What won’t they think of next?
Hoping to drive the 2D fighter genre into the ground further than ever thought
possible, Capcom has just released Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter.
This latest product of Capcom inbreeding doesn’t take us much further than its
predecessors, but hey, if it ain’t broke…
pretty much just gave up on writing stories for these fighting games. Did we
ever care anyway that Chun Li’s dad was killed by M. Bison who also killed Charlie
who was Guile’s best friend? Good riddance — let’s just get to the ass kicking.
Actually there is an intriguing story that I will quote directly from the instruction
manual for you: “Once again, the evil mutant Apocalypse is trying to control
humankind with his terrible powers. It will take the amazing skills of the legendary
Street Fighters and the powers of the mighty Marvel Super Heroes to stop this
Anyone who’s been to the arcade in the last 8 years, should recognize the
gameplay of MSH vs. SF. There are six buttons, each assigned to either a kick
or a punch, and special moves are performed via button combinations and manipulations
of the directional pad. During the course of the fight, your ‘hyper meter’ builds
up and allows you to perform extra special moves. The game is played from the
side view and the two combatants battle it out in a best of three match. The
purpose of the game is to beat everyone who gets in your way and eventually
defeat the boss characters.
One of the biggest disappointments straight off the bat is the loss of the
true tag team option due to limited RAM on the PlayStation. In the arcade, each
player could choose two fighters for some nasty tag team action. But in the
translation, only one player can actually be played, while the other only comes
in to perform various special moves. X-Men
vs. Street Fighter, released in 1998, also suffered this same fate. The
designers did put in a mode where true tag teams can play with the restriction
that both teams must be the same. Hey, at least they tried.
The variety of characters in MSH vs. SF is a definite plus. There are
17 immediately selectable characters and around 6 or so hidden characters. The
17 characters include: Akuma, M. Bison, Blackheart, Captain America, Chun Li,
Cyclops, Dan (Note to Capcom: No one likes Dan. Dan sucks. Next time put
in Psylocke or Jean Grey.), Dhalsim, Hulk, Ken, Omega Red, Ryu, Ken, Sakura,
Wolverine, Shuma Gorath, Spider Man, and Zangief. This is definitely one of
the finest casts ever assembled.
In MSH vs. SF, the chain combos and glorified special moves are taken
to new heights. Although you can’t control your second character, they play
a huge role in producing devastating super moves. A direct hit from a two-character
special move can produce an awesome 30+ hit combo and take away a big chunk
of health. What’s also great is the strategy involved in choosing characters.
Because each character has a unique move, the combination of two different characters
can make all the difference in the world. The chain combos are easily performed
by pressing punch or kick buttons in order of strength. The ‘aerial rave’ is
a cool chain combo performed after knocking an opponent into the air and catching
them with another combo.
MSH vs. SF looks just like it did in the arcade (kind of nasty in my
opinion). It has a distinct cartoon quality and stays true to the look and feel
of the characters. There is a loss in the number of frames of animation for
the characters because of the limited RAM, but this isn’t really notable. The
game plays rather fluidly and the tag team special moves are amazing to behold.
As with most Capcom fighters, the controls are right on key.
Holding a PhD in Street Fighter 2, I’ve come up with a classification
for Capcom fighting games [Ed note: Can we call you ‘Dr. Geek?’]. There
are the ‘Street Fighter’ style games, which have been the influence of almost
every 2D fighter since the release of Street Fighter 2, and there are
the ‘Marvel Fighter’ style games, which are derived from the ‘Street Fighter’
style games but have a unique personality of their own.
What differentiates a ‘Street Fighter’ game from a ‘Marvel Fighter’ game?
Simple. The ‘Marvel Fighter’ prizes itself on huge chain combos, air juggling,
ridiculously high jumping, and furious gameplay. The ‘Street Fighter’ games
excel in the technical arena, focusing on finesse, strategy, and thoughtful
gameplay. One must raise the question “But what category does Dark Stalkers
fall into?” Dark Stalkers is no doubt a ‘Street Fighter’ style game-
the easiest way to see this is that one cannot jump leagues into the air.
So what the hell is my point? MSH vs. SF is definitely a ‘Marvel Fighter’
game and thus ‘Street Fighter’ gamers who prefer the old school style should
hold onto their breaths for Street Fighter Alpha 3. But if you’re a fan
of the big guns, 36 hit combos, and air juggling until your ass hurts, MSH
vs. SF is the cream of the crop of the ‘Marvel Fighter’ games on the PlayStation.
And those of you who have no idea what I was saying in the last three paragraphs
should consider this: MSH vs. SF is just like X-Men vs. SF, and
Marvel Super Heroes, so if you own any
of these already, you can probably live without this latest rehash. This game
should be entertaining for those of you who haven’t touched any of those aforementioned
fighters. MSH vs. SF, on it’s own, is a well made and entertaining –
especially with two players. On the other hand, in the context of all the other
Capcom fighters, MSH vs. SF is nothing more than a corporation trying
to suck your soul dry.