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Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO Review (Xbox)
game: Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO
four star
posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
publisher: Capcom
date posted: 09:10 AM Wed Apr 2nd, 2003
last revision: 06:14 AM Fri Sep 23rd, 2005

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By Colin K. Yu

Microsoft recently announced that there are currently 350,000 subscribers on Xbox Live! These members are playing games such as Mechassault and Tom Clancy\'s Ghost Recon, against a wide array of competitors all over United States. I was given the honor to review one of the newest additions to the Xbox Live! collection, Capcom\'s Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO, and playing this game only made me realize one thing: I get my butt kicked easily by 349,999 other gamers.

That\'s right, fellas, you heard right. Despite being a multi-platform game that spans through the Playstation 2, and Gamecube, it\'s the debut of Capcom vs. SNK 2 on the Xbox that makes the biggest bang for the buck because of the two words fighting-genre lovers have been eagerly anticipating: Online capability.

Now if you don\'t know what Capcom or SNK are, then I suggest returning to the wonder that is the moss growing in your shelter. Ten years ago, what seemed to be a competition between the two greatest fighting-genre companies, Capcom and SNK, became reality when their characters clashed forces on the ill-fated NeoGeo Pocket Color. Gamers got to live out their fantasies of who would reign victorious in battles such as Ryu vs. Kyo, Ken vs. Terry, Chun-Li vs. Mai, and Akuma vs. Iori. This led to the console appearance of Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight on the Dreamcast and the Playstation. Unfortunately, through time, all three previously mentioned systems died and withered away, and it was time for the next-generation big boys to come in. Capcom vs. SNK 2 was released on Playstation 2, and later, on the Gamecube.

Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO gathers the best fighters from both companies. On the SNK division, classic stars from Fatal Fury, Samurai Showdown, and the King of Fighters series. From the Capcom division, expect to see the stars from Darkstalkers, Rival Schools, and the Street Fighter series. Sadly, Capcom chose to exclude some of their more eclectic characters such as Mega Man, Jin, or Strider, which are included in the Marvel vs. Capcom series.

Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO elects to have the same systems as it did in its predecessor, which consists of the Free Ratio System and its Groove System. The Free Ratio System lets the players assign a point value to a given character, which would thereby increase the character\'s strength. This means a battle could consist of a group of three characters that split four points between them, against only one character that has all four points, which gives the character a higher strength capacity to compensate for the number of opponents.

The Groove System gives a player a style of customization of their characters. There are six grooves altogether, which are slyly named C, A, P, S, N, and K grooves. The main emphasis on each groove is how each player\'s super meter is powered up, and how those super attacks can be executed. For example, in the C groove, the character\'s super meter is built up as the character attacks. The super meter can be accumulated up to three levels, with each level\'s super attack resulting in a different strength level. In the S groove, on the other hand, holding the High Punch and the High Kick buttons together charges the super meter. Filling up the meter gives the player the opportunity to perform a super attack, as well as an added benefit of stronger normal attacks. Also, not only do the grooves affect the super meter system, each groove gives different movement abilities, such as rolling, air blocking, tactical recovery, dashing, and counterattacking. So choosing the right groove for each player is essential for maximizing strategies.

Now if reading the last paragraph has left you with a blank stare, fear not. Introduced in the Neo Geo Pocket Color and Gamecube versions, EO-ism is implemented into the game for those who are beginners. With EO-ism, all that is needed to execute a special move such as a projectile or an aerial attack is the flick of the right joystick. A certain degree of the joystick is allotted for a particular move. For example, for characters like Ken, Ryu, and Akuma, pressing forwards on the right joystick will perform a fireball attack, while pressing backwards will result in a tornado kick. Also, since the Xbox controller is an analog controller, the strength of each move is determined by how far the joystick is tilted. The face buttons then become additional maneuvers such as rolling, dashing, and counterattacking, depending on the selected groove. This makes playing the game far simpler for newcomers, and actually gives them a fighting chance against seasoned-professionals.

Other than the Free Ratio System, Groove System, and EO-ism, Capcom vs. SNK 2 does provide an averagearray of options. A player can choose to forgo the Ratio System, and fight three on three, or even classic one-on-one battles. There is a Training Mode to spruce up on your combat skills, and a Survival Mode that carries the option of pitting your character against all the 40+ characters in the game. The game also supplies a Color Edit Mode in which the player is given the opportunity to change a character\'s outfit color, hair color, and even skin color. And of course, there\'s the standard Versus Mode in which you can prove to your little brother Timmy once and for all who\'s the master of Akuma\'s Raging Death move.

Now to the part we\'ve all been waiting for: the online play. For the most part, it\'s flawless. Emphasis on \"most\" in \"For the most part.\" The remainder of that part is that there is lag during online play. It\'s not often, but you\'ll curse the day when you do run into it. From my previous experiences online, the lag even began at the character select screen. It is like watching ER with commercial breaks every two seconds. In a fast-paced game that depends on your every action and reflexes, it\'s aggravating when you\'re about to jump-attack your opponent, and your opponent literally watches you freeze in mid-air, changes his game plan to counter your character with the uppercut, and then to be heckled by a ten-year old boy. Ok, so that was only one case (I will defeat that boy eventually), but the point is obvious: no one likes lag during online play, and it does appear in Capcom vs. SNK 2.

Other than the lag, the online system works effectively. The main highlight of Capcom vs. SNK 2\'s online capability, is that Live! members can challenge other members in the United States, as well as those worldwide. This is an exhilarating addition to console gaming world, and enhances the playability ten-fold. The Live! system tests and verifies each members connectivity speed to ensure maximum playing performance, but sadly, this feature is not 100% reliable. There are also multiple options available, including the option to challenge only EO-ism players, or exclude EO-ism players from your search list. Each member\'s statistics are also retained, so a challenger can view how many battles that member\'s won or loss. All these features provide a strong foundation for future games to build upon.

It must be noted that using either versions of the Xbox controllers will take some adjusting. The original Xbox controller, while bulky, is appropriate for arcade-style playing. The layout of the six face buttons allows players to easily access their fighting button of choice, although the white and black buttons may be awkward for some to use due to their oblong shape. The S controller on the other hand, is easier for players to hold in both hands, but the white and black buttons are uncomfortably placed towards the bottom of the controller, rendering them practically useless. Also, strangely, the L and R triggers cannot be customized, which sacrifices flexibility.

On the graphics front, the characters show their immortality by never changing, never aging, and never going away. I suppose Capcom follows the age-old belief, \"If it works, why change it?\" Capcom needs to add a facelift of new or different depths to their characters, and without new special abilities, coherent storylines, or even outfit changes, that day may never come. The animated 3-D like backgrounds are a step towards a fresh new appearance, but is still a minor one. As for the sounds, there\'s nothing much to rave about. Although one problem I noticed must be mentioned. It might be solely my copy of Capcom vs. SNK 2, but the background music tends to disappear in the second round, leaving barren sounds of punching and kicking to echo through the speakers. This occurred while playing online, and on another Xbox console no less. Hopefully this is a problem that plagues only my copy.

To conclude, if you own an Xbox Live! account (which presumably entails owning an Xbox as well) and are not bothered by the unchanged traditional Capcom and SNK characters, I would highly suggest investing in Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO. Even if you own a version of it on another platform, the online experience is definitely worth it, especially if you\'re tired of kicking your neighbor\'s butt. As for me, I don\'t need a Japanese translator to understand the universal language of laughter.