) are much maligned and rightly so because they were crap.


So when Data East put Captain America And The Avengers onto an arcade board and slung it in arcades, fans lapped it up. Now with the big brash bold graphics and sampled speech blaring out, you could really truly be that hero – be it Cap himself, Iron Man, The Vision or Hawkeye. Chuck in a few cameos from Wasp, Wonder Man, The Sub-Mariner and Quicksilver and that’s more than enough to keep fanboys like me incredibly happy. (Note – Stay with me on this if it’s sounding a little too geeky, I’ll get to the game in a moment)


It's a bit cack isn't it ?


One of the first Mega Drive games I purchased with my own money after buying a system and a load of games from a mate at college (see told you I’d get to the game – have faith Retro Readers) was the home conversion of Captain America And The Avengers. Why ? I think because it was cheap, because it was about comic books and because lots of the games I had inherited with the system were pretty naff. There are only so many times you can load up Altered Beast and be happy with your lot.


That said, compared to the arcade original, the conversion of CAATA is pretty ropey. For a start the graphics are shockingly average, especially when you consider Dick Tracy was released in the same year. The sound is a mixture of generic super-hero type fanfares and some muffled sampled speech (every voice is the same just done with differing levels of hysteria). Although all the characters are there from the original game and it’s good enough action, the game is way too easy and it’s possible to get through it in a couple of sittings.


The Avengers. Assembling. That's a sort of comic book fan joke as it were


So why do I like it so much ? I don’t know but maybe it’s because being a comic fan and having waited ages for something like this to come along, the crushing disappointment of yet another crappy tie in can’t dampen my spirits.


VERDICT : Even if you like the comics it is hard to see you’ll be playing this for more than a couple of weeks max. This is one superhero that went into the telephone booth and came out like Clark Kent ; a bit wet and not all that attractive.


NOTES : Copies on Amazon can be picked up from around £5 (01.11.11) although that is for the cart only version. Expect to pay a bit more through eBay though. When it comes to complete versions don’t expect much change from £20.00 !


UP NEXT : Switching 16 bit for 8 bit – it’s time to tangle with Bionic Commando on the NES.