Capcom Fighting Evolution PS2 review

False advertising laws prevent companies from stating something that is a blatant lie while trying to sell you something. It's an excellent law, one that needs to be in place. Somehow, Capcom has managed to find a way around this. Capcom Fighting Evolution is the furthest thing from an evolution you'll ever see in the video game world. It's actually a product that de-evolves all the right moves they made with Capcom vs. SNK 2.

The premise isn't even a good one. Five games from Capcom's large base of one-on-one brawlers are combined. Three of them are Street Fighter variations (II, Alpha, III), the others being Darkstalkers and the obscure Red Earth. This is the first Capcom fighter to NOT include Ryu's counterpart and rival Ken. That should be enough to throw up a warning flag.

The biggest issue here is balance. Dimitri is brutal, far too powerful, and hard to get a clean shot at. Hauzer is one of the largest Capcom sprites of all time, he carries with him such a reach and range, it's frustrating. The rest of the cast has the moves from their respective games available to them. That means Ryu, Guile, Bison, and Zangief are stuck with an archaic move set. The previously mentioned CvS 2 allowed the player to select what style of play they prefer. Not so here. This is far from progress.

Only the tag system switches things around a bit. It's the closest the game comes to doing anything different, and that's not a compliment. You'll always pick two characters. Before each round begins, you'll pick to either switch or stay with your current choice. It's supposedly a way to keep your opponent guessing. Even the selection process is strange, requiring you to press two buttons simultaneously. While that's nit picking at its worst, it's simply another small annoyance to throw on top of the rest.

Controls are, as always, perfect. There's little to complain about as far as actual fighting goes. This is still a Capcom fighter, and it does nothing to change the formula. Fans who are continuing to play these games don't want heavy changes made anyway. A good arcade stick is all you need... that and a lot of patience to put up with the balance issues.

There is no online play here. That's only available in the soon-to-released Xbox version. You'll work your way through the arcade mode to unlock two extra characters and original music tracks. After you've done that, there's nothing left besides multi-player competition, and without online support, that's spoiled too.

Sprites have barely undergone any changes (if any at all), they're still low resolution, and they jar horribly with the watercolor styled backdrops. The Darkstalker characters are the worst of the lot with a thick, comic book outline that sticks out in an unnecessary manner. While the stages they combat in are unique in their style, there's little animation, and at times, none at all. Worse yet, there are more recognizable characters just standing in the backgrounds than there are selectable ones. That's irritating.

The audio is a step up from the unrecognizable music of a few previous games in this genre. It seems to be stepping back to a time before aggravating electronica and techno dominated. With the original music unlocked and in play, it's even better. All of the character voices are the same.

While anyone can applaud Capcom for sticking with 2-D fighters, they're showing just why these games are not made anymore with releases like this. It's not a complete wash, just an average Capcom fighter that doesn't offer anything that the previous releases this generation did. If they want to try to get back into the serious, hardcore fighting game market again, they need to try so much harder than this.

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