June 3, 2009 - If you've been a frequenter of forums and blogs as of late, you fully understand the love/hate relationship between Wii hardcore and Capcom's current effort on the system. Everyone is freaking out about being a "test" market, and while I'm not taking sides on that whole argument I'll gladly state the following: It's time to set the swords down. Tatsunoku vs. Capcom is headed to the US and Europe, and it's fun as hell.
There isn't a whole lot about TvC that the die-hard don't already know, and you can find all the info you'd need on Wiki, so I'll keep it brief. For those that haven' t seen or heard anything about this little gem, Capcom has paired with the Tatsunoku (don't' worry, I don't know them either) brand cast to create game in the same vein as Marvel vs. Capcom, Capcom vs. SNK, or other "vs" titles with Street Fighter brand brawlers in it. With none of the Tatsunoku characters being big outside of Japan, however, every critic out there (including myself) was certain we wouldn' t be seeing this one worldwide.
Man does it feel good to be wrong.
Capcom's latest fighter is very similar to something like Marvel vs. Capcom, but with this Wii-exclusive title you've got only three actual attack buttons. I played with the classic controller, and had Y as my light/jab, X as medium/straight, and fierce/roundhouse as the A button. B is used for support attacks (tap to begin a quick "friend attack" like in Marvel vs. Capcom, and combine it with back on the analog stick for an actual tag), double-tap or R button is dash, and from what I could tell L was also a basic jab attack, but it wasn't really used for anything.
The game is made to be more accessible, but before going and burning down the internet because I just mentioned casual gaming with the Street Fighter franchise let e assure you that it's also a blast to play, and this is coming from a die-hard Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Street Figher IV, Street FIgher Alpha III, and Third Strike fan. I've played a lot of competitive Street Fighter in my day, and this is a fun – but slightly simpler – one. Plus, if you're rolling your eyes at three attack buttons just remember Capcom vs. SNK Match of the Millennium for Neo Pocket. Ass kickin' and basically two buttons.
The cast was a bit tough to get used to, but there's plenty of love even if you don't know any of the Tatsunoku players. Ryu is great, Chun Li combines a few roll attacks with the standard holds for the Spinning Star Kick and the like, Viewtiful Joe is fun, Mega Man Volnutt was a bit confusing (not as good as Marvel vs.Capcom's Mega Man), and Roll was another fun add for Capcom fans.
On the Tatsunoku side, a few big ones stuck out when I stepped away from the demo cabinet. Polymar kicked my butt numerous times, Japatsuman can hit with rainbow fireball attacks from across the screen, Karas – similar to a Strider or Ninja Gaiden fighter – makes use of a blade and plenty of warp dashing, Ken the Eagle is a mix of Guile and SFIV's Ken with a totally vertical dragon punch) and the star of the show was the gigantic Gold Lightman. This towering gold robot transforms from a lighter, and is so massive that you don't get a tag partner, instead having huge special attacks that can crush whole sections of the screen . With the dynamic camera in this game a full pan-back is required to show Lightman as he towers at nearly four times the size of any other fighter in height alone. On the Capcom side, a mech from the Lost Planet game acts as the other heavy. I didn't have a chance to try it out though.
As a bit of bad news (or at least "wait and see" news) the info in yesterday's press release that mentioned an online mode and five new characters for Europe and North America is incorrect. That doesn't mean that it won't happen, but Capcom isn't committing to those claims as of yet. I can't really blame them though either. I don't see this game selling too well (Tatsunoku?) so pouring more money into localization and further development is a lot to ask for a game that's purely a love letter to the hardcore.
Still, even without the hopefully-included additions I had a blast playing the game. Once you see Roll's super attack (light a guy's button fire, grab an oversized bucket of water the size of a skyscraper, and create a tidal wave that kicks the crap out of them) there's no turning back. This is going to be a sweet addition to the Wii library. I'll take it over some redone port of Capcom vs. SNK EO from the GameCube library any day of the week.
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