What happened – I don’t actually remember if there were even rumors of Capcom VS SNK 2 coming to American Dreamcasts, but considering we got the first game, it seems likely that there were. CVS2 would hit the Dreamcast, but only in Japan. In my experience it was one of the most widely imported titles in the West, to the point where some DC groups talk about it like it was a regular release.
The Game – If there is one thing Capcom’s massive library of fighters has taught us, it is that they never did get it right the first time. The first iteration always comes with its share of problems, while the final revision is often tweaked and polished to perfection. It happened with Street Fighter 2 and 3, it happened with Darkstalkers, and it happened with Capcom VS SNK.
The original CVS was novel enough to make it popular, but it was unable to realize the full potential of this concept. The idea of having both these companies’ characters together in one fighting game still seems amazing, and I don’t think Capcom knew what to do the first time around. How do you manage two distinct rosters? How do you manage the unique fighting engines created by both companies? Capcom’s answer was to be conservative, and as such CVS1 felt like it could (and should) have been so much more.
CVS2 thankfully is so much more. I know there are a lot of fans out there slobbering for a third game with a roster of over 100 and six different versions of K’ and Dante. Some of us are more realistic; if this has to be the final Capcom VS SNK game, I’ll take it. Small complaints aside, it is amazing to see just how well this game worked and still works. Capcom improved the roster not only by making it bigger, but by carefully choosing who to include.
On the Capcom side, they made the smart choice of using Street Fighter characters almost exclusively (with a few acceptable additions like Morrigan). This is much, much preferred to Marvel VS Capcom 2, which tried to represent more of Capcom as a company and thus had stupid additions such as Captain Commando and Jill Valentine. Cute, but they just aren’t going to work well for a serious fighter.
The SNK side falters a bit simply because there are too many damn people to choose from. As such we see no modern King of Fighters characters, and we’re missing a few classics like Blue Mary and Billy Kane. On a whole however, it works, and seeing fighters from Samurai Showdown and Last Blade is a pleasant surprise.
The biggest knock against the game seems to be a common thread when it comes to Capcom revisions; more characters, better fighting, poorer backgrounds. CVS1 had some beautiful 2d stages, complete with SNK style stage intros. CVS2 opts for 2D/3D hybrid stages like in Marvel VS Capcom, and while they are far more colorful and interesting than those in MVC2, only a few stand out in my mind. Too bad they couldn’t include the old ones as well.
Capcom VS SNK 2 has a cushy six fighting styles to choose from (the original only had two), and they do a fantastic job of chronicling each company’s history. CVS2 finally allows us to test whether parrying is better than a Just Defend, or if the air blocking is more effective than rolling (hint: it is). The fact that you can make a custom style that combines elements from both companies adds an unprecedented amount of extra depth.
While all of this is well and good, we don’t want to get bogged down with the technical details. The real proof of CVS 2’s quality is how it continues to be played seriously at tournament level, even after players have discovered such game altering glitches as roll canceling. While the competitive Marvel VS Capcom 2 roster can be counted on one hand, Capcom VS SNK 2 can still be played with a decent variety of teams, fighters and styles. Making such a huge game without it being horribly broken is a challenge, and CVS2 does it about as well as you can hope. Of course, if all you care about is putting Ken, Terry and Guile against the world (like I do :) ), then none of this matters. In that case, consider this your perfect fighting game.
Did we miss out? – This is a tough call. CVS 2 is one of the best fighting games ever made, and is essentially the last big 2d fighter to come out of Capcom. Even with Guilty Gear and KOF carrying the torch, CVS 2 remains a gorgeous, fun, and deep game that has so far stood the test of time. In this respect, U.S. Dreamcast fans lost out big time.
The problem with this judgment is that the game would see release in the States on PS2, Xbox and Gamecube. If you still haven’t played this game, it isn’t very hard to get your hands on it in some form or another. This takes most, if not all of the sting out of the omission on Dreamcast.
On the other hand, the fact that Capcom threw it onto every major platform makes me wonder why there wasn’t a DC release. If they could spend the time and money to bring it to the Gamecube, one of the least friendly consoles for fighters, then surely they could have brought it to the Dreamcast. Considering some of the other risky releases Capcom brought to the console, this one seems like it would have been a safe bet.
If anything, I suppose we could blame it on the release window. CVS 2 would have come out at a time when new DC games were difficult or impossible to find on shelves (though that didn’t stop Agetec from localizing Mark of the Wolves).
Final Verdict? The only ones missing out are people who haven’t bought a new console since the DC. Considering how low that number is, I can’t say we missed out with this one. Just about everyone who cares about this game has a way to play it.