Ryu kidding me?
Old age can be a bummer, but for professional fighters, it's the pits. Just look at Evander Holyfield. Ten years ago he was young, burly and unstoppable; now he's 42, can't land a punch to save his life and is developing a rather interesting speech impediment. Age doesn't just creep up on fighters, it beats them down.
This is why we feel Capcom needs to stop making Street Fighter games, period. Their latest, Capcom Fighting Evolution for the PS2, is the video game equivalent of a Hollywood Squares episode. Everyone is washed up, no one is having a good time, and you just wish Capcom would change the damn channel.
The game is allegedly an opportunity for hardcore Capcom fans to finally kick Street Fighter ass as their favorite Dark Stalker, and vice versa. The five represented games include Street Fighter II, Street Fighter III, Street Fighter Alpha, Dark Stalkers and Red Earth. Since no one aside from the Red Earth developers has a favorite Red Earth character, Fighting Evolution boils down to three flavors of Street Fighter versus Dark Stalkers.
But get this - there are only four Dark Stalkers characters to choose from, four Street Fighter II characters,four Alpha characters,four Street Fighter III characters, and four (ugh)Red Earth characters. Ingrid, the only new character, plays just like SNK's Athena, which is to say she's a worthless gimp you'll only use when you're letting your girlfriend beat you. There are also two unlockable characters, and we aren't going to tell you who they are because we don't want to ruin what little fun you might find in their discovery.
For a game based on the premise of allowing players to duke it out as their favorite Capcom fighters, Fighting Evolution has a conspicuously small, anonymous cast. Is anybody out there really attached to Urien, the naked rock-guy from Street Fighter III? Or what about the awful Red Earth characters? Why were they included instead of beloved Capcom mascots like Strider, Mega Man and Viewtiful Joe? Regardless, Fighting Evolution's questions are best left unanswered.
There are a whopping three modes to choose from: Arcade, Versus, and Training. The Arcade mode is a string of six matches that culminates in a boss fight and then closes with a bunch of nonsensical, comic-book style panels. In Versus mode you can fight a friend, and in Training mode you can practice your moves. You can't play online at all. The number of choices is dismal, as are the modes themselves.
The new spin is that you get to choose two characters for any given fight. You can't tag in and out like you could in the Marvel Vs. games, though. Instead, you just have the option of changing your fighter between rounds. This method makes learning a new character a bit more viable, as you can begin a battle with the new guy and then switch to a character you're comfortable with if you need to win a round.
Even though the various schools are represented poorly by the measly selection of fighters, they do retain most of their super-moves, super-meters, and signature moves. Street Fighter III characters can parry high and low attacks as well as use any of their three super-moves, while Alpha characters can alpha-counter and Dark Stalkers can strike foes while they're down.
As a result, some of the match-ups can be pretty interesting. For example, Jedah is highly mobile and has several ranged attacks that can pin down opponents. While the other Dark Stalkers have some natural defenses against him, he can be a real tough nut to crack for some of the old Street Fighter guys.
But even such a nuance can't help the game's rough, dated look. As opposed to redrawing each character and applying some sort of graphical standard, the game gives you a bunch of different fighters from a bunch of different games without changing the artwork to reflect any continuity. In turn, some of them look decent, while others look terrible. The crummy backgrounds are almost as detailed as those found in the original Street Fighter II, which is to say they would have looked great in 1991. And though there are plenty of cameo appearances throughout the various levels, these only serve to remind you how many characters were left out of Fighting Evolution. Hey look! It's Sagat in the background! *weep*
The music is typical Street Fighter metal garbage, the sound effects are the same as they have always been, and there's no voice-acting other than a typical "Round 1!" announcer. You've heard this game before.
If Capcom Fighting Evolution is any indication of things to come, then here's to the extinction of the species. There is no reason to buy or play this game. It's a thin, worthless piece of spam on a hook that will hopefully be gobbled up by the countless better games available this holiday season. Even if you get nothing for Christmas, be thankful you didn't get this.