| paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Fighting; loc=NA] |
|The title gets two out of three right: this is from Capcom, and it is a fighting game. But, while a reasonably solid game, at least single-player, it is not an "evolution" in any sense. In fact this is Capcom's worst re-hash to date.|
Now, that's not to say that it totally sucks: I like Capcom's rehashes, for the most part. And the basic presentation here does pretty well: the interface and menu artwork are pretty good. But there isn't much to them: you have arcade mode, vs mode, training mode, and that's it. You can't call up move lists in the game even. There are only twenty or so characters, a rather small number relative to Capcom's other Vs. games, and there are no selectable "isms" or health meter modes or variable supers or anything like that: you just pick your character, and that's it.
Well okay, you pick two characters, and after the first round you can pick which one you want to use in the next round. So if you want, you can just use the first character in every round. It's kind of a weird little gimmick, it would've meant more maybe if health meter settings had carried over from round to round or something. But I suppose you could pick one character who's good against one type of opponent and another who's good against a different type, in theory. Other than that the game is just straight up one-on-one, no switching characters mid-round or anything like that.
It's nice to see the huge WarZard characters in here, but otherwise almost all the characters are ones that have been recycled way too many times. I was kind of hoping that the Street Fighter II characters (Guile, Zangief, etc) would use the SFII sprites, but they use the Street Fighter Alpha versions. Which seems like a waste since you've already got the Street Fighter Alpha team (Rose, etc), but oh well. Each character uses the super meter and fighting tricks from their own game, for instance Urien from the SFIII group can parry and stack up multiple super charges. So the real treat of the game is to see how the systems from all these different games work against one another.
They seem to work reasonably well, from my amateur point of view. Some characters don't seem to have AI routines to deal with attacks from other systems very well, for instance I could fireball or spin attack one or two characters with WarZard's Hydron over and over, and they didn't really bother to block a lot of the time. And a lot of non-SFIII characters don't read Urien's rising fireballs very well, and will tend to jump right into them. Oh, and short elbow juggles from Urien will make mincemeat of the final boss, Pyron. Not that I'm complaining too much, mind you, 'cause I would have had a hard time beating some people otherwise.
Arcade mode pits you against a decent number of opponents, and you get a short but nicely-drawn slideshow ending for each of your two characters, but there is no story between any of the characters and the final boss, Pyron, is just a recycled Vampire dude, nothing special.
Oh wait, GameFAQs says that if you beat the game with everyone, etc, you get to another boss--and a way-too-recycled one at that. You'd have thought they could have come up with a new boss character, at least. Oh well. They made one new character: Ingrid, a cutesy girl, who seems rather tiny and cliched. The ported WarZard characters don't seem to handle too well, really, manually or AI, but at least they're nice and big.
You also unlock old music themes and stuff, hooray.
Actually that's good, since the new music isn't very noteworthy--a slight variety of fairly generic Japanese light metal and techno. The backgrounds are even more of a disappointment: not only are there not very many of them, they're blurry, with very subdued colors, and no interactivity or major dynamic elements. They've got other Capcom characters doing little two-frame animations in a muted way, but that doesn't save them from being really dull. It's a sad comparison to contrast them with the dynamic, high-resolution 2D backgrounds from Capcom vs SNK, for instance.
So it isn't a bad game, and solid enough, but also quite mediocre. Without a story and with relatively few characters (and at least the first fight seems to pit you against the same opponents every time you play the game), Arcade mode feels like it'll get stale fast. Versus play probably has more longevity, but then again you'd probably have a better time with any of Capcom's previous fighting games.
The back of the case says "A tribute to Classic Arcade Fighting Games!" If that isn't an admission that Capcom is no longer capable of making new classic arcade fighting games, I don't know what is. This is Capcom looking back, but it's hard to see why many other people would want to encourage them to keep doing it.