For want of a better term, this is better known as ‘the one Capcom got right – before Marvel VS Capcom 2 that is’. See, Capcom and Marvel had this little bit of rough and tumble in the mid nineties and early noughties when Capcomputer were given the rights to produce a series of fighting games based on Marvel characters and did so rather well with their first foray: X-Men Children of the Atom and then dialled it up even more with the even better Marvel Super Heroes. Suffice to say giving the job to Capcompanion as opposed to another random company who hadn’t got the faintest idea how to do fighting games was probably a fucking brilliant idea all in all. They have the best track record and they knew what they were doing. Other companies were riding on their coattails and by no means would have done as good a job with it. They knew what to do. Now, SNK MIGHT have been a good second choice but then again… er… they have enough problems actually releasing King of Fighters games half the time that we’d have probably had to wait three years to get actually released overseas. Plus Spiderman talking in Engrish? Silly tuckus, you ninny!
Yeah, I’ve seen the win quotes from those games. They’re still funny even now, you twit!
HOWEVER, when Capcomplex first began the crossover series with X-Men VS Street Fighter, they right royally fucked it up. I have no idea quite how they managed to fuck it up QUITE so badly but they did. Was it the cast of characters? Was it the controls? Was it the fact that the entire thing was a giant mess of uninteresting proportions featuring meh everything and people exploiting all the awful mechanics in it?
Which question am I answering? Does it even matter? It sucked.
And then they tried again with Marvel VS Street Fighter. Basically, it was a retread of the first game but with a slightly altered set of characters. Cammy and Charlie/Nash went out and were replaced by shit Ryu-clone Dan and girl Ryu-clone Sakura. We then had five Ryu clones. Woo. Well done, Crapcom. And of course, instead of a billion X-Men, we got half a dozen Marvel characters, most of whom had appeared in Marvel Super Heroes and the game also managed to suck like a massive, massive vacuum. If anything, it was probably slightly worse than the previous instalment. Suddenly, the whole concept of the crossover series was looking incredibly worn and tiresome.
THEN MAGICALLY, THIS GAME HAPPENED.
THEY FUCKING WELL GOT IT RIGHT.
Third time lucky, eh? Apparently.
AND LO, HERE ARE YOUR HEROES:
From the off you can already feel how different the game from the previous games and the obvious reason for that is the cast of characters.
They chose the RIGHT cast of characters. They dipped into their back history and decided not to be fucking lazy with this one and gave us a better selection of characters. Why? BECAUSE THEY HAD THE CHANCE TO. It’s MARVEL (MASSIVE BACK CATALOGUE) VS CAPCOM (MASSIVE BACK CATALOGUE) and not restricted to a specific branch of games. X-Men VS Street Fighter actually COULD have been good had they drawn a better cast from each series. The X-Men weren’t so bad. Street Fighter’s back catalogue is MASSIVE. How could they not go with a wider range? We still got Ryu, Red Ryu and Snorty Ryu – why do we need all three? Chun-Li; fucking yes. Of course she’s there. Why not? Zangief – massive brawler. Works differently to other characters. Dhalsim, fine cos he has personality and teleportation. I like Cammy but they seriously manage to underneath her SO much for some reason that she’s almost unplayable in that game… I mean… how they managed to actually fuck up that cast so much by dumbing them down and heightening their weaknesses was just UNFATHOMABLE.
This time we get MEGA MAN. We get JIN from Cyberbots and to perfectly frank, I haven’t got a scooby as to who he is or what the game even is but I don’t care cos he’s such a bloody fun character to dick about with that you can’t fail to like him BEING there. Granted, he’s a bit of a dick but WE NEEDED THAT. Also: Captain Commando. WHO THE HELL EXPECTED CAPTAIN FUCKING COMMANDO TO BE IN THIS GAME? Amazing. STRIDER HIRYU from the original Strider games… these balls are coming from nowhere! Amazing.
And then they put it MORRIGAN. Genius. She’s easily of the best characters Capcom ever created and she’s just as brilliant in this game. She’s one of those “how can you not like this character? You’re wrong on every level if you don’t” kinds of characters. She’s ridiculous. She’s just boobs and sass and how can you not love that?
And then you have the Marvel roster which just opened up suddenly. Yes we got Wolverine because WE HAVE TO, but we got Spiderman too; Captain America and the Hulk, Venom and Gambit… AND WAR MACHINE. NOT IRON MAN. WAR MACHINE. Yes, a pallette swap but different enough. I don’t care. They opened it up a LOT more.
MAJOR ISSUE though? No female heroes. No Storm, no Rogue, No Psylocke… basically, no females unless you count any of the support characters that you can set off an attack with. So out of 15 characters, we get Chun-Li and Morrigan from Capcom and NOWT from Marvel. Hmmm. Glad that ended up getting sorted out in the sequel but BOOOOOOOOOO anyways, mid-90s; BOOOOOOOOOO.
So yeah, cast of characters: fucking ace. Well done Capcommon. Let’s move on.
Do you see that shit? THIS REPRESENTS THIS GAME. This game is simply a THROW EVERYTHING ACROSS THE SCREEN AND HOPE FOR THE BEST type of game but in a way that the previous two crossovers seriously couldn’t come close to achieving. I don’t know HOW they managed to fuck it up last time when they did it so right this, I don’t know. But seriously. This game is bonkers. You throw more GIANT overpowered crap across the screen than you’re even aware existed, fireballs appear from your hands like laser beams because gaming logic dictates it; occasionally you can burst into flames because why else not and there are massive robot everywhere.
And while all of this frenetic over-the-top fireball nonsense was in the previous game, it didn’t feel right. It felt almost too serious. It was like they threw them in and suddenly all hell broke loose. It was TOO frenetic. It was TOO over-the-top for a game that really couldn’t handle it very well. This game manages to let loose and actually do it less seriously but everything feels so much tighter. It’s tighter than a duck’s butt as they said in Lock Stock once I’m sure. Might have imagined that. Ain’t seen it in like twelve years. It’s a fucking terrible film, guv’nor, you fackin’ mappet, etc. But yes. Ducks’ arses and all that. Everything fits into place and every punch you throw feels better, plays better and connects like a proper punch just. You can throw in air combos and launch into attacks cleanly and serenely without wanting to jam the controller up a duck’s arse in the process. Poor ducks. I like ducks. You’d never have guessed.
Seriously. Look at how bonkers this stuff is.
But it’s beautifully bonkers.
It just manages to hold itself together in the right way… but there’s something that they managed to get right that they also forgot how to before: TAG MATCHES.
You pick two characters. You can tag them in and out and be tactical about your combos and all of that. It just becomes an entirely new experience and it’s just… fucking… brilliant. I mean, I could go into intricacies of the system and the machanics but to be honest, I think all that bonkersness has caused me to go a bit funny… Do excuse me while I have a bit of a relax with a slightly less frenetic looking screenshot,
Marvellous. THERE’S A PUN IN THERE. FIND IT. WIN THE NON-PRIZE.
Basically, this is the game that Capcomma-splicing did RIGHT before they REALLY got it even more right with the sequel. If anything, we have a lot to thank XvsSF and MvsSF for because without those shitstorms, we’d never have got this game and without those two games being as shit as they were, we’d never have got a game as GOOD as this one. It would been the same kind of bobbins as those two, fans wouldn’t have stood for it, it’d have sold poorly and we’d NEVER have got MvC2 which is for all intents and purposes one of the finest fighting games ever created because it is essentially this game on steroids and speed.
WINNERS DON’T USE DRUGS, PEOPLE.
So thank you Capkarma-karma-karma-karma-karma chameleon. You did what you thought was best. You failed and if at first you didn’t succeed, you tried and tried again. And when you got it right, it was magnificent. When you got it even better, it was IMPECCABLE.
And then you did Marvel vs Capcom 3.
Well, at least it wasn’t as bad as your first two attempts.
SEE ME AFTER CLASS.