Two companies enter, one company leaves.
The problem with reviewing Street Fighter games is that they’re usually
all really good games. Yeah, just sit yourself down with a cold beer and a bag
of Doritos, play a few rounds as Ryu (never Ken, because Ken is inferior), and
enjoy yourself, just like you always do with any other Street Fighter game. It’s
exactly the same deal, beating the same exact fighters with the same exact combinations.
The big problem is that the game really hasn’t changed in 4 or 5 years.
So, rather than grading the game objectively, I’m going to review it in terms
of how it differs from all other SF and Versus games.
The story of the game is typical SF nonsense. A bunch of rich guys
and Bison have sponsored a tournament (isn’t that original?) The rich guys wanna
make money, and Bison wants to drain power from the fighters to enhance his
“psycho” power. Depending on who you choose, you’ll wind up fighting either
Geese or Bison. Now, you’d think that would mean twice as many possible endings
for every character. Wrong!
Capcom only provides two mundane endings, no matter whom you choose. So if
you fight Bison you get the Bison ending, and if you fight Geese you get the
Geese ending. Period. That’s pretty disappointing.
One of the main differences is the inclusion of SNK characters. While these
characters have never been in a SF game before, they are not “new” characters,
per se, and have been tuned down. Several of them are missing moves that made
them far more competitive fighters. Case in point: Geese has none of his offensive
attacks other than the ground waves. Geese is supposed to be a bad-ass, take-no-prisoners
head basher, but in Capcom vs SNK he’s sort of a cupcake.
Personally, I would have rather just seen a whole bunch of new characters
instead of a bunch of recycled SNK guys. However, some of the SNK guys are really
cool, and have a new style of appearance and gameplay that hasn’t ever been
seen in a Street Fighter game.
Another “major” difference is the implementation of the ‘groove’ system. With
this system, you choose between the Capcom or the SNK groove, the only difference
being how you power up your super bar. If you pick the Capcom groove, your power
bar works exactly like it did in Street
Fighter Alpha 3. There are three levels of power which get charged up as
you attack. If you pick the SNK groove, you charge your super bar by holding
down the fierce punch and roundhouse kick buttons at the same time. Your bar
fills up rapidly, but leaves you vulnerable to attack. When your bar is at the
max level in the SNK groove, your regular attacks become stronger. Big deal.
Like Marvel Vs Capcom 2, the medium attacks
have been done away with. I hate this, mainly because the medium attacks aren’t
really gone, they just share a button with the strongest attacks – depending
on which direction you’re pressing on the D-pad, your attack will either be
medium or hard. I have no idea why this change was made. Maybe it was in deference
to the awkward six-button situation on the DC controller, but in any case, it
just plain sucks.
Other than that, the control scheme is exactly like SFA 3, except for
the inclusion of a new rolling move which can be executed by pressing the light
attack buttons at the same time. This move makes the player step or roll through
the opponent or any objects, and is usually perfect for setting up a throw.
While this new move adds all sorts of strategy to the game, it makes high-level
player vs CPU matches nearly impossible, as the computer can roll and throw
and do moves and stuff so well that it’s nearly impossible to keep up.
Sadly, the problems aren’t over yet. The “Secret Mode” takes away any incentive
to beat the game at high levels (unless you just want to fight some really cheap
CPU opponents). This is the worst idea to be implemented in a Street Fighter
Basically, everything you can unlock in the game (levels, hidden characters)
is sold in the “Secret Shop” for a certain amount of points. These points are
earned by beating the game. No matter what difficulty level you beat the game
on, you always get the same amount of points. This leads to long hours of tedious,
repetetive gameplay just to unlock secrets that aren’t even worth unlocking.
There is only one secret, in my opinion, that is absolutely worth unlocking,
and that is the ability to change up the point system.
Ahhh, the point system. The worst idea to be implemented into a Street
Fighter game since, golly, the secret mode! Two horrible ideas in one game!
Capcom, you shouldn’t have! The point system is basically a handicap system
that assigns point values to characters. Some characters are worth one point
(they get hurt fast and hit like sissies), and others, like Evil Ryu, are worth
four. Technically speaking, Evil Ryu against Blanca, Cami, Sakura and Dhalsim
should be an even match.
The point system could have made the game really interesting. If the player
had the ability to decide the strengths of his characters and formulate a deeply
customized team, it would rock. And you can do that – provided you unlock that
one, damned secret. Otherwise, all the one point players totally suck and will
continue to blow donkeys until you buckle down and unlock that one secret…which
I have no idea how to do, because you can’t just buy secrets, you’ve got to
unlock them first.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “That doesn’t sound so bad. I just wouldn’t buy any
of the sorry secrets and grab the cool ones in no time.” Poor, naive gamer –
you can’t unlock any of the hidden characters until you unlock at least half
of the lame, extra versions of the same old characters. I spell it D-O-H.
To be fair, the graphics are pretty solid. Good animation and cool lighting
effects on all the projectile and flame-type attacks are a nice addition. The
backgrounds are well done and the stages even have cutesy intros. Some of the
characters are really well drawn, while some look horrible. The sound, on the
other hand is pretty good.
While Capcom vs SNK certainly adds some flavor to the Street Fighter
pot, it doesn’t change the main course at all. Too bad, considering what this
game could have been.