Review by Jacqualine

"Ya know, It's not as bad as people say it is."

Now, before I ramble on, I'd like you to know that I - as is the case with many people who have reviewed this game - have been a 2D Capcom fighting game fan for years. As in, since Street Fighter first came out in the arcades. Not the sequel.

Over the years, lots of different companies have released other 2D fighters - SNK comes to mind. Games like Killer Instinct, Mortal Kombat have rivaled the Street Fighter series since the 16 bit age of gaming. And, having played almost all of these games, I still stand with my statement: "Capcom has designed the absolute best in 2D fighting engines."

Naturally, when I saw this game used for 14$ at the local game shop, I hadn't heard of it. It never really made it, it was "Just another rehash" with bad music and recycled sprites. But I saw it, and thought... "I wonder who would win. Felicia, or Ryu? That'd make a good team, actually..."

Well, it'd been a while since I'd played any of my precious Capcom 2D fighters. So I bought it. It had new characters I hadn't learned to stomp all over people with, which is always a bonus. I get bored after mastering all the characters, since I play and practice to the point of completely mastering a character so nobody can keep up with me regardless of who I chose.

They included a game that wasn't released in the US - Red Earth, or Warzard. It was released in Europe, and while I wanted to try it, never did I get my chance. Now I do, and to be honest? The characters are pretty cool.

Graphics - 7/10
Yes, yes, yes. Rehashed (and framedropped) sprites from the other games. Yadda yadda. What you don't hear people mentioning is that despite this fact, the graphics do look good. At least, they do in my opinion. Occasionally, from the older games, some of the sprites look a little too 16-bit - but why shouldn't they? Blast from the past, if you ask me. I loved it.

Backgrounds looked decent. They're not distracting in any way shape or form. While they weren't animated (per say,) and there were poorly drawn portraits of various characters in them, they set a good backdrop for a compilation game like this. Fit well.

Sound - 5/10
Again, not distracting. But nothing that I find myself humming, either. Ho-hum music with the foreground of those classic punch and kick sounds from the earlier games. Again, with the point of the game being "Play Ryu and Felicia in the same game!" can you really blame them for hearkening back to the days the games were released for guidance in sound effects?

A major bonus is that once you've beaten the game with all the characters, you can play through Arcade mode with the character's classic theme musics, if you know how. (Read: Use Gamefaqs.)

Gameplay - 8/10
Less characters = easier to keep balanced, and while the game itself lacks a gargantuan roster, I remember back in the days where 16 fighters was a HUGE amount. Yes, the PS2 is capable of more. But it's not about the PS2, it's about the capcom 2D fighting fun. I was a little disappointed when they left some of the characters out (Cammy, the werewolf from Darkstalkers, ect) from the earlier games, but I do admit they've got a decent roster of people to knock your friends silly with.

The characters, unfortunately, do not play exactly like they did in the original games. Close to it, though. Occasionally you'll notice a slight difference, like a missing game mechanic or a warped level of speed in a particular character. It doesn't honestly bother me, if they were all identical to their original incarnations the game would be incredibly unbalanced despite the "Small" roster.

The game is lacking a few modes I really would have liked to see (like Survival, and the Tournament mode from SFII: The New Challengers) but that doesn't mean you can't just sit down, relax, and beat someone's feet backwards. It's a fighting game, as long as I'm fighting, I'm having fun. And it -is- fun.

There were very few things to unlock. Akuma, Pyron, a few stages, and each character's classic theme music. The endings were a bit bland, not very rewarding. But then again, most 2D fighting game endings suck anyways.

I might add that the "Team" function, while not up to par with Tekken Tag, was a nice twist. A little bit frustrating at times, and it added an element of chance to an otherwise skill-based game - I just wish it had been perfected rather than tossed in.

Replay Value - 6/10
Face it. It's a fighting game, and a fun one at that. Replay value is pretty high to begin with - including Versus mode, that is. The game, just like all of Capcom's masterpieces, has varying levels of difficulty. You can change the speed through a gauge-like mechanic, rather than a "Slow or Turbo" option. The lack of modes is a detriment to the replay value, however, with all the ways to toggle and all the characters to use, it's not a horrid replay value kind of game, either.

Overall (not an average) - 7/10

Could have been better. Despite the rantings of people obsessed with graphics and sound, the game delivers the classic Capcom 2D fighting experience (read: Fun.) And games are supposed to be fun. It could have been better, but it could have been a lot worse. The game is well worth the 14$ I shelled out for it, and it satisfies the craving quite well.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 11/18/05

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