CAPCOM vs. SNK 2
by Rade Kuruc
Review for the SEGA Dreamcast version of CAPCOM vs. SNK 2
by Rade Kuruc.
Great anticipation was what I had for this title. CAPCOM vs. SNK 2, for me, is probably the biggest release of 2001. Man, I couldn’t wait to get this title and although I did not have high hopes for it, I knew it was going to be better than the first one. It had to be.
I had the item ordered from NCSX for months. The morning it was to arrive, I was watching the tracking information like an eagle and finally, the package was in my city. So I turned off the computer monitor, turned on the TV, masturbated, ate corn chips and patiently waited for the delivery person to buzz my apartment.
He never did buzz. I refreshed the tracking info screen and noticed that my landlady had accepted the package at 12:30 PM. I noticed this at 4:30 PM. How the hell did that happen? This is worse than the time she stole my Kellogg’s Corn Pops. That bitch! It was no real matter as I just knocked on her door and she handed it over. Anything else and I would have had to deliver great bodily damage.
Never has my modified Dreamcast been as useful as it was the day I got this game and merely slapped it in, sans boot disk, and enjoyed. On the review!
Now, not to bash the first one, but it definitely had its share of problems. It was unbalanced, played rough, looked so-so and had mostly bad music. I could go on and on about the specifics but this is not a review of the first game. This is a review of a game so much better, so much prettier and so much more polished that it makes the first one look like a prototype.
Before I carry on, I must say that this is a CAPCOM game. If you have played a recent CAPCOM game of the 2D persuasion, you know what to expect here. Game-play is in the same vein as Street Fighter Alpha 3, actually, sprinkled with the spirit of King of Fighters, of course. It feels very similar to the first but with one major change, which is the addition of 2 buttons. This changes things substantially. Street Fighter folk play as they should, and the SNK characters are enabled with an extra punch and kick. One instance in which I found this change to the 6-button dynamic for SNK people interesting is in the way they enhanced Rock Howard. If you are familiar with his “catch and attack” tactics in MOTW, then you know that he has a ‘low’ catch and a ‘high’ catch. In CAPCOM vs. SNK 2, they have enabled him with 3 levels; low medium and high, which is very cool. These are the kind of changes you can expect to your beloved SNK cast as they have essentially been CAPCOMized. The feel is not at all SNK, which is good, bad or irrelevant depending on how you look at the situation.
Don’t forget the modification of the ‘Groove’ system. As any of you who have any interest in this series will know, CAPCOM gave you the choice of two separate ‘Grooves’ or ‘styles’ in the previous game. The main differences were in the way the power bars charged up and what kind of art would represent your character. This time however, you have been given six grooves for maximum variety. Grooves C, A, and P represent the camp over at CAPCOM, while grooves S, N, and K represent the obvious. Each groove has its similarities to fighting systems used in previous CAPCOM and SNK fighters. For instance, there is a groove similar to Street Fighter Alpha, air blocks and all. There is even a groove that accommodates the Samurai Shodown crowd on the SNK side. These grooves really are the heart of what makes this game so much more than the first one and therefore better.
Graphically, this game maintains the look that was introduced by games such as King of Fighter 98 Dream Match, KOF 99 and Marvel Vs. CAPCOM 2. That is to say, 2D sprites superimposed on breathtaking 3D backdrops. It looks really sharp for the most part and is the best work of its kind on the DC. The only real problem is a fact that many others have made it a point to mention: The low-res, some times poorly animated sprites. For the most part, they are animated well (by CPS2* standards). The problem comes into play when certain older sprites show up. Offenders Include Morrigan, Zangief, Dhalsim and Blanka. It’s not that these sprites look bad, it’s just that their age really shows when placed against a recent sprite like Hibiki or Hoamaru. They really need to redraw some of these Street Fighter Alpha sprites.
Putting aside all of the reused sprites, all of the characters, new and old, look good. For instance Rock doesn’t animate as well as he did in MOTW and his shoulder pads are distracting but at least he blends in well with the others. I must say Haomaru looks stupendous, though, as does Hibiki and Geese has never been drawn better.
The backgrounds are quite cool for the most part. They top the stuff you’ve seen in Marvel vs. CAPCOM 2. CAPCOM went for a look that most resembles a 2D drawing with 3D effects. When I say that, I mean to say that although the backgrounds are 3D, they are rendered in a manor that does not show any sign of polygon graphics. They are quite nice. I need only reference God Rugal’s stage to illustrate this point as it is an amazing looking stage.
All in all the game looks quite solid. Sure, the sprites are not high resolution and they don’t animate like Third Strike but who cares? I don’t! For the most part, they look great. ‘Nuff said.
CAPCOM has not really had a lot of cool tunes in their games as of late. With the possible (and questionable) exception of M vs. C 2, the music has been really bland in their fighters. Now, although this music is not the best in the world, it is a definite improvement and at times can be quite catchy. More effort went into this one and it shows. At the very least, it is far better than the tunes from the first game.
Presentation wise, this game really comes together. The front end is really stylish and very slick. Finding your favourite character is hard at first due to the amount of characters and the small pictures, but you will get used to it. Everything fits together well and the presentation does a good job of masking any load times.
On the subject of load times, they are very quick. Quick enough that you will not even really notice them. That’s about all I have to say on that.
Gameplay: 9/10—Classic CAPCOM-esque play with sprinkles of SNK godliness thrown in for good measure. I like it. CAPCOM fans will eat it up. The ones who follow only the book of SNK will utterly despise it-just like the first one! All in all, it is an improvement on the first. Really! Nothing that won’t convert the ones who ignored it last year, but enough to appease the existing fan base.
Presentation: 9/10—Very slick, very pretty. A lot of time and love went into this.
Overall- 8.5/10—Very much worth the cash if you are a fan of SNK or last years version. If you didn’t like last years, there is not that much here that is really going to persuade you to buy this years version.
Side Note: The Fan Disc is pretty cool! It includes all the art for each character from both the 1st and 2nd game, a bunch of VMU (VMS in Japan, I guess) files you can download and use for pretty much all of the fighters CAPCOM put out on the DC and it comes in it’s own jewel case. NEAT!
* CPS2: Debuting in 1993, CAPCOM’s prolific arcade hardware (almost as prolific as MVS) that has been home to such games as Street Fighter Alpha, Vampire Savior and most recently, Mars Matrix (cool game). Debuted in 1993.
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