Review by WillyFourEyes

"When video games and anime clash, everybody wins"

So Capcom's invaded the comic book universe with Marvel vs. Capcom, and they've taken on a rival video game company with the SNK vs. Capcom series, so…where do they go from here? It seems the answer to that question is “the anime world”, as they're now butting heads with the various masked heroes from Tatsunoko's library in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All Stars.

Most video game fans will surely recognize many of the characters on Capcom's side of the line-up. You have Ryu, Chun-Li and Alex from the Street Fighter series, Mega Man (Legends version) and Roll from the Mega Man series, and a couple of others you probably wouldn't expect to see in a Capcom crossover (why hello there, Soki…it's been a while since Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams, hasn't it?) The Tatsunoko roster may not be quite as accessible to any but the biggest anime fans, as their series are a bit older, and some of these characters are making their first appearances in the U.S. Ken the Eagle and Jun the Swan from Science Ninja Team Gatchaman headline the Tatsunoko team, with Yatterman, Ippatsuman, Tekkaman (none of them rejected Mega Man baddies) and others joining the fray.

Familiarity with the source material aside, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom plays a lot like many of the other Capcom vs. titles. Each play selects two characters, and they fight until either side has reduced both characters' health meters to zero. The requisite special moves and super attacks are present for every character, and they can (with a few exceptions) call on their partner to dish out a few extra hits for them during the match, or to switch places with them. The three-attack-button control scheme (seen in other Eighting-developed fighting games such as Bloody Roar) is easy to use, yet allows for complex combinations and all kinds of crossover attacks for fighting game veterans to use. The computer AI is challenging, and never seems like it's trying to cheat you out of a win. You can also take your battles online and challenge players over Nintendo Wi-Fi, and while the game is good about finding opponents with strong connections, it often takes a while for it to find an opponent to begin with. The Friend Code system is still there, but thankfully you aren't forced to use it in order to find an opponent (it's mainly used for keeping track of friends and players that you fight often).

The game sports a 3D look that's a lot like Street Fighter IV. While the fighting takes place on a 2D plane, the characters and their backgrounds are shown in three dimensions, all while the game runs at a smooth 60 frames per second. The special attack animations are also suitably flashy and over-the-top, as befitting of a series with half of its roots in animated action series. Though there aren't quite as many memorable tunes as there were in previous installments, the game's soundtrack is decent, and the voices of the characters calling out their various attacks don't drown out the music or distract from the action.

Because of the licensing issues that usually come with making crossover products, it can be hard for some of them to even get released in certain markets (which is why there won't be any U.S. release for Jump! Ultimate Stars, likely one of the biggest and best such fighting games in the Nintendo DS library). Capcom took a big chance by putting together this release, and it turned out to be one of the most polished and fun entries in the Vs. series yet.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/14/10

Game Release: Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars (US, 01/26/10)

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