Capcom brings the latest addition of their famed "versus" series exclusively to the Wii. In this round of head-to-head competition, Capcom faces an unfamiliar opponent for us westerners, a animation studio called Tatsunoko Productions. In Japan Tatsunoko is ultra-popular, think of them as our Marvel. With a half-century of classic characters under their belt, Capcom is in for a fight. Grab your controllers, it is time to rumble Capcom style.
The Capcom “Versus” series of games are one of the most revered set of 2D fighters in gaming today. This is partially because they do a great justice to fanfare by pitting too brands against one another, and secondly because they are always well made, true to that classic Capcom feel. In the past Capcom has done battle with 'SNK-NeoGeo' and 'Marvel' through a number of other games, they have also created several non-Capcom branded “versus” titles like 'X-Men vs. Street Fighter', and 'Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter', two of my all time favourite 2D fighters. In total, there are seven “vs.” titles from Capcom, and as far as I am concerned keep them coming.
In 2010, it is time for Capcom to set back into the battleground to take on a new challenger in Tatsunoko! Tatsunoko is the name of a Japanese animation studio 'Tatsunoko Production'. Tatsunoko won’t be a familiar to most North Americans, except those who little to dabble in imported animie. Tatsunoko is explained to us “westerners” as our version of “Marvel”, and obviously everyone knows the Marvel in North America. Like Marvel, Tatsunoko has been around forever, well 48 years. Since its inception Tatsunoko has specialized in TV production, and assisted in some more “western accepted” projects like 'Macross' and 'Speed Racer'. Sadly, you will not be fighting off the stern of the SDF-1, but you will get some epic scrambles with a list of diverse characters.
I Am 2D Fighter!
Before I jump into the roster, lets talk about the concept of a “versus” title. Incase you have not played one in the past. If you have, feel free to skip ahead. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is a 2D fighter that puts two teams of two against each other in a tag-team match. The winner of each round is decided by the team that survives. In battle, the game plays like any other 2D fighter with several varied attacks (weak, med, strong), jumps, double jumps, and special movies. Then you have your combo-based that combine the powers of your two players to deal out even more damage. The big daddy attacks are called 'Maga Crashes', you will know them when you see them. These awesome and crucial attacks do an absurd amount of damage.
In basics, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is your everyday fighter. However, along with the Mega Crashes, you will be able to use the new ‘Baroque’ system that lets you use up the recoverable part of your life to cancel an attack. Since, pulling off a success block does not always, it is risking trying this technique all the time, but often the risk is worth the reward. Like all 2D fighters, the more you play the game, the more you will develop, and depending on your grasp of 2D fighters, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom’s value will grow. I’m not the hottest 2D fighter, as one online battle will prove, but I still like to throw it down once and a while, remembering how it was in the good old days of line-ups and quarters.
Time to Get Classic
Stepping into Tatsunoko vs. Capcom I was little nervous to be fighting it out on the Wii. I didn’t want to have any additional tricky hand swipes to perform, all I wanted was strait up fighting without the hassle of learning a bunch of motion controls. Thankfully, Tatsunoko doesn't bother with the gimmicks while offering a number of different ways to control your fighters, Tatsunoko has five different methods to control the game; one with the classic controller, GameCube controller, a third-party controller, and the Wii-Mote, and Wii-Mote/Nunchuck combo.
No matter what controller you prefer Tatsunoko is easy to learn, although rightfully tough to master. In this review I experimented with the classic controller (which was an exceptional), and the Wii-mote/Nunchuck (not so exceptional). The Wii-mote/Nunchuck combination simplifies the game into a one-button scheme that makes it too easy to pull off special attacks. It might be cool at first, but it does not feel as intuitive, and really, you are missing half the fun. My advice, plug in an alternative to the motion controlled mumbo-jumbo.
Street Fighting 2.5D
Directly inspired by ‘Street Fighter IV’, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom also uses a 2.5D style. This uses 3D graphics on a 2D plane. The character models and backgrounds images are created in 3D, but the action stays in 2D. The only time you will see something come off 2D plane is for certain attacks where the character pops off for a brief second. This look is very becoming while keeping a traditional feel. The characters have all been remodelled for the game with a fresh take. Even some of the Capcom characters that you have grown to love have a new swagger about them. In terms of design, well, each character is unique and interesting, especially the unknown Tatsunoko troop.
Starting off team Capcom you have the giant monster character of the PTX-40A, a giant mech from 'Lost Planet: Extreme Condition'. Each team has their behemoth, and that is Capcom’s pick. When choosing a big character, you can have a partner. Trust me, when you see the size of these big daddies, you will know why. The rest of the Capcom includes some popular familiars from the Street Fighter cast, along with three characters from 'MegaMan', including Mr. Blue himself. The only character I was not familiar with on the list was Saki Omokane from 'Quiz Nanairo Dreams' an old Sega Saturn title.
- Morrigan Aensalnd (Darkstalkers)
- Batsu Ichimoni (Rival Schools)
- Kaijin no Soki (Onimusha)
- Saki Omokane (Quiz Nanario Dreams)
- Yami (Okami)
- Ryu, Chun-Li, Alex (Street Fighter)
- MegaMan, Roll, Zero (Megaman)
- Viewtiful Joe (Viewtiful Joe)
- Frank West (Dead Rising)
Unless you know Tatsunoko, this list will just be a list of names. However, let us get down to it and see whom Team Tatsunoko recruited. For starters, their big daddy is the massive Golden Warrior- 'Gold Lightan' a giant creature that looks like a pile of gold bricks. Very huge, very slow, and very strong. I never had much trouble dealing with this monster... maybe I was just lucky. The rest of the cast looks like this:
- Ken the Eagle (Science Ninja Team)
- Joe the Condor (Science Ninja Team)
- Jun the Swan (Science Ninja Team)
- Casshan (Neo-Human Casshem)
- Yatterman, Doronjo, Yatterman-1 (Yatterman)
- Tekkaman, Tekkaman Blade (Tekkaman)
- Polimar (Hurricane Polymar)
- Hakushon Daimao (The Genie Family)
- Ippatsuman (Gyakuten! Ipptsuman)
For those interested, the Tatsunoko vs. Capcom game site has full Bio’s to help you sort out the madness. In addition, not all the characters are unlocked in the beginning of the game. You will have to be diligent to unlock all five extra characters, but really, what else is there to do when not involved in multiplayer.
Online Multiplayer – On the Wii?!
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom also has online play, but it is not as cool as you would think. You have no control on who you play, the game simply searches for a match and throws you into a game. A few more options, and a choice to pick you opponent would have been nice. The whole system is a big backwards, slow, and unfriendly. Compared to other systems, the Wii needs to have its online approach retooled. I know I am stating the obvious, but Tatsunoko could have really benefited from a more polished online multiplayer. Sorry, this ones a bust.
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom continues in the pedigree that is the Capcom versus series. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is one of the best fighting games on the Wii console, and should be must own for any fighting fan who owns a Wii. Tagging along with the excellent gameplay are some of the best visuals we have seen on Wii, thus far. Tatsunoko looks great from its design to the wild affects that splash on the screen, the 2.5D imagery really works.
Now just because Tatsunoko vs. Capcom pulled off a solid experience with great graphics does not mean it is without issues. Sadly, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom has a few, and these are both directly related to the fact that the game was developed for the Wii. Really, the Wii’s advantage over the other systems is its motion controls, but they do nothing for this project, actually it makes it worse, and then the broken online component drags it down further. If Tatsunoko vs. Capcom was on any other system it could rivaled the fantastic 'Street Fighter IV', now because of hardware limitations Tatsunoko has to take a backseat to the more online ready games like 'Street Fighter', 'Soul Calibur', or 'Tekken'.
Love or hate the fact that Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is only available on the Wii, it will have to do. Now, all the Wii owners can finally have a fighting game that is worth playing. I have to recommend Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, even with some downsides, Tatsunoko is still fun, great to look at, and excellent with friends. Now that Tatsunoko had their turn, let us bring back Marvel for the next round. Marvel vs. Capcom 3—anyone?!
Gameplay:8.5, Graphics:8.5, Sound:7.5, Innovation:7.0, Mojo:8.5 Final: 8.0 / 10