SvC Chaos

SNK vs Capcom

     There's just something about a good SNK brawler that Capcom couldn't duplicate in the Capcom vs SNK crossovers. Kyo's fire punch combination felt a little too stiff; the transparent flame effects just seemed to take away from the feeling of the projectiles, and so on. Not to mention Capcom's recycling of sprites for their side's fighters led to some pretty weird clashes in design. (Read: Morrigan's surreal pastel ass, put against say, SFA's version of Balrog.) The redrawn SNK characters, on the other hand were pretty nice and more animated and expressive than in their native series.

     SvC was supposed to come out on Neo-Geo MVS about the same time as CvS (the first one) debuted. Remember that cool NGPC SNK vs Capcom: Match of the Millennium? That was intended as the portable counterpart to the arcade game that didn't come out- until this year.

     The first thing one I thought of after getting past the well-animated intro and nice, 'streamlined' type title screen Playmore is so fond of, is "Whoah. This game FEELS old." The background of the character select screen is in that sort of colored crumpled paper look the early KOF's had, divided down the middle into blue and red sides. The next thing that comes to mind is the number of 'obscure' characters making appearances here. We're talking about characters like Hugo (from Street Fighter III) and Shiki (Samurai Shodown 64, SNK Gals Fighter.) Sure, the old standbys are all there, Kyo, Terry, Ryu, Ken- but instead of Haohmaru we get his macho-femme rival Genjuro Kibagami. The hidden bosses and playable characters stretch for the 'out there' tier of Marvel vs Capcom's Mega Man characters. The alien(s) from Metal Slug are in it and the Red Devil from Ghosts n' Goblins, for chrissakes. The massive delay in the game's release also brought us the Wind Waker-esque-plays-with-fairies Zero from Mega Man Zero. One appearance that impressed me though, was Goenitz. And he's even playable without utilizing voodoo, dipswitches, or the roulette wheel.

     In a somewhat disappointing turn of events, the fights are strictly one-on-one. I realize that back in 'your day' that was the only mode fighting games came in, but remember that 'your day' largely overlaps 'my day' which kind of left-lane merges into 'their day', and I kind of like team battles. And if that didn't make any sense, I'm sorry, clearly the CHAOS!! is getting to me.

     There's pretty much only two levels of supers in this game, the ones that consume one stock and the Exceed, a one-shot SDM that can only be used once per fight. Yes, as in all 2-3 rounds. On the plus side, it's usually very damaging and doesn't require you to use your meter, but it's still annoying to lose your biggest attack in the first round. More annoyance- the throw system. Not only do they turn the CD knockdown AB dodge moves into your throws, if you miss with one it takes off of your gauge. There's also a 'gauge consumption dash' which I don't use at all.

     Remember the earlier complaint about sprite recycling? Well, SNK is guilty of that here. While some have been redrawn or at the very least given new animations, most of them look almost exactly like KOF '96 characters. I'd even go so far as to say Mai looks like herself circa '94. The new ones like Shiki are awesome and given a lot of shading and detail. The soft shade effect doesn't treat Zero as kindly, though, he looks like a little kid who fell into a mud puddle. For the most part almost all the Capcom characters are great-looking. Ken's skin tone looks a little bizarre, and between Chun-Li's constantly bouncing chest (more so than Mai, whose chest seems to be in 'censored mini-bounce' mode) and oversized shoulder pads, she looks kind of unbalanced. One thing nice about this game's look, though is just that- it actually HAS a look. CvS just kind of took old characters and splattered them against random backdrops and threw in some techno. SvC adopts a sort of bleak, washed-out look throughout the game. Some stages (see right) approach a monochrome feel, which for some reason adds a sense of 'desperation' that actually makes the fights feel more intense.

     The sound's not so great. Mai's in one of those funny-accented modes she gets into, and for some reason Geese is virtually silent. Maybe his voice actor died. A side effect of one of Terry's supers being sped up was them speeding his voice up appropriately. "AREYOUOKAYBUSTERWOLF!" The music's decent. The sound effects, however are a little weird. Occasionally someone falling down in the woods will make a 'metal crunching' sound, or a fireball sounds like a punching bag getting hit with an aluminum bat. Nothing nearly on the scale of Justice League Task Force, where the entire soundtrack consisted of silence, occasionally broken up by farting sounds and owls hooting.

     Another thing that definitely adds to the flavor of thing are the custom pre-bout dialogs between fighters. Every fighter has a set of trash talk for every other fighter, most of them are pretty well written and in character. (I haven't noticed too many painfully obvious typos, except Zero's alternately reporting to 'Ciel' as well as 'Shell' gets annoying.) In fact, aside from the occasional macho rival garbage, most of it seems to be tongue-in-cheek pokes amongst itself. Especially in that every SNK fighter mistakes Dan Hibiki for Robert Garcia. There are some pointless sight gags tossed in for good measure, for instance Goddess Athena's 8-bit win pose and KOF's Bao popping out of Hugo's tangled afro.

     The consensus on Orochi Iori, both in and out of game is that at this point it's more 'annoying' than terrifying. That silly, attention starved glam rocker.

     And finally, I come to the bosses. The mid boss will vary with your performance- sometimes it's Dan, sometimes it's Goenitz (still using the same damn tornado attacks as his boss appearance, yippee) Geese Howard, the Mars People, or Zero. The SNK characters have to fight the hard bosses- Orochi Iori and 'Honto ni Katta' Mr. Karate. Orochi Iori is, as always, a blindingly fast dervish of projectiles, grabs, cheap shots and rabid frothing. The evil Mr. Karate is like regular Mr. Karate, only made even more annoying by his ability to fire off a massive triple fireball at a whim, and smash your guard from across the screen with some kind of invisible chi attack. His Exceed is an unblockable super combo that finishes with the aforementioned triple fireball and it takes off about a whole health bar plus ten percent of the next. Yeah, that's fair. Capcom side bosses are Violent Ken (all the fun of regular Ken- plus teleporting!) and Shin Akuma. If you do well throughout the game, you'll then go to Heaven to fight Goddess Athena (not the pop singer, but close) or Firebrand the red devil, here called Red Arremer. With cameos by Lord (God or Zeus?) and Satan!

     Is SvC the best versus title? Probably not. Neo Geo machines are way too rare- Hell, Capcom vs SNK machines are rare. Marvel vs. Capcom 2, you can't walk into an arcade without stubbing your toe on that epileptic fit waiting to happen. Still, SvC Chaos is a pretty solid game despite looking about twice its age.

     Also: it doesn't have anyone named 'Johann,' which automatically gives it a boost in my eyes.


Mai retorts, "You, when I'm through with you."



Chun-Li vs. Ryu. Wow, I've always wanted to see these two in the same game so I could finally know who'd win in a fight!