Capcom Vs. SNK 2 EO impressions
We take the import version of Capcom's GameCube fighting game for a spin.
We got our hands on an import copy of Capcom's first GameCube fighting game, Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO, the "simplified" version of last year's 2D fighting game for the PS2 and Dreamcast. Capcom vs. SNK 2 was originally a popular crossover arcade fighting game that featured characters from Capcom's Street Fighter series and SNK's The King of Fighters series. So far, the game itself seems like a straightforward but solid port of the original arcade game--all of the characters, menu screens, background stages, background music tracks, voice-over, and "groove" fighting styles are intact and are exactly the same as in the previous console versions of Capcom vs. SNK 2. Pretty much all of the game's character animations seem intact as well.
Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO seems to play at much the same pace that it did in the previous console versions. However, the button layout on the default GameCube controller--with its single large face button and smaller surrounding buttons--doesn't seem as well suited to the game's six-button setup, which, like in previous versions of the game, includes three punches and three kicks for each character. That's apparently where Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO's new "GC-ism" option is supposed to come into play.
GC-ism is the most prominent new feature in Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO, and you can choose to use it just before starting a new game. Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO has all of the same play modes that the previous versions of the game have, including training and arcade play. Whenever you begin a normal game, you can choose a three-on-three fight, a ratio fight, or a single-character match, just like you can in other versions of the game. And as in the previous versions of the game, you can also choose whichever characters you'd like to play as, as well as whichever groove you want your character to use--and then you'll be given an additional choice of using either "AC-ism" ("arcade-ism"), in which you must manually enter your special attacks as normal, or GC-ism, which lets you use the GameCube's camera stick to instantly perform special attacks and super attacks.
For instance, Terry Bogard's "power wave" attack is performed simply by pressing the camera stick in the down-forward position, and Terry's "power geyser" superattack is performed simply by pressing the stick in the down position. Also, wrestler Zangief's infamous 360 degree "spinning piledriver" attack has been simplified to pressing the camera stick forward. Also, with the exception of the B button (which is used to roll or dodge), the face buttons aren't used in GC-ism. Instead, you use the shoulder buttons to perform analog normal attacks. One shoulder button is for punches, the other is for kicks, and the longer you press the button, the stronger the attack (tapping the shoulder button lets you jab, while pressing it lets you perform a stronger punch, for instance). It doesn't seem like an optimal setup for performing standard normal attack/special attack combinations, especially considering how far down on the controller the camera button is. And unfortunately, you can't switch from GC-ism over to AC-ism in the middle of a match--you have to restart the game. However, if you're using GC-ism with characters like Terry, who have a variety of special attacks that move them forward as well as attacking from a distance, you can practically get through an entire fight by using nothing but special attacks with the camera stick. We were able to breeze through matches against the computer set on easy difficulty with just one hand by using a single thumb for the camera button. What's more, GC-ism automatically blocks incoming attacks on the ground and in the air and will automatically make you crouch-block any low attacks, even if your character is standing up. However, GC-ism does not automatically protect your character from getting thrown.
When you're using AC-ism instead of GC-ism, Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO plays much like it does on the other consoles, though we had some trouble using the standard GameCube controller's button layout. Like in the previous games, most characters are at their best when players make good use of their different individual punches and kicks, as well as varying strengths of special attacks--and at least to begin with, we had a few problems using the smaller buttons for normal attacks. Of course, we were able remap our buttons with the options menu, but between all the different buttons, such as the large A button, smaller X and Y buttons above it, and the shoulder buttons, we still had a bit of trouble performing standard combination attacks.
So far, GC-sim seems like a helpful tool for first-time players who simply don't know how to use or perform the game's special attacks, though it doesn't seem as helpful for more advanced players, who will want to make regular use of their characters' normal and special attacks. We'll take a much more in-depth look at Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO soon.