Tatsunoko vs. Capcom Ultimate All-Stars Updated Hands-On

TGS 2009: Capcom shows off playable Tekkaman Blade and Frank West.

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Capcom had an updated version of its upcoming Wii brawler Tatsunoko vs. Capcom Ultimate All-Stars on hand at this year's Tokyo Game Show. The upcoming game is the localized version of the Japanese fighter released late last year for the Wii that let players pit Capcom characters against characters from the Tatsunoko stable of anime characters. After hinting at new characters for a little too long, Capcom finally took the wraps off two and had them in playable form. Capcom's Frank West, the photographer from Dead Rising, and Tatsunoko's Tekkaman Blade were selectable in the work-in-progress version of the game.

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What's New: The addition of Frank West and Tekkaman Blade to the roster has added a well-balanced mix of craziness to the action. West has a bunch of hilarious zombie- and mall-item-powered attacks along with three super attacks that play to his strengths as a photographer, a mall resident, and zombie bait. His special attacks include swinging bats and golf clubs to smack foes, tossing shopping carts to hit enemies, and summoning zombies from offscreen. We're pretty taken with the zombie-summoning move, as we discovered the undead know no loyalty; once a zombie is out, it will attack anyone near it, including Frank. West's three supers are pretty awesome as well. His first sees him suddenly appear in his ill-fitting Mega Man costume and fire off a massive energy bolt at his opponent. His second is a pretty traditional piledriver attack that sees him grab an enemy, spin him around, and fling him into the air. The chuckleworthy twist comes in when the enemy comes down to earth and Frank whips out a bat and smacks him with a rallying cry of "Dead Rising!" Finally, Frank's third super finds him slamming a Kobun head on a foe and the camera angle shifting to show a mob of zombies. After the zombie crowd shot, Frank grabs his foe and makes a run into the crowd, shoving his opponent headfirst into the assembled undead.

What's Different: We noticed a number of minor tweaks to the presentation of the version on display here at TGS. The character select screen has changed from stacked tiles to a radial menu. In addition, characters appear to have new portraits in the selection screen. More subtle differences we picked up on were in the balancing. For example, Alex feels a bit stronger than he did in the Japanese version.

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What's The Same: The control scheme is tight, and the visuals are sharp. The roster offers a good mix of faces from the Capcom and Tatsunoko universes. Overall the game is building on a solid concept and tossing in plenty for fans to enjoy.

What Impression The Game Made This Time: Tatsunoko vs. Capcom Ultimate All-Stars continues to shine every time we see it. The roster has a decent mix of fan favorites and unknowns to keep things interesting. The fighting mechanics are accessible and flashy enough that just about anyone can get some decent results just from picking up a controller, but there's also plenty for hardcore fighting fans to master too. Look for the game to be released in January of next year for the Wii.

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