galactic stormThe 90s were such an awesome time for comic books (not). Who didn’t love those holo-foil stamped gimmick covers, stories about clones, female versions of our favorite heroes and villains (She-venom anyone? She-thing? *shudder*), the Ultraverse, and the legions of extreme-badass muscle bound gun-toting characters who were the bastard children of Rob Liefiled and the Batman Dark Knight Returns? Remember when they tried to replace all the popular heroes with ‘cooler’ and more badass versions of themselves which lasted all of 1 year (or 3 in the case of Spider-Man)? Remember when most of the Avengers wore generic brown jackets? Speaking of the Avengers, remember that awesome Avengers beat-em-up that Data East did some years back? Of course you do. Well, a few years after that, Data East created this semi-follow up, a fighting game that’s based on the obscure Avengers crossover Galactic Storm. Basically a poor man’s Killer Instinct with Marvel characters, Galactic Storm brings us what we loved the most about the mid-90s. Obscure second string characters, confusing storylines, and lame gimmicks.

The Kree empire has gone to war with the Shi’ar, and Earth is caught in the middle, and this obviously doesn’t sit well with the Avengers. So who do you get to take into battle? Iron Man? Vision? Quicksilver? Hawkeye? Scarlet Witch? Nope! As the game is based on an obscure storyline, we get to play as equally obscure characters. The only person in the game that’s remotely recognizable by most casual fans is Captain America. The Avenger’s roster is padded out by forgettable characters such as Thunderstrike and Crystal. On the bright side, at least the game includes the Black Knight, who is one of the coolest second string characters in the Marvel Pantheon. Now guys like Iron Man and Vision do appear in the game, but it’s only in the form of one-off assist characters. Little bit of trivia for you: this is the first fighting game to include ‘striker/assist’ characters. Later, they will be seen in better fighting games such as King of Fighters 2000 and Marvel vs Capcom.

Maybe you’re hoping that the game’s cast includes some real villains for the Avengers to face. Who could be opposing them? Doctor Doom? Kang the Conqueror? Baron Von Strucker? Hell no! The Avengers will have to face the likes of DOCTOR MINERVA! They will cower before the might of SHATTERAX! You’ll have to pit their might against SUPREMOR and battle for their lives against KORATH! No doubt you’re reading this and saying to yourself, “Holy shit, Dr. Minerva and Korath? Why would I want to fight against the Masters of Evil, the Red Skull, Thanos, or even The Mandarin when I could fight, and play as, Doctor Minerva!?!?!?!?”. Okay, maybe not. You’re more likely wondering who the fuck these guys are. They have their own striker/assist characters with them as well. Among them are Ronan the Accuser and the Kree Sentry who are a bit lesser known as far as Marvel villains go, but are still more recognizable than most of the guys on the Kree roster.

While the graphics are pretty good for a 1995 video game, the animations are stiff and robotic, and the pre-rendered look really doesn’t suit a comic book game such as this. The play controls are clunky, and the story mode is woefully short, as it’s the Avengers against the Kree. After you beat the Kree, you then have to face the final boss, which is a palette swapped version of one of the other characters. After beating this final boss, you go into the game’s versus mode where it’s anyone vs anyone. At least the arcade cabinet didn’t kick you off when you beat the game.

As obscure as it was, the actual Operation Galactic Storm comic event features things such as the Avengers being torn down the middle over what to do with the Kree Supreme Intelligence (who had just used a Nega-Bomb on his own people), the most extensive use of the Shi’Ar empire outside of the X-men comics, and Hawkeye becoming Goliath for a brief period, and the repercussions of the event are still felt today. This game however, features none of this. It’s more like Data East wanted to play with their new 3D graphics software and wanted to make a quick buck off of fans of Data East’s previous Marvel effort, and decided to grab a few issues out of the 25 cent bin for reference. Anyway, Capcom made a much batter Marvel fighting game around the same time as this. It featured a better control scheme, more recognizable heroes and villains, and was based on a more recognizable story arc (in this case, the Infinity Trilogy). So you’re much better off seeking it out than playing this crapfest.