XBOX REVIEW: CAPCOM FIGHTING EVOLUTION

Capcom's latest fighter for the Xbox is already old news on the PS2 when it was released for the Holidays. The Holidays! Remember when it was thirty below and we were all cursing? Except for you sons of bitches in California, Mexico and other tropical and semi-tropical locales. Now it's almost a hundred-above and I'm still cursing the bloody weather - and wanting the sub-zeros back. In case you're wondering, I live in Canada where in order to maintain a yearly comfortable temperature one must wear an artificially regulated, NASA-issued spacesuit. Mine is an XXL.

Capcom Fighting Evolution is a no frills, arcade-style fighting game that is identical to the PS2 version with one large exception - it has online modes. Having played so many fighters in my day, and I'm not really a huge fan of them to begin with, I have to admit that the online play really does add a different dimension to the game. Most of it is psychological, knowing that you're going against other skilled gamers from around the planet but it also means that you can play at anytime - as long as there is someone else on line.

Maybe you don't want to know this, but the older you get the less friends you have access to. That's just the way life is. Online play means never having to invite that same stinky nerd over every time you want to play against another human. I have to pick my nerd up because he doesn't own a car and I have to keep him in Pepsi and saltine crackers otherwise he'll want to go home. My wife can't stand him but he's the only neutral friend I have that isn't involved in the gaming business that is actually a good player. I'm not kidding when I say he stinks. I tell him it's alright to leave his shoes on, even when he's wearing cleats. I kind of hate him too but what are you going to do? I doubt that you'll ever call me, so I'm stuck with him.

Using the classic six-button control configuration it won't take you long to get used to the controls if you're new and it will be really comfortable for old fans. The game involves basic fighting in a 2D environment the way it was originally conceived for the arcade many years ago. Each character maintains his or her specific moves and attributes from their respective game titles. If you're used to a certain character's characteristics you won't have to change the way you do business. Supermoves and special attacks are retained the way you remember them.

Fighting Evolution incorporates characters from all five games although there isn't nearly enough to call this a "best-of." Some of my favorites are missing, and maybe some of yours are too. Included are Ryu, Rose, Ingrid, Sakura, Urien, Felicia, Hauzer, Zangief, Demitri and Guile to name a few. You can choose two fighters and switch between them in tag team fashion. The choice that you make should be based upon your opponents although it's entirely possible to get through the bout using only one character.

With Arcade, Verses and Training modes, there isn't much variety in the single-player mode. Although the online modes don't offer much in the way of variety they do give you access to the world. The 2D graphics keep the game running strong and smooth. I didn't encounter one glitch. With the voice chat I was able to communicate my feelings, or lack thereof, to my opponent. Once I did manage to connect with someone that didn't speak English. It felt weird and I quickly disconnected and ran out of my house. I think he was from Europe or something. I calmed down, washed my hands and tried it again. This time I couldn't find a game. That's because the game is relatively new, or maybe that Hungarian freak scared everyone away with his garlic talk.

Characters, backgrounds and voiceovers are all recycled from past games. It's a good history lesson to newcomers but even ardent fans might feel a little betrayed that there's nothing really new here. Teaming up and fighting with characters from other titles in the series is a nice touch but it's nothing more than a novelty. Nothing in this game has really evolved and as much as I like the online play there is other online fighting games out there that are better. Your best option is to rent this game first - and watch out for freaky European kids.

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System: Xbox
Dev: Capcom
Pub: Capcom
Release: June 2005
Players: 1 - 2
Review By Cole
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.5
GRAPHICS
3.0
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
3.5