It’s fair to say that Marvel has the rest of the comics industry by the balls. Sure, a few upstarts threatened their reign in the 90’s, but I never really considered DC a threat - Superman and Batman or not. Marvel has seen a big resurgence, from the year Double Ought to the present. The movie industry has helped the once-struggling comic juggernaut right the ship, and Marvel hasn’t looked back since.
The gaming industry has also had its hand in building up the Marvel empire. Marvel characters are hot commodities for action games, as proven by companies such as Activision, THQ, and Capcom. Well now it’s the largest game developer’s turn to throw their hat into the Marvel ring. Yes, Electronic Arts, with help from developer Nihilistic Software, have put together Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects: a hybrid action/fighter which is aimed squarely at gamers that are also comic rag junkies.
I know what you’re thinking: “Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects is fighting game, so it’s going to be like the Marvel vs. Capcom franchise…” Uh, not even close. Even though Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects is labeled as a fighter, it’s hard to consider it as such. You do battle heads-up in a Versus mode (either against the CPU or a friend), which is about as close Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects comes to being a traditional fighter. You see, this one has a complete story mode as well, so if you get tired of the head-to-head, you can beat on some grunts for awhile.
Most fighters are offshoots of old 2D side-scrollers, so they are mainly designed to work in small, uninteresting environments which focus attention on the characters. 3D fighters use an extra axis point, but the concept of semi-close quarters fighting is just the same as a 2D side-scroller. FYI: Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects feels nothing like these other fighting games. Instead, Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects makes the environment a part of the game and allows for attacks from hundreds of feet away. Think of an action game that focuses on a few specific characters and you’ll understand Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects a bit better.
The much larger-than-normal maps in Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfectsallows agile characters like Spider-Man to use dexterity to escape a less agile opponent. Also, all characters in Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects are based on actual comic book fiction, which is why backgrounds play such an important role. For example, Iron Man can pick up any environmental object because, well, Tony Stark is a bad ass and made a killer suit. On the other hand, Spidey can’t pick up huge generators or girders, which totally changes a player’s strategy based on the character chosen.
Speaking of character types, Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects will have a few that will be totally foreign to gamers; yep, even you Marvel Universe nuts. Why? Well, Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects is actually the “first appearance” of characters in the Marvel Universe, putting an interesting twist on the crossover between comics and videogames. EA contracted comic artist Jae Lee for design and consultation on Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects. Jae has worked on many Marvel properties, including Spider-Man, Captain America, and Submariner, and is considered a natural by those who intimately know his work. You can see “Jae” touches all throughout Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, including work on the new band of do-badders known as the Imperfects (hence the game’s title). You’ll quickly learn about the Imperfects in a cut-scene which sets up the story mode well. Basically, a few of Marvel’s baddest characters are getting attacked and essentially squashed by the Imperfects, which are the rejects of a cross-galaxy mutation experiment. The Imperfects will eventually have their own Marvel comic book, starting with a six issue mini-series. But before the comic, gamers will have to deal with these bad asses. The Imperfects were created by conceptual movie artist Paul Catling of The Punisher, Spider-Man, and Harry Potter fame. Each Imperfect has very unique, comic book-like powers, but I’ve always been a Raiden/Electro/etc. fan so Johnny Ohm is my huckleberry. This young cat somehow survived a lightning strike, but was placed on death row for being linked to a big murder. Ohm was saved from death row by a mutation madman for his amazing tolerance to electrical current, which is why he and Georg Ohm share their namesakes. You can see in Ohm’s case that he is far from the goody, goody comic book character, and thus considered an “imperfect”. It makes sense in Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, and makes for some epic battles with your classic Marvel heroes (and even a few of the more villainous characters).