Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is one of a handful of games that conjures up fond memories of the Sega Dreamcast. This is yet another console classic ported to iOS in the last few months, though with less polish.
This game is built on the classic fighter model of Street Fighter II, you get almost zero story when you hit the game, just a grid of characters to select. In fact, if you put in the frustrating hours to actually reach the final boss and win, you’re not even given a full on cut scene. This is good and bad, as you aren’t going to get a lot for your efforts. Unlocking new characters and galleries is it, there’s not a narrative at all. If you haven’t played the original game, rather never read the original’s manual, you wouldn’t have much of an idea of what’s going on in the story at all. Though you can’t really say that fighting games have ever had good stories; it’s the action that sells these games. Seeing Wolverine face off against Ryu should be enough to get most nerds excited. The selection of characters goes pretty deep into each franchise’s universes, especially as you unlock more.
The lack of polish doesn’t mean the game looks bad, it had pretty decent sprite art in it’s day. Some of the cinematics looks a little jittery, and you can tell the game is dated. However, that doesn’t really hurt the game. In fact leaving the graphics with a bit of a dated feel ups the nostalgia factor to gloss over some of the flaws.
The main flaw with the game is the controls. Fighting games barely map well to a standard console controller. Aficionados fork out hundreds of dollars for Arcade style sticks, all in pursuit of creating the right feel. I’m usually fairly tolerant of touch screen controls, but these don’t feel responsive enough. Trying to pull of the d-pad acrobatics need to make Ryu throw a fireball isn’t easy with the control layout, which maybe why they’ve added a button for special move and tags so that you can execute them with a quick press. This makes it a bit easier for complex moves, but it also crowds out the right side of the screen. This leads to a lot of accidental button presses, and with the tag button you end up accidentally switching characters.
At some point the controls, while still awkward, fade into the background. The game itself retains the signature Capcom feel. This game is a cult classic for a reason. You get three characters to fight with, and only one round. There are tag moves that combine the three characters in one attack. As you play you collect points to unlock new characters as well as galleries of bonus art. There are 16 characters to unlock in all, which should take a fair amount of time amass.
If you were a big fan of the game in the arcade or the Dreamcast, this game is worth picking up on nostalgia alone. Even if you haven’t played this game, I would recommend checking this out. This game is one of the high points in 2D fighting. The controls are still a real issue, but it does pass. If you haven’t played any fighting games, this might not be the best place to start. However, this game is only $2.99 on the App Store and is a good trip to gaming’s past.