Japan: March 25th, 1999
North America: September 9th, 1999
Europe: February 17th, 2000
Jump Pack Compatible
This is an interesting one. I'm mostly only familiar with the later MVC games, so I'll give you my perspective from there (it's likely that it's the same for most people). MVC isn't wildly different from later entries in the series, but what is different makes a pretty big impression. One of the biggest differences is that there is no way for you to select your assist partner without a cheat. This can mean you'll be fighting alone, or you were incredibly lucky and kicking all kinds of ass. Some of you may be confused by not being able to select your assist partner; this is still a tag team game. Your tag team partner cannot come out and assist you at your whim like in MVC2 and 3. Only your randomly selected assist partner can.
The next thing to note is that the roster is incredibly slim. If I recall correctly, there's only about 15 characters with WAY more assist characters than playable characters. With only 15 characters, the game can get old pretty fast. If you're new to this particular entry, it'll probably keep you interested for an afternoon or two while exploring all of the changes. There's not a lot of holding power here, though. It would be great if MVC2 didn't exist, but it does and that has to be accounted for.
This storyline takes place in the Marvel continuity, specifically in the clusterfuck-tacular Onslaught event. So, meh. At least it's not a clusterfuck on the scale of Civil War, I guess.
This is a big old mixed bag, which shouldn't be too shocking for anyone familiar with the early entries in the vs. series. The Capcom sprites are generally of pretty low quality since they just ripped them out of other games. The Marvel sprites, on the other hand, are rather well done with a level of detail you'd expect for the time. I'm particularly fond of the backgrounds, which look exactly like something that would come out of a Marvel comic in that time period. Backgrounds are definitely something that MVC has over MVC2.
Another point for MVC against MVC2. It's not the best music, but at least we're not being taken for a ride. Or sipping brandy in a hotel lounge or something…
Marvel vs. Capcom will be a good distraction for those of us who love Capcom fighters, but maybe missed out on one or two of them and is curious. If you don't have any interest in the vs. series, then it's probably not for you. If you're a fan of MVC2, it's worth an investigation.