MVC3 Character Analysis: Nathan Spencer

The one and only Bionic Commando... but not really.

Nathan Spencer a.k.a. the Bionic Commando
Do I know anything about Capcom’s Bionic Commando franchise?  Absolutely not.  Do I really like how this gentlemen is shaping up in Marvel vs. Capcom 3?  You bet your a$$!

First impression: Most mobile grappler ever!  He can grab you from a screen away, grab you while you’re laying helpless after a beat down, grab you while you’re in the air, and of course he has a sick unblockable grab with what looks like different followups.  Holy S team it looks like we might have a Jack of All Trades on our hands here.

Let’s do this thing!


  • Karsticles pointed out that the front dash doing damage was actually just Arthur’s assist hitting at the exact moment of Spencer dashes into Spidey.  GOOD EYES!

Video 1

Video 2

Spencer’s normals look dang quick.  Not only that but it seems like they do great damage.  His little aerial raves simply womp, even without the OTG grapple claw followups.  His low magic series has great range (Video 2 – 1:52) and his low hard attack comes out really quick and combos into his launcher (Video 2 – :16) and his Bionic Punch hyper for some quick and dirty damage (Video 2 – :50).  That 4 hit combo does nearly 50% damage to MODOK!

Dash Grapple
I can’t help but think of Hazama from BlazBlue when he’s shooting that arm out and swinging around.  It’s basically just like Spider-Man’s web sling dash and functions as his air dash.  In the air he can dash backwards (Video 1 – :21) and forwards (Video 2 – :14) horizontally and at a downward 45 degree angle to either cross up or land right in front of the enemy (Video 2 – :49).

If the dash grapple hits the other player it does a little bit of damage.  It doesn’t look like it does enough stun to combo out of, at least not on grounded enemies.  In Video 2 at :14 for example, Spencer actually hits Spidey and there is a bit of stun there, but unless you can cancel the dash or you manage to hit someone in the middle of it I don’t think it can be used to start combos.

The two swinger square off.

Bionic Reel
Spencer’s token special move.  He goes all Scorpion and launches his bionic hand to grab the enemy while yelling “Get over here!”  Gotta love the shout out to MK.  Spencer’s hand travels all the way across the screen and if it hits the enemy, does not grab on block, it reels them in (Video 1 – :26).  It gives him a chance for a free combo and will set up some nasty shenanigans with his unblockable command grab (Video 1 – :44).


Spencer can shoot the arm on the ground horizontally, from the air at a downward 45 degree angle (Video 1 – :37), and straight down while in the air (Video 1 – :49).  What looks interesting though is that while the ground Bionic Reel pulls characters in and you can choose the followup, the air grapples all lead to a kick that causes a horizontal wall bounce.

So after you’ve served up some meaty damage from an aerial rave you can OTG Bionic Reel for a horizontal wall bounce that sets you up for another aerial rave (Video 2 – :18), or some wicked mix-up mind games (Video 2 – 1:55).  Also you’ll probably be able to combo it into his Hyper Bionic Punch.  One last note, it appears that you can only OTG for 2 hits, the grapple itself and the kick, after the Hyper Bionic Punch because the kick does not create a wall bounce (Video 1 – :35).

Command Grab
Spencer grabs his enemy and punches them into the air for some combo action.  He can perform this move on the ground (Video 1 – :44) and as an anti-air (Video 1 – :39).  The button pushed probably changes the angle of the grab.  The command grab also has a mid-air kick followup that causes a horizontal wall bounce (Video 1 – :39) and probably allows for either a free combo, the Bionic Reel, or his Hyper Bionic Punch.

Bionic Punch
Spencer take a quick step backwards and then punches with his bionic arm with incredible force.  On hit this move causes a horizontal wall bounce (Video 1 – :32).  The strength of the button pressed changes the moves start-up as well as the damage done and the amount of wall bounce.

Deadpool, really, SHUT UP!

You can combo into it off of his standing magic series, as you saw in Video 1 at :32, or off of his air grapple wall kick (Video 1 – :52).  Depending on the wall bounce and Spencer’s positioning you can combo it into his Hyper Bionic Punch (Video 1 – :32) or his Hyper Bionic Reel (Video 1 – :32) for some amazing damage.

In Video 2 at :26 you can see Spencer sort of hauls back before punching Spidey right in the kisser.  I’m wondering if he pulls back far enough to make some short attacks whiff giving him a free attack?  Granted it’s probably unsafe on block or whiff so you shouldn’t be using it by itself but…

Hyper Bionic Punch: This move is about as simple as you can get.  Spencer rushes forward and punches the enemy, his bionic arm surrounded in energy.  It hits once, does massive damage, AND it’s super easy to combo into!

Spencer's quick and dirty Hyper Bionic Arm

You landed a Bionic Punch?  Follow up with a Hyper Bionic Punch (Video 1 – :32).  Want to combo it off of his low magic series?  Go ahead (Video 2 – :50).  You’ll probably be able to combo into it from his air Grapple Reel and off of his Command Grab…  Quick and dirty damage.

Hyper Bionic Reel
Not much to say about this super besides it looks amazing and seems relatively combo friendly.  As you can see in Video 1 at :51 he combos into it from his Bionic Punch after an OTG Bionic Reel.  Once the grapple arm hits you don’t need to worry about any of the hits missing either because it’s a cinematic super.  WEE!

I like that he has character specific banter with both Iron Man and Spider-Man.  His bionic arm is always on the far side of his body.  It’s kinda distracting once you see it.

Final Thoughts
Spencer is highly mobile, his grapple dash does damage, his forward dash does damage (if that’s indeed what it is), he is an OTG and reset monster and can do heaps of damage with very little meter.

Honestly, I’m surprised that no one has been talking about him because out of all the characters I’ve seen he looks by far the most solid.  I imagine he’ll be a great solo character.  The only downside I can see is that his Bionic Reel isn’t the fastest and it doesn’t grab on block.  If it has less than stellar recovery you can expect to be eating a lot of damage off of beam/bullet supers.

So there you have it.  The Bionic Commando in all his bionic glory.


31 thoughts on “MVC3 Character Analysis: Nathan Spencer”

  1. He looks nice, but i’m reserving true judgement for now cause he has been in only 2 videos, so we don’t know what else he has, or if they have done anything different with him. From these videos though first impression says he is a beast XD!

    1. I’m not really sure. I’m going to decide a little later today, but I’m going to hit up a Marvel next. I think the only person that I have no desire to look at is Deadpool. Skrull looks fun, Hulk looks super fun, but I’ve gotten quite a few requests for X-23. I know I won’t be playing her, that’s why I’m a little hesitant to look into her, but if enough people want me to take a look, why not?

  2. Love that you chose to analyse Spencer. I’m saddened that he only has two videos, but I’m happy to see someone else thinking he looks pretty awesome. I didn’t even notice that he has an anti air grab. That made my excitement for the character higher =D

    Thanks for the analyses man. Can’t wait to read your next posts =)

  3. Ya i like how your analyising the characters that really should be analyzed. Like Dante and Captain America are awesome, but they are characters that are way easier to summuraize you know? I’m kinda glad its all the characters we havent got alot of hands-on time with, keep it up!

    1. That’s one of the reasons why I’m trying to stick to the newer characters. Can you imagine the amount of space I would need for embedded videos if I was going to try to do Dante? The guy has like 30 specials! Captain America I could do, Hulk I would like to do, Deadpool I will never do.

  4. Thanks for analyzing Spencer ! I though Hazama the second I heard the character reveal ^^

    I’m still wanting for the new characters and the game to come out to make up my mind, but so far my team should be Spencer, Viper, Dante.

  5. Great article. All things considered, I think it’s worth mentioning that most of his grapples are blockable, and it’s what highly separates him from your traditional grappler.

  6. Another Great read man, You’re 2 for 2. Its nice to see some great analysis for the potential fighters who are shuned because of lack of popularity. And I was a little hyped for Spencer after I played NES Bionic Commado now after reading this. I SUPER STOKED HYPED!! Thanks!!

  7. Nice man, I told a few of my friends who were interested in MvC3 to check out your stuff so keep ’em coming if you can. I often just forgot about Spencer thanks to his lack of videos so I didn’t really notice how versatile he actually looked, and I’m guessing his stamina will be higher than the average character as well which is a double plus for me, and puts him 100x higher in my consideration list.

    Since I’m gonna be maining Skrull, I’ll be biased and suggest him for the next analysis, but I’m particularly interested in X23 and Doom as well

    1. Will do my friend, got a new one kicking as we speak, should have it up tomorrow. Thanks for the comment. I’m really digging the way Spencer is looking too. He’s just bawss, plain and simple.

  8. Hey great article and Im glad about Spencer and everything but I noticed a glitch in his design. Now I know you cant do anything about it, just thought I should share this. Spencer usually has his Bionic Arm in the left side. But when he is on the right side of the play screen, the Bionic Arm magically goes to his right, like in the beginning of the second video… Why do u think that could be?

    1. I noticed this too and included it in the Miscellaneous section and you can’t unsee it! It’s because usually characters facing left are just the reverse of the character facing to the right. Hence the bionic arm is always the furthest from the front.

  9. Spencer is one of the new ones I’m looking forward to along with super skrull. Great that you are analyzing some of the newer characters coming out. Just saw the one about Haggar and am Glad I looked into some of the archives on others. Awesome job. Less than a month away.

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