Review by Dark Elektro X

"A decent entry in the Capcom fighting world."

I've been playing 2D fighting games since 1998, so I think I would a quite bit of what to expect from the genre. So with this latest release, I was excited that this was being released at the same time as KOF 02/03. When that game got pushed back to 2/05, my total attention was on this (Damn you SNK!). After reading up on people's opinions that it seriously lacked in characters and replayability, I tried to give Capcom the benefit of the doubt. After all, if it has tight gameplay, who cares, right? Well, yes and no.

Graphics
Same ol' same ol' sprites! (except for Ingrid and the Warzard characters) It would've been REAL nice if Capcom redrew every sprite, but I guess the developer wanted to keep the look of the fighters from each respective game their same looks. A well trained eye can see slight graphical differences, such as Zangief's redrawn face and change of animation frames. The SF3 characters don't look as fluid as in TS. Some moves were slightly altered, like Demitri's Midnight Bliss. Instead of choking the blood out of them, the screen turns black a la Shungokusatsu (WTF? The c3ns0rz!) The backgrounds are hi-res, but have the animation of a crappy PS1 port of a fighting game. Putting 4 frames of animation into it is disgusting and lazy. The cameos aren't lively at all. I would've preferred CVS2 style backgrounds. The portraits are a nice change from anime/SNK style drawings.

Sound/Music
The hit sounds are pretty decent. Reminds me of CVS2, which is ok. The music is so-so. The only one worth mentioning at the top of my head is the New York stage. It's all MJ 80s retro style. The other music is pretty forgettable.

Gameplay
Here's the most important part. Focusing on the system itself, it's respectable. Five fighting game styles are put together, but made to be balanced. SF2 characters with their brute strength, DS characters with their combos/speed, SF3 characters with their technical skills, etc. It's all fine and dandy. Ingrid could have been a better character. She's not that much fun to play, but tolerable.
Having only 23 total characters puts a tear to my face. The number of characters here are acceptable in a fresh game, NOT in a crossover. A good number would be like 30 or more. Adding the salt to the wounds is the fact that there is relatively little replayability, thanks to the lack of gameplay modes. I mean, what the hell, not even Survival Mode? It's only Arcade, VS, and Training. Not even a measly Gallery Mode to look at endings and artwork. End of story. On the bright side, gameplay is tight, but a tad looser than CVS2.

Overall
Only the 2D hardcore gamers need apply. All casual gamers would be like, “OMG, the gr4fx!!11!” It's a step back from CVS2, but following Capcom's track record, we could most likely hope for a promising sequel. For most of you, I recommend a rental. For the rest, go pick it up. At $30, you can't go wrong. It'll keep you relieved until KOF 02/03 comes out.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 11/18/04


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