If you were comic book fan in 1991 and wandered into an arcade (which, having lost their appeal to both addicts tired of the stale games and pedophiles who now used the Internet to troll, were slowly dying out at that point), you may have become speechless upon catching sight of Captain America and the Avengers. For me, it was akin to discovering the pillars of Atlantis. Why? Because you could sink your quarters in and play as Vision, Iron Man or Hawkeye (and let’s not forget Captain America, but I’ve never been a fan). Those were a few of my favorite Avengers! What wasn’t to love? Not only could you play as those characters, but you would get assistance from the likes of Wasp and Wonder Man as you fought villains like Whirlwind, Klaw, Ultron and the Grim Reaper. Was there anything to dislike about the game?
As games went, it was a simple side-scrolling basher with little in the way of variation. Punching things or attacking with your powers over and over didn’t matter when you were Hawkeye, though. Or Vision. Or Iron Man. (Again, screw Captain America.) It could’ve been a cooking game where the object was to boil eggs and it would have been fine because you were playing as those characters. Hell, if they threw in a playable Black Panther, Hellcat or Scarlet Witch I would’ve stolen the damn game.
I used to play this game while waiting for my girlfriend to get off work. It was housed in a Redding, California mall, and it was the four player model. Sadly, it was neglected most of the time, which was lucky for me, but did mean that its days were numbered. One day I went to play it only to find that the machine was gone and nothing was in its place.
I haven’t seen it since those Redding days. I know it exists for consoles, but I doubt the experience would be the same. I am certain, however, that if this game had come along just five years earlier it would have been a huge success that would still be talked about to this day. Instead, it is relegated to an empty memory slot in most people’s brains. Comic book games have grown since then. Some are incredible. Others a step back in time to the Atari 2600 days. This game, being as mediocre as it was, barely registers as nostalgia for most, but for me it was an oasis in the Hell that was Redding, and for that it will always be remembered.