Gonna take you for a ride. Dear God, that song. Some of us have had it stuck in our heads for nearly a decade now, and if you haven't, let us be the first to welcome you to our little club with the release of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 on XBLA earlier this week. The Xbox 360's custom soundtrack feature has never been so appreciated.
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (Xbox LIVE Arcade [Reviewed], PlayStation Network)
My second-favorite fighter of all time returns. Here we are. Whether you last played MvC2 while gathered around the Dreamcast with friends or standing at a cabinet in an arcade with complete strangers, it's probably been a while. You're wondering what's new or not new with the port, and we'll get to you in a minute. First, however, we've got some out there who've never played it at all.
While I'm thrilled with the graphical update and the outstanding network performance, something I'm far less pleased with is the very limited options for controller layout. The game lets you map two punches, two kicks, and two assists. End of story. Regardless of what type of controller you plan to use, that leaves two buttons unemployed. It might not be as irritating if you're playing with a standard 360 controller, but if you're using a six-button fightpad like me or an arcade stick like most other people, those two buttons are right there. With nothing to do. Controllers have grown an extra pair of buttons in their evolution since the Dreamcast, and it would have been nice if we could map the oft-used "both kicks" or "both punches" command to them. Or taunts. Or, you know, anything.
Some might disagree, but 15 bucks to rock out online with a much prettier version of one of the greatest fighting games ever made sounds like a pretty good deal to me. And so far, that's exactly what it's been. Suck on it, eBay.
You know, it gives me chills to be involved with the review of a game this monumental. Nearly ten years after its release, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 retains the title of most large scale, hyper-kinetic game in the 2D fighting genre. When games like Tekken and Soulcalibur had all but taken over the arcade fighting game market, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 kept 2D fighters from becoming irrelevant. More importantly, it never gave in to predictability or cliches. This is the game where a cactus man can casually eat Captain America while Jill Valentine offers a mixed herb to Thanos; the death-crazed wielder of the infinity gauntlet. For fighting games, or videogames in general, this is as far from cliche as it gets.
Final Score: 9.0 -- Superb (9s are a hallmark of excellence. There may be flaws, but they are negligible and won't cause massive damage to what is a supreme title.)
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