Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 hit arcades in 2000 and became an instant classic with a rabid following. With good reason, too– it has a huge roster of beloved characters from two different universes, over-the-top action, and tight Street Fighter II-like controls. It’s had a long afterlife through ports on a number of different platforms, and we’re very glad to see it on iOS. So is it still a good game? And how does it play on a touchscreen?
First off, Marvel Vs. Capcom 2’s arcade roots are on full display from the moment you boot up the game. The opening animation is flashy, loud, and obnoxious– perfect for grabbing the attention of bleary-eyed arcade goers, but kind of annoying coming out of your phone. The graphics look fairly pixellated on Retina display devices, but that’s somewhat expected for a game that’s 10 years old. Some of our readers will be pleased to know that, unlike in Street Fighter IV, the backgrounds here are indeed animated. And even with all the madcap action going on onscreen, the game ran without a hint of slowdown on our fourth-gen iPod Touch and third-gen iPad.
Where’s your patriotism?
We’re also glad to see that this is a faithful port, so all 56 characters are accounted for, 28 from Marvel and 28 from Capcom. When you begin, only 24 characters are unlocked, with the rest becoming available by beating the game on certain modes, and by spending points in the in-game shop. Refreshingly, you can only get points by playing the game– you won’t find any in-app purchase options here.
The fights in this game are three-on-three tag-team matches, so you won’t be able to rely on your mad skills with Ryu like you can in some games. Once in the match, you can swap out your teammates at will, call them in to do their special moves, and even have all three unleash a triple-threat mega combo. The action here is completely over-the-top, which fits perfectly with the zaniness of the multiverse crossover theme.
That said, this is still a very deep, complex fighting game, and it can be overwhelming for newbies. Thankfully, Capcom has you covered. Like Street Fighter IV, this game comes with two control methods, one for novices and one for vets.
Watch it, bub.
The default set-up is for beginners. You get a sizable D-pad, plus buttons to punch, kick, do a special move, and call in a teammate for assistance. The assist and special move buttons can be tapped or swiped any of the cardinal directions in order to do combos or swap in your other characters. They’ve done a truly remarkable job of condensing the complicated controls into four buttons, and it works very well.
But pros at the game are likely to scoff at such a handicap. If you go into the options menu, you can choose a six-button layout that mimics the arcade controls, with two punch buttons, two kick buttons, and an assist button for each of your tag-team partners.
Either way you go, the controls feel as tight as you could reasonably expect on a touchscreen. If you’ve played Street Fighter IV or the Street Fighter II ports, then you’ll know what to expect. The controls might look kind of ugly in screenshots, but once you start playing you’ll be so focused on the action behind the buttons that you’ll hardly notice them.
You were almost a Jill sandwich.
One final note on the controls is that they take up a large chunk of screen real estate on an iPhone or iPod Touch. The buttons are semitransparent but your thumbs are not, which can cause an occasional mishap or scuff-up. This is an issue there’s no way to get around, so we can’t fault Capcom too heavily for it. That said, the game is universal, and this isn’t an issue on the iPad. If you can play the game on an iPad, do.
One final downside is that the game doesn’t support online multiplayer. If you have a friend with the game, you can compete locally over Bluetooth, but it would’ve been great if they’d included online match-ups like they have in Street Fighter IV Volt. This isn’t a deal-breaker, but it’s a little disappointing.
Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 is a classic, top-of-the-line fighting game that still holds up extremely well 12 years after its original release. It has an incredibly large cast of characters, totally usable controls, three-on-three battles, button lay-outs for both novices and veterans, and some of the most intense and awesome action of any fighting game ever. To cap it off, it only costs a few bucks. Unless you actively dislike fighting games, there’s really no reason not to buy this timeless classic.