Marvel Vs Capcom 2 holds the distinction of being one of the greatest fighting games to ever be released on Sega’s cult console the Dreamcast. So popular and well regarded was the game that it was eventually ported over to the PlayStation 2, the original Xbox and then, some years later, digitally re-released on Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network allowing a whole new generation of gamers to experience its eye melting spectacle. And now Capcom have released a version of the game on Apple App Store for the low introductory price of £1.99/$2.99.
For those that have never played a Marvel Vs Capcom game before, it can best be described as a tag-team beat ‘em up that pits two teams of three against each other. The game’s roster consists of some of the best known characters from the Marvel and Capcom universes, such as Street Fighter’s Ryu and Marvel Comic’s Spider-Man, as well as a number of lesser known characters such as the X-Men’s Marrow and Darkstalkers’ giant mummy Anakaris.
One bonus it has over the recent re-releases is that all of the bonus characters, costume colours, and stages are locked from the start, meaning you’ll have to put some effort in if you want to unlock everything. With nearly 30 characters to unlock, 56 new costume colours, and half a dozen stages, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. Every time you win a fight you earn a small number of points. These points can then be exchanged for bonus content in the secrets menu. However you’ll need to carefully select which bonus content you decide to unlock as each time your purchase an item the cost of the remaining items increases significantly.
As well as the main arcade mode, in which you fight your way through seven stages culminating in a gigantic boss battle, there are a handful of other modes to try out. As well as your bog standard training mode, which really only serves the purpose of letting you get to grips with the new control scheme, there is a Score Attack mode, which is functionally the same as the arcade mode, and a multiplayer mode. This can only be played locally through bluetooth, with no online support to speak of. While the lack of online multiplayer is not a major issue it may be enough to dissuade some from picking it up.
However, as positive as I wanted to be about this release, I cannot avoid the elephant in the room. By far the biggest issue with this version of the game is Capcom’s new touch screen control system. In a frantic and frenzied game like Marvel Vs Capcom 2 what you really need is a high degree of control. What the iOS version brings to the table is a fairly cluttered and ineffective control scheme that manages to just about handle what the game has to throw at you in the early fights, but towards the end it becomes more of a challenge to wrestle with the controls.
The screen features a digital analogue stick on the bottom left corner and four buttons in the right corner. There are two buttons dedicated to performing punches and kicks (as opposed to the four in the original version of the game) with two other buttons that perform special moves and the character assists. Swiping these two buttons allows you to quickly perform special moves and assist techniques without having to use the fairly small and ill-placed analogue stick. It’s a good idea, but one that has been fairly poorly implemented. More often than not I found that the buttons were simply too small, so much so that during the heat of battle I would invariably swipe across a button and it wouldn’t register what I had intended to do, leading to my character just standing there doing nothing.
It is fortunate then that you can adjust the button’s positioning in the options, however it doesn’t change the fact that these touch controls just aren’t up to the task at hand. When it was first announced that Marvel Vs Capcom 2 was coming to iOS I fully expected Capcom to implement a control scheme that was similar to the optional touch controls in the PlayStation Vita version of Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3. These controls simply required you to tap the screen to perform various attacks with your rhythm dictating the severity and length of your combo. Yes it meant that you could easily exploit the game by simply tapping away, but I never felt frustrated with that control scheme at any point in time.
Graphics: 2/5 – The game’s bright and bold art style has not been reworked in any way, leaving some bitty looking character models. Overall however the game has a great looking style, filling the screens with explosive bright colours and lighting effects.
Sound: 3/5 – You’ll either love or hate the game’s bizarre inoffensive soundtrack that is made up of a mixture of soul music, soft rock, and jazz… I loved it, but I know others that cannot stand it.
Gameplay: 2/5 – The simple fact of the matter is that the overall game experience is hindered by the touch controls. That’s not to say that you cannot succeed with them, it’s just no way near as smooth or satisfying as the console versions.
Longevity: 4/5 – With nearly 100 items of unlockable content, including about 30 characters, it will take a long time to collect everything. The lack of online multiplayer may hinder replayability for some, although the inclusion of bluetooth multiplayer does offset the damage somewhat.
Overall: 2.5 out of 5
To be perfectly frank I’m not sure who Capcom are marketing this game towards. Fans of the series will likely hate this port because of the inferior control system, and those that are new to the series may very well be put off by the game’s punishing and extreme nature. Still, for the current price of £1.99/$2.99 it’s probably worth a shot to any that are curious about it.
- Luke Mears