Review by Will Smith
"After witnessing Capcom's first 3 attempts with the SNK/Capcom arcade crossovers, Playmore fails miserably"
Before I begin my review for SVC: Chaos, let me just do a synopsis and some background info of each game in the Capcom/SNK arcade crossover series.
Capcom VS SNK: Millenium Fight 2000 was met with lukewarm success in the arcades. Capcom players disliked the four button layout (which was done as a service to the SNK fighting community). SNK players felt that the SNK roster had been "raped" and that certain characters were missing a lot of their moves and were weakened intentionally. This was somewhat rectified with the inclusion of "EX" versions of each character, but that was an exhausting task to unlock. And both Capcom and SNK fanboys LOATHED the Ratio system. The Ratio system made the creation of certain teams impossible. The roster for both sides was predictable and boring. While it had some good ideas, it was a decent game considering it was a first attempt to fuse together game engines for an arcade fighter from two radically different companies.
Capcom Vs SNK: Pro was a very substandard upgrade. It included two "new" characters: Dan Hibiki and Joe Higashi. EX characters were readily available, and characters that had to be unlocked like Gouki, Morrigan, and Nakoruru were available from the start. The game system was also tweaked for balance issues, such as the damage for each move, and characters were toned down or strengthened accordingly.
Capcom VS SNK 2: Millionaire Fighting 2001 made a ton of improvements over the first. The Ratio System was banished to the joy of many players. So any team you could dream of was feasible. Now a 3 on 3 KOF fight or traditional 1 on 1 fight was possible. Capcom's classic 6 button layout was reinstated, giving full control to the Capcom characters and extra attacks for the SNK roster. And speaking of rosters, it was MUCH improved, with diverse characters chosen from a variety of SNK and Capcom's past games. The most important new feature was the inclusion of SIX grooves, all representing a fighting style of each companies past games. There was also unlockable "custom"grooves for the console ports.
However, SNK fanboys still complained, they still felt the SNK roster was "raped" and they claimed that if SNK ever made an arcade version of SNK Vs Capcom, all SNK character issues would be rectified and it would be superior to Capcom's 3 attempts. The irony is that SNK Playmore managed to screw up SVC: Chaos, even after witnessing the mistakes in CVS1 and the improvements made in CVS2.
SNK Playmore now had their chance to prove to their SNK fanbase that they could produce a game that looked better than the CVS series. Unfortunately they made HUGE mistake: Capcom developed their games on Sega's powerful NAOMI hardware, while SNK Playmore decided to develop Chaos on the ancient 16-bit Neo*Geo MVS hardware. Already they started off on the wrong foot. However, all is not so bad. The opening intro for SVC: Chaos is SUPERIOR to all 3 CVS titles. Whomever at Playmore designed that intro is a genius. Unfortunately the praise is short lived.
SNKP had to redraw the all of the Capcom roster is in this game, to mixed results: Ken, Dhalsim, and Balrog (Vega) look excellent and superior to their CVS counterparts. Dhalsim especially looks cool with his "elastic limbs" animation every time he does a hard punch or kick (very realistic). However, every other Capcom character just looks lame in this new art style. Ryu's sprite seems to have stayed exactly the same as it did in the CVS series (which didn't look good to begin with). Sagat looks anorexic. Guile has a mushroom growing out of his neck. M.Bison (boxer) looks better than he did in Zero 3, but worse than the original SFII. Hugo looks more disgusting than he did in SFIII, Chun-Li is boring, etc. I would like to meet whomever the lead artist is and punch them in the face and break their fingers for drawing EVERY classic character in such a vomit inducing "art" style. Overall, the entire game looks washed out and dark due to KOF's traditionally dark color palette, which is in direct contrast Capcom's traditional use of bright, vibrant colors. The end result is that the colors for the SNK side look somewhat ok, but Capcom's roster looks like crap.
As for the backgrounds, they are all boring and devoid of any activity. Maybe this was because there wasn't enough memory left due to characters like Earthquake and Hugo taking up half of the entire screen. Honestly, Earthquake and Hugo's sprites are larger than Onslaught's first form in MVSC (which is pretty big). But in the end, I would rather trade smaller sprites for livelier backgrounds. The animation, while not exactly choppy, leaves more to be desired.
It is sad to say but Chaos doesn't even come close to living up to the standard of SNK's past games. Sunsoft's Waku Waku 7 outdoes SVC's graphics easily. AOF3 back in 1996 had MUCH better graphics and animation, Samurai Shodown III and IV had richer graphics and a better sense of atmosphere, Real Bout FF2, KOF'98, and even Visco's Breakers looks better than SVC Chaos. It's a shame that SNKP can't even live up to the graphical standards of it's older titles.
Music and Sound Effects: 2
Sadly, absolutely none of the tunes are memorable. None of them are terrific enough to hum to or bad enough to permanently be etched on your soul. It's about as mundane and boring as the BGMs in SF Zero3 and Garou MOTW.
The voices and and sound effects are excellent. Unfortunately the music ruins whatever achievements the sound effects have achieved.
This has to be the WORST controlling SNK game that I have played since 3 Count Bout. Special moves cannot be done consistently. I have tried executing specials on two X-Box controllers: my "broken in" X-Box controller that works perfectly fine with Soul Calibur II, KOF 2002 and 2003, and Capcom Fighting Evolution. I then tried executing specials using my friend's brand new X-Box controller. The results were exactly the same: Specials only came about 20% of the time. Maybe my timing is off, I don't know. And forget about Super moves. I played this game in the arcade and the results were exactly the same, so my only conclusion is that there must be a flaw in Playmore's programming. And most people already know that characters with Charge specials were screwed over (no diagonal "universal" charge: the motion must be exact).
After witnessing Capcom's 3 attempts at making an arcade SNK/Capcom 2D fighter, observing the failures and innovations, Playmore hasn't learned ANYTHING. They threw out whatever was good in CVS2 (namely the Grooves, diverse roster, and character balance) and introduced very few ideas. The two things that stick out in my mind are Exceeds and Maximum mode, which gives you certain abilities. I'll readily admit that I'm not a SVC expert (nor will I waste my time to becoming one), so these two innovations serve no purpose to me.
The roster has gone back to being mundane like it was in CVS. Zero from Rockman fame, Mars People, Genjuro, and Red Arremer are about as diverse as Playmore was willing to get. Demitri, Mr.Karate, Shiki, Earthquake, and Tessa are nothing to write home about. Oh, and let's not forget "Violent Ken", the dumbest and most absurd variation of a character since "Satsui no Hadou" (Evil) Ryu. "Violent" (doesn't brawling with strangers already qualify as being violent?) Ken was no doubt inspired by the SFII MOVIE, when Ken was was brainwashed by Vega into thinking that Ryu was his enemy, yada yada yada. This poor excuse for a character was the complete creation of the brilliant folks at SNK Playmore.
Character balance is once again thrown out the window, thanks to abusable Exceeds with characters like Iori (big surprise), Zero, Ryu, and Tessa. Expect a lot of cheap tactics when fighting against experts, and most likely you'll be fighting the same group of characters since they have huge advantages over others.
This is the one area where Playmore blows the previous 3 games out of the water: the intro. Truly fantastic. Unfortunately, just like Onimusha 3, after a kick ass intro, all you are left with is crap. The character select screen is generic, banal tripe that you have seen in every other fighting game. The dialogue between characters is before and after fights is boring and witless, and the character portraits have the same ugly art style that was used in Garou MOTW. But the intro is great!
I do have to tip my hat to Playmore for allowing a Japanese language option in it's option screen. Now instead of reading lame dialogue in English, you can just make up whatever quotes are sarcastic comments your mind desires. The Japanese language option also makes the game feel more "authentic" than anything else.
If you were one of the few fighting game fans who liked this game at the arcade, purchase Chaos immediately. It is a direct port, no noticeable load times, lots of options, arcade accurate. Unfortunately the arcade game was truly lame to begin with. The ancient graphics look outdated on the X-Box console and is a waste of DVD technology. The only people who can truly call this game excellent are the jaded SNK fanboys (Capcom haters) who complained about CVS, CVS Pro, and CVS2 and are willing to fool themselves into believing that this is a good game. The fact that Chaos plays almost worse than CVS1 is an insult. CVS at least had an excuse: it was a first attempt at fusing the two companies in an arcade crossover. But seeing how Playmore saw fit to take away features rather than add is mind boggling. On top of that the substandard graphics, roster, sound, and miserable control is too much to bear. SNK is better off sticking to it's Neo Geo Pocket renditions of the SNK/Capcom crossover series, as it has proved to be much more profitable for both the player and the company. Card Fighter's Clash and Match of the Millenium were very good games: Chaos just lives up to it's name and proves Capcom had the last laugh with CVS2. Time to dig up that Neo Geo Pocket......
Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 10/22/05
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