Think fighting games? Think Capcom and you have one of the biggest, baddest and best selling martial arts franchises since we all drooled over Mortal Kombat and other games of that genre. But really, before Street Fighter was Way of the Exploding Fist on the good old Commodore 64 (Yes I am that old)
They don't change much from the Arcades at all as time passes, they've flirted with the odd pseudo 3d pummel-fest in their time. But usually they go back to brass-tack basics. And this is what the latest Streetfighter game does, adding the option to go online and pummel people across the world.
44 Characters for you to play in this latest SF game and they're all pretty well balanced, which has always been the mark of a good SF game since Turbo, in my opinion. But of course this is Capcom VS Snk 2 EO: Mark of the Millennium we're talking about here, so you'll find characters from many Capcom games inside, and I'll leave that up to you to discover.
My problem is, no matter how much I love the old games, the graphics are starting to look a little dated now, and with a big sigh of 'seen it all before' added this isn't really very good. Come on folks, now is the time to use the power of the Xbox not turn it into a cheap excuse to pump out arcade quality (old school) graphics.
And the high-resolution backdrops only compound this further, which really spoils the look of the game in my eyes. But hey, the game's about button hammering online pummelling of your opposition. And this is where the game will pull in the big bucks, because let's face it, for all our Soul Caliburs and Mortal Kombats, most of us have a big soft spot for the fist-face smashing action of Ryu and Ken.
Gameplay is fast and furious as you'd expect with a SF game and the inclusion and welcome return of the 'Groove' system from other games, allows you to customize the style of play you most prefer for combat. For example with Ryu's A-GROOVE you can pull of a nifty quick custom attack combo. His S-GROOVE allows you to do more damage and super moves once the gauge is filled.
You might be asking right about now, and if you're not...I want to know why? What on earth the EO in the title stands for. Well I can tell you, over in Japan it means: Easy Operation, elsewhere it's called Extreme Offence. If you select the EO option you can perform special moves with just a press of the right thumbstick, with the strength and effect of kicks, punches et-al related to how hard you press the stick.
If you're a pure SF fan, you're going to be tearing your hair out at this method and pointing at the screen with accusing fingers. You'll pull the pad from the Xbox in disgust and declare across the headset that your opponent has no true skill. It's going to allow utter novices to become super-fighters but you can rest easy in the knowledge that you have mastered the art of 'Button-Fu' and are a true exponent of the joypad.
For online with the Xbox connected to 'Live' you'll see the scoreboard lit up with the satisfying EO logo, and you are able to taunt your opposition by comparing their skill to an automated robot footballer - programmed to be the best. So then, if you're looking for a good online two-dimensional action fighter, then the King of the oldies is back for another round of 'Hadoken's' at the cost of the standard 'Live' package and of course, the game. Not really my cup of tea anymore, I prefer Dead or Alive 2 and not just because the fullness of the polygons. Oh and one more thing, do the SF games seem to be getting longer and longer name wise?