"When 2-on-2 turns into 1-on-1 and fun turns to turmoil."
After the success of X-Men vs Street Fighter in the arcades, Capcom developed a follow up title that turned the focus away from just the X-Men, and incorporated the Marvel Universe into the battle. While a very small handful of fans felt this was the peak of the “vs” series, the gameplay was not changed very much between the last title and this. Of course with the success of the arcade version, home console ports were created. While the Sega Saturn version was aided by the 4MB RAM card in order to make the game plausible, the Sony PlayStation version relied upon the same formula used for X-Men vs Street Fighter on the same system — remove one of the major focal points of the game and create a round based fighter, similar to the likes of Marvel Superheroes. Did Capcom manage to build off its previous failures and create a robust enough fighting game that alleviates the blow of missing the tag function?
The audio production of X-Men vs Street Fighter saw some memorable, well composed tunes mixed with some stock, mediocre sound effects. While the sound effects have not changed much, outside of the hollowed out sound they’ve now taken, the music lacks that memorable punch to it. This regression isn’t necessarily unexpected; Capcom has managed to squander musical opportunities with their fighters for years. Only a handful of brawlers managed to produce tracks that were enjoyable and matched each personality to a tee.
The gameplay is to be expected — one on one, a plethora of fighters to choose from, over the top supers, and so on, The controls are exactly the same, with no deviance to the system. You still have the Crossover Mode, which still feels like a slap in the mouth, more than a consultation. Visually, the same issues with missing frames and less detail plagues the experience. While each character model looks commendable enough, the missing frames during attacks is noticeable, and detracts from the experience somewhat. To add insult to injury, quite a few backgrounds are recycled from the previous title, further robbing this ports attempt to create its own identity.
The biggest slap to the mouth however, comes in the form of Hero Battle. I this mode, you pick either Marvel Superheroes, or Street Fighter, then select two fighters in those selected fields. Pressing both bedium attacks together calls the second character you selected out to perform a partner attack, which a quarter circle forward plus both hard attacks, with a level two bar, will perform a two man super. You can’t tag out whatsoever, and only see your partner during those designated moments, as well as counters. There’s one last step to go and tag battles would have happened….if the systems RAM was high enough. Sure, Capcom was trying to augment the fact that there’s no tagging in this version, but the tease is almost too painful.
While X-Men vs Street Fighter could live as a one on one fighter, Marvel Superheroes vs Street Fighter feels too cohesive enough as a tag battle to have such an aspect dissected. In the arcades, you could put some teams together that really fail miserably as a singles fighter, and feel like a more dominant force. Dan/Blackheart and Dan/Zangief were two vicious teams I had in the arcade, and by themselves, they lack the pep and step.
Capcom tried once again to build something on a foundation made of tissue paper, and ultimately saw a similar collapse, much like X-Men vs Street Fighter. While one can find a bit of enjoyment if the arcade version was never touched, it still doesn’t match Marvel Superheroes for the one on one, over the top fighting action. If you locate this one at a vintage game dealer for a relatively low price, take the plunge. Otherwise stick with the likes of Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Marvel Superheroes.