Capcom Fighting Evolution is an arcade release that continues the Japanese developer's trend of mixing and matching rosters and fighting styles from disparate games into one 2D package. But while previous games from Capcom have either worked with licenses, such as the X-Men vs. Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom games, Capcom Fighting Evolution takes a new approach altogether. Rather than marrying its own fighting systems or simply trying to blend unique systems into one game, as was the case in Capcom vs. SNK, Capcom Fighting Evolution tries (much like the recent Street Fighter Anniversary Collection) to mix and match the various Capcom fighting systems into one cohesive package by drawing on five unique systems from its library of titles. We first got our hands on the arcade game last month at the Tokyo Game Show, and today we received a work-in-progress version of the PlayStation 2 conversion of the game so that we could clock in some time with it to see how it's coming together.
You'll find the standard three gameplay modes in Capcom Fighting Evolution--arcade, versus, and training--and there are gallery and options modes that let you check on the items you've unlocked as well as customize your game. The arcade mode is the standard fighting ladder you have to go through in all brawlers. You'll pick a pair of characters and face off against other teams of two until you eventually face off against a boss. The game's fighting system is really where Capcom Fighting Evolution stands apart from most other console brawlers. The two key components of it are its team system and its actual fighting mechanics. The team system differs from Capcom's previous implementation and use of pairs in that you won't be able to call in your partner during a fight. Instead you'll just choose which member of your team will participate in the second round of a fight. The more significant aspect of the two, however, is the fighting system itself, which is, in fact, five different systems. Capcom has drawn on five specific franchises for the characters that comprise the game's roster. They include Street Fighter II, DarkStalkers, Street Fighter III, Red Earth, and Street Fighter Alpha. Each has a very unique fighting system that is, in many respects, a snapshot of the maturity of the mechanics Capcom is known for.
While our work-in-progress version of the game provided us with access to nearly all of the fighters in the game, you'll only have 10 to choose from at the start: Ryu and Guile from SF II; Demetri and Felicia from DarkStalkers; Yun and Chun Li from SF III; Guy and Sakura from Street Fighter Alpha; and Leo and Hauser from Red Earth (a CPS III arcade game from Capcom that was also known as "Warzard" in Japan). Each group of characters will use the fighting system from its respective game, and each will have its unique supermeter types and moves. It's an interesting setup, especially considering how different each of the systems plays. Balance is definitely an issue that we hope will continue to be tweaked as the game nears its release date, because the fighting systems are so different that some characters are able to kick butt much more readily than others.
The game uses the classic six-button Capcom layout, with three levels of punches and kicks, and it controls pretty well. The incomplete state of the game made it hard to accurately judge as to whether or not the controls will be as spot-on as in the original games. As we mentioned earlier, all the game's characters will have their individual moves from their respective games. This also appears to extend to combos, because we were able to pull off some staple combos with relative ease using Ryu and Guile.
As far as the game's graphics stand right now, Capcom Fighting Evolution is as much of a patchwork collection of sprites as its fighting system is. The game is a pretty faithful conversion of the arcade game to the PlayStation 2. All the characters appear as they do in their "original" games. While this is fine for the characters that are taken from the more recent titles, the older fighters look a bit pixelated. This creates an odd juxtaposition with the backgrounds in the game, because they sport a decidedly modern sheen to them and include cameos from a plethora of familiar faces.
Our first impressions of the PlayStation 2 version of Capcom Fighting Evolution indicate that the game appears to be a faithful conversion of its arcade cousin, warts and all. It would be nice to have some parity among the sprites to give the game a uniform look, but what's on hand gets the job done. As far as the actual fighting system goes, we'll have to spend some more time with the game to see exactly how all the fighting systems end up working out together. Capcom Fighting Evolution is currently slated to ship this November for the PlayStation 2.