Voice Module








In Memory
Sean Pettibone







While it seems, sadly, that SNK is now defunct, it doesnít mean that the companyís legacy has completely been snuffed out. One place where you can definitely rekindle the old magic is in the recent title Capcom vs. SNK 2 for the Playstation2. Featuring a dizzying array of 44 fighters and numerous graphical improvements, this is the ultimate crossover fighter and should, at least for now, be the definitive 2D fighter. Just how good is it? The Laserís mini-review should answer that question.

You just canít beat a cool 2D fighter from Capcom, and this release is one of the better ones the company has ever made. Building on last yearís hugely successful cross-over title, Capcom Vs. SNK 2 is an even deeper, more challenging title that features many cool modes and . While the basic parameters havenít changed, there are now more fighters, a deeper groove system and much more elaborate groove systems, making this title one of the most successful fighting titles ever made. The sheer depth of the game is impressive, to begin with there are over 45 Capcom and SNK characters including several hidden ones. The game does a good job in representing both companiesí characters including Capcomís Ryu, Zangief, Blanka and Cammy plus SNK favorites Terry, Geese Howard, Joe Hibashi and tons more.

Just like in the first CvSNK game, you can either fight one on one or build a team. One of the coolest things about this mode is how it helps to balance the teams so you canít load up on characters. When you select characters they are ranked using point ratios, and since you only have a limited number of points to use when building a team, you canít have too much power. Stronger characters take up a lot of room, which leads to some pretty odd matches where 1 strong character takes on 3 weak ones. This seems like it will lead to some pretty odd matches, but it works surprisingly well in practice. It mostly leads to well-balanced teams, making the battles quite exciting. If youíre a traditionalist, you can also choose to fight solo in one-on-one mode. CvS2 is aimed at the hardcore player who knows the moves in their sleep, but thereís still plenty of fun for all fighting game aficionados. The graphics have been polished to a superfine state, no other fighting game in this genre looks nearly as good. The 2D sprites have been improved since the last game on the Dreamcast, and movements, animation and flow of the graphics is noticeably improved. The other thing about the game, is that while the first Capcom vs. SNK featured some rather tentative attempts at introducing 3D backgrounds, Capcom has gone full-throttle this time out, creating some incredibly elaborate fighting environments that should make your eyes pop out.

Capcom Vs. SNK 2 features the standard kicks and punches, counters and, air moves, plus powerful special attacks, counters, air-moves and custom combos. Itís depth and flexibility gives CvS2 an incredibly sophisticated fighting system thatís amazingly thorough. This is thanks to the enhanced Groove system which includes no less than 6 customized super-attack meters, such as the custom gauge, several multi-level gauges, and the infamous rage gauge to contend with. Each one of these grooves is complete with their own sub-systems that control rolling, defensive moves, attacks plus, parrying, air and ground chains which adds a ton of depth. The ability to play in either mode means that the game has two distinctly different feels, which wonít end the old debate over which companyís fighting style is superior, but will instead only add fuel to the fire.

Youíll also have to master air-guards, running and dashing which take importance in the context of each battle. Each groove is quite robust with features, making this one of the most complex 2D fighters even made. While the multiple systems are daunting, they allow for incredible depth, challenge and huge replay value. The differences in these meters are substantial and each has its own nuances to master. You can choose energy gauges, super-meters, combo meters and more. This adds an incredible amount of depth to Capcom vs. SNK 2 which leads to an incredibly deep fighting system that will take players many hours to master. Veterans of both companies should feel right at home since their styles come through well. The characters arenít perfectly balanced, though itís much better this time around. Some characters such as the bosses are inherently stronger than others, but the ratio system can be used to create teams that allow for a fairer fight. This works well for the most part, but there are several boss encounters in the course of each game. These bosses are impossibly difficult to defeat and make the game incredibly frustrating. Still, this isnít enough to ruin what is probably one of the most exciting and best designed fighters to date.

With such a technically sophisticated fighting engine, youíd expect fantastic controls and CvS2 delivers tight, responsive action. An arcade stick improves the gameplay dramatically but it still performs well with a standard Dual-Shock. The game also features excellent 3D backdrops and the sprite-based characters look good, if a tad pasted-on. Players should love the gameís many different styles of play and bevy of characters to choose from. While many have pronounced the 2D fighting genre dead, Capcom vs. SNK 2 shows that with enough innovation and depth, the long-lasting appeal of the classic fighter can be maintained. The game is also, most importantly incredibly fun. While the hardcore gamer will be thrilled by the seemingly endless options and variations, more casual fighting game fans should enjoy the familiar yet intuitive controls and the fast pace of the battles. Capcom vs. SNK 2 is a great fighting game and proves that old saying that the sum is usually greater than the parts and is very highly recommended.

> Related Reviews:

Street Fighter EX3 (PS2)
Capcom vs. SNK (Dreamcast)
Dead or Alive 3 (Xbox)
Virtua Fighter 4 (PS2)

> What do you think? Post your thoughts on this review in the Laser forum