Capcom seems to be somewhat of a real smooth-talking ladies’ man when it comes to hooking up with other gaming companies. It all started with a fruitful marriage with Marvel, which subsequently birthed games like Marvel vs. Capcom and Marvel Superheroes vs. Street Fighter. Then the amour expanded to a steamy affair with SNK to conceive such games as Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO, and Capcom vs. SNK: SVC Chaos. But now we discover Namco shamelessly flirting with Capcom, and rumor has it they have a groundbreaking PS2 bun in the oven.
Initially, Namco X Capcom was going to be a purely-Namco tactical RPG, produced by Monolith Soft, creators of Baten Kaitos and Xenosaga, in order to commemorate Namco’s 50th birthday. However, according to AOL Games, Youichi Haraguchi, a Namco Executive, said: “Back then, we already had about 100 characters in the game, but we felt that something was still missing, so we came up with the idea that it would be more thrilling and exciting if we brought in characters from another company, and we really wanted to do it. When we thought about what company had enough unique characters that could match with ours to make things even more stunning, we could only think of Capcom.” Now, there are over two hundred, that’s right, two hundred characters, young and old, who will be appearing in Namco X Capcom.
Now, at this juncture, you’re probably all wondering, “Which characters are in there?” Well, with two hundred crammed into the game, it’s guaranteed that there will be selections from pretty much every one of their games. However, not every character from every game is included. Most of the really big series titles already have some confirmed representatives. For example, Street Fighter has Ryu, Ken, Chun Li, Bison, Cammy and Akuma, and Dark Stalkers has Morrigan, Demitri, Felicia and Lei-Lei. Needless to say, there are plenty of other characters from other slightly more obscure games, like Regina from Dino Crisis and Arthur from Ghosts ‘n Goblins. There are, however, a couple of issues that may worry some fans of certain series games. While Capcom’s big fighter series, Street Fighter, is currently the best represented title, Namco’s two biggest fighter franchises, Soul Calibur and Tekken, presently each only have two characters present, namely Jin, King, Taki and Mitsurugi. To the dismay of Capcom fans, there is presently no info on any Resident Evil, Onimusha or Devil May Cry characters making an appearance.
The game’s plot is very sci-fi clichéd. Some time in the future (less than 100 years from now), a giant space-time dimensional portal is destroying Tokyo, which is causing a mass-exodus from the city. Arusa Reiji and Xiaoma are special agents in an elite X-Files-type military organization called Shinra (no, calm yourselves, there will be no Square Enix involvement). They are sent in to investigate this odd disturbance, which will probably lead to the two of them encountering the various in-game characters.
Namco X Capcom offers a unique take on tactical RPGs. On the field, it looks like most other tactical games, 2D chibi art, with detailed backgrounds. Conversations will also take place on the battlefield, which will establish relationships between characters and also thicken the plot a la Fire Emblem. However, when a battle rolls around, it shows off its own unique look. When an attack is ordered, the designated unit and the enemy appear on screen in a side view facing each other, and different moves are displayed on screen and selected by hitting the control pad in unison with the circle button—which pulls off various moves. Also, each character has a meter, which, when full, allows for a super attack. Two characters can also attack in unison, which, of course, is often devastating. While this description kind of sounds like a regular fighting game, it really is just a straight RPG.
There are still some unknown details when it comes to Namco X Capcom. Aside from characters, voice acting is a question mark; some characters in the Japanese versions have voice acting, while others do not, so it may be that only major characters are voiced.
Namco X Capcom is scheduled for release in Japan on May 26th, 2005, but an American release date has not currently been set. If you’d like to visit the official site and browse around, go to Namco X Capcom, or you can check out the character gallery at Namco X Capcom—Characters.
Look out for MyGamer’s full review when Namco X Capcom hits US shores.