I finished my last post my saying I would have a look at the 2d fighting games that Capcom put out for the Dreamcast so here we are. Fighting games then - they have been around for some time - I can remember Karate Champ in the arcades with it's 2 joystick control and it was a game I steered clear of after a few tries - my money wasn't going far and a kid on a budget had to be selective back in the day - I can remember watching quite a few games though. It's a genre I've always been in two minds about - I've been like a moth to a flame really. They attract me - but my level of skill is such that I get frustrated very quickly. I read reviewers laughing at the simplicity with which they can dispatch CPU controlled characters at the highest difficulty setting but I struggle at the default difficulty. I guess I'm too predictable - when I find a few moves I can execute I tend to stick to them and fighting game AI seems to be able to deal with this approach quite easily. Even a game as old as Street Fighter II Turbo on the SNES seems to be able to figure me out pretty quickly.
Anyhow - while Capcom were not the inventors of the genre, they certainly have a claim on owning it now. Street Fighter II set the template for the fighting genre and when it comes to 2D versus fighting, their games are where it's at. The number of versions and revisions is bewildering and the whole genre comes across as a bit unapproachable and smacks of elitism - but still - I can't really resist picking them up for some reason - moth to a flame. The presentation in these games tends to be of a really high standard and I guess that is one of the reasons why I will pick one up from time to time - so much so that I have amassed quite a few across a few platforms such as the Saturn, PS2 and Dreamcast.
The purpose of this blog is to ensure I give the games I own a bit more attention and playing these really makes me ask myself what I was thinking of when I got them. They are gloriously presented, graphical firework displays - and I usually haven't a clue what is going on. Selecting my character, turbo level, "ism" and goodness knows what else (in some games you pick more than one character!) I am then thrown into a beautifully drawn level where I can may hold my own against my first lethargic opponent - but by the 2nd or 3rd opponent I am hopelessly outclassed and my old-school mind-set kicking against continuing inevitably sees me looking forlornly at the game over screen accompanied by some sort of smack talk from my nemesis. Ho hum.
The main problem I have with this genre is the time I would have to spend to get good - there are usually loads of facilities for doing this - training modes, dummy setups, move lists ,etc. but the limited time the middle aged gamer has to invest coupled with the sheer daunting scope of the whole thing means that I give up. Multi-player is where this genre is at of course but being the father of 2 "girlie" daughters (and the husband of a wife who seems to disapprove of the genre) opponents are not close to hand. Re online I ventured there once with Tatsunoko v Capcom on the Wii (with my gorgeous branded arcade stick) and was soundly thrashed - an even more humiliating experience than my occasional misadventures with online Tetris.
Of the four games here, SFIII 3rd strike has the most luscious animation - it is silky smooth - and it has to the be the most hard-core - there are 7 screens of settings and toggles in the "system direction" menu under options - plus there is the the usual option screen - and I believe there are more settings screens unlocked when the one player game is beaten with no continues!! This is probably the most famous game of the four - it introduced the parry move that was used to great effect in this famous fight between two fighting game experts - Daigo and Justin : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pS5peqApgUA&feature=related
SF Alpha 3 is quite lovely looking too (both benefit even more by supporting VGA output) though probably feels the oldest of these games - but it still looks and plays really well (for what my opinion is worth anyhow!!). Experts state that this port is a bit "out" re collisions and that the Saturn version is better - I wouldn't be in a position to argue either way - it seems OK to me (and probably to most other players I would reckon!)
Marvel v Capcom is the first of a now famous series and those used to the latest incarnation might look at this and think it is relatively tame now - but it is still the most manic of the 4 here. The graphics have a more cartoon/comic book look which I guess is in keeping with the Marvel licence and the capcom characters have had their special moves (fireballs etc.) beefed up to - I suppose - compete with the over-the-top Marvel character moves - how else could Ryu compete with the Hulk!!??
Marvel v Capcom is a team fighter - you pick 2 characters and you can swap between them during the fight and there is a randomly selected 3rd character who apparantly can be called on to do some special moves - it is all wonderfully baffling to me.
Capcom v SNK is a team fighter too and the presentation of this one is probably the best all round - though take note - this is the only one of the 4 that does not support the VGA box (these are the PAL editions - don't know if that is significant). It still looks great though and teams of varying numbers are pitted against you - different characters have different ratings so you can decide how your team is made up within the limits of the max rating of the team -quite a neat idea. This game also lets you choose betwen Capcom and SNK "rave" - whatever that means - I have noticed that you don't have the usual 6 button set up (3 punch, 3 kick) of a Capcom game - this must be to do with the cross-over with the SNK fighting games - I guess this one has loads of fan service - but to be honest it is all lost on me!! Enjoyable though.
These aren't casual games really - casual gamers faced with such complexity will mash - and button mashing eventually results in boredom - so I guess unless I find a similarly skilled person who has the time and inclination to come round for a few bouts on a regular basis with a view to learning how to play properly, then these beautifully crafted games will be forever taunting me from my Ikea bought shelves, their deep secrets and subtleties, seemingly hard wired into the likes of Daigo's brain and muscle memory, forever to be a mystery to me.