01/05/2009

“THIS is the f*cking Street Fighter game I care about”

by Matthew Edward Hawkins

So how was everyone’s weekend? The first one of 09, for me at least, was quite relaxing. Got the chance to hang with Travis who came to town for the holidays, plus some business I guess. Myself and Katie along with Travis and his gal pal Jessica went to the New Museum, which I had been dying to go for ages now. It’s a great space, though the stuff that was found inside… not as hot. Also got to watch a bit of Vermillion Pleasure Night, thanks to the wonder that is Netflix on the Xbox 360. It’s basically a sketch/variety show from Japan that’s part SNL, part Liquid Television, part cable access, and sports a primarily all female cast. It’s where OH! Mikey/The Fuccons, my favorite Japanese import for the boob tube since (the original) Iron Chef stems from, as a segment on Vermillion originally. And… it’s pretty decent. Though I have a feeling I would be more into it if I was a gay dude. Here’s a taste.

Oh, Katie and I also spent about three hours at the Virgin Megastore looking for stuff to add to our Netflix. Which is where I almost bought this.

Though the definite highlight had to be FIGHTING WEAPON BATTLE: EXTREME EDITION EXTENDED, FOR A NEW MILLENNIAL FIGHT!!!

… Well, not really. Colin was a no-show, as was Nullsleep. But myself along with Joe Salina and the master of ceremonies, Dave Maruo, plus his pal Carl, all gathered at Dave’s place in Greenpoint, Brooklyn… in his kitchen to be exact, which is where his Astro City cabs are set-up, right next to the kitty litter… to soak in the best damn fighter of 08, and more than likely 09 as well. First off, a closer look at the set-up.

Yup, that’s a Wii hooked up to an arcade cabinet. Control-wise (Dave himself will have to field questions about the picture and sound; Slonie already asked if there’s a RGB convertor for the Wii), the Astro City’s inputs are connected to the Wii via PlayStation control wiring, along with a PlayStation to GameCube adaptor. I think? But in the end, arcade perfect controls for a game that deserves it; I can’t even begin to imagine playing any SF-type game via the Wii’s Classic Controller, even if it is pretty nice.

As for the game itself… holy sh*t is Tatsunoko vs. Capcom ever awesome. Seriously. Forget Street Fighter 4, this is the real hotness right here. And please excuse the crappy pics once again, but hey, it’s tricky as hell taking quality pics of any game running off a CRT monitor…

First off, how does it play? F?n fantastic. Feels kinda like Marvel vs Capcom 2, but better? It’s not all over the place, making things much easier to handle. Yet the game’s still a button masher for sure, and perhaps as air crazy as MvC2, but the four of us, nor any of Dave’s other friends (who also enjoyed the game, though not enough to stick around… instead, they spent the rest of the night with LitteBigPlanet, lol) knew enough about the controls to engage in ariel fisticuffs. Though overall, it’s seemingly tighter, but just as frantic and action packed, yet one doesn’t need to be a master of technique like in Street Fighter 3 nor be a combo-memorizing machine like in MvC2 to keep up. So the point is, anyone can enjoy this game. Though diehard SF players will need to push the difficulty to the max (the default setting was admittedly a real push over, at least from what we experienced), and even then they will still complain. Whatever.

Controls are far from complicated: you’ve got three attack buttons, weak, medium, and hard. A fourth button is used to bring in a partner for brief assistance. Hit back on the control stick along with the assistance button will swap characters. The match is won when both folks on the opposing side is down and vice versa. As you fight, a super meter will be filled to help unleash, you guessed it, a super move. And if you have more than one, you can bring in both characters for a double attack.

Each side has a nice sampling of folks from their respective universes. On the Capcom side you have Ryu and Chun-Li along with Alex from Street Fighter, Morrigan from Darkstalkers (man, is it ever nice to not see her same stupid sprite from fifteen years ago once again), Mega Man Volnutt (aka his Legends incarnation), his sister Roll, Batsu from Rival Schools/Project Justice, Sōki from Onimusha, Viewtiful Joe (whose super allows him to move super fast, though a slowing down time move, if one exists, has yet to be found), a girl from the future sporting a gigantic cannon from some Japan only quiz game, plus the mech from Lost Planet. Lilith from Darkstalkers and Sexy Silvia from Viewtiful Joe also make special guest appearances briefly during certain folks’ super moves. Any guesses for whom?

On the Tatsunoko side… are a bunch of characters that none of us were familiar with! Though everyone knows Ken and Jun from Gatchaman/Battle of the Planets/G-Force, plus most anime dorks have seen the Casshern movie by now. I also vaguely recall seeing the Tekkaman cartoon while growing up in South Korea. There’s also Gold Lightan, who along with the Lost Planet mech, is so big that each takes up two character slots, meaning no partner for either guy. And the last boss, for whatever reason, is the final boss in Ōkami.

Believe it or not, the game totally looks better than SF4, no joke. At least character-wise; despite the sharp decrease in the number of polygons used, the fighters in TvC are still more appealing and cooler looking, thanks to the far superior art design. I personally have never been a fan of the look of the characters in SF4, especially the new faces, though I will admit that the little flourishes, like the painterly effects are still nice. Yet, everyone is SF4 is ultimately very ugly. But not here! Also the stages in Sf4 are more interesting overall I guess, but that’s because the environments for the Tatsunoko characters are based upon their sources, and we all know how detail-oriented, or lack thereof, the backgrounds in those shows tended to be (as well as most anime from the 70s and 80s). Plus, whenever a super attack is unleashed, the entire stage gets sucked into a black hole, so if there’s too much stuff to move around, I’d imagine that there would be quite a bit of slowdown as a result. But nothing looks horrible per say (with the action being as fast and furious as it is, most folks won’t have much of a chance to check out the backgrounds anyway), and overall everything looks simply stunning; characters move fast and fluidly, plus the colors are vibrant and spot-on, not at all gaudy and overly pastel as in SF4.

Regarding the audio, it’s what you expect in a Capcom fighter. Each character has his or her theme that plays whenever they enter the fray. But unlike most Capcom Vs titles, in which the first character’s song plays till he or she dies, than the second character’s kicks in, here it switches on the fly, leading to a rather jumbled aural experience. Everyone on the Tatsunoko side has the same, generically wistful animu themes, though they’re all trumped by Roll’s super happy J-pop jingle, but not in a good way, that will stay in your head for days. At least it’s not as fruity overall as MvC2, which is either a disappointment or a relief, depending on the person.

I honestly haven’t had this much fun with a Capcom fighter in a very long time. Certainly not as much as SF4, which mind you, far from sucks. But it’s just no Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. Unfortunately, it’ll never come out here, and all we can hope for is a PS3 port since that system has no issues when playing imports. Though that would mean getting a PS3, which is another big headache right there. So, I guess it’s time I figured out how to play imports on my Wii!

Anyhow, afterwards, Dave swapped the Wii for the DC and we got in a bit of Third Strike action…

… Too bad getting Super Smash Bros Brawl would never work on such a set-up. Oh well. Anyhow, more pics, if anyone is interested can be found here. Plus Dave managed to snag a vid or me and Joe playing, though you really can’t see anything we’re doing, nor my wacky button technique that everyone found rather ridiculous.

  • http://neo-rama.com lamar

    i got to play this for the first time about a week ago. i’ve never been good at the vs games. they’re a little on the crazy side…but the simplified controls here really help to make things a little more fun and easy to deal with. great game. i still haven’t played sf4, though.

  • http://www.fort90.com Matt

    SF4 is, as my pals Joe and Dave stated that very evening quite aptly, the SF3 that everyone wanted in the first place. It feels a lot like the classic SF2 formula, especially in the speed department. Which might make one think it then feels like the Alpha series… but it doesn’t. Sorry, I don’t know enough about Street Fighter as a whole to fully articulate their differences.

    Anyhow, SF4 is certainly not bad, though just not as fun and carefree as TvC. Though I can certainly see diehard arcade brawlers laughing at it. Which I guess is why it has yet to appear at the Chinatown arcade, and why it’ll probably never ever show up.

  • Sheep Herder

    With zero Japanese speaking skills, how easy/difficult was it to navigate through the menus?

  • http://www.dmauro.com dmauro

    Navigating menus and setting up your button configuration will be difficult without either a guide or knowing a bit of Japanese. The pause menu is all in english though.

    To answer your question about the video, the monitor has VGA in because I replaced the chassis with a tri-sync one. So I can simply use a Wii VGA cable, and then the controls and audio go through a project box that has everything it needs to interface with the jamma loom and kick harness.

  • http://www.bankbank.org BankBank

    Hey.. uh.. I’d love to play some games on that cabinet, and I live in Brooklyn. Do you guys ever have “random stranger game night” ? If so, let me know! I’ll bring some beer?

  • anthony

    OMG i live in Brooklyn can i come and play am willing to pay for play and would like to talk to you guys about getting a cab like that at my house plz answer me back

  • Trev

    looks great , i did get excited there for a bit though , thought you had that hooked up via RGB and not VGA

  • Fernando

    How about you stop putting gay pics of your virgin arcades in your kitchen? And more of that skinny little asian biatch. You guys should had her bent over to check if the wii was connected or something

    • http://www.fort90.com fort90

      Fernando: lol

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