The Lowdown on "Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3's" New Combatants

"Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3" is in stores now, and to brush it off as "just another expansion" would be a huge mistake on your part. This is a much improved version of the original game that came out in February, complete with a newly balanced fighting system that makes each battle better than ever before, along with additional alternate costumes and the ability to play as the planet-devouring Galactus, originally introduced as the final boss in the game.

What's more, "Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3" introduces a dozen new combatants, six from the Marvel Comics universe and six from Capcom's gaming archives. CBR News breaks them all down for you, as well as tips on how they hold up best when it comes to fighting. Heed our advice well, and you'll stack up plenty of notches in your win column.

Rocket Raccoon (Marvel)

First introduced in "Marvel Preview" #7 in 1976, Rocket Raccoon is an interplanetary explorer who hails from the planet of Halfworld. A ranger assigned to protect his colony, he also has an ambitious exploratory nature, seeking out new areas surrounding his home world and adventure wherever he can find it.

Abilities: Rocket Raccoon maintains the same heightened speed and sense abilities as a normal raccoon, but when he takes to the battlefield, he also brings his ingenuity when it comes to weapons and tools. Over the course of each fight, he"ll call on everything from an oil bomb to a claymores to his rocket skates. He also uses a peculiar weapon known as Mr. Flapper. And watch out for his Rocky Raccoon super combo as well.

Use him if... you're looking for a quick, agile character with creativity in his attacks.

Nova (Marvel)

First introduced in 1976's "Nova" #1, Richard Rider, inherited his powers from a dying alien named Rhomann Dey. These Nova Corps abilities enhance his strength tremendously, using a newfound energy. He also gains enhanced speed, an ability that proves useful when flying through the universe.

Abilities: Being able to absorb and reflect attacks with energy is a huge plus for those who wish to go on the defensive, but his offensive moves are noteworthy as well. His Gravometris Pulse can hit effectively both on the ground and in the air, as can his Nova Strike; his Energy Javelin can pierce an unblocking opponent quite heavily; and his super combo, Human Rocket, can devastate an energy bar in seconds.

Use him if... you're a fan of Iron Man's maneuvers or like someone with a lot of power.

Iron Fist (Marvel)

First introduced in "Marvel Premiere" #15 in 1974, Daniel Thomas Rand-Kai had studied martial arts in the mystic city of K'un L'un for well for over a decade, becoming his dojo's best student. Upon defeating the mighty dragon Shou-Lou the Undying, he earned the rank of Iron Fist, and the accompanying power that came with it.

Abilities: Hand-to-hand combat is definitely Iron Fist's strong suit, making him quite powerful in close quarters combat. His ability to use "chi" from a distance is also exceptional, with such attacks as the Dragon"s Tail and the Twin Snakes to his credit, amongst others. His Super technique, the Dragon's Fury, summons the greatest amount of strength he can muster in combat.

Use him if... you like to strike up close or just want a well-balanced fighter in general.

Hawkeye (Marvel)

A much respected member of the Avengers squad (and first introduced in "Tales of Suspense" #57 in 1964), Hawkeye, also known as Clint Barton, trained to be a master archer when he was with a traveling circus. His marksman skills made him the ideal superhero, armed with a bow and numerous arrow types. He's quite good with his shots, though a bit brash on the battlefield. Overall, he gets the job done.

Abilities: Hawkeye shoots arrows like crazy, using variations of trick shots to strike straightforward, from above and other angles. He can also strike hard in close with his bow and for his super he unleashes a Tag Team Special that can wipe out anyone standing in his way.

Use him if... you like going with projectile attacks.

Ghost Rider (Marvel)

Johnny Blaze began his life as a stunt rider in 1972's "Marvel Spotlight" #5, executing tricks that would otherwise be considered impossible. However, after he made a deal with Zarathos (with a little help from Mephisto), he became the Spirit of Vengeance, complete with a flaming skull and plenty of impressive abilities to help him do his job, including the use of Hellfire at will.

Abilities: Ghost Rider is dangerous both up close and from afar, as his chain attacks have a way of almost reaching across the entire screen. What's more, he can launch into attacks with Hellfire, striking from a distance. His Conviction Slam is also quite devastating if he gets hold of you. As for his finisher, Penance Stare, he simply looks at you and destroys you with the very pain you inflict on others. Ouch.

Use him if... you like a good, strong character with range.

Doctor Strange (Marvel)

Doctor Strange made his debut in "Strange Tales" #110 in 1963 and has been mesmerizing people ever since. Stephen Vincent Strange studied under the tutelage of the Ancient One, using his knowledge to become the world's most powerful -- and noble -- sorcerer. He also learned quite a bit from his fellow heroes-at-arms, making him devastating in battle.

Abilities: Because he's a powerful sorcerer, Strange likes to call on all sorts of paranormal techniques, including teleportation (so he can get behind an opponent), the Eye of Agamotto, and the Daggers of Denak. And for his Super, he unleashes an unstoppable array of Astral Magic that makes firework displays look pithy by comparison.

Use him if... you like strong, powerful techniques.

Vergil (Capcom)

Vergil made his debut in the 2005 PlayStation 2 game "Devil May Cry 3." The son of the legendary Dark Knight Sparda, Vergil is also the twin brother of "DMC's" main hero, Dante. He is half human, half demon, and completely devastating in the heat of battle, between using his sword and his fully absorbed demon abilities against his opponents.

Abilities: Vergil likes to mix up attacks, including the Judgment Cut, a Rapid Slash for multiple hits, a twisted Lunar Phase technique and a forward air throw that can lead to a combo attack in the air. For his Super attack, he goes all out with the Dark Angel, engulfing his enemies in utter defeat through shadows.

Use him if... you're a fan of Dante's but want something alternative to try out.

Strider Hiryu (Capcom)

The star of his own video game in 1989 (as well as the first two "Marvel vs. Capcom" games), Strider is a force to be reckoned with. Between his armada of robot drones (including panthers that leap out at his command) and the power of his own sword, Strider can cut an enemy down to size rather quickly. There"s no secret as to why he's considered the finest assassin of the Striders organization.

Abilities: Along with being able to perform with a great deal of physicality (just try out his teleport kick), Strider is also handy with his sword, striking from below, above and at mid-range. He can also climb along walls, should he need to get off the ground to avoid projectiles or an incoming Super attack. As for his finisher, his best one is easily the Ragnarok, which can destroy his opponent no matter where they"re standing.

Use him if... you're a fan of his from the previous games or want a good, agile fighter.

Phoenix Wright (Capcom)

If there is truly an "oddball" in the Capcom bunch, it's Phoenix Wright. First making his debut back in 2001, the Ace Attorney is known for his bravado in finding the truth in the courtroom to free his clients, while occasionally overcoming the odds of the legal system. No matter how odd the case gets (and if you've played his games, you have a pretty good idea), he's always ready to do his job.

Abilities: One might think a lawyer doesn't have any place in the fighting arena, but Phoenix has more going for him than legal affidavits. He can interrogate opponents with quick "objective" strikes, throw paperwork around like a projectile and "Break the Witness" with a quick fling of his hands. His supers are also quite creative, calling upon his assistant to run in, use a giant gavel to crush his opponent, or go all out with an Ace Attorney accusation.

Use him if... you're up for a fighting challenge. Seriously, this guy is WEIRD.

Nemesis (Capcom)

Nemesis is one of the most effective projects introduced through the Umbrella Corporation, as you may remember from his debut in "Resident Evil 3: Nemesis" in 1999. He carries around a bazooka and hulks around in a full leather get-up, stalking his prey like a madman. He's not just a big, brainless lug, however. He thinks rather viciously, and will leave you on the ground if you're foolish enough to get in his grasp.

Abilities: This guy is one of the strongest characters in the "Marvel vs. Capcom" lexicon. His up-close strikes do a severe amount of damage, and he can also hit accurately well with his bazooka shots from a distance. His tentacles can also be called upon to slam opponents as well. If he grabs you with his powerful Super attack, the Fatal Mutation, you've pretty much had it.

Use him if... you're looking for a slow, strong type, like Zangief or Haggar.

Frank West (Capcom)

Frank isn't a born fighter, but he adapts easily to situations. That's exactly what he did when he ran head first into a zombie apocalypse in the original "Dead Rising," using makeshift weapons -- and his camera -- to stay in one piece. He recently returned in this year's release of "Dead Rising 2: Off the Record," utilizing his brute strength -- and creativity -- to keep the undead at bay. All those talents are on full display in "Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3."

Abilities: As he did in "Tatsunoko vs. Capcom" on Nintendo Wii, Frank brings some unpredictable attacks that make him a wild card. He might throw hammers, use a giant swing with a projectile to knock an enemy backward, or use his camera to temporarily distract his foe. Perhaps the best of his Super attacks sees him throw a Servbot helmet onto his opponent, then beat his opponent senseless until they're a lying mess on the ground.

Use him if... you like unpredictability, or are familiar with his moves from "Tatsunoko."

Firebrand (Capcom)

Firebrand first appeared as an evil character in "Ghosts n' Goblins" in 1985, before moving on to his own games in the '90s, including "Demon"s Crest" on the SNES. He's a Red Arremer gargoyle who protects his Demon Village from oncoming attackers with relentless energy. He's the envy of his peers, and with his unmatched speed and fire breathing power, he should be.

Abilities: Along with using Hell Spitfire to his advantage (both on the ground and in the air), Firebrand can also call upon such attacks as a Demon Missile and the Hell's Elevator to dwindle his opponent's energy down to nothing. He can also hover when the situation calls for it. As for his Supers, the best one in his arsenal is the Chaos Tide which washes over his foe with reckless abandon.

Use him if... you like a projectile-based character.

"Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3" is in stores now.

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