|You know, this game is pretty fun. Sure the normal arcade mode in single player has a horribly cheap and un-fun boss waiting at the end like a giant poisonous spider, and sure the AI isn't all that convincing, as per Capcom usual, and sure the sequel has many more characters and high-tech high-res 3D backgrounds.
But. The 2D backgrounds in this game are great, the character selection, even if somewhat unbalanced (Capt. Commando---grrr), is quality, and it's got a spritey exuberance that's just plain hard to beat. It's also slightly less manic than the sequel since you've only got two characters per side (the third character is just a vestigial striker), so you can actually sometimes once in a while get down to some real one-on-one fighting.
Oh and I like Survival Mode, hadn't tried that before. There's no stupid boss at the end as far as I know, so it has this sort of freeing air about it, and you just keep going and going until you finally get worn down. Also, I'm finally getting a little used to incorporating the standard strong-medium-heavy chain combos (another advantage over the sequel: six regular buttons instead of four), so things are starting to open up.