9.0

Marvel vs Capcom 2 review
One of the best Xbox buried treasures

The good:

Over 50 total playable characters. New game modes added exclusively for the console version. Fast and fun gameplay.

The bad:

You have to play A LOT to unlock all the characters. Graphics are not quite as good as the arcade original. Horrible music. Tricky controls if you don't have an arcade controller. Very hard to find.

Summary:

The 4th installment in Capcom's popular Vs. series, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is actually the first one to make it to the Xbox. A smash hit in the arcades, the game builds on the popular tag team formula by allowing players to select a team of 3 legendary Marvel Comics or Capcom fighters and take them into battle against one another, while working your way to a battle with the boss character, the mighty Abyss.

The graphics are solid but still lose a little bit from the arcades. The characters still show a very high amount of detail but they appear a little more grainy around the edges in this version, and some characters suffer greatly from color bleeding (Hulk is a great example). Backgrounds haven't changed form the arcade and despite having up to 6 characters at once on the screen, the frame rate is always smooth & fast, even just a little faster here compared to the arcades. Sounds are about arcade-perfect, a combination of awesome voice acting & sound effects and awful music. The soundtrack has more of a jazz & mellow feel to it and has no place in a fighting game...thankfully you can turn it off. Every character has lots of voices to accompany their attacks and all have been perfectly converted and help enhance the experience. Controls are either awkward or solid depending largely on your choice of controllers. If you use a regular Xbox controller you'll have a hard time finding just the right setup because you use either 6 or all 8 buttons for playing the game, and the thumbsticks & D-Pad aren't the best for constantly executing the many special attacks in the game. If you shelled out 50 or 60 bucks for a good arcade stick then you'll do just fine-with an arcade stick the controls are much better and more closely resemble the arcade experience but still suffer from an occasional touch of unresponsiveness, especially on those multi-button super attacks. Gameplay is fast & furious arcade fighting that is the trademark of the series-the twists this time around are that teams are made up of 3 fighters instead of 2 plus in the right situation, a team can "link" super moves so that one character is performing their move then, within a certain timeframe, the player can enter the right command and the action pauses while the next character jumps in to execute their own super move! This is just one of several small but significant changes that enhance the gameplay and add a lot of replay value to the game. Additionally, teammates can jump in and perform one of 3 different "Assist moves" when they're not in-just having 3 choices affords you tons of different possibilities for customizing your team for every situation. As for characters, you start with roughly 32 characters but as you play you can eventually unlock the rest for a total of 56-this means impossibly high replay value but the catch is that it does take a long time to unlock everything. Also added to the home version are a training mode and a Score Attack mode for 1 player in addition to the arcade original and 2-player game. There are a fair number of adjustable options including difficulty level and gameplay speed-the skill level compares fairly well to the arcade, although even on the lowest level this versions difficulty is just a little higher. Arcade veterans will have no problem but it could frustrate beginners a little bit.

If you can find this game for the Xbox, it's worth picking up immediately as despite the imperfections in the translation from the arcade, the gameplay easily offsets the flaws and the eventual replay value is enough to keep you coming back for more. The catch is that this title is extremely rare-don't be too surprised if it takes months, if not longer, of looking to find this title. And even then you have to be prepared to pay more than you usually might for a used game because of that. But the searching will be well worth it-buy it and don't get rid of it! If nothing else it also will keep those quarters in your pocket and out of the arcades. This game truly defines "buried treasure"-if you can find it, the reward is truly worth the effort.

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