Capcom and SNK strike again! Welcome...to the revolution!
Already hot on the heels of the ultimate crossover of two rival fighting game houses, Capcom VS SNK 2 is not just a sequel, but the greatest thing ever to happen to this crossover! Capcom could've just done a hack job with this sequel and given us something half-assed, but they didn't. Instead, Capcom VS SNK 2 (C VS S 2) corrects all the problems Capcom VS SNK 1 had, and improved on the overall package considerably! Let's take a look at everything C VS S 2 offers now, and just let me tell you right now: it's a LOT!
First, now instead of only two "grooves" of play (fighting style), C VS S 2 ups the ante and brings us SIX grooves, three for each company. Capcom offers C, A, and P grooves for Capcom-style play, and S, N, and K grooves for the SNK purists. Each one offers a different manner of play and allows fighters to play how they feel most comfortable. "C" groove offers Street Fighter Zero-style play, where attacking your opponent or being pummeled fills your Super Meter, and you can unleash up to a Level 3 Super Combo. "A" groove is basically the "V-ism" style of Street Fighter Zero 3, where you can unleash Custom Combos. "P" groove is the equal to Super Street Fighter II X gameplay, where you fill you Super bar, unleash a move, and fill it again. On the SNK side, "S" groove is the equal of Extra Mode from KOF '94-'98, where you hold a Punch and Kick button to fill your Super Meter. "N" groove is the now favored Advanced Mode made popular by KOF '97 and becoming the de facto for SNK. You can store stocks of your Super Meter, activate Offense or Armor (defense) Modes, and basically everything Advanced Mode offered. "K" groove is the odd one, as it offers Samurai Shodown-style gameplay. In order to fill your meter in "K" groove, you have to allow yourself to be hit until the meter begins burning, and the meter will drop to empty after a short period. Also note, every groove will offer little gameplay changes respective to that one groove, meaning you'll be right at home with the groove of your choice.
Also improving on C VS S 1, Capcom now brought the button count up to 6, allowing better flexibility in executing moves. Not saying that 4-button play was bad of course (hell, SNK was the big part of my teen years!), but in some cases (a Capcom fighter especially), 6 buttons fits the bill. Capcom also brought forth one of the best changes to C VS S 1, the character roster is now HUGE (nearly 50 characters!!), and they also dropped the stupid Ratio system of C VS S 1 and improved it. Now, you can pick up to three characters (or even one if you wish!), and set their ratios yourself! An excellent move for me, seeing as how I can now take any of the once Ratio 1 characters and make them any Ratio I wish! This signifigantly improves the gameplay, as now you can call the shots on how you can have your team set.
As for the rest of the gameplay, most of it is still the same as C VS S 1, but finer tuned. The slight bias in C VS S 1 (the Capcom characters were stronger than the SNK cast) is gone, thankfully. Everyone is now balanced out fair and square. Projectile moves act according to the groove selected (an example: SNK started favoring "burst" projectiles that were more like a blast of power). The whole game as a whole feels better polished, which I like.
Now, onto the rest of the game: graphics, sounds, and music. The graphics are still excellent, and the characters are well animated and look well designed (save for one or two, see below). As with C VS S 1, depending on the groove you select, the character portraits on the character select screen are either drawn in either Capcom or SNK style artwork. Most of them are extremely well drawn (especially in SNK style), but Capcom STILL can't draw most of the characters right (again, below). The stages themselves are a sight to behold, though! Now the stages are in 3D (NOT the gameplay, though!), and look amazing! There are even a few cameos in most of the stages by both sides! Want a hint? Check out the desert dunes stage; isn't that Falcon (from Capcom's Power Stone) and Leona (from SNK's KOF) up there on the truck?
Sound effects? Still loud and powerful, and thank GOD that Capcom got a new announcer voice! I HATED the old C VS S 1 announcer so BAD!! Music? True fighting game style. But check out the music in the England stage...DAMN good!
One last little bit: Capcom REALLY dug down deep for some of the new characters! We have Todoh (the first boss of Art of Fighting), Maki (from Final Fight 2 for the SNES), Rock Howard (of Garou: Mark of the Wolves), Dan Hibiki (SFZ's taunt-master!), and more! Also to note for the DC version: it looks and plays EXACTLY like the arcade version, with smooth as silk transitions between rounds, no loading times, no drops in animation at all, and tons of cool extra features, including Color Edit mode, Training mode, and the awesome Network mode! Online play with an opponent wherever, whenever! Kick ass!!
Not much. It's much better than C VS S 1, but still not perfect. Seriously, the only real problem I had was with the character roster. Why Maki? Who even KNOWS her? Why not Guy? Or Cody? Or even Haggar? Why not bring in someone from Rival Schools? Or more KOF characters? I seriously would've loved to have seen K' (KOF '99) here!
Capcom VS SNK 3, perhaps?
The Bottom Line
A definite step above Capcom VS SNK 1! Grab if you see it!
Oh, and it should be mentioned: the Dreamcast version isn't coming here to the U.S., due to the Dreamcast being axed by Sega. It's unfortunate, seeing as how the DC version runs rings around the PS2 version and then some. Hear my plea, Capcom! U.S. DC version of Capcom VS SNK 2, PLEASE!!! (Although I already have the Japanese one, but still!)