Review by thesolidshark
The Old-School Crossover
SVC Chaos has been bombed by a lot of people in being compared to CvS 1 & 2. In terms of preference, I'd be willing to call SVC Chaos better than Capcom's attempts in several regards. The game has it's flaws, but it's not as bad as a lot of people make it out to be. I think the game style opted to be more classic, or old-school.
Graphics - 7.5
Nearly a direct port from Neo-Geo to XBox with some graphical enhancements, it's got an average King of Fighters look to it. It's not as flashy as CvS2, but it's not bad at all. The character sprites for the game while considered outdated, still gives a little more character detail than some Capcom fighters. Some SNK sprites have been re-used without changing anything (Kyo, maybe Iori, etc), while some have some modifications (Kim, Terry, Choi, Mr. Karate), and some have been almost re-done (Shiki, Athena, Mars People). The Capcom sprites are all new, and most cater to their origins. Nearly everyone from SFII looks like a newer version of their older selves, minus Chun-Li who's got the SFIII look. Dhalsim and Zero have more sprites added to them, and Hugo and Demitri look just as good as the games they came from, if not better, especially Demitri. The backgrounds are uninspiring, with some exceptions (Cathedral, Forest, Shrine, and Temple setting). The special effects are not as special since we've seen some before, but several super moves have a more heated feel to them, like when Kyo performs his 108 Shiki Orochinagi, you can see a little extra added to the look of it.
Sound - 6.5
The sound is average. The music for the stages are ok, but nothing to stand out too much. The Cathedral had a nice melody to it, but that would be it. The characters sounds are still sounding nice. Many SNK characters still have the same voice actors, which is a good thing. The Shotos have most of the same voices from CvS, while others like Vega, Balrog, Sagat have new voices to sport. The sound of hits and special effects comes off without any problems, but the sound of the Hurricane Kick gets really annoying after hearing it too many times.
Control - 7
The controls of the game are not horrible, but they might not be easy to use at first. Whether or not you can be good with a XBox controller (S or L model), it will take a little time to get used to it. This game will take practice to get used to using some moves, but perfecting all the moves will pay off in the end.
Gameplay - 9
This is the meat of any fighting game, and this crossover finally taps more potential out of what could be. Unlike the CvS's, the move lists for the characters is a little bigger than usual. Some characters are even given all new moves, like Terry's new Exceed move Rising Beat. Even Dan Hibiki get's some new moves, finally. How a lot of the moves are executed in SVC have a little more potential to them. Kim's Hou'ou Kyaku is as it should have been in CvS but wasn't, where he can dash almost from one side of screen to the other (and do it in the air), Kyo's combo attacks extend out farther, and Terry's Buster Wolf is extremely effective now, sometimes too effective. Grabbing people in this SVC is not nearly as easy and as cheap as it was in CvS2; now it requires some of your super bar to perform one. Not being able to have team battle was kind of a downside, but the pure one-on-one helped in giving SVC and old-school feel to it.
The game's life bar is about two bars long, extending the gameplay. The super bar is similar to the one for KOF 2002, where the it has three levels, and the third level takes any character into Maximum Mode where they can chain, cancel, and combo moves. And now all characters' most powerful moves are the Exceeds, where they can only performed when your life is red, and can only use it once in the entire match, so use it wisely. This game is somewhat broken, nearly every character has a broken moment, which is not always bad, especially if it helps you. Yes the game is a little unbalanced, but mind you no character is ever invincible, no matter how frustrating.
The Character roster was much more experimental this time. Such characters as Tessa, Mars People, Goenitz, Zero, and Earthquake bring real variety to this crossover. I'm glad they decided to still have a wrestler and have it not be Zangief. Hugo has a refreshing feel. I'm glad some of the good characters like Kasumi and Mr. Karate weren't forgotten. More moves for every character has opened up more possibilities for offense and defense. Dealing with a Hadouken-happy Shoto? Use Shiki and fool them with your teleportation. Big guys like Earthquake aren't necessarily easy targets anymore. And now there are several challenging bosses to look forward to, including an Evil-Ken. SNK has always been known for making hard bosses, and this game is no exception. Shin Akuma and Serious Mr. Karate are the real stuff, and some of their abilities are really unfair, but they are defeatable. And there are bosses even more powerful than them, so be ready. Look up one of the FAQs to know to fight the hidden bosses. In a cast of 36, the you'll have a lot of fighting to look forward to.
The difficulty level is higher than usual, with almost every character. Everyone can give you a real hard time, and the bosses will definitely test your power as they should. It is a shame how most of the secret characters are already unlocked, but they really make you work for the things you haven't unlocked.
The ability to play online really fleshes out the real talent and competition. There are a lot of players who might use bosses to win more battles, but using a variety of characters is suggested, to maximize the fun and your fighting experience.
Presentation - 10
As I said before, this game has an old-school style, and pulls it off very well. The nicest part of presenting this game is definitely the intro the best I've seen out of any crossover videogame so far, though I haven't seen the NamcoXCapcom intro yet. The character select is simple enough, and the stages though not graphical leaps, fit for staging random encounters. The dialog before every battle is brilliant. In all the times we've wondered what Bison would've said to Geese, Ryu to Akuma, Kyo to Orochi Iori, or even two of the same characters against each other, now we have answers. Some of them are really funny. There's a generic ending for everyone, and this one is actually the bad ending. The true endings only come in beating the hidden bosses, which you only get one chance at. The artistry is nice for the most part, and nowhere as near as ugly as some of the Capcom artistry for characters in CvS2 (in the C,A,P grooves). The color editing isn't new, but still a nice option, especially if you're creative. I hope if there's a sequel, they could have more of a story and dialog for each character, with an inter-locking plot for everyone to be a part of.
Replayability - 10
It's a fighting game, so it automatically gets a high score, but the inclusion of XBox live and interestingly diverse characters and dialog might have you playing this game more often.
Overall - 9
The score actually adds up to 8.2, but I wanted to give a 9 as for having the guts to having its own style in being a crossover. This is a great game, even though most of it would appeal to skilled players, SNK or Capcom veterans, or anyone looking for a challenge. I'd give it a try anyway, just to see for yourself whether it's up to your standards. Honestly it's been a while since I've invested a lot of time in a fighting game to get better at it, but this one is somehow addictive for me.
Rent or Buy?
Either should be fine. It's about $20 or less retail price by now.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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