But while Chris was all about projectiles and strong spacing tools, Dante came off as the ultimate combo exhibitionist with, allegedly, around 25 specials in total. Indeed, the son of Sparda can Million Stab with Rebellion, summon icicles from the ground with Cerberus, use Artemis to fire off homing pink death and even drench himself in lightning with Nevada. Throw in a 30+ hit Ebony and Ivory Hyper Combo with the option to go Devil Trigger and you've got a devilish playstyle which epitomises the DMC heritage.
In his current state Dante is a shoo-in top tier which hopefully suggests that Capcom has learned its lesson from the lopsided roster of Marvel 2 by giving the warring houses in Marvel 3 a more even footing. And although it's hard to get any sense of individual character balancing after only a handful of matches, any fears of infinite combos and broken characters appear to be minimal.
The more forgiving inputs are also a clear bid to ease those recently weaned on Street Fighter IV into the considerably more rabid Marvel tempo. Indeed, whereas the one-on-one Street Fighters tend to be about getting into the other players head by methodically reading their movements and baiting mistakes, Marvel is more about prolonged aerial assaults and ending every other combo with an epileptic super. And Marvel 3 isn't looking to deviate.
Mechanics-wise many of the old systems make a return, including Delayed Hyper Combos, Variable Counters, Advancing Guards and Snap Backs – which forces the opponent to tag out against their will.
The new aerial button also means that instead of each character having a specific launcher – classically a command normal – most characters can now simply chain combo from light to aerial and then super jump to keep the hit counter soaring with an Air Combo.
The aerial button can also be used mid-air with one of three directions to tag in one of your benched characters for a Team Aerial Combo, but if your opponent guesses the direction you're going for they can Team Aerial Counter and make you eat damage instead.
Another new trick Marvel 3 has up its sleeve is the glitzy X-Factor system which seems to work as a single use damage booster which also has the added advantage of cancelling anything you're doing.
This even applies to Hyper Combos, making it possible to cancel two into each other and – if you've meter to spare – adding on some Delayed Hyper Combo antics on the end for suitably massive damage.
But as complicated as all that may sound it's clear that Marvel 3 is a game striving to uphold two conflicting principles, i.e. to reduce the inherent complexity without diluting the depth. And if Capcom can pull this considerable challenge off, MvC3 is most definitely FTW.
Once the day was over the memory that stayed with me the most wasn't seeing Ryu dragon punching Thor ten feet into the air, or Deadpool mockingly shouting Shoryuken and then moon walking. It was of two small arcade machines in a massive hall of gaming opulence that had become – at least from my perspective – the Expo's epicentre of camaraderie and rivalry.
Marvel 3 is shaping up to be the kind of crossover fighting game that only Capcom knows how to make. With Spencer from Bionic Commando, Arthur from Ghost n' Goblins and Marvel universes' MODOK and Magneto recently confirmed, and more still to be announced, this ride can't come soon enough.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is slated for a spring 2011 release on PS3 and Xbox 360.