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[ Writer ] = BAD
[ 12/04/04 ] = In Defense Of Capcom Fighting Evolution

Finally, it's here. Capcom Fighting Evolution has been released, and never before has the fighting game scene been so divided. Many called the game a "disgrace to fans," and while criticizing its visuals and gameplay, claim that it has no personality. Some have even said that Capcom should just stop making 2-D fighters completely. There are also those who think the game is yet another solid fighter from Capcom, despite its minor shortcomings. I am with the latter.

Capcom Fighting Evolution is a good game. It's not what critics say it is, and maybe if it were given a chance the scene might not be so divided. The game is a solid Capcom fighter, and in some ways it's better than Capcom VS SNK 2 (as impossible as that may sound). Why? For starters, because all of the characters in CFE are Capcom characters! The game has a small roster of characters, and while more would have been nice, it's been too harshly judged. With a smaller cast comes better balance, and the game seems to have good balance (unlike CVSS2, where there are 44 characters but only 6 are used for competitive play). Sure, Custom Combos may be strong in CFE, but they take skill to perform, and even more skill to actually land. In other words, a fighter doesn't need 80 playable characters to be good; it just needs to be balanced so that people can enjoy it.

CFE's visuals have received the most criticism; all the same bitchers, moaners, and whiners that were quick to shit on CVSS2 have shit on CFE. CVSS2 was criticized for having "cut & paste" and/or "recycled" visuals by many (who don't know shit), and CFE is now under the same storm of criticism. While the characters appear as they have in past Capcom titles, the truth is that there are some updated sprites and new frames of animation; Guy has a new win pose, Zangief has new standing animation, and Pyron glows brighter than he did in VH2, while Yun and Chun-Li animate and look smoother than that of their CVSS2 counterparts. CFE is chock-full of the signature Capcom 2-D animation we have come to know and love throughout the years; what's so bad about that? The usage of character sprites from past Capcom titles in CFE is legitimate; the game was meant to be a mix of characters from past Capcom titles in order to create dream matches. Critics do not understand that CFE wasn't meant to be completely redrawn; rather, its magic comes from the match-up possibilities that fans have dreamt of. Dream-teams that once only existed in the minds of fans are now a reality; it's awesome to see teams like Guy/Kenji (both Capcom ninjas), Ryu/Demitri (series frontmen), and M. Bison/Jedah (both series bosses). Likewise, it's cool to see military men Guile and Alex side by side ruining shit. Dream match-ups were possible in past Capcom fighters, but again, what makes this one so great is that it's all Capcom characters. You couldn't beat that with a stick if you tried (as a blind few already have and failed at).

However, I do agree with some that the character selection is a bit off. Kenji, arguably one of the best Capcom characters ever, is in the game, along with fan favorites like Guy, Guile, Chun-Li, Alex, Yun, Karin, Rose, and Felicia. But then, you get Urien, M. Bison, Jedah, Anakaris, Demitri, Ryu, and no Ken. What the fuck? Ryu, Demitiri, and even Jedah, but no Ken? Who made this choice? Why was Ken chosen to sit out? Why couldn't M. Bison or Urien have been chosen to sit out, instead? M. Bison, and Urien were never really fan favorites in their respective series; they were popular only because they were overpowered. As much as I like the game, it takes a hit from the start because Ken is unplayable; some awesome teams could have been made if he were actually playable. And even though I like Anakaris, why was he chosen (again) over other DarkStalkers characters? Both Anakaris and Jedah should have been left out in favor of J. Talbain and Rikuo, Donovan, or Huitzil. Hydron's presence in the roster is also questionable; he's OK, but Red Earth fans (such as myself and EightOne) wonder why Hydron (an unlikely fan favorite) was chosen over Red Earth characters like Gigi, Secmeto, Tao, and/or Blade.

The backgrounds in CFE also haven't escaped criticism, and they've been called everything, from "boring" to "uninspired," but they actually look really nice. The game's high-resolution backgrounds are drawn smooth and varied, each different in design from the other. Fans of the backgrounds in the first Capcom VS SNK (like Headquarters) will be right at home in CFE; CFE's are of a slightly different hand-drawn style than that of CVSS, but they look just as impressive. More than anything, CFE's battlegrounds will take veteran players on a nostalgic trip down memory lane; those who played a lot of SFA back in the day will notice Ryu's street corner stage from Street Fighter Alpha: Warrior's Dreams, while others will notice an Amazon jungle locale that shares an uncanny resemblance with Blanka's SFA3 stage. CFE's backgrounds are chock-full of nostalgic Capcom cameos; a cheering Ibuki, spying J. Talbain and a tree-swinging Oro can be seen, just to name a few. The only thing is, it's hard to actually enjoy the nostalgic value of the cameo appearances when most of the cameo characters should have been playable characters. It's sad to see that great characters like Ken, J. Talbain, E. Honda, Maki, Dhalsim, Cammy, and Ibuki only make background appearances in CFE. Back on track, the sound effects and music are also good; sounds like Kenji's rattling chains and Leo's ferocious growls really bring the fighting action to life. Many have said that the game's music resembles that of the Guilty Gear series, and for the most part, it's true. While CFE's music is a catchy mix of hip-hop, techno, and J-Pop, most of it has a sort of rock sound to it with lots of electric guitars (which isn't a bad thing).

Along with the aforementioned visual complaints, CFE's gameplay has also been labeled "shallow" and "boring," but that's bullshit; CFE's gameplay shines. While the action isn't as seamless and polished as Street Fighter Alpha 3 Saikyo Dojo (or Upper), it's just as fun as any other 2-D Capcom fighter, even without a friend (or enemy) to battle. Essentially, CFE reverts back to the classic style of Capcom fighting games; the gameplay is simple and tight (unlike the loose feel of the VS games), there are no stun meters, no guard-break meters, and there are no in-game point-grading systems. Though it contains characters from various Capcom fighters, CFE should not be mistaken for a VS game. Many complain that CFE doesn't feel like a Capcom fighter, and that it feels "different." Most of them say this because they haven't played Capcom's older fighters enough (or in some cases at all) to know how they feel, and because they are used to how MVSC2 and CVSS2 play, they expect CFE to feel the same. CFE has the feel of CPSIII and CPSII fighters like Street Fighter Alpha: Warrior's Dreams, Street Fighter III - 2nd Impact: Giant Attack, Super Street Fighter II; The New Challengers, and Night Warriors: DarkStalker's Revenge. The fact that CFE feels like these classic Capcom fighters is what makes it a good game. Within the guts of the modern hardware that runs CFE lies the heart of Capcom's past 2-D fighting masterpieces. Do you remember them? I do.

All in all, CFE is another good 2-D Capcom fighter. Some say Capcom went too far back with CFE, but the game contains several subtle (but important) elements that recent Capcom fighters have lacked (for example, a smaller, balanced character cast and hand-drawn endings), and these subtle additions are what separate CFE and give it the personality critics say it lacks. Capcom made CFE with the intention of giving 2-D fighter veterans a treat; the game wasn't meant to please picky critics, EGaMers, Wal-Martians, or infinite-combo seekers. CFE was meant for fans of Capcom's classic 2-D fighters. It doesn't top 2-D Capcom masterpieces like Street Fighter Alpha 3 Saikyo Dojo, Vampire Hunter 2, Red Earth, or Marvel Super Heroes, but that doesn't mean that Capcom Fighting Evolution isn't another quality 2-D Capcom fighter.

[ Extra ] = Features
[ 1 ] = Capcom Fighting Evolution Teams
[ 2 ] = Capcom Fighting Evolution Guy Combos
[ 3 ] = Capcom Fighting Evolution Kenji Combos