We really have to thank Capcom for giving us match-ups we never could have dreamed of with their trademark “versus” series of fighting games, which let us experience battles between characters from different videogames and beyond.
Well, that time has come again, and this time Capcom has decided to pluck a crew of characters from their various franchises: Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, Megaman, and even Dead Rising, to take them up against a colourful entourage of heroes and villains from the Japanese animation studio, Tatsunoko. I used the word “colourful” intentionally because, unless you’re used to Japanese superheroes, you will not be ready for these guys – they make our Western costumed superheroes look discreet and tasteful by comparison. The lineup includes lively characters from Science Ninja Team Gatchman, Neo-Human Casshern, Hurricane Polymar and Yatterman to name a few, all of whom come with trademark attacks and weapons from their respective anime series.
In typical Capcom “versus” style, Tatsunoko vs Capcom is a fast-paced, 2-on-2 tag-team versus fighter. Players can tag their characters in and out of battle at will, and the first one to defeat both of their opponent’s characters wins. Each character has a unique fighting style and a respectable lineup of special, super and ultra moves which they can combine in crazy combos. To the average player, it might seem like the game is all about dashing in, hammering a basic three of four hit combo and then finishing with a special or super, but for the experts who are willing to dig deeper, there’s an arsenal of tactical options waiting to be discovered. Technical characters like Alex from Street Fighter III and Polymar are particularly impressive – they might seem slow and hard to handle, but you won’t believe what they’re capable of in the hands of expert players.
It’s obvious that Capcom was trying to emulate the Street Fighter IV graphical style on the Wii, and they’ve done a pretty good job of it. The characters all look fantastic, especially when the super moves start flying and the lighting goes crazy. There are a number of recognisable locales to fight in, including Ryu’s Japan stage, Aensland Castle, Yatterman’s workshop and Gatchman’s gigantic airship. Oh, you can also duke it out in “Les Vagas” (seriously) if you’re so inclined. The sound effects are loud and obnoxious, with plenty of characters screaming the names of their moves before using them – I know we’re all used to that in Street Fighter, but these anime guest stars take it to a whole new level. The music is pretty good throughout with the exception of the mood-shatteringly unsuitable J-pop intro theme. Seriously, do the Japanese think that’s actually cool?
The game plays surprisingly well with the Wiimote turned sideways and makes up for the lack of buttons by automating some functions, but it was ideally created to be played with the Wii Classic controller – and if there were ever a good reason to own one, it’s this game.