Review by Solid Sonic
Synopsis Restatement: Unacceptable, Capcom...
Best Features: At least they ATTEMPTED to combine their universes for a dream match. Some catchy music. The best team dynamic in a Capcom fighting game yet.
Worst Features: Read the review...
I try not to be unintentionally hard on games, I honestly do. But I came into Capcom Fighting Evolution with a big chip on my shoulder. You can't help but scrutinize the gaming company that brought 2D fighting to the forefront. This was Capcom's first entry into the 2D fighting genre since Capcom VS SNK 2. With a "dream match" crossover roster, at least it sounded good on paper. Capcom is known for making incredible fighting games like Street Fighter Alpha 3, Street Fighter III: Third Strike and the list goes on so the expectation is high. However, CFE is the first (and honestly only) 2D fighter out of Capcom's camp I can say was a sloppy and ill-conceived game. Let's move on.
If it weren't for the somewhat interesting backgrounds (which are loaded with cameos, but even they fall flat as some of them look like cheap photos), I'd have scored this far lower. The backbone of the problem in this category is the horrid sprites. Aside from Ingrid, there is not a SINGLE new sprite in this game (hell, you'll cringe looking at Demitri's). Some of them have new animations but that still doesn't cut it. In addition (at least on the TV I played it on), the colors don't blend that well in this game and either look washed out or bleed. Animation is stiff and a lot of animations have been cut (and since these sprites all come from other games, you can tell). I always tell people that in fighting games, graphics don't matter as you really should be here for the fight. But PRESENTATION does and in this respect, it fails. The only thing aside from the backgrounds I found good were the character portraits and ending art (the endings are actually quite good as they comes from Arnold Tsang, one of the artists for the Street Fighter comic book).
Probably the only part of this game I actually approve of. Some of the music in the game (while very strange as it usually has electric guitars and such, not normal Capcom fighting music) is actually pretty good. While not the best I've heard, its got its own charm. The sound isn't as worthy though. Most of the hits don't sound that different from each other and the other sound effects are pretty bland.
In fighting games, having good control is an important factor. It determines how precise your attacks are and how your timing should be calculated. Unfortunately, CFE fails to address this point correctly. The game feels sluggish and the controls don't respond as well as I'd like. In addition, the characters aside from the SF camp (mostly within the Red Earth block) have terrible basic moves and rarely string together meaningful combos. The other characters do have better basic moves but the sluggish control doesn't help them.
This is really what fighting is should be about. I believe Capcom forgot this when building this fighter. For one thing, the game is scant on options. Only 3 modes are available: Arcade, VS, and Training. No survival or any other matches that should be standard. Once you select a mode, you find the next flaw. The roster is absolutely dismal for a dream match. This game did a terrible job of trying to accommodate every single fighting style that Capcom has created in their players (which is a vast array). So, inevitably, you have to end up learning characters that you've never tried before and that can get messy. Once you get inside the game, you have to put up with the stick-in-the-mud controls and unbalanced matches (the game totally favors Ryu). The characters are unbalanced (and any match with Hauzer is over in a snap due to his size) and all feel very glued-together in this game. Their styles don't blend well and, in some cases, they really shouldn't have been in the same game. The only upside in this department is the team system in this game is the best one yet. Unlike the tag or ratio systems of past team games, CFE uses a new "switch" system. When you start, you pick 2 characters to fight with. After each round, you have the option of switching characters for the following round. This makes for some interesting fights. Sadly, everything surrounding this feature fails to impress.
Replay Value: 5
There's little to be found here as well (which is sad because fighting games should really be inherently replayable). Playing this game over and over yields little reward. You do get to see the top-notch comic book ending pages. However, as far as secrets go, there's almost zilch. The game's two unlockable bosses are nothing to gawk at (Shin Akuma plays nearly identical to his CvS2 incarnation) and you can unlock classic themes in the Sound Test. However, that's it. The game has huge potential for unlockable characters since they're drawing from so many sources. Other pieces of nostalgia could have lengthened the game's replay (such as screenshots of the games that each character comes from, character portraits, or those ending pages). With so little to unlock, its not really worth putting up with all the gameplay flaws just to access secrets.
CFE is just de-volving the fighting game company that released it. The game does boast some nice new features but fails to address the basics correctly. As a dream match game, it falls short from what true dream match games should be like (see: Capcom VS SNK 2). Poor roster, bad balance, and sluggish controls all make this game a waste of time for true fighting fans (as well as the sprites just looking terrible). Capcom should really have just tried to make a new Street Fighter (or if they wanted to go in the direction of dream match, Street Fighter Alpha 3 Vs. Street Fighter III: Third Strike) instead of this mess. Try again Capcom. We demand higher fighting game quality.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 02/14/05, Updated 06/16/09
Game Release: Capcom Fighting Evolution (US, 11/16/04)
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