Review by Hurricane Higashi
"I'm more of a "the glass is half empty" kinda guy."
It was a strange call for Capcom to try porting it's Capcom vs SNK Pro over to the Playstation so late in it's life, and seeing the result of the attempt has now left me feeling that my PS1 is more old and archaic than ever. Unlike the Saturn version of SFZero3 which was kinda like an exclamation point at the end of the Saturn's life, CvSPro comes off more like a painful whimper as the PS1 labors to take final breath, and only accentuates how obsolete this prolific hardware truly is.
Perhaps if you haven't already played the DC version to death, or weren't even aware that CvS/CvSPro was in fact an arcade release, then this version of the game just might seem impressive to you... but for those of us that don't live in caves and do value our daily contact with the rest of the world, it's a fairly sad attempt at a now classic game. Actually, the real problem here is not that PS1 can't handle the game (special effects aside, I think it could have), it's that it seems rushed and as though no care was taken to make sure that it turned out as good as their PS1 version of SFZero3 did. Nope, instead this one turned out more like SFZero2 on SFC/SNES.
In case you didn't know, Capcom vs SNK Pro was a rehash/upgrade of Capcom vs SNK, with only minor balancing tweaks made and a couple of characters added... namely Higashi and Dan. The arcade release of CvSPro wasn't very exciting for fans seeing as it came out only months before Capcom vs SNK 2, but CvSPro does stand as being the final and most technically sound version of the game.
In this review I'll be comparing directly with the DC version of CvSPro, which for all practical purposes is arcade perfect.
The in-game graphics are a mixed bag. What you have is a slightly dull, less vibrantly colored version of the original running with reduced animation and ugly, pixilated special effects. It's not so bad though. Aside from the fact that the special effects are a bit of an eyesore, the game looks close enough to the original... if you squint your eyes then you can hardly tell the difference.
Now in my experience, I can't remember the CvS sprites being all that animated to begin with, so why they suffer from frame loss (varying in degree) is beyond me. The sprites are slightly muted in color, but as for size and animation quality they're fairly solid. And I don't know if it's just the particular characters that I'm playing, but it seems as though everyone only has one win pose... I'm gettin' pretty sick of seeing ''Yoshaa!'' and ''Okay!''.
At first I thought the backgrounds were great, but you soon notice things that bother you... such as the fact that the golden dragon in the Pao Pao Cafe isn't quite as golden as he should be, there's no shadows on the Final Fight stage, the automatic arcade door in the SNK stage just stays open, and that Takuma looks like he's been cut & pasted into the Kyokugen Dojo stage by a 3 year old unable to follow the lines properly... he has an ugly black border around him. Add all my trivial details to the fact that they're not as beautifully high-res as you're accustomed to seeing, and the backgrounds end up looking decent, maybe even good, but great is an overstatement.
The weaksauce special effects are what really hurt this game. Most things such as special moves look okay and understandably low res & pixilated, but other stuff just looks plain bad, bordering on 16bit, or even 8bit quality. One thing that draws immediate attention is the ''blocking spark'' effect... it's big, bright, ugly, and naturally you see it a lot during the course of a game. There's also the ridiculously poor looking ''finest KO'' effect... looking so sad ass that even the crappy effects in Rival Schools for PS look like genius in comparison. However, they did manage to include the ''negative background'' effect when you light up a super/DM, so the overall mixing of effects is weird. I mean, in using a typical DM combo to finish your opponent off, you go from decent graphics, into the cool negative effect, then a huge 16bit Power Geyser blows up, followed by the screen turning black as you're treated to the mythically poor looking finest KO effect, and then back to normal. It's a really strange thing to watch and offers nothing in terms of visual composition.
The music is that from the arcade/DC game, love it or hate it, it's a matter of opinion and I don't care to discuss it. However, the sound quality is pretty good in the PS1 version, but it doesn't quite have the separation and depth that it should. The sound effects and voices are all under the same rule as well, but the voices suffer the most. No, they're not bad, but they're a bit muffled. It's not game breaking but it is noticeable. Again, if you had never heard the original in action then it wouldn't bother you at all. As for the sound effects... *bang* *smack* *pow* it's all in there.
There's a paradox here. Capcom has infused great control into this game and the experience of playing it with a Dual Shock destroys that of playing it with the default DC controller, however, they somehow forgot to put any work into smoothing out the engine. Yeah you read that right, the engine is uncharacteristically shaky, especially for a Capcom game. It could be the ugliest, slowest loading port in history, but usually Capcom goes out of their way to make it play properly, but here they haven't. Sure it still rocks along at a nice speed and the control is crisp and responsive, but the engine is shaky and feels really... beta. The impression I get from it is that it's close but not perfect, kinda like a decent MUGEN homebrew engine or something. Needless to say, I'm fairly disappointed by this.
One really annoying thing is the way the CPU constantly get's reduced down to zero energy but stays alive. I can deal with it every now & then, it happens right, but in my very first time playing through the game the CPU did it 5 times! Not in a row, but still... and it's not that it survived with a sliver of energy left either, it survived a match winning combo that should have killed it (instead of dying it went to ''zero'' energy), and then took another jab or two before it finally died. It's sloppy programming as far as I'm concerned... I can't remember that ever happening on my DC or in the arcade.
Oh, and for those concerned with AI, as a whole, the CPU seems just as weak as the arcade and DC versions.
Well you're getting all the main modes from the DC versions of the games minus the match recording and network mode. All the options & secrets that took months to get in CvS but were open by default in CvSPro, are also open here as well. However, they have put a buying system back into it called ''Price Mode'' which gives you some incentive to play... kinda. Thing is, the only things to unlock are the EX versions of the characters and the five characters that weren't originally available by default. Now when you consider that the point giving system is still the same (you get about 500 for clearing the game once) but the prices are greatly reduced (EX's are 50 points), it means that you can buy everything after clearing the game like 5 times... if you're gonna add some replay value back into it, why make it so simple to complete?
The only exclusive options are a ''quick continue'' feature that lets you either skip the end of match win quotes screen and go straight to the next match, or continue quickly without having to choose your team again, and an art gallery that allows you to examine what are the makeshift load screens and explore all of 7 bonus artworks.
The first thing you'll notice when you boot the game up is that the Capcom logo is done in very grainy FMV, and from there it continues on with this 1st generation quality cinema and proceeds to show you a very low quality version of a good opening... a theme which from there becomes the general mantra of the game. I remember wondering to myself about how the Japan city scape would look on PS1, and they answered that problem by simply omitting and replacing it with a plain white background on the title screen. Thing is, to make this game decent, all they had to do was go with that solution to graphical problems rather than trying to work miracles.
The first thing you see at the main menu screen is a very amateur looking 3D rotating background that's trying to mimic that of the DC version. Now it's not horrible, but that background exists in the DC version because it can do it and make it look good... the PS1 cannot. Rather than attempting it half-heartedly and having it look bad, why not totally revamp the shell and change it into something that looks good? The worst, and I mean WORST example of this is the background for the win quotes screen. What looks fairly innocent on DC and doesn't really draw much attention (a rolling 3D vortex), looks like absolute garbage in this version and is laughable at best. Again, this particular effect is vintage 1st generation PS1 stuff.
The loading in this game isn't all that long but it can get annoying. For instance, you'll dread meeting teams of 4 ratio 1's, not because they're scary, but because you'll have to load a minimum of 4 times in a single match. The very first match of the game takes about a full year to load up, but from there on it's about 4~5 seconds between characters and a few more between matches when using the ''quick continue'' feature.
Not that they're anything special, but the stage intros have been snipped out. Also, they didn't go through the trouble of illustrating cool load screens as they did with SFZero3, here you just get the stock standard character illustrations as load screens.
And I don't know if this qualifies as a spoiler, but the endings and credit roll are also FMV straight from the arcade/DC versions... it's as if they just wanted to kick this game out the door and do as little work as possible on it.
Now although I realize this game is on PS1, it still comes across as being very rushed and lackluster compared to epic Capcom PS1 fighters like SFZero3. On that game you could tell it got 100% of Capcom's effort, while on this one you can tell it didn't. Sure it's okay and gets the job done, but there's really no comparing it to existing versions of the game. I suppose if you're adamant about supporting only Sony then this is the only version you're ever gonna play anyway, but if it's actually CvSPro you're interested in playing then I'd strongly suggest picking up the DC version instead. Again, this game just plays poorly and makes PS1 look outdated to the point of being an archaic relic.
I myself am disappointed by this title and I now realize why I could get a used copy of it so quickly. I dunno, the day of sub-par home ports is over my friends. CvSPro for Playstation is much too little effort WAY too late. Why would you want to play a cheap PS1 facsimile of the real thing when you could just as easily pick up a dirt cheap DC and play the real deal?
It's a good 2D fighter for Playstation but it's not a great one; there's nothing spectacular about it that would justify it's purchase over the far superior DC version. If the engine wasn't so shaky and it had something more than 7 gallery pictures added to it, then I may have been able to give it a higher score, but as it stands it just seems like a half-hearted rush job that could easily have been so much more. I wanna give it a 5, but I'll go with 6/10 simply because it's above average for a PS1 2D fighter.
Oh, and in case you're thinking that perhaps it's gonna make a difference if you pop it into your PS2 instead, forget it... you can't shine a turd.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 04/24/02, Updated 04/24/02
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