I remember the first time I enjoyed Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. I was at a relative’s house and he wanted to show off his new and shiny SEGA Dreamcast. The only game he had was Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. Everyday after school we’d spend at minimum five hours playing, perfecting our strategies against one another and anyone stupid enough to challenge us. I even picked up the PlayStation 2 version once it hit the shelf. It was just one of those games I could play repeatedly. It is probably the single reason I began soaking up hours at the local arcade trying the latest versions of fighting games.
Unlike later fighters, it gave me everything I wanted. For starters, it had a plethora of Capcom characters that I knew and a lot I didn’t but had fun fighting with. More for me though were the Marvel characters. I was, still am, very big into comics. I knew the storylines going on, what certain elements were affecting characters, everything. It was a feeling that is hard to explain even today having a lot of those elements reflected on characters that I was playing as, for example, the two versions of Wolverine (still present in the game): the adamantium version of Wolvie (with shorter claws) and then the bone-clawed Wolverine, which add a little more reach to him. Granted, the characters in the game have the same base moves, but the fact the game reflected what was going on in the comics made it easier for the fans of Marvel to join in on the fun of Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. Like I said, this feeling is still there. Even though it is no longer reflecting what is currently going on in comic books, it does provide a solid bit of nostalgia for anyone that remembers, dare I say, when times were better in comics.
The feeling of nostalgia doesn’t just stop with the Marvel characters either. It plays heavy on the Capcom side as well. Having the Darkstalkers characters in the mix reminds us all how much we liked playing as supernatural creatures in a fighting game. Hell, even playing as Mega Man reminds you that there was a time he wasn’t so Anime (making you not care as much). The mixture of characters from both Marvel and Capcom leaves no room for many to complain about not having at least three characters to fight as at any given time.
The gameplay is exactly how you remember it. For those that don’t have such fond memories, it’s basically a three on three fight. You pick the three fighters you think you will do the best with and then you square off against your opponent’s three characters. Just like most fighters of its day, Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 is a 2D fighter. I have always been a fan of the 2D fighter simply for the fact of it locking the opponent on the same field as you, so there’s really no avoiding the onslaught aside from the traditional block action. Some have grown past this mechanic with the newer 3D fighters, and it will definitely show once you take on your opponents in local matches or online.
Even though the online modes are rather limited, it still provides a great way to exercise your dominance like the old days of coin-slotted machines. With up to six slots available in the online matches of either ranked or friendly competitions, it definitely adds a dynamic not really seen since the days of switch-out arcade games. Much like any other online mode, you have to take the sometimes jumpy gameplay of either your internet connection or someone else’s into account when playing online. One missing element though is the ability to change up your order of the characters fighting at the load screen. In the arcade version, as well as the Dreamcast version, you could do this by holding down the assist buttons. This option is still available in the offline mode which makes this deletion even more puzzling.
The only other major complaint I have about the gameplay derives from the Xbox 360 controller. As many know, the D-pad for the 360 controller can be bothersome; especially when it comes to delivering multi-layered combos that require D-Pad functionality. Granted, when playing with the analog stick you can still perform several of the combos with ease, but when remembering the complexity of some of those combos reminds you of the need for a responsive and easy to use D-pad, the 360 falters. More of a personal preference than an actual complaint is the rounded face buttons. Too often my thumb slid off the buttons in the middle of a combo. Not saying everyone will have this problem, but in my experience, when playing a fighter, the lack of flat surfaced buttons can affect the delivery of epic combos.
Graphically, this is a huge step up from the original version of the game. The sprites are more defined and it’s easier to see the small attention to detail on the character models. The backgrounds are probably the best example of this. They seem to pop-out more than the characters at times. Their HD upgrade over the characters will be noticeable to even a novice player, but to me they never really detracted from the action at the foreground. The other thing about the graphics is the optional widescreen mode for the game. Obviously stretched, this mode will at times leave gaps that don’t make a lot of sense or the background items don’t exactly match up. It can easily be said that not a lot of time was spent on this optional feature, but even with its flubs, it doesn’t detract from the gameplay.
For whatever reason you plan to pick up this game, I can say you will not be disappointed. Whether it is for the satisfaction of only having to pay 60 quarters versus the usual insane price tag, introducing it to those around you that have never enjoyed such a fighter, or for the pure nostalgia this games brings along with it, you will not regret it. Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 delivers on the most important level: giving fans what they want.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.0 Graphics
The HD movie for the game is great. However, the lack of attention to the widescreen format could have benefited from a few tweaks. 3.6 Control
The D-pad is the bane of this version of the game, too often delivering phantom combos. 3.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Still as “good” as it was. Thankfully, you now have the option to lower the music levels. 4.1 Play Value
Like I remember and well worth the price; hours of fun and a great piece of nostalgia. The already unlocked characters actually add more to the play value than I had expected. 4.1 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.