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Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO (GameCube) artwork

Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO (GameCube) review

"Capcom hit the big time with their “Street Fighter 2” series, a collection of fighting games that probably made fighting games what they are nowadays. Ryu and Ken are almost household names now, Street Fighter 2 rocked the gaming world back in the early nineties and is still a force today, even after all of this time. SNK were quite prolific in their creations but never reached the true status that Capcom achieved. They developed a few great fighting game series that made it big like “The King o..."

Capcom hit the big time with their “Street Fighter 2” series, a collection of fighting games that probably made fighting games what they are nowadays. Ryu and Ken are almost household names now, Street Fighter 2 rocked the gaming world back in the early nineties and is still a force today, even after all of this time. SNK were quite prolific in their creations but never reached the true status that Capcom achieved. They developed a few great fighting game series that made it big like “The King of Fighters” and “Samurai Shodown”. They weren’t as popular but they made some fantastic contributions to the fighting game world.

Capcom and SNK joined forces again to create their third cross-over game in 2001. They had done well with “Capcom vs. SNK Millennium fight 2000” but “SVC: SNK vs. Capcom” was hurled into the darkness and never rose again. This time it was the third strike and Capcom had to go all out with it. They took the basics of Capcom vs SNK and improved it, adding more grooves, more playable characters and a small collection of secrets to create the ultimate 2-D fighter to date.

The roster here is outstanding and holds a great balance between the two companies. Family favourites like Ryu and Ken are back, along with all of their SF2 brethren. SNK has selected a fine crew of champions from a different variety of series, from the legendary Terry Bogard to Athena, from the old and crap arcade game. SNK also bring in a few fighters from “Samurai Shodown” such as Haohmaru and they also take a few from “Art of fighting” like Ryo and Yuri. The roster is very impressive but the inclusion of a few more secret fighters would’ve spiced it up.

Firstly, the original game had two different fighting styles, known as grooves. They had the Capcom groove, which focused on the way the Street Fighter games were played and the SNK groove, which followed the way of SNK. Cvs.SNK2 improved this feature by creating six grooves, three for each company. Each groove could allow you to pull of different basic moves, for example with the “C” groove you had an energy gauge you could charge up by pulling off special moves. When the gauge hit the top, you could pull off a super combo and dish out the damage, others worked a little differently.

Grooves built up different styles of fighting; some were more defensive than others, like the S-groove, allowing you to parry attacks and counter with ease. Others were more offensive like the N-groove, which allowed you to charge up your gauge, Dragonball Z style and perform super combos and finishers at the drop of a hat. Some grooves that focused on defensive fights like the S-groove allowed fighters to dodge attacks, recover tactically and counter attack, while more offensive grooves allowed players to attack ecstatically with all types of special moves.

Once you have got your groove you can choose one of three ways of play, the lacklustre single mode, which allowed you take one fighter and play through a series of one on one matches, the more inspiring three on three match allowed you to take three characters and throw them in a fight against another team of three. Unlike “Marvel vs. Capcom” , the three way fights had no tagging scheme, allowing you to swap between fighters in mid-battle so you could pick who would start at the beginning and fight until he/she was defeated by the CPU. After this, your next fighter would take up the bat and fight and so on.

Ratio matches are the most interesting style of play, when you pick your team of three you can the assign the strength of each individual fighter, either make one very strong at level 3, or balance the ratio out. After this, you could select which fighter was the most dominant and then you could choose which one got sent out first. Unfortunately, the mode was quite flawed, as you’d find that those at ration 1 would sometimes topple ratio 3 characters. It seemed like a good idea and most of the time it works fine but occasionally you’ll ask yourself what the hell went wrong.

Interestingly, Capcom derived two modes of control that would help beginners who couldn’t grasp the controller of the Gamecube and satisfy the needs of the arcade players. AC-ISM and GC-ISM allowed you to change the way the character fought, making the game a breeze for newbies. AC-ISM used the arcade control layout and slapped them on the Gamecube controller, at first it appeared as sloppy but that was only because the controller was all over the place when it was compared to the distinctly organized layout of the arcade. GC-ISM allowed you to perform combos and super combos by tilting the c-stick in certain directions, you could pull off the most destructive and complex of moves by tilting the stick to a certain angle, it was a good idea but when you play it you feel as if you’re being spoon-fed.

The backbone of the game relies on the points you make during your fights. To gain points you have to fight well, perform smooth combinations and end the match with a super combo. Every time you play your collection of points slowly grows. If you finish the fight without getting hit or losing a member of your team then you will get a considerable amount of the stuff. Points aren’t all about high scores and showing off to your girlfriend, they determine the secrets you can unlock.

It’s a shame that Capcom didn’t put more effort when they created the unlockables. There are only two characters to unlock, God/Ultimate Rugal and Shin Akuma, both are upgraded versions of their previous incarnation, they have deadlier moves, faster attacks and generally look a lot cooler than their counterparts. Unlocking them is a pain in the rear, firstly you must gather 1000 points before the final match and then perform a tricky move called a Dramatic KO, a finisher which counters your opponents finisher. After performing these two tasks then you must face off against a sub-boss, either the criminal mastermind, M. Bison or the OTHER criminal mastermind, Geese.

When you’ve done all three functions and won the tournament, the arena will flicker with lightning and you’ll see Rugal and Akuma staring each other down. The winner is decided at random but it matters little at the beginning. All you need to worry about is that after they dispose of one another they are going to power up into their super form and annihilate you. Get ready for a hard slog, Akuma and Rugal will not hold back this time around and their power is phenomenal. Just thank God you can have three men on your team instead of fighting in single matches only.

If you haven’t adjusted to any of the grooves then you can easily create your own version by using “Groove Edit mode,” an unlockable feature that you can get from defeating regular Rugal or Akuma on arcade mode. Groove edit allows you to correlate features seen in other grooves and create your own style of fighting. It’s handy for the professionals who want to make the game more interesting to play and also it pans out the game a bit, allowing you to customize your own style of fighting.

Visually, the game is divided into two halves. The animation and detail on the characters are smooth and vivid, capturing the personality of the character. If you’ve played the previous game then you will notice that the sprites of fighters who featured in the original, have been lifted from that game and planted here, with a little polish. It’s not a bad thing, it looks fine but a few changes here and there would have gone down a treat. The other half is a fine blend of 2-D and 3-D animation, which shows picturesque sequences of cars flying up ramps over the sands of the Nairobi desert, the China level shows inflatable lanterns, shaped like a Samurai and a Sumo wrestler. These are quite atmospheric but, to be honest, are nothing special and can be a bit boring. The final secret background is the exact opposite; the flame swept ruins of the martial arts stadium is a visual sensation.

Capcom are usually profound when they compose the sound for their creations but they were a little hit and miss here. Some of the tunes are pretty quirky and memorable, the China level has a very catchy song, that will be ringing in your ears hours after you play. The London theme really did it for me, it says the same phrase over and over again but it sounds really nice. However, the flaming Osaka has a threatening and booming tune, which sets a scary atmosphere, which is perfect when you lock horns with the devilish figure of Shin-Akuma.

Although the game isn’t as chaotic as “Marvel vs. Capcom” it does have some great qualities. The groove system was interesting and it allowed you to try out different styles of fighting, which made the game more entertaining and also helped you master it in your own way. If you liked some features of a groove but hated a feature, then you could compile the features you enjoyed, along with features from other grooves into the ultimate fighting style.

The only flaw that stood out was the lack of secret characters and modes. Capcom almost maxed out their character gallery but the addition of a few secret ones would have been pretty cool, also SNK could have added a few people in to add to the already great roster. If Capcom had done this then it would have made a great improvement. Despite this, this is definitely a great 2D fighter, and probably the best beat-em-up that the Gamecube has to offer.

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Community review by goldenvortex (January 04, 2005)

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