All Thanks to the Fans
When North American fans of Capcom’s popular versus fighting series learned that there was going to be an installment featuring anime characters from the Japanese studio, Tatsunoko, letters and petitions were sent forth in an attempt to bring it here. Capcom was so stunned by the number of inquiries that they decided to make the attempt to bring Tatsunoko vs. Capcom stateside. Although many gamers may not recognize half of the cast, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is still a solid fighter that makes excellent use of the Wii’s many control options.
Gameplay (5 out of 5)
Players start out with a cast of twenty one
characters to choose from, which range from classics like Ryu and Morrigan, to anime heroes wielding blades and other weapons, to two giant robots. Five more characters are unlocked as players complete Arcade mode with certain numbers of characters. Before beginning combat, the player (or players) choose two characters or one giant robot to play as.
In battle, the player (or players) drain the stamina bars of their opponents by pummelling them with punches, kicks, swords, fireballs, and all manner of attacks and special techniques. As players battle, they can switch between the two characters they chose (If they didn’t choose one of the giant robots) or have the secondary character assist with a special attack. The green portion of the stamina bar is how much stamina the character has left, while the red portion shows what they can regenerate when they’ve tagged out with their partner. A meter on the bottom of the player’s side of the screen fills up (up to five levels) every time they get hit or land a hit. This ‘hyper meter’ can be used to pull off all sorts of devastating special attacks, most of which fill the screen, or don’t offer the opponent any chance to block.
Modes of Play
Like many arcade fighters, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom offers the standard modes of Arcade, Versus, Survival, and Time Attack, along with a gallery and an options menu. Arcade mode pits the player against a series of computer controlled opponents, with a tough final boss battle at the very end. Players are rewarded with an ending story specific to the character that landed the final blow against the boss, and a number of credits to use in unlocking things like art and more color options for the characters. Time attack and Survival play much the same way as Arcade, but challenge the player to finish in as little time as possible, or defeat as many opponents as they possibly can before running out of stamina. Finally, Versus mode allows two players to test their skills against one another. Versus will likely be the main mode of play for most players.
As far as the single player content goes, it probably won’t keep a veteran player entertained for too long. A newcomer to the fighting genre can steadily improve their skills through playing against the computer, but most of the fun of this game comes from playing against another human player.
Controls (5 out of 5)
The controls of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom can be simple or complex, depending on the player’s preference. A newcomer to arcade style fighting games can pick up a Wii remote, tilt it sideways, and play the game using only a few buttons. A veteran can opt to use a classic controller or Gamecube controller and make use of many more buttons, and, of course, benefit from more varied and complicated attack combinations. The game also features a move list for each character that can be brought up and left up even during gameplay, allowing for players to learn their character without having to resort to a motionless computer in Training Mode.
Controls and Controller Options
Regardless of the controller you choose to use, the directional pad or leftmost control stick moves the character around. Pressing the direction opposite to where your character is facing causes the character to block, and pressing up causes them to jump. Pressing up again in midair will cause them to do a second jump. Tapping the controls twice either toward or away from the opponent will cause your character to dash in that direction. And finally, tapping down then up will cause your character to perform a super jump.
Simplest of all of the controllers is the Wii Remote held on its side. The 1 button triggers regular attacks, while the 2 button is used for special attacks. The B button controls all of the partner assist commands, and the A button performs a defensive move called Mega Crash (You must have two hyper bars full to use this technique, and it also uses up some stamina.) Pressing 1 and 2 at the same time performs a hyper move, providing that you have full hyper bars to fuel the moves.
Using the Nunchuck with the Remote is similar. A and B perform attacks, the Z button controls partner assists, and the C button performs the Mega Crash. Pressing A and B together performs a hyper move.
To add some complexity, the Classic controller uses Y, X, and A (Or Y, A, and X for the Gamecube controller) performs a light, medium, or strong attack. Special attacks and combos can only be used by stringing together button commands specific to each character. The B button still controls all partner assist functions, and to activate the Mega Crash, the player must press A, B, X, and Y at the same time.
Graphics (5 out of 5)
Backgrounds are all beautifully rendered, and none of them are so overwhelming that they overpower the action going on in the foreground. The characters themselves are all rendered in 3D, and some of the more animated characters make use of some decent cel shading. All of the characters are true to the styles that they held in their own games, meaning that the armored swordsman Karas (from the anime of the same name) is just as dark and dangerous looking as he is in his own series. Likewise, Capcom’s Viewtiful Joe is still colorful and as disproportioned as any other character in his cartoony game series.
Special attacks are all very well detailed, right down to the waves of energy that trail behind Ryu’s signature Hadoken attack. Some super and hyper moves stop the action, displaying the attack in a miniature cinematic as the unlucky victim is struck countless times. On the other hand, some of the super and hyper moves are so bright and crazy that one sometimes cannot see where the victim is in the attack.
Sound (4 out of 5)
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is filled with the type of upbeat electronic music that fans have come to expect from Capcom. Each stage has its own theme music, which might be gloomy, peppy, or just downright epic in content. The soundtrack is nice; probably something Capcom will feature in their store, eventually. The sound effects, of course, consist of the usual array of noises of people getting hit, and the mostly Japanese voices of the characters shouting or announcing attacks. My one beef with this game was the lack of an English voice option. Having said that though, I can imagine that the costs of licensing the Tatsunoko characters would have risen if they’d had to use the English voice actors as well.
The Final Word
This game is an absolute blast to play with friends or at a party, as it’s very easy to jump into Versus mode and just play.
Veteran fighters will have plenty of fun with the various strategies involved in keeping their characters on their feet, and less experienced players will have fun because they now have a means to keep up with the veterans. The cast of characters is large enough that everyone should be able to find a favourite or two.
For fans of arcade fighters, or those who want to get into the genre, this is a fantastic game. For those who own a Wii and are fans of any of the Tatsunoko or Capcom characters, it’s probably even better. It’s about time Capcom gave Wii gamers a taste of what it can do with the fighting genre, and this may be the best fighting game for the Wii yet.