Tag Archive: mega man

Mighty No. 9 will launch September 15, and will receive a retail release on PS4, Xbox One, and Wii U, developer Comcept and publisher Deep Silver announced today.

The physical retail editions, which will cost $29.99, will include the Ray “Abandoned Lab Stage” DLC, which allows players to control Beck’s Rival, Ray, in a full new stage complete with boss battle. The DLC will be available for free to all Kickstarter backers. Mighty No. 9‘s digital, DLC-less release, meanwhile, will cost $19.99.

As for the slight delay past Mighty No. 9‘s original spring release window, part of the reason is the inclusion of newly added French and Japanese voiceover options, and subtitles for nine languages now.

Mighty No. 9 is a spiritual successor to Mega Man that was successfully crowdfunded through Kickstarter back in August of 2013, earning more than quadruple the amount of money it had originally asked.

Mighty No. 9 launches both physically and digitally across PS4, Xbox One, and Wii U, and digital-only for Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Mac, and Linux September 15. Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita versions are planned, but will come at a later date.

Another Mighty No. 9 update came out this weekend on Comcept USA’s corresponding Kickstarter page, giving everyone a fresh glimpse at the game as well as detailing some changes that are coming to Beck’s partner, Call.

The bulk of the update came in the form of another gameplay video (embedded above) that sees Beck work his way through Mighty No. 2 and 5’s stages. While the bosses themselves are only briefly featured towards the end of the footage, you see key gameplay features again on display, like Beck’s various horizontal and vertical dash abilities.

The update also showed off a minor redesign of Call, Beck’s robotic assistant. Call became a playable character when the Kickstarter for Mighty No. 9 reached its $2,750,000 stretch goal, and because of this, some early animations of her running and crawling were also shown off. Since Call can’t perform a crouching dash like Beck, she resorts to crawling through tight  spaces, which is just one of the ways the two robots differ from each other.

The update also mentions that Keiji Inafune will be part of a panel at Anime Expo this weekend in Los Angeles, suggesting some more “mighty” information might come out of it.

Mighty No. 9 is currently slated for a spring 2015 release on PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Mac, Linux, PS Vita, and Nintendo 3DS.

Clash of the Classics

When I was just a boy, my friends and I would argue for hours on end on the playground about what superheroes would win in an imaginary fight when pitted against each other in all different kinds of wacky combinations. We didn’t just mix up teams from a particular universe, but came up with all kinds of scenarios that put our favorites against all manner of pop culture heroes and heroines. So, when games like Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel vs Capcom breathed even more life into these conversations, you can easily imagine why we were hooked.

Flash-forward nearly two decades, and these games have led to the production of one of the most successful and beloved fighting game franchises there is. Because of this, Capcom wanted to make sure that not only us older games didn’t forget our roots, but also show a new generation the foundations of what set us on our hypercombo-ing path.

Marvel vs Capcom Origins is no ordinary old-school compilation, though. Included with these two original games—which have also had some HD graphic upgrades—are 8-player online lobbies with spectator modes, replay saving, dynamic challenges that unlock levels, and points you can spend on unlockables like characters that were hidden in the originals, end movies, or concept art.

The best part of the dynamic challenges and unlocks, though, may be that they give both games an unprecedented amount of replayability. Plus, if you’re as big a fan as I am, you will absolutely geek out over the sketches and stills of your favorites heroes and villains, as well as the chance to easily unlock the hidden characters that we originally had to input an impossibly long code for—Dr. Doom and Thanos in Marvel Super Heroes and Gold War Machine, Hyper Venom, Orange Hulk, and Shadow Lady in MvC.

Another nice aspect of the game is that everything that made these fighters unique in the first place is still there so you can relive the experience as if it were 1995 again and you were feeding quarters into an arcade cabinet under pink neon lights. The gem system of Marvel Super Heroes (inspired by the Infinity Gauntlet story from Marvel comics) still allows you to enhance your players temporarily with the powers of Space, Power, Time, Soul, Reality, or Mind, and MvC still gives you dozens of assist characters and the Duo Team Attack where you and your partner can combine your hyper combos into one truly devastating maneuver.

Unfortunately, in terms of gameplay, the games are a little too demanding at times, as players who are used to modern fighters will quickly see the age on these classics. Sometimes a little clunky and even a bit frustrating, both these games—but especially Marvel Super Heroes—can feel stiff, and the smooth combo chains you may be used to from Marvel vs Capcom 3 are much harder to string together and pull off in these titles. It’s not that you won’t be able to get the hang of these characters eventually and have fun in the process, but if you play modern fighters like MvC 3 religiously and then expect to be able to jump right into these games, you might be caught a bit off-guard by the stark differences.

When all is said and done, Marvel vs Capcom Origins hits enough of the right nostalgic notes to make it a more than worthwhile purchase for long time fans. I mean, the game even offers zoomed out, angled camera camera views designed to replicate the experience of playing on an old wooden cabinet. Younger fans might be a little frustrated with the less than silky smooth controls, but they should still play in order to truly appreciate how far we’ve come with fighting games. They’ll even likely start creating fun memories of their own once they adjust to the outdate feel. All in all, Origins is a fine compilation that’s more than worthy of a download.

SUMMARY: Marvel vs Capcom Origins does a fine job of staying true to the originals, while the addition of dynamic challenges provide a new layer of addictiveness that helps to overshadow how much these games have aged in the past two decades.

  • THE GOOD: New leveling up and variety of unlocks compliment classic game play well.
  • THE BAD: Games show their age at times.
  • THE UGLY: Far and away, it’s Shuma-Gorath.

SCORE: 9.0

Marvel vs Capcom Origins is available on XBLA (Xbox 360) and PS3 (PSN). Primary version reviewed was for XBLA.

After a lengthy hiatus, The Pullbox has returned! After careful thought, we have decided to bring it back in a way that hopefully improves it and also makes it more timely, for you, our faithful readers. Instead of picking a Top 5 every week, we will simply pick five books, still in the two Marvel, two DC, and one indie format, to give our thoughts on. This way we can warn you of what may not be a good book as well raise up those that are worthy. And so, without further ado, here is the beginnings of The Pullbox, Volume 2!

DC – Batman #10 – As ‘The Night of the Owls’ story arc begins to wind down, Batman still must tie up the last few loose ends that plagues his city. More specifically, the remaining members of The Court of Owls. Little does he know though that the menace that has tormented him over the past few nights of his life has roots as far reaching as his parents and his becoming Batman.

I understand that in order to try to modernize Batman within this ‘New 52’ that new villains have been created and small changes have been made along the way to Batman and his history and that as a whole, he has received the least amount of changes of many of DC’s classic heroes. But when you couple last week’s Batman Annual #1 that radically changed the origins of Mr. Freeze and now you create basically a main universe Owl Man that is related to Bruce Wayne and I’m just left shaking my head. The ‘New 52’ isn’t even a year old and it has already jumped the shark with most of its major characters and this is just another example of taking things too far. Much like Batman Annual #1, this issue started off fantastically and then took a nosedive off a cliff and has me worried for the future of The Dark Knight.

DC – Batman: Arkham Unhinged #3 – Delving deep into the stories that took place between Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, this month’s issue re-examines the relationship between the Joker and Penguin and just where their now infamous feud started that would of course carry over into the game.

At first the idea of a continuing comic book monthly telling the untold stories within the Arkham City universe sounded tremendously appealing to me. But after reading this issue I came to realize there is nothing original about these stories at all really. These comic stories are based on a lot of the recordings that you collect in game revolving around various villains because I remember hearing this actual story being told in Nolan North’s over-the-top cockney accent from the game. As much as I enjoyed Arkham City, there is really no reason for me to waste my time reading stories I’ve already been told in comic book form. It just seems like another way for DC to try to capitalize on the Batman franchise as many of their other books struggle along. The only positive was the short scene where the Joker was in ‘human face’ in order to blend in with the public a bit before unceremoniously having it removed to reveal his true color and causing havoc in the Iceberg Lounge.

Marvel – The Incredible Hulk #9 – The Hulk has realized that whereas he used to occupy Banner’s body, the gamma bomb that was set off on Banner’s own Island of Doctor Moreau early in this recently re-launched series has turned the tables and now Banner occupies Hulk’s body instead. And Banner only emerges when Hulk calms down. And much like how Banner had no idea how he ended up in the various predicaments the Hulk used to get him in, Hulk is always surprised to find the surroundings Banner takes him to when he’s in control. This time, they end up at the bottom of the ocean.

For as much as DC has screwed up their universal relaunch, it seems that Marvel has gotten a lot of their individual relaunches right and that includes this monthly. Basically picking up right where the old series left off, The Incredible Hulk relaunch marked a different tone, different writers, and reset the numbering, but kept in line with the continuity and in this case found a way to turn the Hulk on his head for the third or fourth time in the past decade as a character and still kept him interesting. And he still smashes everything in sight. Everyone wins. This was another exciting issue that had a great beginning, middle, and end, but still left it open enough that we want to pick up the next issue as Hulk starts under the sea, and ends up in deep space. A terrific adventure as the Hulk continues to battle the enemy within makes The Incredible Hulk a monthly to definitely to keep an eye on.

Marvel – Deadpool #56 – The Merc with a Mouth continues trying to adjust to being without his healing factor and feels he needs to get his mojo back as years of relying on the healing factor has taken away his edge. So he calls on Taskmaster to help him. But Taskmaster obviously is someone who can’t be trusted and so Deadpool learns a hard lesson in dealing with the world now that he is powerless.

Even without his healing factor, Deadpool is still one of the funniest books out there as the inner dialogue with the voices in his head, and the rise of Paste Pot Pete as his new nemesis, is just great to see develop over the past couple of issues and continue here. The thing that I worry about is that it took 50 issues for Deadpool to change even slightly as a character and although still entertaining to read, now that he is without his healing factor and blowing himself up a lot less, the book seems to have lost something. So I hope that Marvel gets Deadpool out of this ‘finding himself’ funk sooner rather than later because this self-pitying ‘pool could get old fast.


Archie – Mega Man #14 – The anti-robot activist group known as The Emerald Spears has trapped dozens of robots in the convention center and its up to Mega Man and the rest of the robot masters to make sure that humans and robots alike make it out alive! Meanwhile, Dr. Wily is lost in the wilderness concocting his next scheme and getting ready to deploy his next group of robot villains.

I was worried a bit about this monthly because in only 12 issues, they blew through the first two Mega Man games basically. But introducing new enemies like The Emerald Spears to delay moving into Mega Man 3 really makes me think that this book could have a long and ongoing shelf life. And that thrills me to no end because this is possibly the best-written monthly video game inspired comic book we’ve ever seen. It gives a lot of great characters personality we didn’t know they had and delivers on the action that we grew up actually playing. And as new robots are introduced like Quake Woman in the last issue, you wonder if the comic book may lead to some new game inspirations down the line for the Blue Bomber. It may be because the Mega Man franchise has always been one of my personal favorite gaming properties, but I can’t get enough of this book. I love the tone, the character arcs, and the fact that a lot of the robot masters that Mega Man liberates return to Dr. Light’s care and add a lot of surprising depth as the roster grows as the stories move through the games. If you love Mega Man, then get on board with this book NOW.

Sorry to have missed last week folks, but after a crazy celebration over the New York Giants winning the Super Bowl followed up by a week in Vegas for the 15th annual DICE Awards and I think you all might understand why I couldn’t get around to doing a write-up last week, which is especially sad because it was a very good week for comics. But, the week of February 8th was a very good week as well, especially for Marvel, and so without further ado here is the Pullbox.

1) Marvel – Deadpool #50: Kicking off the first really big event for our favorite Merc with a Mouth, Deadpool #50 starts off the “DEAD” story arc where Deadpool’s obsession with Death has pushed him to the brink (even for him) and so now he is playing his own sick game of chess with X-Force, Daken, The Kingpin, and many others in the Marvel Universe in order to finally fulfill his death wish.

Deadpool has been continually one of the consistently best written Marvel books due to writer Daniel Way writing the entire series up to this point (almost unheard of nowadays) and just when you thought things were going to start drying up and go stale, he kicks off this arc, which looks to shake up what we think of Deadpool in every way imaginable and have us laughing the whole time while he is doing it. Even if remotely a Deadpool fan, pick up this issue as it surely is a sign of big things to come. Or the end of everything. Not really sure which.

2) Marvel – The Incredible Hulk #5: Hulk begins fighting his way through Banner’s island of misfit gamma irradiated animals while Banner deals with his very human enemies on the other side of the island while trying to bring his mad quest to be reunited with the Hulk to an end.

The most shocking thing about this issue was the surprisingly crisp banter between all the characters. And the irradiated monkey poop. Easily the funniest moment of the week because it literally came from nowhere. The best part of this issue though is we finally learn how Hulk and Banner were separated and it was done by none other than Dr. Doom. Once again able to do what no one else in the Marvel Universe could (as is the greatness that is Doom), everything of course comes with a price and so finally it looks as if we are going to get the explosive issue we have been waiting for as Hulk comes face to face with Banner and will likely result in their re-bonding and Doom will call in the favor he earned by separating the two originally.

3) DC – Batman and Robin #6: Robin finally shows his true colors and we find out that he has been playing both Batman and Nobody and Batman tends to be a bit more forgiving of these things, and that’s saying something. 

This story had been drawn out just enough as we learn both a key element of Batman’s past via flashback and Robin endears himself to the audience as we realize he is just a son looking for his father’s acceptance. And in the superhero world, taking down a super villain by yourself would be the logical way to do that I suppose if you’re a 10-year old boy. But Robin is clearly in over his head and that vulnerability all around for the first time from this character I think really keeps him from falling down the Jason Todd path of 25 years ago as fans were starting to get uneasy with the smart mouth brat that is Damian most of the time. It will be interesting how Batman comes in to save the day and it will be even more interesting to see where the book goes from here.

4) DC – The Penguin: Pain and Prejudice #5 (of 5): The Penguin can’t help but resort to his old ways and they finally catch up to him and everything he thought he might have had is once again forcibly ripped away from him. 

This book is great because it helps show off the tragic dimensions of a character like the Penguin as many of the snippets we get where he plays the villain to Batman’s hero play him off mostly one-dimensionally. This book is also a real throwback to how Batman moves and reacts to all the situations around him and panel sequences where he moves silently through the shadows taking down one thug at a time reminds us just how awesome he is in a book that is supposed to be all about the Penguin. A tragic end for this tragic character really drives the point of the mini-series home and was overall a very well written book. If you’re looking for a little more depth from the Penguin for whatever reason, then this is a great series to start with and is highly recommended for all Batman fans.

5) Archie – Mega Man #10: Mega Man’s budding rivalry with Quick Man comes to a head and we start to see the Blue Bomber go a little power mad again as he begins collecting all these new powers. Will Mega Man be able to continue his pursuit of Dr. Wily or will this constant pace finally get the best of him? 

I loved this book because it had a ton of action with more classic Mega Man 2 bosses as Mega Man hits both the halfway point of his boss battles and the halfway point of this story. We also learn a bit of history about the bosses as Flame Man reveals and confirms that he is indeed Fireman 2.0 basically and Quick Man talks about how he is a combination of Gutsman and Bombman. Of course, this pattern will continue for many issues to come hopefully as I can’t wait to see now how Mega Man deals with Airman and the other remaining bosses before dealing with Wily again himself. If you grew up on the Blue Bomber’s video games, there is absolutely no reason not to be reading and loving this monthly right now.

It’s kind of sad that a lot of the big events that are going on in Marvel really aren’t the best stories going on right now. DC on the other hand is starting to show some of the grit and interesting storytelling that the New 52 was supposed to signify. Meanwhile, in the Indies, there are a bevy of interesting stories going on with some monthlies, but I find myself still gravitating towards the game related ones. So here is this week’s Pullbox!

1) DC – Deathstroke #3: Deathstroke is ticked off. This isn’t news as this is his normal state of being. But as a bunch of hot shot up and coming assassins think they can make a name for themselves by offing the best in the business, they have another thing coming and the latest on this laundry list of newbies is a guy named Legacy. Deathstroke decides to amp up the difficulty though and see if he can take out this rookie and a new target all at the same time. Deathstroke is actually starting to work in a story behind all the glorious senseless violence that permeates nearly every page of this book so far through its first three issues. I was hesitant when I heard that Deathstroke was getting his own monthly, but if the book continues to evolve along this path, this could start to become something special. The only question now becomes just what exactly was in the briefcase in the first issue that is still rubbing him the wrong way.

2) DC – Green Lantern #3: Hal Jordan and Sinestro come to an agreement that will enlist Hal into helping Sinestro free his home planet from the clutches of his former Yellow Lanterns and in exchange Hal gets his Green Lantern ring back. But can Hal’s most nefarious enemy be trusted? Let’s just say Sinestro’s brilliantly laid out plan backfires when for once, it is Sinestro who lets his emotions get the best of him. This story takes an amazing twist at the end as the build up of the first two issues finally starts to come to a head. The relationship between Hal and Sinestro is still weird to watch unravel, but now that they both have a common goal in mind, it is interesting to watch them work together as Hal is still guided by his emotions and Sinestro just berates him at every turn for it. If you haven’t been getting this book, now would be the time to jump on board.

3) Marvel – New Avengers #18: Norman Osborn has been busted free and the heads of the largest terrorist organizations in the world look to instill him at the head. Hydra, AIM, and the remnant of HAMMER loyal to Osborn are all pooling their resources and the first thing Osborn wishes to do is reform a new group of Dark Avengers. Calling on the likes of Billy Bastion, Hawkeye’s brother with skill equal to him, Skaar, son of Hulk, and Toxic Doxie to serve as his Scarlet Witch, Osborn looks to bring the pain, and soon. The most interesting books Marvel has put out in recent memory all revolved around Osborn and his Dark Avengers so to see them going back to that and pulling together a hodgepodge of lesser known character to do so pleases me to no end. Now what will Osborn do though to get some body armor and become Iron Patriot again? If you haven’t been reading this book, get it NOW.

4) Marvel – X-Men Legacy #258: Even though the characters that the most recent Legacy story arc have revolved around are already back on Earth and interacting with the X-Men, the actual arc that got them back home doesn’t actually wrap up until this issue. You have to love Marvel’s lack of concerns for continuity. Besides this obvious time and release mismanagement by Marvel, this is a great issue as you see Magneto, Rogue, Havoc, Gambit, Polaris, and Marvel Girl really come together and pull a rabbit out of their hat that could only be done in comics to get back home and defeat a new enemy known as “Friendless”. As the space station the X-Men are trapped on begins to fall faster and faster towards a distant sun, they must overcome Friendless’s mental barrage one more time before trying to pull out of the decaying orbit that threatens to turn them all into cinders. Not the best Legacy arc I’ve ever read, but you should pick it up just to see where it goes from here as the next issue will intertwine with the Regenesis event.

5) Archie – Mega Man #7: Mega Man finally finds the hideout of Dr. Wily and where he is holding the kidnapped Roll, but with the original six robot masters back under Wily’s thumb, can Mega Man hope to overcome them along with the likes of Time Man and Oil Man? I’m really enjoying the dynamic that you are seeing with Mega Man and the other characters around him, reminding me almost a bit of the old cartoon show from the early-mid 90s. Add in these new robot masters teamed with the originals, to make it eight evil robot masters and keep with the theme you would see in the later video games, and I think anyone who is a fan of the Blue Bomber will be enamored with this monthly comic run and just where Archie comics had been going with it. I can’t wait not only to see how Mega Man overcomes these stacked odds against him, but also to see just who he will have to face in the issues beyond that as fan favorites like Snake Man or Air Man can’t be far behind.

This was a difficult Pullbox to put together this week, let me tell you! With X-Men: Regenesis starting it was hard for me to not put an X-Men title on this list, but I’ve been showing the Children of the Atom a lot of love lately and there were a couple of other worthy titles from Marvel that also deserved the limelight. I do recommend though that you read your other monthly X-books before reading the Regenesis one-shot. That’s my tip of the day there. DC did not have as strong a showing as Marvel, but the two I picked there I think more than pick up the slack. And we had a little competition for indie pick of the week, but as I always try to feature new and different books as time goes on, I went with one I’ve been enjoying for a while, but haven’t gotten around to featuring yet. So, without further ado, here is this week’s Pullbox!

1) Marvel – The New Avengers #17: Continuing with the story line started in this monthly’s annual a few weeks ago, we see Norman Osborn back in a position of power. But unlike last time where he was hiding in plain sight of the public, he has taken up arms with AIM, Hydra, and several others of the big bads of the Marvel universe. Setting an Ultimo robot after a Stark Industries laboratory, the New Avengers leap into action. Unbeknownst to them though, this is all just a test as Osborn and several AIM scientists are piloting the robot and collecting as much data, and a very special sample of Wolverine’s blood, from the skirmish. The issue ends with a bang as Osborn’s plan have clearly just begun. What is great about this comic is that along with his entire time as the head of HAMMER, these global threats that Osborn is producing has brought him to a new level of villainy. For a long time he wasn’t even Spider-Man’s greatest threat. Then he moved to the front of that line. Then he was on the bottom rung of the community threat. And now, he’s top dog there, too. Great action and the start of something that is going to be huge, my only complaint with this comic is that they put Daredevil prominently on the cover and he wasn’t in the issue at all. What’s up with that?

2) Marvel – Amazing Spider-Man #671 (Spider-Island Part 5): I’ve been really disappointed with Spider-Island thus far, but aside from a couple of pages early on with Mary Jane finally getting powers, this was a really great chapter in what has been a subpar event to this point. Spidey finally gets to the bottom of everything that’s been going on with the return of the Queen and gets his Spider-Sense back after having it turned off by the psychic bubble placed over Manhattan to keep the spider people locked on the island. We also see the Jackal hopefully meet his fate as I doubt any true Spidey fan has ever liked him as a villain, although I’m sure like Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars, he probably has a bevy of clones of himself waiting in the wings too. As things finally start to come to a head with Spider-Island you hope that it isn’t like many events that Marvel has done in recent history where there is a quick climax and fast let down after this unnecessarily long build-up. As a whole, I have not been impressed though and am still leaning towards returning to my boycott of Amazing Spider-Man once this whole arc is finally done. Maybe I’ll go re-read my Maximum Carnage graphic novel so I can remember when I really cared about Spider-Man as a character.

3) DC – Green Lantern #2: Hal Jordan is forced to make a “Monkey’s Paw” type deal with the newly reinstated into the Green Lantern core Sinestro and he might actually learn a thing or two from the dictator from Korugar. I’m still a bit on the fence about this comic as I still want Hal Jordan to have his ring back, but his dynamic with Sinestro is something to behold. And with what Sinestro plans in order to give Jordan his “ring” back could break Jordan as a character if done improperly. So far so very good though. Seeing what Sinestro could do with a Green Lantern ring makes you start to truly fathom the power they contain and makes you wonder what has held back the four-honor guard Lanterns of Earth that we’ve followed all these years. In one awesome page, Sinestro did more than Jordan has done with that ring in a year and it only looks to make this odd-couple relationship thrive even more in the pags of this book. Like I said, it could turn sour in the end, but right now this is a must read.

4) DC – Deathstroke #2: An explosive first-issue left me curious to see where things would go plot wise with this book, and the plot has led to a lot more explosions and a lot more action. As Deathstroke is on the path of trying to figure out who is setting him up for something much bigger than he realized he was getting into in the first issue, some hired assassins get in the way after an exchange goes bad. Nothing Deathstroke can’t handle though and before you know it you’ve got body parts, blood, bullets, and swords flying in every direction. It’s gory, it’s brutal, and it’s a heck of a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here. I would like to see Deathstroke with a bit more of a challenge though in future issues because in these first two issues he has just blown through his no name opponents like wet-tissue paper. Let’s see some heroes or something in there to mix it up!

5) Archie – Mega Man #6: If you’re like me, you can’t get enough of the Blue Bomber and this relatively new monthly series starring Mega Man is typically a bright spot for me. The first four issues basically followed Mega Man (or as he is affectionately called by Dr. Light, ‘Rock’) through the first game with Wily taking the six robot masters and sicking them on an unsuspecting public. Now, Wily is off to prison, but in every Mega Man game there has always been eight robot masters beyond that first one. So introducing Oil Man and Time Man, two brand new characters that were “held back” by Wily as they were still further in a prototype phase when he stole them from Dr. Light. Now, Mega Man and the reprogrammed original robot masters have split up into two teams. One to help fix the damage they caused initially and another to find Dr. Wily and put a stop to him once and for all. This comic is everything I would have hoped from it and more. New and old robot masters alike make this comic just as enjoyable as the games and to see Mega Man absorb and use their powers makes me wish Mega Man 11 would be announced. But this comic is fine in place of that and so my only real gripe with it is that I have to wait 30 days between issues. If you are a fan of Mega Man, do yourself a favor and start picking this up every month. It consistently finds a way to balance plot, character development and action and is worth it every time.

Originally Published: May 17, 2011, on Youtube.com/Rcars4885

I come to you once again with your weekly geek fix. This week I review Brink from Bethesda and Mega Man #1 from Archie Comics. My hot chick pick of the week is Kate Upton and this week’s theme is the Mega Man theme from Marvel vs. Capcom 1.

Originally Published: April 18, 2011, on Comicvine.com

I normally would have a “Comics to Video Games” article ready for you folks right about now (and don’t worry I’m working on the next one), but I was reading an interview the other day with Ian Flynn, a writer best known for his current run on the Sonic the Hedgehog series published by Archie Comics, and found out he’s going to be the main writer behind a new monthly Mega Man comic book series.

This latest video game series from Archie Comics comes out in the beginning of May and it will chronicle the Blue Bomber’s run through his nearly dozen games, starting with Mega Man 1 playing out across the first four issues, and will answer the big questions, like how no one was able to figure out when Dr. Wily was up to no good. It’s not like he had ten giant skull shaped fortresses built. Oh, wait. Hmmm. Also, I wonder if there will be any mention of Mega Man Soccer in an annual or something.

Anyway, this got me thinking about the flood of both monthly and limited series comic books we’ve seen in recent years based on video games. City of Heroes, Halo, inFamous, Gears of War, Prototype, and even DCU Online, which of course is a comic based off a video game based off of comics. So what’s with this sudden influx of video game based comics at our local retailers?

Now, comics based off of video games are nothing new. After all, Sonic, has had his own ongoing series for nearly twenty years now. But to see so many new comics based on games is a little off putting. An idealist might say comics are simply being used as tools to help flesh out stories that can’t be fully told in a 15-hour game. But what if they are really being used just as promotional items to bolster game sales instead? Or are comic companies trying to jump on the bandwagon of a popular game franchise in the hopes of making a profit, knowing that the key comic book and video game demographics are one in the same? Or maybe it is a little of all of the above?

Can ongoing video game comics also hurt the base franchise as there could be unintentional limits placed on the game developers? There would have to be constant communication between both the game developers and the comic book writing and editorial teams in order to ensure that what is being done in the comics isn’t radically different from what is happening or going to happen in sequel video games upon their release.

If Josh Ortega kills off someone in the Gears of War comic, he had better let Cliff Bleszinski and Karen Traviss know so that person doesn’t show up in Gears of War 3, otherwise there are going to be some mighty ticked off Gearheads out there. And what if Cliff had planned on making that character a major player in the Gears universe? How much say does the original game creators have when it comes to forwarding the plot of a comic that is being looked at as canon? It just seems that adding more moving parts to such a complex and detailed story might come off as limiting from a creative standpoint, especially while the main series is still really ongoing and even while just trying to flesh out previously mentioned references from the original property (like the Pendulum Wars for Gears).

And this brings us back to my inspiration. Mega Man. Does doing a comic that follows, for the most part, a story we already know lessen the mass appeal of a comic? Why should I read something I’ve already played through several hundred times? Can you really flesh out a character that much with a few thought bubbles while it’s blasting another foe into oblivion? If anything, it might take away from those original gaming experiences, especially from the old NES days, where the player was left to their own devices to fill in gaps in a protagonist’s personality and whatnot. So are original stories that add to and build on top of already existing canon the only real option in that case to ensure a profit will be made and to protect a property?

Despite this, does every new video game need a comic book? I read the six-issue limited series for Prototype and I felt what I got from that comic was not worth the price I paid as a lead in to the actual game. In fact, the comic ruined the game experience some as it spoiled a lot of the game’s surprises. The same goes for the Gears of War comic. Some issues have been great, but I didn’t need a one-issue back-story on Tai. I don’t need a character that is dead to be fleshed out. It just reeks of trying to turn a quick buck if you ask me. It dilutes the potential of building the franchise naturally and feels very forced in some cases.

But I really don’t mind franchises diversifying, and actually enjoy seeing new adventures with my favorite characters that continue the story beyond the original product (you should see my Star Wars expanded universe novel collection). I do feel that there should be some sort of criteria before a franchise is expanded though like with a game based comic. Wait until the main story, in most cases nowadays the story being a trilogy, is complete before you start filling in the gaps. Imagine if a comic or novel like Shadows of the Empire in Star Wars, which takes places between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, had been released in 1981, right between Empire and Jedi. I think that it coming after the fact made it much more powerful and interesting. Similar to the games Halo: Reach and Halo 3: ODST. They were better stories because the universe had already been fully established and then writers went back to fill in the blanks.

So what do you guys think? Are you fans of video game based comics? Are there too many out there flooding the market? What should be the criteria for a game based comic to be published? And how much creative freedom should the writing and editorial teams have with long established characters like Mega Man? Will you buy the Mega Man monthly upon its release? Let us know with comments below!

Chew on this Galactus!

Originally Published: February 27, 2011, on my StrongProtector account on GiantBomb.com

In high school and even later in college, my friends and I back in Jersey would head over to the mall arcade maybe once a week and feed a ton of quarters into our favorite machines. A couple guys would settle into the chair of a racer like Initial-D, but I would always head over to the Marvel vs Capcom 2 cabinet. This went on until I graduated college and the arcade, like many others in Jersey, closed down.

Fortunately for me, shortly after that, Capcom would give us Marvel vs Capcom junkies a downloadable version for current generation consoles. Instead of placating us though, all this ended up doing was feed the fires for myself and others like me who wanted another sequel to this beloved brawler. And now, after a decade of waiting, its finally here. But with so much hype and anticipation surrounding it, could Marvel vs Capcom 3: The Fate of Two Worlds live up to the lofty expectations of addicts like me?

The basic plot of the game is that Doctor Doom has tampered with his dark magic a bit too much and has discovered a parallel Earth populated by the characters of our favorite Capcom games (and a future Earth with Zero). Tempted with the thought of conquering multiple worlds, Doom teams up with not only the greatest threats of his Earth like Dormammu and M.O.D.O.K., but also with the greatest of the Capcom universe, Albert Wesker. Unfortunately, this wormhole into other dimensions has also stoked the hunger of the greatest nemesis anyone, hero or villain, has ever faced, the cosmic being Galactus. With a smorgasbord of planets to possibly quell his insatiable hunger, Galactus has begun his approach and now heroes and villains will have to unite to save all universes threatened by his cosmic power.

Right off the bat, this is probably the best plot of the series as it has more of traditional Marvel comics feel and you can credit veteran comic writer Frank Tieri for that. On top of the plot being heavily influenced by comics, the entire art direction of the game seems to be ripped from comics as well. Bright, stylized, cel-shaded graphics with beautifully drawn paneled cut scenes, much like a comic book page, has the game seem more like a fan service for loyal Marvelites out there. All you need is Stan Lee to yell “Excelsior!” before every match. Even the character select screen sees the chosen characters placed onto a graphic novel style tablet as you choose their assists before a battle.

The audio is also very strong as instead of each level having a set theme, now each character has their own theme and you’ll hear the theme of whomever you may be facing. From a more patriotic ballad for Captain America to the classic Bionic Commando and Street Fighter themes for when Spencer or Ryu jump on screen, the music is tremendous. It’s not the only part of the audio that shines though as the voice acting is also well done. With each character having specific taunts both in battle and after every victory depending on whom they’re facing, like Captain America yelling at Iron Man “That was for the Civil War!”, the audio is simply top notch all around for Marvel vs Capcom 3.

Marvel vs Capcom 3 isn’t perfect though. The standards of the series return such as three member tag-teams and huge hyper combos that can be done singly or with your team if you have enough power bars. But other diehards of the series might be a little put-off by the fact that the combat system has been simplified in many ways. Instead of having the standard six attack buttons like the old arcade cabinets (high punch, med punch, low punch, high kick, med kick, low kick), now there are only four comprised of a low, medium, high, and special attack that can be used to launch foes into the air. This offered me a lot of confusion when I first started playing the game and was trying to perform a low kick with Iron Man.

To help remedy this, there is a new missions mode reminiscent of some of the later Mortal Kombat games which serves as a chance for you to learn some basic combos and special moves to get the feel of the game if you wish. Each character has 10 missions and so this lets you either become well-rounded with many characters, or really specialize in two or three.

One positive to the new button layout is that it is much easier to switch characters in and out, call for assists, or perform your hyper combos as now each one of those maneuvers has been assigned their own button on the controllers. This does allow for more rookie fighters to jump right into it and level the playing field with more veterans, but there are plenty of new maneuvers that have been added to help separate the rookies from the veterans as well like the brand new team air combos and new reversal systems.

Another new aspect added is the “X-Factor” where by smashing the four attack buttons at the same time, you can increase the attack power and heal your active character. This new feature does give an interesting strategic twist, but again diehards of previous titles in the series probably won’t even remember to use it as it just feels so gimmicky and foreign to this series.

The biggest disappointment probably for the game is the lack of characters though, both old and new. There are only 36 characters total at launch, with more coming in DLC to sap you of more money. Sure new characters like Deadpool, Super-Skrull, Viewtiful Joe, and Amaterasu are great original additions to the series, but others are just rip-offs of characters who were removed or are still in the game. Haggar is just a Zangief rip-off with a steel pipe, X-23 replaces the “bone claw” version of Wolverine, and Zero is Mega Man with a sword.

I understand that Capcom wanted to streamline the 56 characters that were in Marvel vs Capcom 2, but to cut out 20 characters including a lot of fan favorites? Just to re-package them as DLC later? Of course fans will still buy it, but I think I speak for a lot of people when I say how disappointing that is. Cutting out half the roster when making a fighting game sequel is not usually the way to go because by pure definition that is not bigger nor better.

Despite all this, Marvel vs Capcom 3 is still a very good fighting game. Technically it is very sound and it is easy to pick up but hard to master with a great storyline that will make any and every Marvel fan squeal in delight. If you are a fan of the franchise, Marvel, Capcom, or just fighters in general, then this is a game you should add to your collection even if you’ll walk away feeling it is a bit more generic than you’d initially expect.

Ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best.

Graphics: 10.0: The visuals for MvC3 are absolutely tremendous done in a stylized cel-shading that really stresses the comic book feel that is persistent throughout the game as you are bombarded by bright and vibrant colors all day long.

Audio: 10.0: Redone classic video game themes for all the Capcom characters and fitting original themes for the Marvel characters is one of the great highlights of this game. Coupled with great voice acting from all those involved and the audio is as perfect as can be.

Plot/Plot Development: 4.0: Most fighting games truly lack a compelling plot, and MvC3 may have the most piss poor of them all. Never even properly explained, all you have to go on is a stylized opening sequence and a solid boss battle with Galactus to put together that Wesker and Doom have partnered together. Solid comic book plot, but it needed to be explained a lot better than it was.

Gameplay: 7.0: Many diehards will be irritated with the button changes and new features added, but at the end of the day, they work and will appeal to a mass audience. Too bad for this review, I’m representing the diehards.

Replay Value: 6.5: Like any good fighting game nowadays, the replay value really comes in the online play, especially since you can blow through the single player offline mode in a weekend if need be. Unfortunately, it may take you 20 minutes to find an opponent to play online and therefore make the online play moot because who wants to play three matches in an hour? So if you don’t have some friends to form a lobby with, then you might think twice about the worth of MvC3.

Overall (not an average): 8.0: MvC3 is a very solid fighter on a technical level, but fans of the series will be put off by the gimmicks added and the arcade style of play that is the true staple of this series. More bells and whistles are all well and good, but it felt like Capcom sold the soul of this game. So even with it being technically perfect, this game falls just short of being put into elite status in my mind.