The Retro Critic

Captain America and The Avengers (NES)

With Avengers: Age Of Ultron currently killing it in cinemas, I thought I’d take a look at the NES port of Captain America and The Avengers since it is pretty darn different than the Genesis version, which was the very first review I wrote for 1MoreCastle, funnily enough.

Ah the memories…

While this NES port bears the same title as the arcade version, it really doesn’t have much to do with it in terms of gameplay. Sure The Avengers are in it but you only get to play as (and switch between) Captain America and Hawkeye since Iron Man and Vision somehow got captured by The Mandarin.

Iron Man Vision

The real Mandarin, not Trevor.

Mandarin Laugh

There are some other similarities with the arcade version, including the silly dialogs and the fact that The Red Skull is the main villain.

That’s about it, though.

The game is not a beat ’em up, believe it or not, but a side-scroller in which, initially, Cap runs around a Sonic The Hedgehog-style setting throwing his shield at bad guys.

Level 1 The Avengers

There are gems to find pretty much everywhere.

Also: exit signs on trees.

Exit The Avengers

Anyway, the trees have exits, you’re fighting an army of robots and you have a bow and arrow (or a shield). None of this makes sense. Embrace it, it’s a video game!

Playing as Captain America is a lot of fun since he can not only boomerang his shield at enemies but run super fast and use his shield to bounce on the heads of baddies like Scrooge McDuck and his trusty cane. Hawkeye is a little more straight forward, which begs the question: why not have Iron Man or Vision instead as a main character?

They fly, shoot laser beams…

Plus it would have made more sense for Hawkeye to get kidnapped. Just have him run out of arrows or something. Was Tony Stark drunk-flying again? Even then, playing as wasted Iron Man sounds much more fun.

Hawkeye What

It does!

That said… please don’t shoot me, purple man.

There are lots of bosses but you tend to fight them in front of surprisingly psychedelic backgrounds, for some reason. This is more distracting than it is stylistically valid, frankly.

Hawkeye Boss

I feel like the game is inviting me to layer these characters onto goofy backgrounds in Photoshop.

Of course, I’m much too busy to indulge in such tomfooleries.

Chicken Avengers

I’m not sure I like this new version of Red Skull.

Not quite how I pictured the character but hey, Marvel know what they’re doing.

(hail Hydra)

(also hail giant Red Skull chicken)

The bosses in question include the likes of Crossbones and good old Ultron, who is sadly not voiced by James Spader here.


Ultron vs Hawkeye

No strings on this guy!

He’s actually pretty easy to beat in this game since his flight pattern is kinda predictable. During the boss fights, I’ll admit, you do wish you were playing the arcade version which was crazy fun when it came to all-out face-punching action: the music, the sound effects, the pacing, it’s all missed here.

Mandarin Ultron

Um… anything you’re not planning on saying through gritted teeth, Mandarin?

Nothing phases this guy!

I can’t tell if he’s always happy or always angry.

Sort of reminds me of my face when the infamous Iron Man 3 “twist” was revealed, though.

Red Skull Avengers

The final boss is, of course, Red Skull and this time you don’t get to fight him in his normal state and then in his “Mecha Red Skull” form like in the other ports. Instead, he uses a bunch of gems to become…

Ready for this?

Red Skull Muscles

Red Skull Strong


Suddenly The Red Skull can perform flying kicks, spin kicks and has a six pack like he’s Zangief or something.

Short of having that Red Skull chicken from before finish the game as its final boss, this is the best ending the NES could have ever given me, it certainly didn’t disappoint.

Somehow this also reminds me of that dude from Samurai Zombie Nation:

Zombie Nation

I guess we know who stole Red Skull’s red Speedos…

(hail Speedos)

A few more things I like about the game include the idea of an Avengers-themed Mount Rushmore:

Mount Avengersmore

Mount Avengersmore: now there’s a Disneyworld attraction I could get behind.

I’m not sure who built this but I’m guessing Tony Stark probably had something to do with it. The man’s got an ego (and a bank account) the other three don’t have so that’s my theory and I think it makes sense.

Who cares? It’s a great idea and we should Kickstarter this bloody thing right now!

Another cool thing about the game is this map:

Map Of America

It’s quite simply one of the most adorable maps I’ve seen in a game full stop.

It’s also rather incomplete and inaccurate, I should point out. Just in case you’re ever in Tampa looking for some giant disembodied Captain America head.

Finally, there’s the stinker dialogs and oddly worded writing which move the plot along throughout the game, right to the end:

Ending Avengers

Totally would have had space there to write “Hawkeye” fully on one line had they called Captain America “Capt America” or just “Cap” but never mind.

Resistance Avengers

Did they make resistance?

I didn’t see them making resistance, did you?

I saw no making of any resistance whatsoever.

Is lying down making resistance?

Is “making resistance” really a phrase people say?

Avenger Heroes

Avenger heroes?

It’s cool to just call them Avengers, to be honest.

It is what this game is called, after all.

Besides, that’s the best way to avoid a Ghostbusters-style “NOW GO AND REST OUR HEROES!” fiasco.

So that’s my review of the other Captain America and The Avengers, an underrated NES side-scroller that’s a solid challenge and a lot of fun, especially if you’re a Marvel fan. It’s a bit of a cop-out to have two playable Avengers instead of four and the game lacks some of the energy and, obviously, the vibrant graphics and colours of the arcade port but it’s still well worth playing.


Avengers Heads

Make resistance!

I hear you guys also make resistance.

(hail grammar)