Chill Box: Marvel Super Heroes in War of the Gems

Written by: Jon Castillo

Games | Apr 26, 2018

Chill Box Marvel Marvel Super Heroes War of the Gems

Chill Box is where we relax and talk about video games and film from the distant past. There's a lot of cool stuff out there the younger generation have yet to experience or even heard about.

One of my greatest SNES frustrations is being unable to finish this game, War of the Gems. I played this game around 1997 or '98 and this was where I also first stumbled upon one of Marvel's biggest villains ever.

In this game, Adam Warlock assembles five heroes - Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and the Hulk, to gather the six Infinity Gems (Or as how the cool kids call them these days, the Infinity Stones). The Gems here aren't as overpowered as in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Each of the characters have unique gameplay mechanics, Wolverine and Spider-Man can stick to walls, Iron Man has the double jump, while the Hulk is an excellent choice for smashing things. And like many NES and SNES games, War of the Gems can be extraordinarily frustrating. Health among characters are not restored after completing levels and when one hero falls, you'll need to find specific items to revive them.

The heroes have Street Fighter II moves. Quarter circle+Y for instance, will have Iron Man shoot his Proton Blasters. And the SNES controllers back then were hard and stiff, so you really have to push those buttons until your thumb harden with calluses. These days you can just hold the L1 to open up your skill wheels. Kids have it easier nowadays.

You can play the levels with any heroes to choose and the trial-and-error begins, where you discover for yourself which hero works best on which level. I always found Iron Man to be the best in most levels because of spamming his Proton Blasters, which most bosses can't even withstand.

You obtain the Infinity Gems and can use them to gain advantages - a mechanic I never quite figured out. In any case, the game is a straight forward beat 'em up, with mild platforming the farther you go. There are enough new things popping up now and then to keep things interesting, such as water filling up the entire level your actions are timed with an Air Meter.

The end of each level brings to us a boss battle. And there's nothing worse than an SNES boss battle. Death is a guarantee. You die. You start from the beginning with one less hero and go through the gauntlet again. Thankfully, there is a training mode, where you go through fighting random bosses from doppelganger versions of The Thing, Daredevil, to big baddies like Blackheart and Dr. Doom. Only Thanos, the final boss, can't be fought in the training room.

War of the Gems was my first introduction to a wider universe in Marvel. It's where I first learned about the Infinity Gems, about Thanos and the rest of the cosmic entities of Marvel. If you can find an old cartridge copy and have a working SNES, this is definitely worth a shot to play if you're into playing classic games. 

About the author: Jon Castillo

Jonathan is hiding from a lynch mob after messing with the wrong basketball team. His favorite song is "Boys do Fall in Love" by Robin Gibb.

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