“The best fighter is never angry.”
“The following is a guest review by The Black Humor Mage.”
That’s right NPC’s, it’s time for a review of the beloved classic: Marvel vs Capcom 2! I have fond memories of this game. I used to play it with my cousins and uncle on the PlayStation 2 all the time. We had a insane amount of fun with it. It’s hard not to be blinded by nostalgia when thinking about this game. Don’t fret though, my memory was refreshed when I bought it on the PlayStation 3 via the PlayStation Network. With my reintroduction to it, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s still a fun game to play today.
Let’s get a little more in-depth than that. Marvel vs Capcom 2 innovated with the tag-team style of gameplay where you can play as three characters. The controls are much easier understand than the previous installation. The sprites were also improved from the last game. It’s one of the more accessible 2D arcade fighters, which a lot of them are extremely difficult. Believe me, I am definitely not a guy who plays a lot of 2D arcade fighters.
In this game you pick characters from Marvel and Capcom, like the title suggests. Two properties that feel different from each other, but similar in some ways. You got the high fantasy of video games from Japan and the high fantasy of comic books from America. Before Kingdom Hearts brought together Japanese and American properties in a video game, Capcom threw them in the ring to duke it out for the World Heavyweight Championship. There probably was a game that did before this series, but I don’t feel like researching it.
There’s a big selection of characters from the Marvel Universe:
Together, they culminate into the wacky world of Marvel vs Capcom 2. With 56 stinkin’ characters to choose from, the options are endless (I don’t know how to do math). The high amount of characters and added gameplay features made Marvel vs Capcom 2 such a cool game to play. It’s the reason it’s looked back upon so fondly.
The 8-Bit Review:
By the late 90’s and early 2000’s, 2D sprites were looking awesome. 3D polygons were in their infancy, and at the same time 2D models were already being used for so long that they already had a handle on how to make them. As far as 2D sprites are concerned the ones in Marvel vs Capcom 2 are pretty detailed, and some of the best looking ones up until that point. The animations have more frames than before so that it’s more appealing to the eye.
They’re just fun to look at. It’s like controlling actual comic book/cartoon characters on their mediums. The colors and shading are a plus. The bright colors, lines, and shadows really pop. The sprites have aged well.
There’s a glaring critique I have to make: the backgrounds. Don’t get me wrong, the backgrounds look good for the time (although oddly designed) and they’re done well. However, they are 3D backgrounds. I mentioned before in my Metal Gear Solid review that games like Final Fantasy VII and Resident Evil looked weird now because of the blocky 3D polygons against pre-rendered backgrounds. Well, the same principle applies here. This is a 2.5D video game. You got good 2D sprites against aged 3D backgrounds. It looks a weird now, reminding you that this game is from 2000.
Another thing that bugged me about the backgrounds is that virtually all of them have nothing to do with Marvel or Capcom. The first Marvel vs Capcom had backgrounds that related to the properties, and they looked awesome in 2D.
That big clown face? That doesn’t look like anything! The backgrounds are an integral part to 2D arcade fighters, and when you compare the ones used in this game to the previous installment, they pale in comparison.
Marvel vs Capcom 2 has an odd choice of music. It ranges from thick guitars riffs, jazzy pianos, ethereal synths, elevator jazz, fast drums, funk, brass instruments, and a whole ‘lotta bass.
The music for this game has a certain cool jazz style that it sticks to, yet manages to be goofy at the same time. Some of it can sound the same, yet it’s still a good soundtrack, and I like it. But if you don’t like jazz, then it probably won’t sound good to you. And at least it makes it stand out from the rest. Arcade fighters don’t always need to be drenched in 80’s rock influences. Sometimes it can sound like a soulful woman singing in a hazy bar.
The soundtrack is good, and it’s funky. However, it’s all you’ll be listening to for the next few hours. Though, I can’t criticize it too harshly for the overuse of the same music, because it is an arcade game. It wasn’t supposed to last you more than $5 in quarters. Yet, it really wears you down after a while when you play it on consoles. The music you were having so much fun with a moment ago drains you after the 10th repeat. It doesn’t help that a lot of the song structures are repetitive. I guess that much repetition of anything could get on your nerves.
Another cool things about the audio department are the sound effects. They’re accurate to all the characters and they all have their little taunts where the say something, grunt, laugh, or “blah-blah-blah” like Mega Man. They’re fun and true to the many different characters, and shows attention to detail. Yet, they do sound outdated. The sound is a little distorted, and almost bit-crushed when you hear these sound effects, showing its age.
The gameplay is great. It’s the familiar style of a 2D arcade fighter with unique features. The addition of a third character and the ability to switch them out or call them for an attack whenever you want to is an extremely good idea. Assists become a great way to upset your friends. Call in your other character to do some of the grunt work for you. Use them to interrupt a berserker barrage or special move and you’ll have your friend at your throat in no time.
The controls are little more simple. There’s less complication and button inputs to activate combos or specials.If you were like me as a kid, you could get by on just mashing buttons. But there’s also a lot of technicality to it if you’re a pro player. I think a good game strikes a balance between “anybody can play this and have fun” and “pro players can show up at a tournament and be miserable”. There’s the usual movesets that take practice to perfect:
For the most part, the characters have movesets that are unique. Unless they’re Ryu and Ken. Or War Machine and Iron Man. Overall, it’s the usual solid gameplay of an arcade fighter with the prominent feature of assists.
There were many memories playing this game. So many tears. So much bloodshed. I don’t know how any of us carried on. The rage still boils inside of us. Grief strikes in our most private moments. We are husks of our former selves, emptied and hollowed out like a stone tomb. All because we can’t handle losing.
Ah!!! Well, it’s definitely a competitive game. The fact that there’s so many characters to choose from enhances the playing experience. You and your friend can pick from all the Street Fighter characters, all the obscure Capcom characters, and all the Marvel characters whose comics you pretended to read.
It’s two-player, and you have three characters to cycle through in best of three rounds match. Strategize your order for your characters. And if you’re lucky your special will get two of you opponent’s characters at the same time. It’s awesome, it’s hectic, and it’s smart.
Marvel vs Capcom 2 is a relatively easy game. I used to be able to play through the single player mode when I was younger and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. So it couldn’t have been that hard. And it can be challenging depending on who you’re playing. If you’re playing against a pro player, then it becomes hard. Not just because they’re good, but because you have to learn those combos. Those take a lot of practice.
Another aspect of the game is, again, the cycling of your three characters. They have different move-sets and feel different. I personally play as Hayato, Tron Bonne, and Dr. Doom. These characters are unique and set apart from each other. I just really like using them. However, you could see how changing your intuitions in the middle of a match can be quite the challenge. You have to adjust to a new feel, and make sure it’s seamless or you’ll lose to your opponent.
The concept is straightforward and is as old as arcades itself. You got two characters beating each other up while walking side-to-side. But MvC2 is much more accessible than most other fighting games like it. It’s easier to land combos and you got a meter that you fill up to use your special. There’s nothing complicated about using your special move either; it’s as simple as pushing two buttons and unleashing your might.
Replayability comes easy to games which are primarily multiplayer. And yet this game pulls in another punch: the sheer amount of characters in this game. The character selection really bulks up the gameplay, multiplayer, and replayability. You can keep coming back to this game to try out different characters, learn which ones you like the best, and work on being the best. Like that’ll ever happen.
There’s also a single-player mode, as mentioned earlier. You’ll fight through the various characters of the game, three at a time. Pick your three best characters and duke it out until you reach the abyss and fight Abyss. There’s some replay value here. Not a whole lot since you’re playing through the same stages over and over again. But, like I mentioned before: character selection. One good way to git gud is just trying to get through the single-player on different difficulty settings or with different characters. But if that’s not your thing, then the only replay value for you is playing the multiplayer mode with your family and friends.
My Personal Grade: 8/10
Like I said before: I have a lot of fond memories of this game. Coming back to it, I realize that it’s still a fun game to play. There’s a whole mess of characters, even more than the classic Sesame Street vs Capcom.
Although I am a DC fan, Marvel at least has some pretty cool-looking characters. Perfect for an arcade fighter with no narrative substance! And Capcom has some of your old favorites too. The game is more accessible than most fighters. The music and visuals make it a good time. I’ll always think back to this game with the memories I had playing it with my family and say “You know what? Marvel vs Capcom 2 was a pretty cool game.” So umm, I don’t know… what else do you want me to say?
Aggregated Score: 7.8
Did you enjoy this post? Consider becoming a Warrior of Light and join us in restoring integrity and quality to entertainment journalism. We specialize in long-form, analytical reviews and we aim to expand into a podcast and webzine with paid contributors! See our Patreon page for more info!
Categories: Game Review