As far as 2D fighting games go, there are few better than the fast-paced, action-packed Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes. But it's old. Ten years old, in fact. With unnerving regularity, the internet collectively wonders: "Dude, where's my Marvel vs. Capcom 3?"
The answer is that it is a game that may never see the light of day; understandable, really, when you consider the licensing issues that would no doubt challenge such a release. Putting Iron Man in a video game these days isn't as easy as it was back in the late Nineties. But we live in hope that one day MvC3 will whir in our disc drive.
Until that day, we're going to have to make do with Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars, which is as close to MvC3 as you're going to get this side of a Hyper Combo. The similarities are stark: It's 2D (it's rendered in 3D, but you know what we mean) fast-paced and action-packed.
If you're reading this and thinking, 'What the hell is a Tatsunoko and what's it doing in my Capcom fighting game?', don't feel bad, you're not alone. Most won't have even heard of the Japanese animation company. You might, though - if you're of a certain age - have heard of Battle of the Planets. It was a sci-fi cartoon that did the rounds in the Seventies, featuring androgynous heroes who battled against evil aliens as part of the G-Force. Well, Battle of the Planets was a Western dub of Science Ninja Gatchaman, a Tatsunoko cartoon. And TvC features characters from it.
For example, Ken the Eagle and Jun the Swan. They're not the names the characters went by in Battle of the Planets, but their video game counterparts will spark a once dormant memory in the minds of childhood fans of the series. If you're having trouble visualising it, think Power Rangers plus birds.
If the Battle of the Planets characters are obscure, then the rest of the Tatsunoko lot seem plucked from some random PVC nightmare. Casshan is an android who never goes anywhere without his trusty android dog. Polimar is a martial artist from something called "Hurricane Polimar". Tekkaman is a space knight, and Yatterman-1 wears a blue jumpsuit. They almost all wear capes, shiny helmets and look very, very Japanese.