AVENGERS IN GALACTIC STORM / Data East / Arcade
The Avengers in Galactic Storm is a 1995 2D fighter with 3D characters, more akin to Killer Instinct than Virtua Fighter in that there's no real 3D aspect to the gameplay or playfield. Think Street Fighter EX without the ability to dodge into the background, basically.
It's based on a seemingly obscure story arc in the Avengers comic mythology, which means you get some equally obscure characters on the roster. In fact, Captain America is really the only one on the roster likely to be recognizable to the mainstream; the rest of it is rounded out with obscure Avengers and even more obscure villains from an alien race called the Kree which apparently existed only for the purposes of this comic story arc. On the side of the good guys you have Black Knight, a dude who looks like a cross between a medieval knight and a 1930s pilot and wields a lightsaber, Crystal, the requisite secksy lady in spandex who calls upon the powers of the four elements of nature, and Thunderstrike, a sort of watered-down version of Thor. The Kree have their own spandex chick, plus a guy who is like an evil version of Cable, a tentacle-mutant, and some sort of Rapebot that wields dual rods.
At the outset of each new game you choose from either Story or Battle mode; Battle is your typical one-on-one fighting game match, while Story limits you to picking one of the Avengers and following a retelling of this whole Galactic Storm thing in between battles against the Kree characters. Since there's only five Kree to fight - four plus the first one gets recycled with a palette swap as some sort of weird final boss - this mode doesn't last very long, but at least it has the courtesy of switching you over to Battle Mode when you win instead of just eating your credit and kicking you off the machine.
The gameplay rates a "meh" at absolute best. I guess it's basically competent, but it's far from refined, and it doesn't seem well balanced either. Matches tend to just turn into a festival of spamming special moves and "strikers", which are similar to those found in the Capcom V.S. games. The funny thing about the strikers here is that you've got guys like Thor, Iron Man and Vision in there - why aren't these guys playable instead of the bums on the active roster? The one positive about the striker system is that if you pick Giant Man as your striker, his attack is to reach on-screen with his giant hairy arm and squish the opponent, which is good for a lol or two.
It's easy to see why this one barely registered in the arcades, especially considering the V.S. and King of Fighters series were both really hitting their strides about the time it was released. The graphics are plasticy and ugly, and don't utilize the 3D for any sort of "wow factor" or gameplay enhancement. The roster is dull, and the gameplay is mediocre at best.
* Gameplay Video