Like many kids who grew up in the 1980s, I developed a deep fondness for action figures, including G.I. Joe and Transformers. I’ll never forget the care that these companies put into the packaging of these toys, including little dossiers that delivered backstory, personality, and traits for each of the figures.
I like how Marvel Heroes has done a great job replicating this approach in the game, with bios and verbal quotes and loading screen tidbits. Even though my knowledge of the Marvel universe is mostly limited to ’90s comics and the films, this game has gone a long way in filling in the gaps of my ignorance.
In the spirit of collectible dossiers, I thought I’d occasionally pen a column rating the different aspects of each of the characters that I’ve leveled up to 60. Today I’m going to tackle my first two: Squirrel Girl and Cyclops.
Powers and Abilities: Melee combat and squirrel summons are Doreen’s meat and potatoes. I prefer to play her as a straight-up summoner, calling in waves of squirrels, squirrel special forces, and Hulkbuster squirrels to shred the enemy. She’s quite easy to play and perfect for any pet-loving player.
Movement Ability: Squirrel Girl has a single movement power, Forestwalk. It’s a forward tumble that does incorporate an attack, which unfortunately means spirit cost. While it’s quick, it’s not as good as spirit-free flight.
Costumes: Despite being out a while, Squirrel Girl has only a handful of costumes in the store. Her new Unbeatable Squirrel Girl outfit (above) is fantastic and my new favorite, although I was partial to her aviator costume as well (which had the advantage of putting cute little goggles on all of her squirrels).
Voice and Personality: Squirrel Girl is voiced by animation legend Tara Strong, who also handled Doreen in her other video game incarnations. She’s also hilarious and incredibly upbeat, throwing out weird facts about nuts, calling Mister Sinister “Sister Minister,” and taunting her victory over Doctor Doom.
Ultimate Ability: Tiny Hug Barrage throws down a screen-clearing attack by her squirrel army. If it’s on the screen, it’s getting attacked by this ability, which throws in slows and knockdowns as well. It also last an impressive 20 or so seconds, making it perfect for packs of bosses or elites.
Synergies: At both level 25 and 50, Doreen unlocks +2% damage against bosses. It’s not the strongest of synergies and is more situational, but I’d consider it pretty important in raids, fighting cosmic bosses, and in the cosmic trial.
Personal Rating: Since Squirrel Girl is my main, I’ve obviously picked my favorite of the bunch to kick off this series. But seriously, she’s a great all-around character with a strong cult appeal. Some are turned off by her cutesiness or her lack of flashy abilities, but I love her for her never-say-die attitude and her powerful summons. Final rating: A.
Powers and Abilities: Obviously, Scott’s signature attacks are going to come from his optic blasts, of which there are several varieties. Ricochet Beam is a leveler’s best friend, bouncing between targets with a minimum of clicking around, and Visor Off is one of the best visual effects in the game (it always makes me feel quite powerful).
Cyclops does have several temporary summons, calling in X-Men reinforcements, which was both unexpected and welcome. He also has a fighting expertise line if you like getting physical. It was from this tree that the legend of Punchclops as born, a Cyclops build where you punch… and nothing else.
Movement Ability: I did not expect to like Cyclops as much as I ended up, but by the time that I discovered that his mode of transportation is a sweet, sweet motorcycle, I was won over. Cruising through zones on a hog feels so very right.
Costumes: Cyclops was one of the first heroes in the game, which means that he has plenty of costumes in the store — seven at last count. Since I was a devoted fan of the ’90s animated X-Men series, I’d have to pick that costume variant as my favorite.
Voice and Personality: Cyclops has the vernerable Nolan North voicing him (North also handles Deadpool). That said, I am not the biggest fan of Scott’s pompous, always-lecturing personality. He’s got too many haters out there for this game to be feeding that fire.
Ultimate Ability: Instead of getting a new ability for his ultimate, Cyclops gets To Me, My X-Men, which lumps together four of his established mini-summons for one frantic melee. It’s not bad, per see, but it feels recycled.
Synergies: While Scott’s +2% energy damage at level 25 is forgettable, it’s his +10% XP boost at level 50 that has everyone salivating over this character. If you’re looking to level up a lot of toons — and who isn’t in this game? — then getting Cyclops to 50 is a no-brainer.
Personal Rating: While I’m not going to be playing Cyclops now that I got him to 60, it was a surprisingly fun ride getting him there. His attacks are low-stress and have the advantage of range (Punchclops notwithstanding), his summons bring in the spirit of the X-Men comic books, and his synergy is one of the most useful in the game. On the downside, I was turned off by his personality and never felt connected with or excited about the character. Final rating: B-.