Title :Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO
Platforms :Nintendo GameCube, Microsoft Xbox
Publisher :Capcom
ESRB Rating :Teen
Game Rating :8.0
Review by :Robert Boyd

In the past, Capcom and SNK have collectively been responsible for many of the best 2D fighting game series. SNK produced popular series such as King of Fighters and Samurai Shodown; and Capcom, of course, created one of the most influential fighting games of all time: Street Fighter II. So it should come as no surprise that Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO, a joint effort between the two companies, is one of the best 2D fighting games out at the moment. "EO" stands not for "Exclusive Option", since the game is available for both Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube (latter version reviewed here), nor "Easy Operation", though there is some of that, but the more generic "Extreme Offense." 

With all the fighting games of two companies to work with, Capcom vs. SNK features a staggeringly large roster of over 45 playable characters. As if that weren't enough choices, the game also features a unique "groove" system. Each character can be played under one of six different grooves, with each groove offering its own brand of dodges, counters, and power bar (which, when full, allows the use of the most devastating special moves). Between the huge roster of characters, the six grooves, different difficulty levels, and an adjustable speed option (at maximum speed, fights are quick, to say the least), the game can be played hundreds of times and remain fresh. 

Good control is essential in a fighting game and Capcom vs. SNK offers an interesting option in this department. Aside from the standard Capcom fighting controls (three punch buttons, three kick buttons), there is also a special GameCube control mode. In this mode, the R & L trigger buttons are used for all the regular attacks and the yellow control stick executes all the special attacks (each direction corresponds to a different special attack). Performing special attacks in this mode is a breeze, which makes it a very welcome option for both beginners and casual players who don't want to spend long hours memorizing and mastering different button combinations. Unfortunately, regular attacks are difficult to use well in this mode due to the unresponsive nature of the trigger buttons; an option to combine the GameCube special attack controls with the standard controls for the regular attacks would have been welcome. 

There are other interesting options, including the ability to create and save custom color schemes for each character. And there are team battles, which work the same as regular battles, however after each round, the defeated character is swapped for the next player on that team with additional rounds proceeding until all the characters on one team have been defeated. It's a nice option for parties or single players seeking the greater challenge of mastering more than one character. 

The graphics in Capcom vs. SNK are adequate, but not fantastic. Although the animations for the many different characters are respectable and sometimes impressive (particularly after unleashing a super special move), the arena backgrounds are lackluster and look like they would be better suited to a Super Nintendo or PlayStation game. The music, sadly, is mediocre and forgettable, although the sound effects are satisfactory. 

For players willing to look past the old-fashioned presentation and focus on deep gameplay, Capcom vs. SNK offers many hours of quality fighting action. If you have fond memories of spending hour upon hour on games like Street Fighter II, be sure to give Capcom vs. SNK a try.

This article is copyright (c) 2003, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.

Original publication: Gamebits, 06-Jul-03