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Mock ups 101 : The Avengers (NES)

So after watching the Avengers movie, I decided to check out the NES Avengers game, which is what got me interested in Avengers as a kid. The game, Captain America & the Avengers was a platformer released by Data East in the early 90s. It's not exactly a classic, but it had some decent controls and more importantly, I like how each character (Captain America and Hawkeye) had different movelists. If you're in the mood, you should check out Super Adventures review of it here.

After checking the game again, I got a little hyped up and decided to do some mock up screenshot of how I would have made the game, with updated movie storyline in tune and loosen NES restriction. I do mock ups like this every once in a while for pratisce or brainstorming somtimes, so if you guys enjoy it, I will try to post up some of my old mocks in the future.

Anyway, here's some screenies, and if you like to find out my ideas for it's improvements, you'll have to hit the "read more" button.

I gave the Level Select screen a little comic strips treatment. Nick Fury now replace Wasp for the narative and mission descriptions and the Avengers logo is used as the player location indicator. The original game had 2 characters starting from different location and when one is defeated, the other have to rescue him, forcing you to replay the levels. I'd prefer the character switch to work more like NES GIjoe: Atlantis Factor, where you have to find and recruit them to join the team for good.

And this 2 above are the screen for a 2 player co-op mode. The NES had some pretty heavy color restriction, so black was often abuse. Fortunately in this case, I work it into the game to get a bit of that retro Marvel comic feel where lots of black were used. Note that the Avengers are fighting against the Chitauri (from the movie) with their own unique abilities.

The boss fight against Whiplash. Not much to say except that Mickey Rourke was totally bad ass.


Well, that's all the mock ups for now. Below are a bunch of gameplay related ideas that I thought about while working on the artwork, as well as the character sprites. Mainly a comparison of how I imagine the game to work to the original, the abilities/ skillset of each character and stuff like that. I must say though, this is by no way well thought out, nor is this any sort of a design document, which is why everything is so unnecessarily chatty.

CAPTAIN AMERICA - I'd imagine that Captain is more of a mid range character with the ability to throw his shield in various angle. I think it will be more interesting if the shield only go through obstacle when returning (unlike the original) and he can continue to throw punches while waiting for the shield to return. He can also block any frontal attack by holding the down arrow like the NES Darkwing Duck, and blocks his top by holding up. He can't thow his shield while in the air, though he can continue to punch after he fire off his shield. He's speedy, with moderate attack and a weak jump, but makes it up with a double jump. He can kick, or perform a downward smash with his shield, which surprisingly allows him to float on water in the original game. Similarly, he can perform a Charging Star, knocking down enemies in his way. Collecting upgrades (Stars) should increase his shield distance.


HAWKEYE - Much like the original, his arrow is a full range weapon, and should retain his ability to fire forward, upward and diagonally. There's a maximum of 1 arrow on screen at a time, so he can throw punches till he's ready to fire again. Tapping front arrow twice allows him to dash forward, and pressing down allows him to make a quick jump back. The moves are mainly for dodging purposes as he can't knock out enemy while dashing and is vulnerable to attack. He have a moderate attack and high jump, which also allows him to perform a wall stick like Aero in my own game, Hookshot Escape or NES Batman. Collecting upgrades (Arrows) changes his arrow to explosive arrows, with increase AOE as you collect more.


IRONMAN - Ironman wasn't in the original version, yet for the longest time, I thought he was. I even vaguely remember how you can fly around with Iron to get through the level. Not sure where I got that memory from. But anyway, I based my idea off that. Basically, you can play Ironman like Megaman. He can fire up to 3 shots on screen, and no punches. He can also charge up for a powerful attack by holding B, or whatever the attack button was. While he doesn't have any dashing or blocking moves, he can enter hovering mode by pressing jump in mid air. He can  fly around with the directional button, fire 3 shots diagonally downwards and press jump again to drop. To avoid abuse, his health slowly deplete while flying around, much like power running out. I imagine him to be a little on the slow side, with low attack, though his 3 shots should balance things out. Same for his jump, low, but makes up with his ability to fly. Collecting upgrades (Battery or Arc Reactor) increase his numbers of shots.


HULK - Hulk wasn't in the original either, so he's completely made up. He's obviously slow and close range, but given the nature of the gameplay, it can be a little frustrating to use a character like that. So to balance things out, while his normal attack is a short punch, he can grab enemy with front + attack like a beatem up and throw them off by pressing attack again. His jump attack is the Hulk Smash, which is a close range AOE. He can also charge like Captain America to knock everyone in his way. Lastly, to potray the Hulk's invincibility, he doesn't barge when taking damage. Maybe a very little, a split second freeze frame. This makes him unstoppable and easier to reach his enemy to make up for his speed. His upgrades are syringe, though honestly I haven't thought of what they do.

THE AVENGERS - Going back to the level select, the NES GI Joe had a much better approach with the team and member select. Basically, each mission is kicked off with a leader, like a character that you have to bring along for the mission, but at the same time, you can select 1 of the member which you rescued to go with you. 

The original game wasn't just about going from left to right, but you have to go around, exploring and looking around for a collectible "EXIT" orb before you can exit the game. With the improved team select gameplay, we can design the level such that the puzzle in the level must be solve by the leader's ability, but depending on the character you brought along, you can access different areas / secret, improving the exploring experience. For example, CapA can hit a door switch that's hidden behind objects, or Hulk can break certain walls. You get the point.

Lastly, it also allows the game to be more story driven since the designer has control over who's gonna show up in the boss fight and such, allowing simple cutscene / conversation. For example, the 1st few levels are about rescuing and collecting the different avengers. So with the first level, you are suppose to meet up with Ironman using CapA alone. Proceed to the end of the level, and you reach the Monaco race track from the Ironman 2 movie. A cutscene take off, and you have to help Ironman go against Whipslash. Win, and Ironman joins the team. Next up, you have 2 different path to select. 1 heads to the Hulk storyline, while the other to Hawkeye. Stuff like that. 

So... that's enough blabbering for now. I really enjoy this game as a kid, and I'm glad the Avengers movie brought me back to it. If you haven't tried it before, or any of the other NES classic I mentioned, they are all pretty decent, and you should give it a shot when you can. Other than that, feel free to let me know what you think, what you would have do to improve the game or what kind of game you would have made of the Avengers.

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Reader Comments (3)

Like I said, make the game already!!

May 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKJ

"Level Selecet" lol
Great Mockup.

soundcloud/deviantart: jeandeve
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March 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereve

These are AMAZING!!! Just wondering if i could use these in the RPG game im making?? Its called "Marvel's Agents of Shield: Avengers Assemble" These are perfect for the Final Fantasy 6 side battle system!

May 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJames Babcock

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