My last game for fighting game month is one of gaming's greatest mashups. Everyone loves a good video game crossover, especially between fighting games. In the case of Capcom vs. SNK, it was something fighting fans had dreamed of since King of Fighter's debut. As far as crossover fighting games are concerned, Capcom vs. SNK 2 is considered the best one of all time by many. That is an opinion I happen to share.
Developed by Capcom and released in 2001, the best way to describe the game in a nutshell is that it plays like Street Fighter Alpha 3, guest starring the cast of King of Fighters. The game utilizes a system called Grooves (Zoinks!) which determine how your Super Meter and combos are handled. Street Fighter veterans will feel more comfortable using the C-A-P grooves, while King of Fighters players have the S-N-K grooves. This was a smart idea and I think it was well done and something fans of both sides appreciate.
The fighting itself is very fast paced and often unpredictable. Capcom vs. SNK is inherently a 3 on 3 fighter--though unlike Marvel vs. Capcom you cannot tag out. Like in King of Fighters, you only switch characters once the one you are playing as is defeated, so choose your order carefully. Of course you win by defeating all three members of the opposing team. Or you have the option to play 1 v 1 matches.
As far as the roster is concerned, it is pretty decent overall. Most of the fighters in the game derive from Street Fighter and King of Fighters, along with a couple reps from Capcom and SNK's more obscure fighting series like Darkstalkers and Samurai Showdown, respectively. Almost every character you would expect to be in this is indeed a playable combatant. Almost. For the most part, all the usual suspects are here to represent their respective companies, but there are a few glaring omissions. Particularly on the SNK side. Where's Andy Bogard to complete the Fatal Fury team? How can you not have Robert Garcia in this to be Ken's more fitting rival? Or John Crawley from Art of Fighting as Guile's rival? Same with Balrog vs. Mickey Rogers. Roster is satisfying overall but I couldn't help but notice a couple missed opportunities.
Speaking of SNK characters being shafted, the SNK characters play like watered down versions of their KoF counterparts. While Capcom did a good job translating their movesets to the game, they definitely could have balanced them a little more. Not to say the SNK characters aren't viable, I still manage to make due with my team of Joe, Ryo, and Kim Kaphwan on the SNK side. Or what is really cool is you can mix and match, form a team using characters from both sides. A good Ryu/Ryo/Ken combo for a Shoto buffet of all you can eat Fireballs and Uppercuts.
Lastly, the game is a little light on content. There is not really a story for why these characters have come together nor do any characters have a storyline in arcade mode. Again, another missed opportunity. It would have been cool to see dialog interactions between the characters and their rival from the opposing company. Instead, the endings are relegated to a few sentences during the end credits. And you only earn that by defeating the super version of the final boss, which will be Shin Akuma or Ultimate Rugal.
But minus the blemishes in presentation, the core fighting is amazing and duking it out with my favorite SF and KoF fighters is a blast. Not to mention, it boasts one of the best soundtracks in a fighte. Over a decade later, it seems Capcom is too busy fighting every other company under the sun. Fans still eagerly hope for Capcom vs. SNK 3. Until then, there is always this gem.