Review by The Big Bostick

"A truly underrated and underappreciated game"

First and foremost, I like to consider myself are true hardcore fighting game fan. Thinking back to the day when a large mass of humanity would crowd around Street Fighter II arcades cabinets, Capcom Fighting Evolution was certainly appealing to me when I first read about its impending release for home consoles. Since those golden years, in which SFII reigned supreme in arcades worldwide, I had broadened my horizons to the likes of the Tekken and Virtua Fighter series, yet I still held true to my roots with 2D fighters- Capcom's 2D fighters specifically.

Now, with the boring history lesson out of the way, I am saddened by the fact that Capcom Fighting Evolution has not been a welcome edition in the latest of Capcom 2D fighters by the majority of the gaming public (at least here in the United States). In my honest opinion, CFE is truly an underrated and under appreciated game. I will admit that it is not the best 2D fighter ever created (Street Fighter III: Third Strike holds that honor, in my opinion), but the flaws that deprive this game from that accolade does not derive from its lack of gameplay. I will elaborate further with my review for this unsung fighter…

Gameplay: There are five Capcom fighting franchises (Street Fighter II, Darkstalkers, Street Fighter III, Street Fighter Alpha 3, and Red Earth), with four characters for each series, that are combined in this game to create a variety of dream matches. There are also two hidden characters and a new character named Ingrid, who is an original Capcom character that was supposed to be included in Capcom's canceled fighter known as Capcom Fighting All-Stars. This is nothing new for those who are familiar with the Street Fighter and Darkstalkers series. Other than a highly obscure addition to the already known series that are included in this game, that being Red Earth, longtime fans will easily be able to pick this game up and play. Capcom claims that the characters from their respective series play exactly like “how you remember them,” however, that is not entirely true. While there are Alpha Counters, A-ism and V-ism super combos for the Alpha characters, air recovery (from Alpha 3) is replaced with the original ground rolling mechanism (Alpha and Alpha 2). Technically, Karin (who is from Alpha 3) should have air recovery, since the fighters are suppose to play exactly like “how you remember.” The Street Fighter characters play very similarly to how they played in Capcom vs. SNK 2, with certain super combos omitted. The SFIII characters were toned down quite a bit to balance out the game roster, as well. Despite these flaws, the game plays wonderfully. While many people complain that 23 characters is not enough, I feel that Capcom was more concerned with having a balanced roster. All you have to do is look at Capcom vs. SNK 2 and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 to realize that a ridiculous amount of playable characters equals a severely unbalanced roster. Sure, there are certain longtime favorites (like Ken, Dudley, and Ibuki) that are omitted from this game, but 23 characters is plenty enough to keep the roster balanced.

Graphics/Sound: This is where this game gets the short end of the stick and are the main complaints for people who look past the gameplay aspect and stress that reused character sprites and forgettable music are much greater concerns. I won't beat around the bush, the character sprites are your standard 2D visuals that you've seen Capcom recycle for many games. While the only new sprite belongs to Ingrid, the backgrounds are all new, despite the fact that there are two frame animations from recognizable fighters in those backgrounds. The music is nothing to write home about, but at least it is not nearly as annoying as some of the tunes you hear in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and Capcom vs. SNK 2. The characters still have their trademark victory quotes and voices, though.

Replayablity: If you love Capcom's 2D fighters and have a friend to play with, you can't go wrong. The only modes in this game are Arcade, Vs., Practice, and Options, so single players won't have a Survival mode. Regardless of that fact, I'll probably never get tired of playing this game alone.

Final Recommendation: This game was obviously made for the hardest of hardcore fans of Capcom's 2D fighters. There hasn't been a 2D fighter made from Capcom since Capcom vs. SNK 2 and this game finally arrived to whet the appetites of hardcore fans wanting a new game. Even if hardcore fans may not like this game for its roster and graphics, there's no denying that Capcom's magic, that makes their 2D fighters fun and addicting, is definitely here. While this game has its glaring visual and audio flaws, the gameplay shines through in spades. From a hardcore fighting game fan who has played the best, average, and the worst, I highly recommend this game for other 2D Capcom fighting purists. You definitely can't go wrong for $30.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 12/28/04

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