Marvel vs. Capcom 2: Looking Back Upon Its 20th Anniversary

This past February was Marvel vs Capcom 2's 20th anniversary. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is a pillar of the fighting game scene that is still extremely popular to this day. With it set to take the main stage at EVO this year, let's take a look back on what makes this game so loved in the fighting game community.

Marvel vs. Capcom 2: Still Going Strong on 20th Anniversary

If you asked a random gamer what they think the most famous fighting games are, what games would they pick? Street Fighter 2? Mortal Kombat? Tekken? One answer you’d get from a lot of people is Marvel vs. Capcom 2. With one of the largest fighting game rosters at the time, fun gameplay and a healthy stint in competitive gaming, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 turned out to be one of the most celebrated fighting games ever. Last February was the 20th anniversary of Marvel vs Capcom 2‘s launch; let’s take a look and see what makes it so celebrated to this day.

MVC2 Character Select

With 56 playable characters, this roster was hard to beat in 2000

A Brief History of the Marvel vs. Capcom Series

Nowadays, Marvel is more known for the MCU, but in the early ’90s, Marvel wasn’t the conglomerate we know today, and they worked with Capcom on fighting games based on the X-Men and other Marvel super-heroes.

After the success of those two games, Capcom decided to make crossover titles featuring Marvel characters like X-Men vs. Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes. All of these games built up to one point: the release of Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes in February 2000. This game contains all of the previous fighters from earlier games in addition to newer characters like Jill Valentine and Cable. During a hiatus in the series caused by legal issues between Capcom and Marvel, the game increased in popularity. Fans figured it would be the last game in the series, and that’s how they played the game. 

Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes (1999) added other Capcom characters that weren’t in previous games

Why Is Marvel vs. Capcom 2 So Loved?

In many ways, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is just like every other game in the series. It reuses character sprites from previous games and has similar mechanics to what fans of the series are used to. However, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 sets itself apart from its predecessors with its graphics and sound. The game sports gorgeous 3D backgrounds of clock towers, pirate ships and deserts accompanied with a jazzy soundtrack. In addition, the character select screen music is the most famous in fighting game history. The loop of “I’m gonna take you for a ride” is so catchy that you probably just started singing it as you read this. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 also extends the matches to 3-on-3 as opposed to the 2-on-2 matches from previous entries. The return of tag assists is also a welcome feature, making battles truly feel like team-based bouts.

Speaking of the characters, the 56-character roster remains one of the most varied and deep in fighting game history. With mainstay and obscure characters alike, it’s hard to find a character that won’t fit your playstyle. This game gave more obscure characters like Captain Commando, Strider Hiryu, Cable, and Dr. Doom cult followings that led to appearances in future films and/or video games. According to Andrew Szymanski, a producer for Strider (2014), Hiryu’s moves in that game were partially inspired by his appearance in the Marvel vs. Capcom series. The varied roster dwarfs even some modern fighting games, and leaves countless combinations for teams, assists and combos.

MVC2 Screengrab

Psylocke and Marrow fighting in a swamp-area

Conclusion

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is one of the most celebrated fighting games of all time, and for good reason. Its graphics and sound were ahead of its time for 2D fighters, and is still widely enjoyed by the fighting game community. In fact, to celebrate its 20th anniversary, Marvel vs Capcom 2 will be one of the main games at EVO for the first time since 2010. While this occasion may lead to a big reveal of a new game in the franchise, I’m sure some people will be perfectly happy to just have Marvel vs. Capcom 2.

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