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The culmination of the dream match series!
Capcom vs. SNK 2 - Mark of the Millennium (PS2)
Member Name: sagat
Capcom vs. SNK 2 - Mark of the Millennium (PS2)
Advantages: Huge roster, plenty of variety
Disadvantages: Long fights, confusing for beginners
Capcom vs SNK 2 is the lastest release from Capcom's 2D fighting department. This time we get a dream match up as once again they take on characters from the SNK multiverse. As a result, iconic characters from Capcom's Street Fighter, Darkstalker and Rival Schools franchise (amongst others), take on SNK's cult figures from Fatal Fury, King of Fighters and Art of Fighting (to name a few). The result is an absolutely monsterous character roster, with plenty of character variety, and some one to appeal to every sort of fight fan.
You can choose from a variety of playmodes, but you principally fight in a ratio system, where you appoint four points to your fighters. You can choose up to three fighters to be on your team and then share out the ratio points. The more ratio points your fighter has, the stronger they are. Having a beefed up ratio four, one man team, may just decimated a three man team with two one ratios and a two ratio fighter. The decision is yours!
As well as picking your character, you can also choose a playmode. The normal playmode functions as most other Capcom fighters, the d-pad moves you and the buttons perform various attack strengths. Selecting EO mode (Easy Operation Mode) allows you to perform special moves just by using the right joystick, making it much easier to pull them off. Attacks are then carried out by pressing the shoulder triggers. Whilst this does make the game more accessible to new comers, it is detrimental to long term players to rely on this.
You can choose from a selection of six 'grooves' for your team, three are based on Capcom games, three on SNK. These will allow your characters to perform certain unique feats, such as running, parrying, just defending, super cancels, custom combos and the like. If none of those terms made any sense to you, then you may be in for a kicking!
The graphics are a mixed bunch. The backgrounds, although not particularly numerous, are beautifully animated. Dune buggies jump over the fight arena, flames engulf buildings and a stereotypical day in London takes place, complete with toffs and red buses.
The problem lies in the character sprites themselves. SNK have been famed over the years for rehashing their sprites in each new iteration of King of Fighters, but generally their sprites do fit in within the game world. Capcom on the other hand do not always make such an effort to make their sprites match and that is the problem here.
The entire SNK side of the roster has been re-drawn, based upon their original versions and fit in the game beautifully. Unfortunately, Capcom have reused a fair few sprites on their side of the roster. Considering just how many sprites they have created for this game, there was surely no justification for including the million year old Morrigan sprite from the Darkstalkers games. It is a pixelated mess when framed on the luscious backgrounds and is something of a disappointment.
The sound effects are solid, without being spectacular. Similarly, the music is pretty anonymous, apart from the hilarious/amazing song on the London stage. The real highlight for me is the commentator who announces fights and offers over the top comments such as 'Now that's what I like to call BIG DAMAGE!'. This is a superb addition, and amuses me no end!
The game engine itself is pretty solid. Whilst tiers inevitabley exist (Sagat and Blanka in particular are rather beastly), the ratio and groove system adds an interesting twist to proceedings. Playing a character in the Alpha A groove requires different tactics to Samurai Showdown's rage-style K groove.
Single player mode offers the usual fight your-way-to-the-final-and-possibly-encounter-a-sec ret-boss forumla, but as we all know by now, multiplayer mode is where this sort of game excels. Due to the variety of team combinations available, this game has massive replay value. Unfortunately, the size of the roster is also its downfall as learning all the characters to a decent standard is a huge task.
Whilst casual gamers will know a fair few of the Capcom side, much of the SNK roster will be a mystery due to only recently crossing over to mainstream consoles. Although Capcom's characters retain all of their familiar moves, SNK's characters have been trimmed down in order to make them more balanced as SNK tend to provide more moves for their games. It is a shame that Capcom operated in this way as it would have been far more enjoyable if they had beefed up the Capcom side to make them more competitive instead of neutering the opposition.
The matches themselves can also be a fairly drawn out affair. Each character fights until their health is depleted, there is no best of three rounds here. As a result, the game feels a lot slower paced than the likes of the Marvel series, King of Fighters and Guilty Gear. Although this can provide some tense matches for players, observers may find it a little dry for their tastes.
Overall, this is a welcome addition to any gamer's collection, especially fighting game fans. It is a solid progression of the series, and vastly superior to SNK's reply, SNK vs Capcom: Chaos, which was a huge disappointment.
Summary: A superb addition to Capcom's roster
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