Amingo was an original character introduced in Marvel vs. Capcom 2. He was part of a gentle race of plant people. He was good and he was my friend. Capcom killed Amingo in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and I will never forgive it.
Despite having a huge stable of existing characters to pull from for its 2000 crossover fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Capcom developed a handful of newcomers to round out the roster. Amingo, an anthropomorphic cactus wearing a sombrero and sash, was among them. I wouldn’t say he’s among my most favourite fighting game characters, but he did encourage me to try more wacky characters in future games.
That said, I was drawn to this enigmatic figure every time I plopped my quarter down at arcades as a teenager, probably because he made my dad laugh. Even after being drawn into the world of competition and learning that Amingo is among the worst characters in Marvel vs. Capcom 2, I continued to mess around with him on occasion as a way of handicapping myself against friends who were less obsessed with fighting games.
Marvel vs. Capcom was never really my main fighting game — I’m still very bad at assist timings — so as I moved onto other series, Amingo faded away in my memory. This was made even easier because he rarely resurfaced in Capcom games after Marvel vs. Capcom 2. There were cameos in some card games, sure, though nothing on the level of his status in the crown jewel of Capcom’s crossover franchise.
It wasn’t until 2011’s Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 that Amingo would appear in another Versus game. But this time, the circumstances surrounding his appearance were far less joyful.
I was recently reminded that Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3’s version of the Metro City stage includes a fun homage to The Uncanny X-Men #141, which kicked off a storyline known as “Days of Future Past.” The iconic 1981 comic-book cover depicts Wolverine and Kitty Pryde lit up against a massive poster of wanted mutants, many of whom have either been slain or apprehended. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 remixes this poster in the background of Metro City by including Capcom characters among the fugitives.
You probably see where this is going.
Amingo is on there. He doesn’t get the top billing of a Mega Man or Captain Commando, but he’s there. In the bottom-right corner, you can barely see poor Amingo’s gentle eyes and sombrero peeking out behind the rubble of the city and a banner that reveals the terrible truth with a single word: “Slain.” Amingo is dead, likely killed at the hands of the gigantic robotic Sentinels ravaging Metro City. His partner in the sparse Marvel vs. Capcom 2 narrative, Ruby Heart, is marked as apprehended. She wasn’t there to save him.
Marvel VS Capcom 2 – Amingo concept artwork. pic.twitter.com/CEtrEqkAP0
— VideoGameArt&Tidbits (@VGArtAndTidbits) January 27, 2018
Beneath Amingo’s prickly exterior beat the heart of a true hero. He may have just been a cactus man, but his love for nature and his fellow plant people spurred him toward adventure. Amingo deserved better than being stomped under the heel of a Sentinel and left to die somewhere in the ruins of Metro City. I wish I had spent more time with him when he was around, but now, the idea of going back to Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and playing as a pale facsimile of my dear friend makes me sad all over again.
Take Jin Saotome and SonSon if you must, Capcom, but why was sweet, sweet Amingo the target of your wrath? Rest in peace, my friend.