Wednesday, September 9, 2009

GameFAQs Review - Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 (Dreamcast)

First there was X-Men. Then there was Marvel Super Heroes. Then X-Men came back and tussled with Street Fighters. Then it was Marvel's turn. Then other Capcom heroes joined the fray. Now we get to Marvel vs. Capcom 2, where a whole bunch of fighters from both universes show up and beat the tar out of each in pixilated fashion. Most people consider it to be one of the finest fighting games ever made while others (myself included - see my Xbox review of the same game) blast it for being a unbalanced contest of who can pull off the more impressive combo. In either case, you were getting a pretty meaty package that was a blast to play among friends and fun times can be had by all.

Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, like most Capcom fighters, started life as an arcade machine and was eventually first ported onto Sega's Dreamcast console before being shovelwared onto PS2 and Xbox consoles a couple years later. While I have already picked up and reviewed the Xbox version years ago (before it started commanding ridiculous prices on eBay), just a couple months ago, I was able to snag the Dreamcast version for a couple bucks. And after having played the game for a couple days, my thoughts are... well, let's just go on.

STORY: Marvel characters and Capcom characters join together and beat the crap out of each other. After a few bouts, the surviving team challenges the final boss called Abyss, who seems to be the new bad guy. In other words, there's no story to speak of... just like any other fighting game, I suppose. 5/10

GRAPHICS: Playing this Dreamcast version, in all honesty, I haven't noticed much difference in terms of presentation. Maybe it's my setup or maybe I'm just not as inquisitive to detail as I'd like to be, but both versions pretty much look the same to me. Regardless, the end result is the same; the blending of 2D sprites and 3D backdrops, while nice on their own, simply do not blend all that well, especially in regards to older characters whose sprites have been in use since the mid-90s. And the sprites still look a little rough around the edges and this is a common complaint I've had even with the arcade version. This is also more evident when facing the final boss of the game, where this pixelized madness spirals out of control. If only they applied some kind of smoothing effect, it might have looked passable, but as it is... meh. 5/10

SOUND: Whoa. This actually sounds better than the Xbox version for some strange reason - and this is on an older system. The sounds seem a little crisper and louder than the version on Microsoft's black box and seems to sound a little better. I'd feel almost insulted by the fact that the more powerful Xbox system couldn't give me the best sound quality possible, but then I was satisfied with the sound there, so I can't really complain. In any case, the Dreamcast version still sports the same grunts, taunts, and sound effects you've come to know and... love or hate. And of course, there's the soundtrack, which comprises of some weird lounge music. The music in this game is certainly a different breed from previous Marvel-related Capcom games and to be honest, I couldn't really get into it as much as the previous soundtracks, but it's nothing ear-grinding. Good enough. 9/10

GAMEPLAY: Anyone who has played Marvel Vs. Capcom 1 or any of the previous Marvel Vs. games will notice that a few changes have been made to gameplay. The two biggest changes was the reduction of attacks to four (two punches and two kicks - with the two remaining buttons reserved for partner attacks) and also the shift from two-on-two fighting to three-on-three fighting similar to the King of Fighters series. I assume that said change was done to accommodate the Dreamcast controller since it only has four face buttons and reduce use of the trigger buttons (and yes, I know the arcade had the same set-up change - but it's still a valid theory considering arcade games eventually get ported to home consoles) but there's really no adjustment to be made here. It still plays fairly well.

Probably the biggest selling point of this game is the sheer number of fighters at your disposal. Once all have been unlocked (which takes a good long while - people getting this on Xbox Live Arcade won't have that problem), you have a huge selection to choose from and as a result, many combination of teams are possible. Of course, that doesn't mean anything because chances are half of them are useless in any shape or form. Balance has never been a strong point in this Marvel game and your chances of winning are dependent on how much button-mashing combos you can produce.

Controls in this game are workable and responsive. And since supers are easier to perform than in traditional fighting games, it'll be easier for a novice player of 2D fighters to get into. 7/10

CHALLENGE: Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is not so much a game as it is a contest to see who can execute the most hits in a combo. There is a considerable lack of balance in terms of fighters' strength and yet that doesn't come into play. Even so, the AI in this game will give you a tough time. As said, unless you're a combo king, you'll barely nudge a KO win at the default settings. Still, each has his own tastes. 6/10

REPLAY VALUE: Replay comes in the form of the multiplayer aspect and the challenge of unlocking more fighters, features, and other goodies. The usual victims of a fighting game, but these days, it's almost essential. 8/10

OVERALL: Well, you know what? This game is still an unbalanced beast, but it's still a fun game when you have friends around and at the end of the day, isn't that what video games are all about? If you enjoyed the Marvel Vs. Capcom series in general and own a Dreamcast, then chances are you already have this game. And if you don't, don't be dismayed by the high prices that this game commands. With luck and persistence, you'll find a copy on sale for much cheaper and it'll be worth it just for the fun factor and not necessarily for the balance and gameplay. A recommended title for fighting fans... although you'll probably just get the downloadable version off Xbox Live, where all the work is done for you. 7/10.

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