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Friday, May 11, 2012

Capcom vs. SNK Review

Original release:
Japan: September 6th, 2000
North America: November 6th, 2000
Europe: December 15th, 2000

Game details:
1-2 Players
Standard Controller
VMU Compatible
Arcade Stick
Jump Pack Compatible
VGA Compatible

I'm sure back in 2000, people were frothing at the mouth for Capcom vs. SNK. A chance to finally have the characters from two opposing games duke it out, and to prove superiority of one brand over another. Even now the idea is an appealing one if you know someone who is a fan of that other company from your preferred one. Well, leave it to Capcom to screw it all up.

The first thing you'll notice about Capcom vs. SNK is that it's completely unremarkable. Capcom vs. SNK utilizes the 4-button play style from SNK and a generic engine utilized by neither company. The game is stupidly simple, and plays like a 14-year-old's MUGEN wet dream. It's like Capcom went running out of their meeting with SNK where they hammered out the details and put the game together in a week with cartoon dollar signs (yen signs?) in their eyes. There's a decent line-up of Capcom and SNK fighters here, and you can play with a Capcom or SNK play style that affects the way your super bar is filled. It feels like a missed opportunity that a Capcom play style wouldn't let you use the 6-button layout, but I'm sure Capcom went with 4-button because 6 would have required them to get some new animations for the SNK characters, and doing new things requires effort. This is a cash grab, remember?

One new, sort of creative, feature that didn't work out at all is the Ratio System. In theory, this should let you build teams of different size that should be about evenly matched with other teams of different sizes. In practice, this immediately goes out the window because it seems like absolutely no balancing was done to the game. So, don't let the different numbers of characters fool you into thinking you may have an advantage, because it's not going to change a thing. Characters feel floaty, adding to the MUGEN feel, and the lack of any unique gameplay aspects (unless you count choosing an SNK or Capcom play style unique) just kill the game.

Two companies are having a dispute.. blah, blah, oh fuck. Spoilers. Joe and Dan are the tournament winners at the end. The joke characters. This would be sort of funny if Capcom didn't release an enhanced version in Capcom vs. SNK Pro a short time later that rebalanced the game and added Joe and Dan as playable characters. I guess the message is that Capcom is the real winner when it comes to your money.

This game has some seriously nice looking stage backgrounds. They're all newly drawn and they look excellent. There are also some really, really cool stage intros. Then there's the fighter sprites which are absolute garbage. A few are newly drawn (gasp) but most are ripped from some pretty damn old games. This negates the effort put into the stage backgrounds and just makes the game look like a mess. With the quality of the stage backgrounds, you'd think Capcom would realize they should step up their sprite quality as well. The Dreamcast was very capable of smooth sprites, as shown by Guilt Gear X, but this would require time, effort and money from Capcom.

This is surprisingly good. It's really good. The menu music has a cool vibe, the tracks have energy to them, and it's the lone high point of the game. Instead of playing the game, you could just find an OST and imagine a better game.

If you thought Capcom are bad about shaking down customers now, you've never played Capcom vs. SNK. This is a sorry excuse for a game, especially one that should have been a massive undertaking since it was pitting two companies against each other.



  1. My main gripe with the game is that it did not have a tag team feature or strikers (people that pop in just to do a super).

  2. This game featured one of the best, most complete versions of classic Chun Li ever. CVS2 uses 3S Chun Li, which is fine if you prefer that form, but for me this version is ideal.

    Viewed in the context of the era and not the context of hating companies for trying to make money for the games they make within a reasonable budget, this was a great title and remains fun to this day.


  3. you gave this game an 8 out of 10 and now say it sucks and is nothing but a cash grab? wtf kind of reviewing is this?