Everyone loves a good crossover battle, if its done properly. When Superman and Spider-Man had their first encounter, the results were less than stellar. Marvel would at least make up for that in the gaming realm by having Spider-Man and the Marvel universe take on the Capcom gaming universe in several fighting game crossovers. This was not the only instance in which Capcom collaborated with another company, as they worked with SNK, and they both made several fighting game crossover battles. Both companies had a hand in creating a stellar version of the SNK and Capcom battle, while also making a completely underwhelming installment as well. For this Comparison Series, we’ll take a look at the final fighting game released by each company: SNK’s creation, SNK vs Capcom: Chaos on the Microsoft Xbox, and Capcom’s version: Capcom vs SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001 on the Sony PlayStation 2. As always, on the final day, we will see who who in the battle of visuals, audio, gameplay and replay value, as well as the ratings for each title, and the overall winner.
Today’s focus will be on Capcom vs SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001.
Night and day.
This is the difference between SNK’s console version of their crossover battle with Capcom, and Capcom’s interpretation of the crossover on consoles. Both SNK and Capcom can put out fighting games of high quality, and for the most part, easily accessible by fighting game enthusiasts. Capcom may hold more of a fan-base than SNK does, but that doesn’t take away from the overall ability of SNK to produce a quality title. It’s a shame that they chose a colossal money making opportunity to put out such a piss poor product. Capcom’s first attempt at the crossover, Capcom vs SNK: Millennium Fight 2000, had a few issues with how characters were balanced, mostly due to the whole number system, which undercut the true strengths of each fighter. Capcom’s second and final attempt in the fighting genre brought us Capcom vs SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001 — a vastly superior brawler when compared to their first attempt, as well as any attempt SNK made at this crossover of a lifetime, including their phenomenal Neo Geo Pocket Color port.
As with SNK vs Capcom: Chaos, there are character balance issues, though nothing as crippling. While tournament players will gravitate to the same Groove and same handful of characters (and pretty much the same boring fights because of it), the number of fighters available and different play-styles you can choose from, helps provide a significant amount of diversity for those that are not totally entrenched into tournament play. Sure, Sagat, Cammy and Blanka have quite a bit of priority over the rest of the roster, but the way the gameplay is set up, there’s a ton of experimentation to be had with which character is best for you and which Groove will support your skills the best.
The “Groove” system allows you to select one of six different battle systems for you to play with. From the Just Defend style of gameplay fatured in Garou: Mark of the Wolves, to the parry system prominently featured in the Street Fighter 3 series, there’s enough variety to be had, and definitely a Groove for everyone to enjoy. On top of that, the series has adopted the six button configuration that has guided dozens of Street Fighter games to success. While the four button layout provided by the King of Fighters series works with a commendable success all on its own, being able to add a medium punch and kick to the SNK character line up give them a bit more range. Projectiles using the medium buttons usually do not play a pivotal role in your successes or failures, but the actual link attacks from them add variety and such. Finally, you can even choose whether you want to play a straight up one on one battle, a three on three elimination style format, or the ratio set up, where you can choose one vastly more powerful characters, two equally potent combatants, or three weaker fighters. With the mixture of the six button layout, six distinct Grooves, game modes and numerous character available, even if you’re not a tier whoring tournament player, you’ll definitely find a character and a style that you’ll really get into.
Capcom’s visual efforts are to be applauded, as well as scolded. While the SNK fighters look amazing in their Capcom costumes, unfortunately there’s a bit of inconsistency with the Capcom side. You have a mix of older Street Fighter Alpha/Zero sprites (Sagat) with newer Street Fighter Alpha/Zero 3 sprites (Blanka),thrown in with totally out of place Darkstalker sprites (Morrigan), combined with reworked sprites (Ken) and brand new 2D character models (Kyoske). The inconsistency can look a bit sloppy at times, but it’s thoroughly more tolerable than having well structured SNK models and cringe worthy Capcom models, like SNK vs Capcom: Chaos provided. The backgrounds are a mix of impressive visual feats, with lifeless voids of emptiness that try to solely bank off of the quality of the backgrounds in general. While they are much more appealing to the eyes than SNK vs Capcom, they are quickly forgotten, thanks to the excellent gameplay provided.
The audio side of things deliver well enough on sound effects, but pretty much fail to get anything going music wise. Sound voices were redone, such as Ryu and Yun, who sound a bit more lively in their delivery. Some, such as Morrigan, retain the same clips from games that they appeared in ten years previous to Capcom vs SNK 2. Things do sound a bit uneven at times, but it’s no where as evident as the visuals. The music is completely forgettable, offering little to no reason to care that it exists.
During a three or so year span, Capcom had a hand in a trifecta of fighting fulfillment. Marvel vs Capcom 2 was a collaboration that provided non stop, in-your-face gameplay, while Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike went on to be one of the most well built fighting games ever. Capcom vs SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001 was a sort of culmination of the strongest points, and the weakest points of those two games. The plethora of combatants available mirrored the success of MvC2, while also borrowing the issue of only having a small percentage of that massive roster being worthwhile in the tournament scene. While the parry system is not as cohesive nor responsive as in 3S, the mix of six different play styles and gripping multiplayer battles in CvS2 are very reminiscent of 3S. The best, and worst of both worlds collided, and the end result was definitely a success for fighting game fans.
Though the successes of Capcom vs SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001 were not as fruitful as Marvel vs Capcom 2 or even Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike, the overall package definitely delivers enough knockout power to keep you coming back time and time. The throw away single player story doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s still an engaging enough title to play by yourself, and the fun only magnifies when you have a friend over. It really does feel like the best of SNK and the best of Capcom merged into one epic battle of biblical proportions. Not necessarily the easiest title to find, but well worth the time and money spent tracking a copy down.
Who Won The Battle Of….
Visuals: Capcom vs SNK 2
Although the Capcom sprite inconsistencies are apparent, as well as the sometimes lifeless backgrounds, the overall visual package stands tall against SNK’s efforts. Don’t know why SNK went out of their way to make the Capcom brawlers look sickly, yet Capcom gave the SNK fighters a beautiful makeover.
Neither company really outdid the other in any signifigant way. Music is forgettable in both games, while neither sound effect or vocal performance were much better than the other.
Gameplay: Capcom vs SNK 2
Absolutely no contest here. Six styles of fighting, several ways to fight, dozens of fighters, endless amounts of good times. SNK vs Capcom: Chaos doesn’t hold a candle to what Capcom vs SNK 2 provides. While SvC has severe balance issues with the dominance of the top tier characters, CvS2 doesn’t really, though tournament players will still flock to the same handful of fighters.
Replay Value: Capcom vs SNK 2
There’s just more to offer, with nearly all of it dwarfing anything SNK attempted. The boredom strikes quickly with SNK vs Capcom, and never subsides, whereas Capcom vs SNK2 has so much experimentation, so much content to it, that you could be hooked for quite a while.
SNK vs Capcom: Chaos Rating: 4.4
….And Your Winner For This Comparison Series Is….
Capcom vs SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium Rating: 8.9
Crossover battles are usually a clever idea. Putting one series or franchise up against another can be a huge success….if the right care and attention is given. Both companies failed at one point, but delivered at another. SNK vs Capcom: Chaos is just a clumsy fighter with no hook, no substance and no real reason to care that it exists, especially since a handheld unit with two buttons can outperform its console brethren. Capcom vs SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001 however, landed every blow it needed, crafted a very flexible way of fighting your adversaries with enough incentive to keep coming back time and time again. With Street Fighter X Tekken and Tekken X Street Fighter on the horizon, fighting game fans have another massive collaboration to look forward to. Lets just hope that each company has taken a look at the SNK and Capcom series of games, and doesn’t repeat any mistakes that ether franchise committed.