X-Men vs. Street Fighter Review

I like the Street Fighter series as much as the next guy, but this is taking it way too far.

When a system is incapable of doing justice to a game, one would think a company would be smart enough to not release the game on that system. But for reasons that are probably based entirely around making money, Capcom has released a completely butchered version of its arcade fighter, X-Men vs. Street Fighter, on the PlayStation. The only thing added to the game is super cancels, which allow you to string multiple super combos together. Super cancels were lifted out of Street Fighter EX without much forethought, so some characters' cancels work better than others. In fact, the entire game seems to have been designed without much forethought. Even if this were a perfect translation of the arcade game, the simple fact remains that X-Men vs. Street Fighter is a terrible, unbalanced, pound-on-buttons-at-random-and-win-anyway fighting game.

One of the few things the arcade version (and the Saturn version, which was an arcade-perfect translation) had going for it was the graphics. They weren't spectacular, but the characters were large, colorful, and used a lot of frames of animation. The PlayStation, a fairly weak machine when it comes to 2D, simply can't handle that much data. So Capcom chopped out tons of frames (Juggernaut does a whole lot of standing still, and his attacks are about two frames). The graphics look very washed out, and there is a completely unacceptable amount of slowdown. Ken's Shinryuken super combo had most of the frames chopped out, and it still slows the game down to a crawl. The slowdown and missing frames are so bad and so noticeable that they have a detrimental effect on the already bad gameplay.

The arcade version's big selling point was that you picked two characters and could tag-team between the two at any time during the fight. Your teammate would also come out and help in a two-level team attack, as well as in Alpha counter-style attacks. Since duplicating this on the PlayStation would require keeping four entire sets of animations in memory, the tag feature has been completely removed. You still pick a second character (cruelly taunting players expecting the full functionality of the arcade version), but he only makes his presence felt during the team attacks and counters. To make up for the shortened play time, the one-round battles of the arcade have been extended to the standard two-out-of-three format. Characters also slowly regain life, much like your backup character would in the arcade.

This game just shouldn't exist. At some point in the development cycle, someone should have stepped in, seen that the PlayStation simply couldn't do justice to the original game, and pulled the plug. It took an additional 4MB of RAM to get the Saturn, which already has more RAM than the PlayStation, to run a perfect version of the game. I like the Street Fighter series as much as the next guy, but this is taking it way too far.

The Good

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The Bad

About the Author

Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.