Review by Mr Moggy
"You can be Ryu! You can be Kyo! or you could leave this game alone... whatever..."
One of the most eagerly awaited fighting games ever has finally (!) come to Playstation. However after playing it for a few hours, it makes me wonder why this hadn't come out a little earlier. I love Street Fighter and I also love King of the Fighters, but this game seems very much like a rush job. That said, I still like this game, if for concept alone.
When I first saw this game on the shelf I wanted it immediately. I hadn't played CAP vs SNK on Dreamcast, only seen a few pics of it, although i had played CAP vs SNK 2 a little on my friend's PS2. I was a little dubious of the ''Pro'', which to me says: ''changed for Playstation'', so I hung back and rented it first. After a few hours I was glad I hand'nt bought it, as I was struggling to find something else to do with it. I wasn't necessarily a bad game, just way to short.
I'll point out some definite pluses and minuses:
In game, the graphics weren't really too bad. The fighters were fairly large, moved smoothly enough, and overall looked pretty good. The backgrounds were excellent, detailed and animated and to me they looked better than the CAP vs SNK 2 backgrounds. Even the redrawn SNK characters looked good (although mai was a little less bouncy. Yeah.. so I'm a pervert...) as did M.Bison (or Vega depending where you're from) and its good to see Ken's got his mullet back. Kinda.
And then I threw a fireball and wondered what was wrong with my TV screen. It's only a small detail but most of the projectiles look heavily pixelated and it really does look kinda poor. I presume this was a way for the PS1 to handle all the moving objects, but surely there must have been a better way. Other special effects didn't seem all that ''special'' either, although the super move finish ''inverse color background'' effect was very nice.
Another minor gripe is that the characters seem to only have one win pose (not that it has anything to do with actual fighting) and that also seemed to annoy me, seeing the same pose over and over again.
On a different note (a b-flat, I think), I didn't catch any of the slowdown that I had read other people complain about. Although I hardly used any of the big characters (e.g. Zangief). Also the health bars and super gauges didn't seem as bad as some other people have made out.
The gallery option was a nice touch and most of the artwork looked good. Apart from the Capcom drawn Street Fighters, which look very amatuerish compared to the SNK pictures.
Sound and Music:
Not exactly the best soundtrack to a game I've ever heard, but I'm not complaining. It was nice to here remixes of the old themes. The voices were clear and performed their duty well (although It gets a little aggravating hearing HADOUKEN!!! over and over again).
Gameplay and Control:
When I first heard about this game ages ago, I knew I wanted to play it regardless, because I could finally team up Dan and Ryuji (The masters of pain, obviously...) so I'm kind of lucky that this is the ''Pro'' version then. The choice of characters alone boosts the playability, although some of the characters they put in (i.e. Raiden) are a little suspect (does anyone like him?)and some other characters left out (i.e. anyone else in a capcom game) should have been put in (say like, popular ones).
Overall, the game plays pretty well as the Street Fighter mechanics are there, as are the ''capcom-style SNK'' mechanics. The grooves themselves are a pretty good idea, although I didn't like the SNK groove (powering up is cool, but it should've been more like advanced mode from KOF '98). The ratio system is o.k., but I think the choice of Vs. style tag team or KOF style three on three, would've been cooler (like in the neogeo pocket version). Then again, the PS1 might not have been able to handle that, without pumping the loading times higher. I guess it's fair and all (I mean, who wants to fight Evil Ryu and Riot of Blood Iori on the same team) but the choice should be there. You could argue that the Pair mode allows that, but its a mish mash of the two.
On the negative side, the loading times are pretty long (compared to similar fighters like SFA3). It's bearable, but does detract a little from the game, as it occasionally rears its's head (with say, 4 ratio one characters) and disrupts the flow.
Another minor point is the controls don't seem as smooth as other capcom games, most notably SFA3. This doesn't affect button mashers at all and possibly not SF gods, but for average players like me, pulling off a well timed dragon punch, or super combo seemed like hit and miss alot of the time.
The biggest problem with this game though is the length. I had it about 3-4 hours till unlocked all the EX characters, hidden characters, played and beat Akuma and had checked out the other modes. After that I couldn't find any other reason to play it. It is just way to short, and the other modes offer no pay off or reason to play them. If the game hadn't been so short, it would've easily been one of the top fighting games on the PS1.
The presentation is really quite horrible. The intro is boring nonsense, the ending is not so much boring nonsense but tacky non-the-less, and alot of the bits in between are also boring nonsense. The menu's look nice but the special effects between menus look tacky and pixelated. Before bouts, the VS. sign looks really horrible (like it was done on paintbrush), and the loading screen has the same pics from the gallery, which don't even take up the whole screen.
The gallery itself is a nice touch, but spelt incorrectly (which may be homage to SNK's translating team... Victoly!). The manual spells it correctly, however, and also seems to make reference to a feature that isn't there. This all brings the game's appeal way down and makes the game look like a horrible rush job.
I haven't seen the Dreamcast version of this game, neither do I know if it contains the same faults, so comparing the PS1 version to it is stupid. The closest game to this on PS1 would be SFA3, which is an excellent example of how a 2d fighter should look and play like. Unfortunately, this game doesn't quite make it to that level and SFA3 dominates it mostly due to a more refined engine and much more longevity. However, if you are a Capcom AND SNK fan, and you have someone to play against, its not really that bad a game. You should definitely rent it before you buy it.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 07/31/02, Updated 07/31/02
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