Marvel vs. Capcom (マーヴルVSカプコン, Māvuru tai Kapukon) is a series of fighting games created by Capcom in which characters created by Marvel Comics and Capcom's own characters appear together.
Games in the Series
The Marvel characters depicted in these games were often based on their incarnations in various early 1990s animated series (particularly X-Men), and were often voiced by the same voice actors.
Many of the characters and fighting mechanics used in these games were first developed and refined in two other fighting games Capcom had developed earlier, serving as precursors to the series: X-Men: Children of the Atom, which featured characters strictly from the X-Men universe, and Marvel Super Heroes, which gleaned characters from Marvel's entire roster (X-Men included).
Although the tag-team fighting concept was not new, it was refined with this series (although fans would argue whether this was for better or for worse). New fighting game terminology, such as "Aerial Rave" (the act of performing a combo on an opponent while the opponent remains airborne) and "Variable Combination" (the act of having two or more characters on the same team to perform their hyper combos at the same time) were added to the fighting game vernacular with this series.
There does not appear to be a concrete story behind each game in the series, although several plot points run across the various games of the series. However, various pairs of characters - typically one Marvel and one Capcom, were often partnered with each other during gameplay (although later games randomized the partnerships so that it was possible to complete the game facing all-Marvel or all-Capcom teams).
However, several interesting (but noncanonical to both Marvel and Capcom continuities) sideplots did emerge throughout the series, some of which contradict the others:
- Psylocke is the one who rescues the amnesiac Cammy, who lost her memory after the battle with Apocalypse in X-Men vs. Street Fighter, from The Hand and its leader, Matsu'o Tsurayaba.
- Zangief and Colossus defend Russia against Omega Red. In one ending, Omega Red apparently kills Ryu, prompting Ken to also seek revenge.
- Wolverine seeks Akuma as he believes Akuma has information about his own past. However, in order to get the information from Akuma, he must win a fight to the death.
- When Onslaught emerges, Charles Xavier subconsciously calls the Capcom heroes to help stop himself. Jin Saotome is attacked by M. Bison after defeating him and is near death, but the two cyborgs, Shadow Lady and Shadow, revive him as a being like themselves. In the Hulk's ending, Captain America makes the sacrifice (in a scene similar to the canonical Onslaught Saga). Meanwhile, Zangief battles Jin's Cyberbot, Blodia.
- Magneto and M. Bison team up, intending on betraying each other at a later time. In Magneto's ending, Magneto eventually manages to get the upper hand and kills him. Bison's Shadaloo henchmen (Balrog, Vega, and Sagat) join him afterwards, fearful of Magneto's power. The opposite happens in M. Bison's ending.
- Apocalypse captures Akuma and turns him into Cyber Akuma.
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 were the first to offer an overarching plot for their respective games. In the former, pirate Ruby Heart summons heroes from both universes to stop the advance of the multiversal destructive force, Abyss; in the latter, Doctor Doom finds the universe where the Capcom characters live and forges an alliance with Resident Evil antagonist Albert Wesker so they can rule both universes. This, however, ends up attracting the ire of Galactus, who aims to consome both Earths, and the heroes must work together to stop the villains and stave off the Devourer of Worlds. Like in the previous games, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (and its update, Ultimate) also offered possible sideplots involving characters from both IPs upon completion of the game with certain characters:
- Crimson Viper is sought by Nick Fury, who considers her a potential recruit for S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Arthur continues his quest to save his Princess, confronting Fin Fang Foom.
- Should he defeat Galactus, Mike Haggar will be hailed by the people and elected President of the USA (alluding to his background as the Mayor of Metro City, the setting of the Final Fight series), with Tony Stark as his VP.
- In Ultimate, Reed Richards will discover a portal leading to an alternate universe where zombified versions of Marvel heroes exist (alluding to how Ultimate Reed Richards first discovered the Marvel Zombies universe) and enlists Frank West's help to fight off the impending threat.
- Also in Ultimate, Hawkeye starts a new formation of the West Coast Avengers, made up of both veteran team members (himself, Tigra, Mockingbird, Wonder Man, War Machine and Moon Knight) and Capcom heroes (June from Star Gladiator, Leo from Red Earth, Jin Saotome from Cyberbots, Rikuo from Darkstalkers and Rei from Breath of Fire III).