Review by shabulia
It's like King of Fighters with Street Fighter characters... and that's not a bad thing at all!
Years ago, when fighters were at their peak in the arcades, there were many fanboys proclaiming Street Fighter II as the ultimate fighting game. There were others that were more hardcore claiming the same thing about the SNK NeoGeo set of fighters; King of Fighters, Fatal Fury, Samurai Showdown, etc. Some people began to talk about the idea of a crossover between Capcom and SNK. But it was just talk. It never seemed to hold any water. Then something happened. When Capcom made Street Fighter Alpha, they included a new character named Dan. Dan was a weaker version of Ken and Ryu it seemed. To those that knew the SNK universe, Dan was much more. Dan was Capcom's little inside joke to make fun of SNK's Art of Fighting main fighter, Ryo. Ryo was, essentially, a copy of Ryu and Ken. Thus, the friendly rivalry began.
Years later, Capcom joined forces with SNK to answer the cries of fans out there. They released Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight 2000 on the SEGA Dreamcast and in the arcades. It was a thrill to finally be able to do battle with your favorites from the Capcom universe and the SNK universe and see who would come out on top. Capcom took it a step further and released Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001. This game saw a release on all the major systems and also the arcade. It found a much wider audience than did its prequel and is still considered one of the great 2D fighters out there today. It also included a better balance in the fighting engine and featured a much larger roster of characters from both Capcom and SNK.
But what of SNK, you ask? Capcom was making their versions of the crossovers, so when was SNK going to step up to the plate? Well, for a while it looked like never. SNK closed its doors in 1999 and it seemed like the company would be forgotten forever. Lucky for us, a few years later, SNK Playmore brought our beloved SNK back from the dead along with all the great games we grew to love. Finally in 2003 SNK gave us their own version of a cross over between them and their rival company. Thus, SVC: Chaos was born.
One thing about SVC: Chaos is that it is loaded with personality. Much more so than its Capcom brethren. Each character has a unique dialogue between the next opponent before a match ensues. The direct rivalry between Capcom characters and SNK characters is very apparent here. For example, before Mai and Chun Li square off, they both go into a rant about how revealing each other's outfits are. While their outfits are so similar, it's funny to read the dialogue before they fight. It's just nice little touches like that that make this game stand out. Rest assured, though you SNK fanboys, this game doesn't only cater to the Capcom side of things. This game feels just like a classic SNK fighter. Everything you have come to know and love from the SNK world is here, complete with ultra hard cheap boss fights. The SNK roster is just as diverse as the Capcom side and the old rivalries that you remember from other SNK titles, like Geese Howard and Terry Bogard, are all here too.
The controls are mostly what you are familiar with if you have played 2D fighters before. This game adopts SNK's 2D button layout so there are only four buttons instead of Capcom's six. There's a hard and weak punch as well as a hard and weak kick. If you are used to Capcom's layout, it's not too hard to get used to. Special moves are performed in much the same way as in other 2D fighters. If you are familiar with the King of Fighter games, then you should feel right at home with this game.
Graphically, SVC; Chaos does take a backseat to Capcom's CvS 2. This game was designed for play on the NeoGeo which is almost 20 years old. It doesn't look bad, it just has a classic look that you either appreciate or don't. One thing that does impress is the animation. As the NeoGeo was loaded with RAM, frame rate was never a problem in any of their games. This game animates flawlessly and there is never a hint of slowdown. The backgrounds don't have the same "Dreamcast look" as CvS 2 or the games with the atomiswave engine (King of Fighters XI, NeoGeo Battle Coliseum) but they fit the overall look just fine.
It's also very nice to see the Capcom fighters you all know drawn in the SNK style. Some of the characters are new to fighting games altogether (Zero from Megaman X). SNK even gave a few new versions of existing characters, such as Violent Ken (basically a more powerful and crazy looking version of Ken, similar to Evil Ryu in the Street Fighter Alpha series). Another plus is Chun Li. This game features the all time best version of Chun Li in any fighting game. She doesn't look quite as good as she does in Street Fighter III: Third Strike, but she looks better that a lot of other games and she animates beautifully. Best of all, she has all of her moves from both Street Fighter III: Third Strike and from the Street Fighter Alpha series. If you liked Chun Li before, you're going to love her in this game.
The sound is somewhat lacking. The music is fine for the game, but it doesn't particularly impress. The thumps and clashes of punches and kicks are typical of SNK fighters. The character voices are all in tact. Again, it is nice to hear Capcom's characters with some new voices. Everyone still sounds just fine. Ryu still sounds like Ryu. Guile sounds like Guile. They just sound a little different from what you might be used to. It's nice to see and hear what SNK did with Capcom's fighters in this game. All in all the sound is what you have come to expect from a typical SNK fighter.
This game is available on the NeoGeo, the Playstation 2, and the Xbox. The only difference between all three versions is the Xbox version features Xbox Live play. It is sad to see that this game is not compatable with the Xbox 360, so that feature is most likely a moot point for most. The Playstation 2 version is only available as an import for US gamers, but it did see a release in both Japan and the European market. The NeoGeo version is extremely expensive as are all carts on the NeoGeo. It really is a sad situation about this game because it really is a great 2D fighter, but because of these points, will probably be overlooked by many a gamer out there. I highly suggest that you pick up a copy of this game if you have the means. It really is an enjoyable title and actually has an important place in the history of fighting games. It is really enjoyable to see what SNK did with Capcom characters and how they chose to implement them into their own universe. If you didn't know better, you'd say the Capcom characters were right at home in this SNK game world. It's like King of Fighters with Street Fighter characters... and that's not a bad thing at all!
Rating: 4.0 - Great
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