When Microsoft announced its Summer of Arcade line-up there was a mixture of excitement and disappointment. On the one hand there was a handful of brand new games and a series of remixed classics to look forward to, including Turtles in Time
, The Secret of Monkey Island
and Marvel Vs. Capcom 2
. On the other, was the decision to price the majority of these titles at 1,200 Microsoft Points.
Despite the forums becoming choc-full with negative rants on pricing, there was one unanimous voice coming from the internet and it said that a tenner for Marvel Vs. Capcom 2
was money well spent, especially for a title that was trading healthily on Ebay for five times that price.
One of the reasons for this immense support is MVC2
being the answer to most fanboyís wet dreams. With a roster of over 50 characters (all playable from the beginning) it comes as no surprise that Capcom has opened its side up to include more than just the top Street Fighter
picks. Joining the predictable Chun Li, Ryu and Akuma are the likes of Strider Hiryu, Mega Man, a host of representatives from Dark Stalkers
and even Resident Evil
ís Jill Valentine, who comes complete with zombies and crazed dogs. Marvel fans are able to set Spider-Man against Venom; see how Hulk does against Juggernaut; and witness the carnage of a Sentinel vs. Iron Man match. Happy days for comic book guys the world over.
However, it isnít about what happens when characters face-off one-on-one, MVC2
is about teamwork. Players must create teams of three and go at it tag-team style, swapping characters in the middle of one-round bouts until one squad is completely annihilated.
Sound simple? Itís not. Thatís part of the fun with MVC2
. Despite being a Street Fighter
veteran my first few matches descended into button mashing slug fests. But, a few bouts later I was learning new tactics and pulling off glorious combos all over the screen. While the odd combo has always played a part in fighting games, MVC2
takes it to a new level. Through its super combos and chaining together of special moves itís possible to rack up over 100 hits in a row. I know Killer Instinct
broke the multi-hit mould, but it never looked as cool as this.
While the special moves are entertaining to look at, MVC2
isnít as polished to watch as Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
. Instead, developer Foundation 9 decided to stick with the original sprites (some nearly a decade old) and give the player the option to choose between applying a Ďsmoothí or Ďblurí filter or keep them the way nature intended. Neither upscales the graphics a great deal, but the smoother option helps advance the picture by a few years at least.
The backgrounds, on the other hand, have been given a full HD remix and stretched to fit the widescreen aspect. While this can leave odd gaps at the side during some of the crazier super combos, itís a small price to pay.
One element that regrettably remains intact is the soundtrack. Character samples are fine enough but the music is awful. Thankfully it can be muted, but Iím sure many die-hards will call this sacrilege.
For a game that still carries a huge following on the tournament circuit itís a wonder that the new package doesnít carry a tournament mode. Ranked and player matches are available online with matchmaking and, despite the fast pace, there is little noticeable lag.
The only issue with online doesnít come from the game itself, but instead the players who have lived and breathed this title for close to a decade. There is so much depth in MVC2
with regard to combos, breakers and a multitude of air attacks, that any novice found pounding away at the controller will be quickly exposed by the hardened pros. On a positive note, despite getting shown up plenty of times online it was still a great deal of fun, something I wish I could say about getting pummelled by Akuma spammers on Street Fighter 4
One reason behind this acceptable feeling of ownage is the balance. Creating a great fighting game isnít just about jamming in as many characters as possible. Street Fighter 2
was one of the greatest of all time and for much of the game the roster was limited to eight well balanced fighters. Other titles have tried to cram in more characters and just become an all mighty mess and frustrating online. There are a few character bugs in the port, but thankfully they just maintain authenticity and donít ruin a character like the ĎGambit glitchí did in the Dreamcast original.
SPOnG Score 90%
The Dreamcast original has its own place in history and for anyone who missed it this is the perfect way to get your hands on an immensely fun fighter without buying a second hand SEGA console. Newcomers could be put off by the learning curve, but stick to the single player experience until your ready and it should be a bit less painful.