I reckon Capcom is the most sexually promiscuous of all the gaming companies. I mean all of those crossover games between Namco, Sega, Tatsunoko, SNK and Marvel… I also reckon that there’s something deeper down that’s causing all this gubbins to happen. I mean why bounce from company to company, frisson-ing with the next without even a HINT of shame? Look, Capcom, we need to talk about this. You’re better than this. Those companies are worth more than that as well. You need to talk to them… apologise to them. You can’t keep stringing them along like this. It’s not right.
It’s not right.
Promiscuity aside, Capcom does manage to align with companies that will utilise their licences properly. As such, SNK did manage to do a few games right when they hooked up. Goodness alone knows they didn’t manage to do it with SVC Chaos, a game so poor that even the hardiest of SNK and Capcom fans were a bit remiss of it. It sucked, mainly because it took itself WAY too seriously and went a deeper, darker route with its story. I shan’t go too deep into it but if you weren’t aware, everyone in that game was essentially dead. HENCE THE GAME ITSELF WAS TOO. FLATLINING. HA HA HA HA. JOKE. Good one, me. Thank you, me.
However, when it came to the Neo Geo Pocket version that WASN’T about dead characters, they managed to do what they did best: produce a damn fine little fighting game. SNK had the pedigree, unsurprisingly, to create a nifty little fighter occasionally and on the small scale, they were pretty epic. Pretty much most of the fighting games on the NGPC were great, if a little samey after a while. This one managed to really hone the formula to a fine art.
Character-wise, we’re not breaking massive boundaries. They chose wisely but not dangerously. They kept to better-known franchises for both sets of characters, dipping into Street Fighter and Darkstalkers for Capcom; King of Fighters and Samurai Shodown for SNK (with one exception in Akari being from The Last Blade). What they managed to do was keep each character loyal to their console counterparts while dialling down the super intricate details by sticking to one colour for for each sprite alongside black and white. It might not seem like much but given the colourful backgrounds took up much of the power, it was difficult to colour the sprites too massively without really overloading the system or overloading your senses as such. It might not seem like much to us now but at the time, 16 years ago, on a handheld console, it was pretty enough. It also allowed the sprites to be much more cleanly animated. It meant the sprites were easily recognisable without breaking massive graphical boundaries. It still looked like you were fighting against Chun-Li, Guile and M.Bison. That’s all you needed. Besides, haven’t we said it before about how graphics don’t matter if the game is shit? I haven’t but we’ve all been there. Yes we have, shut up.
ANYWHO. Geese and M.Bison have tagged up to create super soldiers by using the tournament as a smokescreen. As such, Evil Ryu and Orochi Iori are the final FINAL bosses because they’re the first proper creations that can kill anything and kill anyone and probably would do if you didn’t stick your noses in. Honestly, those crazy beasts are nigh-on psychotic, but then again, if you were produced in a lab with the sole purpose of destroying everyone and everything, you might be struggling to hold on to your senses too. Perhaps that’s too unfair an assumption to make. They’re ‘people’ too… even genetically-enhanced psychos are PEOPLE.
NO. NO. THEY’RE NOT. Fuck off, Tumblr. IT’S A FUCKING GAME. YOUR FAVE IS NOT PROBLEMATIC. FUCK OFF.
It might pack a hugely graphical punch but it pummels you in PRETTY MUCH every other area. If you’re into slightly-chibified-character-led games which allow to you duke it out against 1, 2 or 3 opponents, this is your game. Essentially, all three work in the same way in that you fight 1 on 1 at a time against various opponents before facing the final boss. It’s a simple tried and tested formula and if people haven’t master it by now then they’re fucking useless. I mean, really.
What this DOES give you is electric levels of fighting in spades. The tag team option, in particular, adds a unique dimension to handheld fighters. I can’t remember any other fighter working on this level in the way this did on a handheld before this one. If they did, I apologise but it probably wasn’t a good as this one was. A and B allows you to tag in and out seamlessly. It doesn’t give your character back any health but it essentially allows you to breath a little easier when you tag out a character on the brink of death with a character at full health and one that you know can kick ass and you can kick ass with. There’s no major difference between picking one character over another or putting one with another. Some tag teams have specific names. Chun-Li and Mai are the Fight Queens (NOT THE THIGH MAIDENS?! COME ON. THEY’RE ALWAYS CALLED THAT!), Ryu and Ken are The Rivals (SHOW-RYU-KEN? SERIOUSLY. Missing an OBVIOUS trick there), and so on and so on. It doesn’t affect the ending of the game or owt. It’s just there for show.
SHOW-RYU-KEN. COME ON.
There’s a ridiculous amount of fan-service in this game, which is probably was makes it so good to play as a fan of both franchises/companies. Seeing Ryu’s original Street Fighter 2 stage chucked in alongside the Casino stage from Darkstalkers and Morrigan’s Aensland stage was… pretty fucking special. On the flipside, you didn’t get this kind of fan service from the Capcom versions of consoles. Every background was new and drawn from the ground up. It wasn’t QUITE the same as these. Yeah, the Capcom vs SNK 2 backgrounds were bloody brilliant but you felt a bit more attached to these ones. There wasn’t a massive amount of movement but there was enough to make the stages feel right. The Mount Rushmore one from Fatal Fury where you’re fighting on a flatbed train carriage with the background passing by in the distance was very cool, even though it repeated itself and made it seem as though there’s more than one Mount Rushmore WHICH THERE MIGHT BE BECAUSE I’VE NEVER BEEN THERE SO WHO KNOWS.
Everyone knows. Shut up, Wellsy.
JUST LOOK AT IT THOUGH. LOOK AT IT.
Pretty fucking accurate too.
Alongside the game itself, there’s also something called Olympic mode. What you do here is earn points to BUY new super moves.
No I’m being serious. You have a super move or two already but you CAN buy more super moves. Like, seriously. The events include Survival, Time Attack, First Blast and two other random games that are thrown in for good measure. One of them is a target game based on Metal Slug and one of them is a straw doll slicing game from Samurai Shodown. Sometimes the controls are a bit off and you do find yourself mashing the buttons a bit but it’s an interesting way of adding a bit more longevity to the proceedings. The super moves are expensive and the games don’t really offer a massive amount of points each time (unless you can kill A BILLION people on Survival mode) – one of them costs 9999pts for fuck’s sake. If it kills the opponent in one blow, I might think about it but otherwise, that’ll be the one I get LAST.
It’s remarkably entertaining from start to finish, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, it’s full of hilarious Engrish and it’s got secret characters to boot that you can only get by completing the game numerous times. After that it’s all pretty random as to whether you unlock them or not. Even THAT sneakily adds a bit of longevity to proceedings. It’s not exactly the fairest game in the world in that way. They kind of reel you in and then let you go without warning and that can be a bit frustrating really. I’m all for dangling carrots but dangling them with the intention of actually letting us get them FAIRLY, I can take. Reward me for my skill, maybe. I’d prefer that than being given the carrot only to find it’s actually dirt in the shape of one. This whole carrot analogy is just making me want carrots now. THANKS SNK. THANK A BUNCH. A BUNCH OF CARROTS.
What? I like carrots. I don’t like dirt. Sod off.