There once was a time when quality 2D fighting games were a dime a dozen, but these days it’s a whole different story. Especially if you are a PlayStation 2 owner. Outside of the Guilty Gear
series, Capcom is about your last refuge for high quality 2D fighting games.
Problem is, each year it seems that there are fewer enjoyable 2D fighters. If you are one of those disenchanted PlayStation 2 owners that feels left out, look no further than Marvel vs. Capcom 2
. Even though it is a port of a two-year-old Dreamcast game, which was in turn a port of an arcade game, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is still the best 2D fighter going.
It’s hard to believe, but the sprite-based graphics will likely turn many current gamers away. After all, these days the trend is overwhelmingly towards 3D fighters, be it Virtua Fighter or Dead or Alive. For me, though, it is difficult to imagine a game based on comic books looking any other way than how Capcom has captures it here.
Not only do the Marvel characters look astonishing, but the Capcom characters have never looked better. There are a whopping 56 characters to play as in all, 28 on each side of the aisle. Many of your favorite Marvel characters are represented, including Spider-Man, Cyclops, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, Iceman, and even an extremely cool Storm.
But I have a confession to make. I never really read comic books growing up. Rather I spent most of my time, and money, at the arcade trying to make sure I could beat Street Fighter II with as few tokens as possible. And the Capcom side is jam packed with characters I devoted a lot of attention to.
It’s not just the staples from the Street Fighter franchise either. There is a lot more history here than most gamers will give it credit for. Franchises new and old, even some that haven’t been heard from in years, are represented, including Captain Commando, MegaMan Legends, Star Gladiator, Darkstalkers, Cyberbots, Resident Evil, and even Strider!
I promised myself I wouldn’t just spout out lists, but frankly with 56 characters it’s easy to fall into that trap. Needless to say, there is a character for just about everyone, be it a Mega Man, Spider-Man, or just plain old Dan. Any way you slice it, there are a lot of characters to take into this intense three-on-three battle royale.
The game starts you out with only a handful of characters, making you earn the rest of them. What sets Marvel vs. Capcom 2 apart from other fighting games, though, is the ingenious way you shop for extras. You see, every time you play a game, be it a few rounds, or beat the full game, you amass points that can be spent on whatever you want. There are extra stages you can buy, a new costumes, and of course a whole lot of secret characters.
Like all Capcom fighters, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is a solid playing game. Breaking from a decade old tradition, Capcom has decided to only use four attack buttons instead of six. The moves haven’t been changed, so you will have no excuses this time. The game plays just like all the classic games this title is derived from, and feels even better with the PlayStation 2 control. This fighter has been optimized for the layout of the control, which has never felt more natural.
Since you are playing with three characters on your team, you will need to get used to cycling through them during play. On the sidelines your character can rest, regain some health, and even aide you in small ways. For example, if ordered to do so, Ryu may pop out from the side of the screen and throw a fireball, or Jill, the “master of unlocking” from the Resident Evil series, may give you a green herb to heal you a little bit. You are able to choose their helpful abilities right from the character select screen, which means you will have to practice and see which you like the best.
The game lacks any real story, which is probably a good thing, since I really don’t want to know why Felicia, the cat-woman from the Darkstalkers series, is fighting Iron Man. What surprises me, though, is the general lack of one player games. Besides the arcade mode, and a score attack mode, which is basically exactly the same as the arcade mode, this game has nothing else for you to do. It would have been nice if Capcom had included a Survival mode or something, but I guess thems the breaks.
The game is starting to show its age a little. Some of the characters look a tad rough, especially when put up against the beautifully 3D rendered backgrounds. The graphics don’t look bad, but they certainly could use some polishing. Having said that, the effects in this game are better than any other 2D fighter on the planet, and won’t be touched until the third installment arrives. The animation, especially when involved with the special moves, will have you wishing Capcom had included a slow motion button, they are that good.
While it may not wow the crowds like Virtua Fighter 4, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is absolutely one of the best fighting games on the PlayStation 2. If you have been waiting for a 2D fighting game worth getting, you can’t go wrong here, especially if you enjoy intense action and unbelievable effects.
Without a doubt, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is the best 2D fighting game on the PlayStation 2. Of course, itâ€™s also a port of a two-year-old Dreamcast games, which was in turn a port of an arcade game. Having said that, if you never owned a Dreamcast, and you even remotely enjoy 2D fighters, this is a must buy.