"I think that Capcom wanted Capcom Fighting Jam to be the ultimate 2-D fighting experience. It combined five of their best fighting series (three of them are actually different variations of Street Fighter) and merged them into one game. It sounds like a Capcom fanís dream come true but the horrible truth reveals that CFJ is an awkward and rushed fighter that does nothing to stand out from the crowd. "
I think that Capcom wanted Capcom Fighting Jam to be the ultimate 2-D fighting experience. It combined five of their best fighting series (three of them are actually different variations of Street Fighter) and merged them into one game. It sounds like a Capcom fanís dream come true but the horrible truth reveals that CFJ is an awkward and rushed fighter that does nothing to stand out from the crowd.
CFJ takes four characters from SF2, SF3, SF Alpha, Darkstalkers and Red Earth. Some are familiar faces such as Ryu, Zangief and Bison while some are rather obscure (like the entire cast of Red Earth.) The roster is lacking from the very beginning. We are not graced with the presence of Ken or Sagat in the SF2 section (although they taunt us with appearances in the backgrounds) and we have Chun Li (a SF2 character) in the SF3 character section which could have been filled by a cooler character like Dudley, the Brit boxer or Gill, the destructive deity. Aside from this, the rest of the cast are decent enough excluding the apparent neutral fighter known as Ingrid, a little girl who plays a lot like Athena from the SNK games. We also have three unlockable fighters such as Shin Akuma (Akuma was also shamefully edited out) and Pyron, an awkwardly complicated fire monster from Darkstalkers. Still, we have twenty-three characters but only a select handful will please and you'll be wishing you could pull off a flaming Shoryuken with Ken or wipe the floor with Pyron using Gill.
Each group of characters will follow a certain fighting style and will be unable use any of the others. All of the SF2 fighters have the standard energy bar that fills up every time you pull off a special move, when it reaches the top it allows you to pull off a Super Combo. It's the standard style that players will recognise from SSF2 Turbo and Marvel vs. Capcom 2. The SF3 fighters have the unfair ability to parry attacks and they can charge their energy bar twice so they can pull off two Super Combos straight after each other. SFA's characters can block in the air and have the ability to use customised combinations. These are quick and can be very variable, allowing you to pull off a unique combo of basic hits and special moves. Darkstalker characters are able to pull off chain combos and powerful pursuit manoeuvres and Red Earth's fighters are able to use powerful counters and stronger guarding to break their foes.
If this sounds all over the place to you, then don't worry. The fact that only a handful of characters follow one style set is a little wasteful and rather confusing. In previous games, you could choose your style and vary it with other characters, here; you are forced to play with certain characters to use their certain styles, which is rather restricted. True, it may seem a little out of context to have SF2 characters pulling off Red Earth style moves but think how creative a player could get if he was able to access different styles for characters, instead of being forced to stick with the same style for the same fighter.
Thankfully, you can choose two characters to play with as the game relies on two vs. two battles. You can't frantically tag in and out like in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 but you can choose to switch between characters during the intermission between rounds. It's not very impressive but it does allow the player to have a little of their stolen variation back, but not that much. Speaking of the lack of variation, Capcom have given us the bare minimum to play with. We have the basic arcade mode and that's it, no little fun extras to enhance the gameplay, like colour edit or Survival mode, just the standard stuff. Unlocking extras mainly comes from clearing the arcade mode various times with different character; you can unlock the character's original theme songs. OH YEAH!! Doesn't that sound fun?
The majority of the sprites are rips from previous Capcom games. The sprite for Zangief has been used in about four of this game's predecessors as have a handful of other Street Fighter characters. The Darkstalkers ones are the worst because they're the actual sprites from the original game and their rusty and retro look clashes horribly with the new age backgrounds. The Red Earth ones are quite the opposite, you will gaze in wonder at the stunningly drawn gigantic T-Rex known as Hauzer and at the fantastically animated Leo, probably because you've never seen them in this way before. All of the other characters are just rips from SF3 or the Capcom vs. SNK series so chances are that you won't be impressed. However, the one thing that really bugged me was the cameo-infested backgrounds. Some levels will mercilessly taunt you with old and unplayable characters by having them cheer you on in the background, one even has Ken, standing with a group of other Street Fighter rejects, observing your battle. Capcom, that is not cool. You really shouldn't taunt your fans by removing great characters and throwing them in the background just to piss people off. I mean, I can accept not being able to play as Sagat or Ken but locking them in the background, out of the reach of the player is unforgivable.
Capcom Fighting Jam was a huge letdown, especially for those who enjoyed Capcom's last few fighting games. The lack of decent characters was only a minor problem but the complicated and restricted fighting styles were the killer. Also the fact that CFJ is simply a ton of regurgitated elements combined really shows how lazy Capcom were when they threw this title together. Even for the cheap price of twenty quid, this game isn't worth it. It's something for the truly hardcore fans that have sat for hours thinking who would win in a match between Ryu and Demitri. For the rest of us, it remains as an unbalanced and rushed effort that doesn't stand up to older Capcom titles. If this is way things are going, then all is lost for the dying 2-D beat-em-up genre.
Shame on you, Capcom!
Community review by goldenvortex (August 01, 2005)
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