Tatsunoko vs. Capcom ReviewPatrick Honeyman
Collaborations. The stuff of dreams, normally made to please fans and create something great between two companies. One of these companies that seems to have this pinned down pretty well is none other than game developer Capcom, who over the years have collaborated with the likes of Marvel and SNK to create some quality crossover fighting games that have set beat-em-up fans hearts on fire. Capcoms latest collaboration is with none other than a legend in Japanese animation, the studio Tatsunoko Pro who has been around for roughly 45 years and have provided baby-boomer Japanese with a host of characters they will remember as childhood heroes. It is this collaboration that fans had wanted, and Capcom has given them by making Tatsunoko vs Capcom(hereafter TvC), the latest tag team crossover game from Capcoms stable. Does it hold up to the likes of its predecessors? Read on to find out!
Akin to previous entries in Capcoms crossover games, players pick 2 characters from an initial selection of 22 to use as a tag-team and through a set number of fights take the (cheap) big boss on in the final stage. Players can choose from Capcom favourites Ryu, Chun-Li and Morrigan through to more obscure but welcome choices such as Kaijin no Soki from Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams and Saki from Quiz Nanairo Dreams (a Japanese-only released quiz game in Japanese arcades). On the Tatsunoko side, players can choose from Ken the Eagle and Jun the Swan through to Casshern and again more obscure choices such as Ippatsuman and Polymar. Although more fighters are always welcome (and additional fighters can be unlocked by meeting certain play conditions) the variety that has been included in TvCs roster is decent to say the least.
The characters alone are not the only great feature in TvC. Backgrounds representing familiar locales in both universes are the order of the day and will recall nostalgic feelings in any old soul. Combined with the cell-shaded style the creators have taken here and it all fits together in a colourful and aesthetically pleasing package to digest.
Gameplay-wise, Capcom have done the decent thing and made TvC accessible to those who may want to use a Nintendo classic pad or the Wiimote. Players using the Wiimote can utilise a simplified control method to pull out combos, specials, supers and team attacks when required. Those more familiar with Capcoms previous fighter will probably use a classic pad and the use the combination of fireball, hurricane kick, dragon punch and charge moves to make their characters do the required dance. Players will tend to find they will have at their disposal light, medium and hard attacks as well as a partner button that allows the player to get a quick assist, change mid-air combo and carry out team super attacks for large amounts of damage.
In the vein of previous Capcom vs titles, players can chain attacks together, launch the opponent in the air and switch characters mid-super (up to 2 times) to provide them with many systems to use at their disposal. More technical players can call upon the mega crash ability to sacrifice some of their life to break out of a stick situation and the baroque cancel which allows you to break out of an attack mid-combo and carry on piling up the damage (if you are dextrous enough). All in all, the game provides a lot to learn for both beginners and long established beat-em-up fans.
Add into the mix the ability to unlock additional characters for the Western release (such as Frank West from Dead Rising and Joe the Condor from Gatchaman) that can be unlocked as well as the regular modes of arcade, versus, survival, online, time attack, training as well as a gallery and shop where players can purchase characters and background art, extra colours and the intro movies for the game and you can see there is plenty to play for and learn here in this latest crossover. Ending artwork done by the staff at UDON studio (the people who do the Street Fighter comics) is also a nice addition.
For all the good aspects that TvC brings top the beat-em-up genre, there are a few niggles that bring the game down. As exciting as the game can be, TvC could come across as too hectic with characters flying around and on-screen effects making it slightly difficult to keep up with the pace. Another valid point is that younger players (this is on the Wii after all) may not be familiar with Tatsunoko Pros offerings. The Gatchaman characters, Casshern and Karas may have been heard of but some of the other entrants may not resonate with players in the same manner. A final issue is more of a minor point but not having the original soundtrack for either side of the crossover sucks just a little bit of the games soul out of it. It is understood that there were licensing issues but character-themed music adds to the games characters that little but more (even having the Capcom characters themes would have been nice but this could have been a measure taken to focus attention across the whole roster).
Detracting elements aside, TvC as a beat-em-up is an exciting, somewhat technical and welcome into the Wiis game library and the beat-em-up genre. Capcom have always tried hard to make their collaborations exciting and great gameplay-wise and again show us how its done. Just make sure you get a classic pad to play it properly though.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.