A good warm up for the third game.
Originally written 1-28-11
When a powerful being named Abyss threatens the Earth with extinction. A female pirate by the name of Ruby Heart summons the most powerful fighters aboard her ship to assist her on stopping him. –summary
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was released back in 2000 for the now defunct Sega Dreamcast, but saw a later release for the PS2. It’s the fourth game in the Marvel vs. Capcom series. It pits fighters from both universes against each other in team combat.
Now, if you’re looking for a solid story, then you came to the wrong game. The story is so flimsy that it doesn’t even have character endings. There is nothing that even remotely resembles a story. There are no cut scenes, character interactions, nothing. However, that is clearly not the point of this game. The game is nothing more than a huge slug-fest of epic proportions. This is the type of arcade fighter you just pick up and start playing.
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 for the most part is a sequel done right. Instead of just tossing new characters into the mix and calling it a day. This sequel expanded on the game play some. The series was a two on two battle. The player was able to select two characters, and swap at any time during battle. This game took it up a notch by adding a third character making it three on three. There are no deciding rounds. The battle is waged until one side is completely defeated or until time expires (which can be eliminated even in Arcade mode).
The characters have their own health bars, which can make battles very long if played by two highly skilled players. However, they share the power bar to perform their hyper moves which can be charged up to five times. The fighting engine remains faithful to the previous games, by featuring the high hitting combo system which not only performs brutal linking ground combos, but incredibly stylish air-combos that racks up the damage. In addition, each character has anywhere between 1 to 3 hyper moves, and some of these moves can be linked into standard combos. For those who don’t know, hyper combos can be incredibly beefed up versions of regular moves, or totally different moves that piles on the damage, and they can change the momentum in a fight.
The game uses the classic 2D fighting plane, that expands when the characters take off to the air with super jumps. But it’s still easy to keep track on the grounded character, due to the player cursor allowing the jumping character to monitor their opponents movements. In addition to the character swap, it’s also possible to call a character in for an assist. When this occurs, the character performing the assist will momentarily join the fray by dishing out a special move, and leaving just as quick as they came. Another variation of this technique is the hyper team combo. This takes place when either two or all three characters perform their hyper combo in unison, which deals out the heaviest damage in the game. These techniques were also used in the original Marvel vs. Capcom, but in that game, the former was limited while it’s unlimited here. The characters have other skills such as dashes, parries, delayed hyper combos, etc, that can be learned by reading the instruction booklet.
The game has different modes like the vs, which is of course the two player mode. Training mode, which is a fantastic place to check the command list for selected characters with intentions on learning their moves, practicing air and ground combos, as well as other skills. There is also a secret mode, and this is where new unlockable characters and stages can be purchased, when the player earns points by playing the game. The further you make it in the game, the more points you earn. There is also the option to change the difficulty. As the game progresses, the AI can be very challenging and will pick you apart if you’re just an ordinary button masher. The game does require some skill, and there’s only one boss battle that takes place at the end, that can be about as tough as you make it.
This is by far the most bloated roster up to this point in the series. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 begins with 24 characters at the select screen and 56 characters total; 28 for Marvel and 28 for Capcom, with characters ranging from different games such as X-Men: Children of the Atom, Marvel Superheroes, Star Gladiators, Street Fighter Alpha, Darkstalkers, Megaman, Strider, and a couple of others.
When I first played this game, I came into it with no knowledge of it at all, and I was amazed to see one of the characters being Jill Valentine of Resident Evil fame, with a moves list using weapons as well as enemy characters from the game as her special moves. I found this to be a very interesting twist from Capcom. Now even though it’s nice to see so many characters. After all these years, I still believe all of these additions were unnecessary for the most part, because they all pretty much play the same with the best strategies being either zoning or rushing techniques. Contrary to what die hard fans will try to force you to believe, there really isn’t much depth here.
This could be the best feature of the game. The controls run incredibly smooth and pulling out moves is a breeze. A newbie can pick this up and feel like the man really quick. The game uses the Street Fighter system with the quarter circle and charge back motions. The hyper moves are performed in the exact same manner, with the only addition being to press two buttons simultaneously. If you played the rest of the series, then you’ll have no trouble here.
Capcom also improved in this area by making combos simpler to pull off. The game no longer follows the Street Fighter six button style, which consisted of three punch buttons and three kick buttons. Instead, it’s now down to four buttons, which are two punches (weak and hard) and two kicks (weak and hard). The weaker buttons; jab and strong in regards to punching, and short and forward in regards to kicking have been meshed into one weak button each. While the strongest buttons being fierce for hard punches, and roundhouse for hard kicks remain intact. Meaning, when a jab or short lands, it automatically follows up into the next strongest attack (ie. short to forward), and the player can finish with the hardest attack creating a three hit combo. However, the combo system is more intricate than this, and by going back and forth with the weaker buttons for example; punch(jab), kick(short), punch(strong), kick(forward), the combo can be extended. Through a little bit of practice a newbie will learn how this works and add their own twist combo finishers.
Capcom reuses sprites from the earlier games of the series. The animation is pretty much flawless and it’s easy to catch the quickest of moves. Each move blends in with the other naturally creating some quick paced and very entertaining matches. Many times, I just sat back and watched others play only to admire the action. The character designs are still done very well with the Marvel characters resembling their comic book counterparts very well from the freakish, over-sized Juggernaut, to the exotic Psylocke of the X-Men. The stages have some nice designs with fights taking place in blue shaded caverns and even in a bright red looking lava pit, but nothing really stands out to me and the battlefields just have a bland feel.
Now this is the area that deals out a severe blow to the game for me, and it happens to be the music. This is by far the worst soundtrack I have ever heard for a fighting game. Nothing meshes well at all. The jazz soundtrack sounds far more fitting for The Cosby Show. It does not create a good feel for this type of quick paced and action packed game. Capcom dropped the ball here. The sound effects really aren’t much better with generic sounding blows, and sometimes you can’t hear the blows at all.
After unlocking all of the characters and a few little things, it’s the two player mode that still rules. I have owned this game since it first dropped, and I’ve played it several times a year since then when other fighting game fans showed up. The single player mode I haven’t bothered with in years, and now since the long awaited sequel is set to be released in about 3 weeks. This game may finally be put to rest. Still, I recommend this to hardcore fighting game fans who may have missed out on it.
The Good: Tight controls, large cast, graphics, game play
The Bad: Atrocious music, weak sound, some characters could have been left out