Review by DJellybean

Reviewed: 10/20/01 | Updated: 10/20/01

Whatever criticism was thrown at the last game can be forgotten now.

At first glance Capcom vs. SNK 2 may appear to be just another rehash of a previous incarnation but just after sufficient playing time, it's quite clear that it's more than that.

The in game graphics include a lot of improvements from the last game: to moving pre-rendered backgrounds to more fluid character animation. The backgrounds are pretty much the same Naomi form that Marvel vs. Capcom 2 used except they're a little more brighter and detailed. Character animation has been beefed up a bit, the previously flaky Sakura doesn't seem so flaky anymore but characters like Zangief still seem a little dense, even though Zangief is a bigger character and generally a grappler.

The special effects are more apparent in this game. With bright flashes nearly everytime you score a hit and shadow images that trail you everytime you perform a roll, super jump, or super. It's very eye appealing seeing how the backgrounds move(sometimes they're a distraction since a lot of objects are large and move constantly) and how fluid the characters can look at the same time. The only downside to this is the reduction in the number of stages from the last game to this game.

Capcom hasn't really bothered to change their music since Alpha 3. Going with a techno track(some of the stages even have songs that play during matches) the music in the game is really upbeat along with some of the more quiet music tracks in the game. The tracks probably won't catch on with most players(heck, no fighting game music has ever caught on with the players since Street Fighter 2) but they certainly are not the tracks that are unbearable.

The voice overs aren't too bad either, well not all. Characters like Cammy received a major voice-over, giving her a voice that's obviously much younger than her personality and looks. Yet the voices are just what you expect, you'll hear a lot of ''Sonic Boom'' and ''Rising Tackle'' as you play, it definitely adds more personality to each character as well as the game.

Replay Value
These days fighting games having replay value are almost a given and CvS2 is no different. There are a total of 48 characters and plenty of modes to keep the player interested for weeks. In Capcom vs. SNK you had to play a lot to unlock all the features the game had to offer(though CvS Pro unlocked them from the start). In CvS2 the game doesn't require as much effort but there are still hidden characters, stages, and EX(custom) grooves to unlock.

Although I could be wrong, the majority of fans of Capcom vs. SNK were initially Capcom veteran players and having a 4 button layout really hurt most of the players(including myself). Capcom has decided to go back to the 6 button layout, which gives more options and more control over your characters, so no more of that holding down-forward to pull out a strong attack. For some of the fans use to the 4-button format, there is no option to set it back tot he 4-button layout so you're stuck with the new(but old) layout.

The new cast of characters nearly double from that of the last game. There are so many characters now that the character portraits had to be shrunk(just liek MvC2) to fit them all in the screen. New arrivals comes God Rugal, Hoahmaru, Maki, Eagle, and many others from both sides of the playing field. Eagle seems to be a mix of Dudley and Rolento while Hibiki(not to be confused with Dan HIBIKI) from Samurai Showdown carries that silent persona like the main character found in the popular anime Rurouni Kenshin. The new cast of characters alone warrants a purchase of this game, giving new variety and taste to see which side can better who.

New to the game are the grooves, actually it's the addition of more grooves. Much like the ISMs in Alpha 3, CvS2 offers six different and two custom grooves totalling 8 grooves in all. This can give the players all the depth they want and then some. Some grooves enable custom combos, quick dodges, and parrying from Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike. However, unlike Alpha 3 the grooves do not alter a character's movelist. The one groove I would probably complain about is the S groove, which offers a huge unbalance in the game. In the S groove you are allowed to perform infinite level one supers while your life bar is in the danger zone. So being a character like Zangief against a character like Terry can virtually make the match so lopsided that you may as well throw the Dreamcast out the window in disgust of the game.

Once again, the ailing controller of the Dreamcast with it's unreliable and choppy buttons is a definite no-no for CvS2. Although Capcom was fortunate enough to have players press two kicks or punches for characters who initially had 3 kick or 3 punch moves. The controller is often unresponsive and hard to control so getting an ASCII pad or arcade stick would definately be a better solution.

The game art, while good, is inconsistent in most cases. Capcom grooves(C,A,P) lead to Capcom art and SNK grooves(S,N,K) lead to SNK art. However, some portraits for the characters don't even come close to representing their in game form. Athena's portrait looks too much like Mai from the last game(even though she looks like a 12 year old in the game) and Kyo's Capcom art makes Kyo look 10 years younger. While this isn't really anything to gripe about, it is worth noting.

The game still yields a Ratio battle. Like the last game you can pick any number of characters(1-3) and set their ratio to a certain range of 1-4. 2 is the standard ratio while 1 is the weakest and 4 is the strongest. Picking only one character means that character is forced to have a ratio 4 while picking 3 characters mean you can sort out which character will have a ratio 2 and which others will have a ratio 1. The ratios will determine your overall defense(not offense), but having 1 ratio 4 character beat 2 ratio 1 characters and one ratio 2 character is highly unlikely if both players are evenly skilled.

Along from the fighting modes(Arcade, Versus, Survival, Training) the game offers unique modes like Groove Edit(edit your custom grooves) or Color Edit mode(edit a character's color palette). The network mode probably won't do you much good unless you live in Japan.

Replacing the point system is the Groove point system. It's virtually the same as having a points system(though it can determine if you face a mid mode battle boss or not), though it can go up and down depending on what you do.

Capcom vs. SNK 2 is easily the best fighting game to date. It offers a wide range of characters and good balance and a good number of modes to keep the player interested. The number of options and character of the game is more than enough to warrant a purchase, even if you had any previous version of CvS(Pro or not).

Definitely the last great hit for the dying system.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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