What's next? Game Revolution vs. Capcom??
The world is in danger and fighters from around the world have gathered to save it . . . again. With the first Street Fighter, the plot was simple: you were in a 'street fighting' tournament and you wanted to win. Now, the fate of the world is now involved anytime these Capcom brawlers get in a scuffle! Taking ourselves a bit too seriously, aren't we?
Once again, Capcom has released another game in the genre that they've dominated for years: the 2D fighter. Marvel vs. Capcom for the Dreamcast is identical to the arcade version and offers nothing that you haven't seen before. My kingdom for some originality!
As the name implies, Marvel vs. Capcom lets you choose some of the characters from both the other super hero fighting games (X-Men: Children of the Atom, Marvel Super Heroes) and pits them against characters from other Capcom games, including the Street Fighter series. All told, there are 15 different fighters who draw their roots from these two sources.
Going to bat for Marvel Comics is a vast array of super-powered folks. There's Captain America, Spider-Man, Hulk, Wolverine, Gambit, War Machine (Affirmative Action's answer to Iron Man), Venom, and Onslaught (the boss of the game). Capcom's characters come from a variety of sources, from the well-known to the downright bizarre. Street Fighter makes a strong showing with Ryu, Chun-Li, and Zangief. Mega Man takes time off from fighting Dr. Wily to throw a few punches as well. Fans of Darkstalkers should be happy to see Morrigan, everyone's favorite succubus. Strider has made a giant leap from his days on the 16-bit Genesis to land on the Dreamcast. The last two are Jin, from an obscure arcade game named Cyberbots, and Captain Commando, who is from a Double Dragon-type arcade game called (take a wild guess) Captain Commando. Of course, Captain Commando can also be abbreviated as Cap. Com. ... Hey, wait a minute!
There is also a large number of "helper" characters that you can call upon during the game. They simply jump in, attack the enemy, and jump away. Sort of a cameo appearance. There are over 20 different helpers to choose from, from both Capcom and Marvel.
Gameplay is exactly as it is in the arcade. It's a two on two fighting game, but only one character from each team is allowed to fight at a time. It's kind of like a tag team match in wrestling. When one character is getting beat up badly, you can substitute your other character. There are also special moves that allow both characters to be on the screen at the same time. This is the same fighting setup that was supposed to be in Marvel vs. Street Fighter on the Playstation, but the machine wasn't fast enough to handle it.
Unfortunately, as cool as it is to instantaneously switch characters, it just doesn't add much to the gameplay. Marvel vs. Capcom is still the same basic game as Street Fighter, just with more frames of animation and a couple of additions. I suppose Capcom took to heart the old saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Well, you don't have to fix it, but you also really don't have to remake it time and again.
Knowing the power of the Sega Dreamcast, however, I was a bit disappointed by Marvel vs. Capcom. Don't get me wrong, it's still a great game and a perfect arcade translation, it just could have been so much more. Take a look at Soul Calibur, the other arcade port for the DC. Soul Calibur on the DC is, in fact, much better than it was in the arcade. With better graphics, tons of new modes and extra characters, Soul Calibur became more than an arcade translation, something which Marvel vs. Capcom fails to do.
There is little depth to this game. Besides the arcade mode and two-player mode, the only additions to the DC version are the traditional Survival and Training Modes and the pretty cool Cross Fever Mode. Cross Fever Mode allows you and three of your friends to play the game together with four fighters on the screen. Each player controls one character and the game plays like normal. While neat, it doesn't really add a lot of depth.
On top of that, there really aren't any cool hidden characters. The six you can get are almost all just alternate colors of the normal characters. Without any real interesting goals, the single player game loses a lot of its replay value. How cool would it be if Jill from Resident Evil or even a Zombie were selectable? Mmmm, brains . . .
While there is definitely nothing new to this game, there's nothing wrong with it either. Marvel vs. Capcom is a good game with nothing really new to offer. If you still love Street Fighter games or are just looking for a fun game, by all means play Marvel vs. Capcom. If, however, you're looking for something new, look someplace else. Come on, Capcom, don't rest on your laurels.