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|[ 08/02/03 ] = SNK VS Capcom - Chaos Impressions
After months of waiting, I have finally played SNK VS Capcom. How does the much-anticipated SNK Playmore fighter play? I'll just cut to the chase and try to tell as much as I can possibly remember about the game from the hour I spent playing it. Well, let's see, where do I start? Playing somewhere between Fatal Fury and KOF, SNK VS Capcom has the "slightly stiff" SNK fighter feel to it, no rolls, and a plethora of old and new SNK fighter techniques smashed together. The game is of course 2-D, runs on the tried-and-true four button layout of other SNK fighters, and uses the one-on-one match system (rather than the KOF three-on-three or Capcom ratio systems). The actual execution of normal kick and punch attacks are similar to that of the original Capcom VS SNK, as certain attacks (like sweeps) require a direction to be held while hitting an attack button. The thing I like most about SVSC's gameplay is the fact that rolls are gone, which I like, because it keeps the game from being called "just another KOF." Anyway, love 'em or hate 'em, rolls are gone in SVSC; in place are various types of dashes and other methods of inching closer to the opposition. Although somewhat "stiff" as mentioned before (I don't hate SNK), SNK VS Capcom runs at lightning speed. If it's anything that fighting fans casual and hard-core will like about this game, it's the breakneck speed that the game runs at; the first play will take some execution adjustment. Cross-ups are also in the game, and seem to play a big part in the gameplay even this early in the game's life; Iori just takes an advantage of the other characters in the game with his godlike cross-up abilities. The combos in SVSC look as if they are part of a particular sort of linking system, as I've seen a HP into a Low HK into a special, and a few LP to Low HK combos, too.
SVSC has a good amount of characters from the Capcom and SNK universes immediately selectable, including Ken and Ryu from Street Fighter, Genjiro, Earthquake, and Shiki from Samurai Shodown, Ryo and Mr. Karate from Art Of Fighting, and Iori from The King Of Fighters. Adding to an already impressive roster are Demitri from Darkstalkers, Tessa from WarZard, M. Bison, Vega, Balrog, and Sagat, Athena, Geese, Evil Ken, Akuma, Shin Akuma, Riot Blood Iori, and Kyo. Anyone remember the Red Demon from the Capcom action games Ghouls N' Ghosts and/or Demon's Crest? Well, if you do, I'll tell you that he is also in the game! Not only that, but Zero from Megaman Zero is also in the game! Holy fucking shit! I haven't even named all of the characters in the game yet, and damn, what a roster! I can't wait to play as Zero next time I play the game. Good job on the cast of SNK VS Capcom - Chaos, SNK Playmore! Does it have a better cast than that of Capcom VS SNK 2 EO? Well, even though I have a few gripes with some of the character choices, the game seems like it has a varied and nicely assembled cast of brawlers from both sides of the Capcom and SNK fighting universes.
However, there is one terrible problem I have with the cast of SVSC - Andy has been left out of the game. This is absolute bullshit. There was no fucking reason for this! Completely unjustified. Why was Andy left out of SNK VS Capcom - Chaos? First Capcom leaves him out of Capcom VS SNK, Capcom VS SNK Pro, Capcom VS SNK 2, and Capcom VS SNK 2 EO, then SNK Playmore themselves leave Andy out of their own SNK VS Capcom! What the fuck?! This was a bad point of Capcom's CVSS games, and it is yet again a bad point (of another series), thanks to the asshole(s) who tried so hard to keep him out of the new SVSC Anyway, I don't know about you, but for me (even if Andy is gone) it's really hard not to like a fighting game that features a knockout cast with Capcom characters like Tessa, Red Demon, and Zero. The inclusion of such great characters almost makes up for the absence of Andy, but then I think about how they chose to put in Demitri over the awesome J. Talbain...
Probably the biggest concern out there among those who have not yet played the game is about visuals (or, "grafix"). Although Capcom VS SNK probably knocked your balls right out of the sack when you first saw it back in 2000, SNK VS Capcom will probably not amaze you as much. With SNK VS Capcom, SNK Playmore did what Capcom did with the Capcom VS SNK series; they mixed several types of old and new animation together. For example, Genjiro looks as he did in Samurai Shodown IV, Iori and Mai look like their KOF2002 incarnations, and newer characters like Shiki and have been drawn in the quality that fans have come to expect from SNK Playmore. The SNK side may come under a bit of fire from players due to the mix of animation styles, but the Capcom side has been redrawn nicely; Ken, Ryu, Akuma, Guile, Tessa, and other Capcom characters look nice in the SNK style of animation, and sport some good texturing. Definitely the game's quality hand-drawn visuals will earn respect from Capcom and SNK fans alike. Also in SVSC are some impressive effect, with fireballs animated similar to that of Capcom VS SNK and KOFEX2, as well as numerous other nice fire effects (Ken's Shoryuken). Also in SVSC are the background color flashes during MAX Super Moves, but only during the execution of the attack, rather than during a KO; I thought that this was disappointing, but then I thought about how SNK VS Capcom didn't have to follow what other games have done to be good. The animation in SNK VS Capcom, while a mix of sorts (like Capcom VS SNK), is of the distinct quality that SNK Playmore has been known to deliver. The characters in SVSC animate very well.
The game is just a mixed bag in terms of graphics; 50% nice, and 50% somewhat disappointing. Why? Well, the characters look cool and animate nicely, but many of the backgrounds are disappointing (textures and animation alike). Having already seen the beautiful 2-D backgrounds of Street Fighter Alpha 3 Saikyo Dojo, Vampire Chronicle, and Capcom VS SNK, most of the backgrounds in SVSC failed to impress me. While a handful of the backgrounds look cool, others contain very little animation and/or color to draw the player in to the game's fight between the sides. Although I haven't yet seen all of the backgrounds in SVSC, I thought that the backgrounds of KOF2002 looked better in some aspects. One particularly cool background of SVSC was that of a forest scene that looked like it was straight out of a fairy-tale book (don't ask me why, I just thought it looked cool). However, background quarks aside, the game does look nice, and is yet another welcome 2-D fighter from SNK Playmore. Chances are, you'll be too busy fighting to notice the background quarks, anyway...
As far as design goes, SNK VS Capcom looks similar to that of KOF2002. The design of the character select screen, lifebars, and victory screens all look good, and the artwork is nice. A particularly cool aspect of SVSC's design are the in-game dialogue exchanges between characters before fights (even during two-player matches!); serious and humorous, the exchanges have been localized surprisingly well. As for sounds and music, I didn't hear much because the place had the volume turned almost all the way down, so I can't really say if it was good or not. Chances are, it sounds somewhat similar to that of the Playmore tunes in KOFEX2, KOF2002, or Rage Of The Dragons. The overall mood of SVSC's design is more subtle than Capcom's take(s) on the war between the two sides; SVSC chooses simplicity in its presentation.
I thought I would save the worst for last - balance. While I have only played the game once, here are my impressions on the game's balance. Iori and Shiki's advantages in fights are probably the first things that many will notice about SVSC's balance. Although the game is still new and fresh, it seems that already Iori and Shiki are showing signs of power that just don't seem right; Shiki can link Special Moves and Super Moves for absolutely devastating results that seem to give the opponent almost no chance at victory, and Iori's cross-up combos and priority are just intimidating. Maybe this is just a phase of sorts, and ways around Iori and Shiki may be found in the future, but they seemed particularly strong compared to everyone else in the game when I played. Matches with these particular characters went by really fast. It is possible that as the intricacies of other characters are discovered, Iori and Shiki might be knocked down, but I don't think it will be soon.
Among other things I spotted were Guile and Ken's lack of range and priority. Guile's range is terrible; with both the Somersault Justice and the Flash Kick, I couldn't get a hit to save my life (or money). Maybe it's just me, but Guile's lack of range and priority looks like it will take a lot of getting used to. Ken's uppercut seems to miss often, and his Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku is just too slow with almost no priority; I must say though, that there were satisfactory results when I put the Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku into a combo. On a side note, I found the hit collision in SVSC to be a bit strange; sometimes hits didn't connect when I thought they would, and there were even times when characters would actually be overlapping sprites and still not hit each other. What the hell? Strange. These are just my impressions on the balance of SVSC, and while I may think Iori and Shiki are a bit too strong, it must be noted that others might have a different take on the game's balance.
The above first impressions of SNK VS Capcom are my own impressions of the game after playing it for the first time, and are meant to give those who have not yet played the game an idea of what the game is like. Although it may seem like I've burned holes through SNK VS Capcom, the game is still a solid fighting experience (although only time can tell how balance will affect this). Overall, the game is a welcome addition to the arena of 2-D fighters, with good design, good characters, and good gameplay, but I still like Fatal Fury more. That is all.