One of the most popular arcade-fighting games of all time has made it’s debut on iOS after over a decade of only being enjoyed in arcades and consoles.
Marvel vs. Capcom 2 brings together legendary characters from the Marvel and Capcom franchises together in an action-packed flurry of fists and other appendages that goes beyond the word cool. Whether you’re a fan or not of either franchise, you can simply pick up and play and I guarantee that you’ll still enjoy yourself.
Upon opening the app, you get a flashy intro sequence that briefly highlights the app’s key features and characters. A little pixelated at times perhaps, but that adds to the retro/arcade feel of the app.
After that, you’re presented with a menu screen that contains all the main modes from the original version, such as Arcade, Score Attack and Training. A Bluetooth versus mode has also been added to the mix, which adds to the value of the app.
The arcade mode makes you fight seven random opponents in sequence to gain the most amount of points possible (the points still being ludicrously high numbers), which is the classic way of going about the game. Training lets you practice character combinations and different moves with a configurable opponent. Score attack allows you to challenge existing high scores. You can configure the game and view the commands for characters in Option mode.
What the game seems to be lacking is some sort of online multiplayer or achievements system. That would give something players to aim for, honing their skills to take on the next opponent. However, this game does make up for it a little through their points system.
The option on the menu named Secret Factor (for reasons unknown) is a store where you can spend points accumulated through the various modes and spend them on unlocking artwork and characters.
MVC2 is all about team battles. Each match is a 3-on-3 where one player is switched out to the next upon being defeated, however you can switch out mid battle. On my iPad 2, the frame rate seems a little choppy at times, and perhaps a little sluggish. I’m not sure if this kind of gameplay speed makes this fighter comparable to others out there, but this app is great for a cheap trip to nostalgia.
There are two control modes: a more traditional six-button mode and a simplified version that includes a single punch and kick button along with special attack and assist buttons, which is probably your best bet if you’re new to the fighting scene. The latter control mechanism also has flick controls, whereby you flick the buttons left or right to perform additional moves, which does come in handy at times.
The flick buttons tend not to respond that well to your touches, but the classic mode takes a little more work on your part. It’s up to you which one presses your buttons.
Each character has their own set of commands to perform with one being something of a “super move” where the backdrop changes and the screen pauses briefly. Also, you can perform a combo that takes all three of your teammates and makes them blast something at your opponent all at once, which was pretty neat to watch, not to mention the damage it caused.
With either mode, pulling off virtually any reasonably intricate combo is extremely difficult. Often in the game, I found myself just lashing out with punches and kicks due to me not being able to pull off a combo. Simple seems your best bet to survive.
The characters are a lovely mixture of fighters, 56 in total, 28 from each franchise. There are four colours and three modes you can play with on each character, which probably boost certain aspects of the character depending on the mode you select. The annoying thing however, is that only 24 are playable from the start, and unlocking them is a gargantuan effort due to the points system.
Unlocking one character is probably equivalent to one or two times playing through the whole arcade mode, and with 32 to unlock, you’ll be there a while. That’s not necessarily a negative thing, as that’s an aspiration for the players, giving them a reason to return.
This game is over a decade old and maybe that gives it some venerability. However, the graphics and audio seem to have deteriorated from the original. I understand it’s a hard job porting a classic and making it available on a different platform, but the quality of detail was really lacking. The most pleasant things graphically are probably that good old-fashioned character selection screen.
The game is ridiculously flashy, but it does put a smile on your face reminiscing of the same experience at an arcade.
The controls have something to be desired, as no matter which mode I was in, everything seemed a little difficult. The new controls are a poor effort to make things easier on the iPad and make a lot of moves very tricky to do. For the value of the fighting itself, this isn’t the best of games.
What this game does do however, is take the experience of that classic arcade game and replicate it in a playable way on your iOS device. It’s worth downloading simply to have that feeling of nostalgia. Despite all the difficulties, I still thoroughly enjoyed brutally smashing other characters to the floor with the Hulk and I’m sure you will too.
What this app is essentially, is a way to get in touch with that classic arcade gaming experience. If you’re a huge fan of the series, I recommend this app thoroughly, as it has many features die-hards will enjoy. However, if you’re looking for a fighter that excels in gameplay and graphics that would seem more like an iOS app and less like a straight port from another game, I wouldn’t advise you to pick this over other, smoother fighters. For the price, you’ll be able to find better fighters elsewhere.