There are rather few bright spots in the future of the 2-D fighter, the Guilty Gear series being one of them. CaPCom has yet to release a proper follow-up to Street Fighter III: Third Strike or CaPCom vs. SNK 2 and the folks at Neo Geo seem intent on rehashing 10-year-old sprites for all their releases. I was really looking forward to CaPCom Fighting Evolution when I had first heard about it. It seems CaPCom would have used all their experience to deliver something a little more cutting-edge, move 2-D fighting in a new direction. But CaPCom Fighting Evolution will do little to lift creeping suspicions that 2-D fighting may have reached its end. It is ok for extreme CaPCom fans but definitely leaves a lot to be desired.
CaPCom Fighting Evolution’s roster contains 20 plus fighters from 5 different CaPCom franchises: Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter II, Street Fighter III, Darkstalkers, and Red Earth (which was never released in the U.S.). The roster choices seem questionable and not too many CaPCom favorites are represented. Match-ups are rather odd looking and some of the characters just don’t fit. Many people will probably scratch their heads when they match Ryu from Street Fighter II with Hauzer, a giant dinosaur from Red Earth, which takes up his half of the screen.
Each Character plays just like they do in their respective games. Street Fighter characters have super arts, Darkstalkers characters have EX super arts, and Red Earth characters have “Mystic Breaks.” Not only that but Street Fighter III characters have parries, Street Fighter Alpha characters have original combos, Darkstalkers characters have “Raging Wave Rush,” and so on. Each character can also perform a super arts move when their gauge is full including: a roll wakeup, midair counter, dash, wrap around, super jump, and guard cancel. Since each character seems to just be directly lifted from the games they originated, CaPCom Fighting Evolution has an overall thrown together feel to it.
CaPCom Fighting Evolution let’s you pick two characters from the character select screen. You can Switch one of these characters out after each round letting you have an option as to how to handle your next opponent. The fighting feels solid enough but many of the characters seem very unbalanced, this probably attributed to the fact that all these fighters have been just put here from other games to battle it out. With that said, this fighter offers nothing that people familiar with CaPCom fighting games have not experienced before and most people will be happier just playing the games these characters hail from instead.
The presentation is nothing special and looks really dated. Character sprites are similar to those found in CaPCom vs. SNK 2 and aren’t as smooth as those found in a game such as Guilty Gear X. The character animation is good enough though there are few frills and special effects to be found in CaPCom Fighting Evolution. Backgrounds are a real disappointment. They are detailed, but there are only a few of them. They are also very static. There are a few animations, but these are typical of circa 1991 Street Fighter II. There are no 3-D effects like those found in CaPCom vs. SNK 2 or Marvel vs. CaPCom 2. The presentation is reflective of the effort that was probably put into creating this game, little to none.
The sound in CaPCom Fighting Evolution is decent and gets the job done. All the characters sound as they would if they were found in their own games. There are the typical hits and punches that all who have played CaPCom fighting games are accustomed to as well as character comments and taunts. On the other side of the coin, the music is just plain awful and bland. There are no memorable tunes whatsoever. People expecting some Street Fighter music will be severely disappointed. The character select music is especially annoying and will give bad memories of Marvel vs. CaPCom 2’s infamous soundtrack.
There are a few extras in CaPCom Fighting Evolution. When you beat the game, you unlock the stage music of the two characters you used. There are also two unlockable characters in the game. But there is absolutely no online play, again. When will CaPCom learn? The ability to play others online would’ve at least made this game somewhat entertaining. All that is left is just a barebones, outdated 2-D fighter with very little features.
One of CaPCom Fighting Evolutions many problems is that it is many years two late. Give this game to me back in the day on my Saturn, and I would’ve loved it. But there are just too many better 2-D fighters out there now. Just try any of the games that these characters come from, for instance. Then there is the chosen character roster that is just weak to begin with. There should definitely have been more characters available for this kind of match-up. The $30 budget price makes it a little easier to swallow but it’s just no fun. Maybe hardcore CaPCom fans or anyone who enjoys seeing strange match-ups will enjoy adding this one to their collection. But this game just seems like a shoddy experiment. And the “Evolution” in the title is misleading. CaPCom Fighting Evolution is shameful because of what it could’ve been, a new beginning and a new direction. In reality, however, it is just a step back and another nail in the coffin of the 2-D fighter.