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INFO FILE
Title:
Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight 2000
Format:
Dreamcast
Production:
Capcom
Capcom Coin-Op
SNK
Rating:
D+
Comments:
"But it's the same Malibu Stacey!"
"Yeah, but she's got a new hat!"

Animefringe Reviews:
Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight 2000
By Jake Forbes


Fighting games have come a long way since the premiere of Street Fighter II nearly 10 years ago. I know this because I've played Soul Caliber, Tekken Tag Tournament, Dead or Alive 2, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, and yes, even Mortal Kombat. Based on Capcom's brand new release of Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight 2000, you would think things hadn't changed a bit. I love Street Fighter 2 and I love SNK (although not so much King of Fighters), so it was with great anticipation that I awaited this Dreamcast release. The NeoGeo Pocket version was amazingly fun for a pocket based fighting game, and had me hoping for the best. I am sorry to say that Capcom vs SNK is by no means a great game, and is in fact one of the most uninspired fighters ever made.

Capcom vs SNK isn't the worst fighter ever; it's definitely enjoyable. But can you think of another fighting game that didn't introduce a single new character or new moves? Sure, this game "finally" allows you to play Ryu vs. Kyo and M. Chun Li vs. Mai, but more than anything, this game reminds you just how derivative Fatal Fury is of Street Fighter II, and how OLD Street Fighter II is. Haven't players gotten tired of hado-kens and shoryu-kens?

What really burns me about the character choices is that Capcom chose only to use Street Fighter characters (well, there's a secret Darkstalkers character), and SNK's roster only includes King of Fighters and Fatal Fury. As a result, you get 28 characters, over half of which are basically clones! A bunch of them throw fireballs, a bunch of them shoot energy through the ground, a bunch of them have fancy uppercuts... It gets so boring! Why couldn't they use some more Darkstalkers characters, or maybe Rival Schools or more Alpha or EX unique characters? And from SNK, oh, how I wanted to play with all of my favorite Samurai Showdown and World Heroes characters. Perhaps the characters in these games are "silly," but they would provide the diversity to make this game interesting and fun.

The "innovations" that Capcom vs. SNK adds are trivial and insulting. The Groove System lets players pick from a Street Fighter Alpha combo attack system or an SNK desperation move system. This has virtually no effect on gameplay for anyone but the most hardcore of fight game fans. In Samurai Showdown, I would often turn around a battle with a desperation attack. In this game, I never got charged up from damage and I never had time to waste charging up manually. Even the computer AI seldom shows any use of either groove's bonuses.

The Variable Team System is insulting to players by telling them that the character that they used to beat countless Capcom games is now just a third as strong as other characters! While the 3-point heavy-hitters like M. Bison, Vega, and Goose do more damage than the weaker characters, a player good at Ken or Ryu, or any other 2-point character, could still win in a 1-on-1 fight and still have points left over. It's a good idea very poorly implemented.

Graphically, Capcom vs. SNK is terribly inconsistent. The interface between matches is absolutely beautiful, with a psychedelic rave look that truly looks like Dreamcast material. The backgrounds are a mixed bag, often beautiful, but sometimes blurry. Points to Capcom for coming up with interesting ways of fading into the game by atmospheric transitions. Unfortunately, for those of you who want to pick your level for Versus games, you'll have to identify it from a list of thumbnails so blurry that I could never tell which was which.

Character animations are only barely improved from 1992's Street Fighter 2 Turbo. The Capcom characters are jagged and jumpy, and a step down from Capcom's other recent 2-D animations. The SNK characters look better with cleaner lines and a darker color pallet. At least they are a slight improvement over their last incarnation, but they're still very 1995. Why couldn't Capcom have pushed the envelope and tried to make the character animations as pretty as their character selection portraits?

Sound is the one area where Capcom vs. SNK shines. The music is very good for this kind of game, and the sound effects and voice samples are as clear as ever. Unfortunately, good sound can't save a fighting game, and sound has never been a problem with Capcom.

Somehow this game is a hit in Japan. Capcom's never-ending variations on a theme have made them a leader over the past 10 years, but if they don't bring in a bigger burst of new blood soon, it's going to be their end. I don't think a single casual gamer would give Capcom vs. SNK a second look. Frankly, this game doesn't deserve to have "Capcom" or "SNK" in the title. It's really Street Fighter II vs. King of Fighters. As such, it's decent nostalgia; about as signifigant an event in the gaming world as the release of the latest Namco Atari collection. Resident Evil's Nemesis vs. SNK's Magician Lord... now that would be a battle worth fighting.

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