So far 2004 has been a pretty good year for 2D fighting games and those who love them. Between classic collections (like the Street Fighter Anniversary Collection) and brand new entries (such as the new Guilty Gear titles), pixel-based brawlers are having something of a revival this year. By all accounts if you have a two dimensional fighter ready to go, this is the year to release it … unless it’s mediocre. And I hate to say it, but SVC Chaos: SNK vs. Capcom will fail to impress even the most die hard fans.
SVC Chaos isn’t the first time Capcom and SNK met to do battle, heck; it’s not even the first time on the Xbox. Last year we saw the release of Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO, which was essentially Capcom’s take on the long-time rivalry. This time around we have pretty much the same principal, only with SNK’s programmers bringing the magic. Unfortunately the result this time isn’t nearly as good as the 2003 model, making it hard to justify paying full price this game.
Fans of SNK and Capcom’s fighting games will have a lot of familiar faces waiting for them when they load up SVC Chaos. From the start up each side has twelve characters ready for them, with another twelve just waiting to be found. With 36 fighters you shouldn’t have a problem finding somebody you feel comfortable with, but it’s worth noting that last year’s Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO featured ten more characters.
Capcom’s side is populated by mostly Street Fighter characters, including Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Guile, Dhalsim, and M. Bison. In fact, it’s not until you find some of the hidden Capcom characters (like Zero from the Mega Man series or Demitri from Darkstalker) that you really see anybody that wasn’t in Capcom’s long-running Street Fighter II games.
The same can be said for SNK’s side, which is made up almost exclusively of characters found in the popular King of Fighters franchise. Thankfully SNK found room for a number of Samurai Shodown characters (such as Earthquake and Genjyuro), but I can’t help but notice how out of place they looked next to the likes of Terry, Geese, and Mai. Die hard loyalists may like the cast of fighters, but I can’t see too many people getting excited about either side’s roster.
SVC Chaos’ major sin is not its bland roster; it’s the stiff control that keeps the game from being any fun at all. It’s almost as if they purposely made all of the characters as hard to control as possible just so everybody would be on the same level. What makes all this so painful is that we have countless other examples of how these characters are supposed to play. It’s not like SNK is snatching up the most obscure names, we’re dealing with characters Capcom has modified and refined dozens of times over the years, characters that should not feel like they’re making their first appearance here.
The fighting engine doesn’t feel completely finished, which inevitably leads to button mashing and utter chaos. Performing special moves is not as painless as in other fighting games, and the results are never really that impressive anyway. The game just lacks any energy whatsoever, and is extremely boring when compared to Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO.
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