We love Marvel fighting games and we know you do, too, so we're starting a new series of interviews with top brawlers from the community. Marvel vs. Capcom veteran and Shoryuken.com’s Editor-In-Chief, Adam Heart, known throughout the fighting game community as Keits, lays bare his Vs. series roots and shells out some great tips and tricks to level-up your game.
By Ben Chabala
Marvel.com: We should start at the beginning, huh? How did you get in to fighting games?
Keits: Pretty much just like everyone else my age, I guess. You show up some place and you’re a game player and you see that mystical, magical “Street Fighter II” machine with the enormous characters and the fluid graphics and it’s just like this unprecedented display of color and sound; you’re just drawn to it. It’s just as magical as it looks. The controls are exactly what you’d expect them to be and you see people pulling off secret moves like the hadoken, and the buzz starts going around about what a cool game it is and what kind of secrets there are to uncover, then people start finding combos--you just get sucked in.
Marvel.com: And how did that segue in the Marvel series of Capcom fighting games and specifically “Marvel vs. Capcom 3”?
|X-Men vs. Street Fighter Japanese Sega Saturn box art|
Keits: I played a lot casually when I was younger, and it turned into a situation where I was beating all my friends 50 to 0 and they decided they didn’t want to play with me anymore. It was around that time that I had imported “X-Men vs. Street Fighter,” my favorite game, for my Sega Saturn and I had the full arcade experience at home. I was finally able to do a six hit combo which was a triumph for me. Then at Dave and Busters I met a kid who was decent at the game and we started hanging out and then we started to meet more people and that’s about the time “Marvel vs. Capcom” came out. We got serious and started holding tournaments and the rest is history. I’ve been a Marvel Vs. series buff since the beginning.
Marvel.com: So what do you think “Marvel vs. Capcom 3” does better than its predecessors?
Keits: “Marvel vs. Capcom 3” brings about a sage-like experience from the developers because back in the day, so few of the games in the series could be played competitively for a long time. “X-Men vs. Street Fighter” and MvC2 are the only games that enjoyed a long life. With MvC3, they were able to look back at a decade of play and take the lessons out. In the end you get this experience in “Marvel vs. Capcom 3” that’s fun and crazy and exciting, but also lets more characters and play styles compete. It still has its broken flavor to it [Broken being fighting gamer slang for an element to the game that's overpowered and difficult to overcome for competitors - Ed.], there’s still a lot of crazy broken stuff you can do, but it lets you do that in so many different ways with so many different characters that the variety of play styles keeps it very fresh and interesting.
|Doctor Doom in Marvel vs. Capcom 3|
Marvel.com: You helped to write Shoryuken.com’s “Marvel vs. Capcom 3” Hyper Guide, so what indispensable advice do you have for the new MvC3 player?
Keits: I think “baby steps” is the best advice. Take everything one step at a time. Don’t sit down and expect to win immediately, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun losing. The biggest thing you need to learn when you enter the fighting game community and you start fighting against legitimate players is that you have to be able to guard. You have to be able to block. That’s the least fun part of the adventure, so I would suggest getting a training buddy and taking turns attacking each other and see how long you can block. After you get that, go into training mode and learn some basic combos--just the easy stuff. Fortunately, in MvC3, the easy stuff deals enough damage for you to get by. Once you’ve learned a couple of those, take them into a real match and try and figure out when and how to land those things. From there, the next baby step would probably be to learn how to move in a way that keeps you safe. Building blocks, one by one.
|X-23, Spider-Man and Wolverine in Marvel vs. Capcom 3|
Marvel.com: What are your thoughts on team building? What do the MvC3 players out there need to know when choosing their characters and assists?
Keits: Team composition is very important. I don’t think it’s smart to pick 3 characters that you like. I would say pick maybe one or two characters that you like and then pick an assist that makes them better. It’s a lot smarter to build your team that way. Personally, I start with one character I think would be fun to play in the front, and I pick 2 assists that make him better. For my second character, I try to pick an assist that also helps that character and that’s the order in which I intend to play them. Of course, that’s not always the case. Things go wrong and you may end up with your last character first. The great teams will work in any order, but those teams can be hard to find, especially if you’re working with a character like M.O.D.O.K. Finding the right assists for him has been so difficult that I’m actually not playing him anymore.
|M.O.D.O.K. in Marvel vs. Capcom 3|
Marvel.com: How could you possibly give up on M.O.D.O.K.?
Keits: I feel like he needs three assists and he only gets two. I’m constantly struggling with what I should leave behind and I’ve never really found quite the right formula for him. He needs an anti-air assist, something to keep people off of his head because he’s very big and it can be difficult to block crossups because of how wide he is, so I’d usually go for Tron or Haggar, maybe Dante. He also really benefits from a slow moving projectile assist like Sentinel’s drones, Doom’s rocks, Arthur’s daggers or even Taskmaster’s arrows. Those are all really nice ways for him to control space on the floor while he puts out stuff behind them, like bombs and cubes and all that stuff. He also desperately needs a low hitting assist like Wesker’s gun or She-Hulk’s slide because he only has one low hitting attack and it’s really slow. It’s really hard to open people up in close with M.O.D.O.K. because once your opponent realizes that they don’t need to block low, you have to work that much harder. That’s why I had to start running with a low assist, to at least scare them with unblockables or worry them about crouching. If he doesn’t have each one of those assists, there’s a huge hole in his game.
Marvel.com: It’s readily apparent that you enjoy Marvel fighting games, so we can only assume you’re a fan of the comics too.
Keits: I have a huge comic collection, but it’s all late ‘90s stuff. I have the embossed granite-style covers of Spider-Man and I have tons of glow-in-the-dark Venom issues from his limited-series. I’m a huge fan, but unfortunately, I just don’t have the time to keep up with all the new stuff.
|Spider-Man and Doctor Doom in Marvel vs. Capcom 3|
Marvel.com: Do you have a favorite Marvel character?
Keits: Personality-wise, I have to go with Spider-Man. I’ve been such a huge fan for such a long time. I like his wit and how mortal and defeatable he is. He’s sassy when he’s down on his luck and I like that his wit oftentimes plays a bigger part in defeating his enemies than his super powers do. Straight super power-wise I’d say Mister Fantastic is my favorite.
Marvel.com: If you could hang out with any denizen of the Marvel Universe, who would it be?
Keits: Oh man… Doctor Doom. I bet Doctor Doom throws an awesome party.
Marvel.com: And finally, the question to end all questions: If you could have any power, what would it be?
Keits: Telekinesis is the dream power. You can be incredibly lazy. You want a soda? It’s coming to you, man. It lets you lift yourself so you gain flighty by proxy, so no wasting your powers on that. And it’s one of the ultimate fighting powers as well, because it lets you stop any incoming projectile with an invisible wall of force and you can pick people up, or anything really, and just throw it around with your mind. You don’t have to be this grotesque Hulk-thing to perform incredible feats of strength. Telekinesis: best power.
Follow Keits on Twitter – @KeitsSRK and don't miss out on the Ultimate Fighting Game Tournament 7, scheduled to rock Chicago May 27-29. Be sure to register by May 20 or you risk missing out on this awesome event!