I Think I'm Turning Japanese, I Really Think So...

User Rating: 8.5 | Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars WII
Though I'm not great at fighting games, I've always enjoyed playing them, and watching more intricate fighters (such as Street Fighter) being played was equally entertaining for me growing up. There's a lot of complexity in most Capcom fighters, but there's also a natural ebb and flow that makes the games damned addictive. So, when Tatsunoko vs. Capcom (TvC) came along, I knew I'd at least have to give it a try. Very glad I did…

Again, I'm no expert on the matter. I know what an Aerial Rave is, and though I usually get my ass handed to me any time I buck up and helm the controls of something like Street Fighter, I still wax nostalgic whenever I hear the terms Hadouken or Shoryuken. I'll be honest, though – even though I didn't know diddly squat about Tatsunoko and their characters (outside of Speed Racer, whom I also grew up on), the game looked VERY Japanese, and well, I'm as much a sucker for that sort of thing as the next gamer.

As a scrub fighter, I really appreciate TvC. When I first popped the game in, I opted for only the Wii Remote turned sideways, and it was enough to get me once again hooked on the whole fighting-game thing. Of course, after spending 20 or so hours with the game, I realized there was so much more for me to enjoy, and with my Gamecube controller in hand, I took my game to the next level. Sure, I still get tossed in most matches, but I'm having fun – end of story, really.

But that's not the end of my story, actually. I love this game because it feels like a carnival. I could live without the Spammy McSpammersons that seem to loiter about online, but that sort of thing is no fault of the game itself. The characters are balanced wonderfully; the move sets are challenging to pull off without making you feel like you're playing Twister with your fingers; and the animations and stages are simply a blast to watch and experience.

The game's interface is, in most respects, smartly conceived, allowing you to check out the various move lists while you're training. And though not all of the extras are impressive, there's enough padding to give the package some meaty value. My main gripes with the game, though, are minor, albeit frustrating, missteps that are hard to justify. Why can I not back out once I've chosen a character? Why is choosing a color for my character guesswork? Why are the alternate "costumes" merely palette swaps instead of cool new outfits? Why is there no lobby system when playing online? And why must I purchase things I've already unlocked in the Arcade mode?

All that stuff, though, is easily glossed over, as the game itself is just so solid. TvC is just another example of why nobody can touch Capcom when it comes to fighting games (except Tekken, who have developers smart enough to offer an amazing lobby system for their online fighters). The game looks really great, not so much in terms of textures and lighting, but the colors are like a blast of visual flavors. The music, too, is very fun – very Japanese.

I own a PS3 as well, and TvC has now inspired me to check out Super Street Fighter IV when it comes out. I tried out the regular SFIV for PC (played with a 360 controller), and though it was obviously an incredible game, it scared the living **** out of me. But TvC has kind of made me feel like I could once again come back into the fighting fold. If nothing else, it's a great arcade-style game for my home. This is one of those games every Wii owner should have as part of their library, regardless of personal taste.