Tatsunoko Vs Capcom is already being described by anyone with a gob as the unkempt younger brother of the positively regal Street Fighter IV, and for a new game to earn that reputation so quickly (namely a comparison to what can only be described as the thinking person’s Game Of The Year 2009) means one of two things: either videogame journalists are being lazy, or its a superb piece of software. And you can trust us. It’s definitely the latter.
The tie that binds the two games together is becoming Capcom’s distinguishing claim to fame, because very much like SFIV, Tatsunoko Vs Capcom offers gameplay that presents both an immediately satisfying quick-fix for gamers who aren’t necessarily obsessed with learning the ropes of every single character, and a frankly obscene level of tactical depth for those that are looking for it. There are already numerous encyclopaedic FAQ pages all over the internet; specialising in ludicrously detailed breakdowns of each character’s move set and how they affect one another in any given scenario; and as brilliantly applicable here as it was in SFIV, is the fact that it only needs to be that complicated if you want it to be.
Whilst most of the past decade’s most effective beat-em-ups can’t be played without utilising between six and eight joypad buttons, Tatsunoko Vs Capcom has scaled itself right back, and at no detriment to the core gameplay. There are only three simple attack buttons – light, medium and hard – but each move is context sensitive, and exactly where you (and your opponent) are onscreen at any moment has a bearing on what moves you’ll pull off. The simplicity of this system will suck you in early, but once you accidentally fall upon an eye-popping air, chain or baroque combo, curiosity and healthy enjoyment is very likely to blossom into mad love.
As most of the output of the Tatsunoko animation studio rarely sees a release outside of its Japanese homeland, most western audiences are going to be staggered by the brazen eccentricity of some of these new characters. But the whole tone of the game – one of total, anarchic disregard for restraint – is as absurdly infectious as usual. Although purists are sure to disagree, from this vantage point it appears readily apparent that this is the finest Capcom Vs crossover title yet released. Also, the fact that another of Capcom’s trademark moves has been pulled off with this competition is one hell of an achievement; but as is so often the case, the most outright bizarre character comes from their own stock, this time in the form of an adorable blonde midget girl named “Roll” who does battle with the aid of a broom and bucket.
Also standard practice for a Capcom Vs title is the headline appearance of the obligatory duo of Street Fighter 2 hangers-on (in this instance, the ever-appealing Ryu and Chun-Li) as well as Alex from Street Fighter 3. This gives many people a familiar jumping-off point, but after seeing the positively insane cast of oddballs that you’ll face off against, it won’t be long before you’re experimenting with each and every reprobate in the game.
As is to be expected from a package so fully-rounded, there are a bevy of different control methods to choose from. Although the Wiimote and Nunchuk combination works perfectly well, purists are going to want to either dust off their Gamecube controllers or use the Wii Classic Controller, either of which undoubtedly represent the best way to experience it. And unusually for a Nintendo Wii game, there is full online support, which, for fans of these games in particular, is pure catnip.
So it is something of an essential title. Beat-em-up fans are correct to look upon it as a formidable companion piece to Street Fighter IV, and if you only own a Nintendo Wii it is, amazingly, a more than adequate substitute for its big bro.
And a word to the wise: Tatsunoko Vs Capcom is a veritable goldmine of unlockable extras, and you are able to unlock the Japanese opening cinematic after completing the arcade mode with Yatterman-2. It’s worth it.
Watch the Tatsunoko Vs Capcom Wii trailer here…
Calling the Street Fighter generation – how does newbie Tatsunoko Vs Capcom compare?
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