Hands-on: DC Marvel vs. Capcom 2

TOKYO – Marvel vs. Capcom 2 hits Japan and is displayed at TGS – we deliver full impressions of this awesome fighter.

TOKYO – Marvel vs. Capcom 2 for the Dreamcast hit stores yesterday in Japan and was also prominently displayed at Capcom's TGS booth. We've been playing the heck out of this great Dreamcast fighter, so we've put together some impressions and media for you to check out.

Jeff Gerstmann's impressions:

Capcom's versus series of fighting games, which started out pitting Capcom's Street Fighters against a collection of Marvel Comics' X-Men, hasn't changed much over the years. It's always been a two-on-two tag battle fighting game, with over the top moves and really crazy combos. And it's always run on Capcom's CPS2 arcade hardware. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 changes all that. The arcade version ran on Sega's Naomi board, which allows the game to deliver amazing 3D backgrounds that compliment the 2D fighters extremely well. Also, the game is now a three-on-three tag battle. The Dreamcast version is now available in Japan, and it's an excellent version of the game.

The new characters in MvC2 are really well done. Jill Valentine (of Resident Evil fame) has lots of funny, yet useful moves. One move causes a flaming zombie to lurch across the screen to attack Jill's opponent. One of Jill's super combos causes Tyrant to shoot up from the floor and pummel her enemy. Tron (from The Misadventures of Tron Bonne) fights from the safety of her robot suit and has a giant Servbot attack as a super combo.

The game is also playable online, though as of this writing, we've been unable to test the online mode, which uses an independent carrier for its games, not just the regular old Internet. Playing online games earns you N points, while playing in the arcade and solo Dreamcast play both net you two other types of points. These points are used in Secret Factor mode. You spend the points you earn to unlock new characters and colors. Colors usually only require Dreamcast points, while the new characters require network and/or arcade points.

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 makes a small change to the six-button fighting game control scheme we've spent the last decade mastering. The game uses four buttons for main attacks, and two to call in your other characters for brief assist attacks. With its four-button face, the DC pad handles the task extremely well. Overall, this is an excellent port of the arcade version. Look for a full import review soon.

James Mielke's impressions:

When the original MvC came out, a lot of gamers thought this was the top of the mountain. It was a combination of Capcom's best fighters going head to head with the best of their Marvel-based games, while bringing in a bunch of classic characters (Strider, Captain Commando) never before seen in a fighting game. Now that MvC2 is out in stores in Japan, it's safe to say that Capcom has eclipsed their previous efforts. While not only adding a third playable character to the chaos, Capcom has managed to fit in fully 3D backgrounds (like KOF 99 Dream Match Never Ends, but light years better) that run in hi-res, 60 frames-per-second (as they are animated) and are stunningly detailed. These backgrounds flip back and forth between screen-filling 2D effects at the drop of a hat with no discernible slowdown or glitching. The action is fast and furious as always, and the selection of characters is even greater than before. MvC2 looks so striking and plays so well, it will be interesting to see if the much-anticipated SNK vs. Capcom can match up. We received a special VMU download from Capcom at the show. Check back for details as to what the hell it does for us.

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