Played on: Playstation 2
SNK and Capcom are two of the biggest game manufacturers when it comes to the fighting game (or beat-’em-up) genre. SNK’s most popular franchises are The King of Fighters series which in basically a hybrid tournament featuring characters from their Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting franchises with new characters tossed in. So in a nutshell, SNK is no stranger to hybrid tournament franchises. Capcom is more straightforward, with their most popular franchise being Street Fighter, which Capcom flogged as its prize horse to the point of death. Earlier, Capcom came out with their own Capcom vs SNK and a sequel. Now, SNK decides that it will do its own take as well, so here it is, SNK vs Capcom: SVC Chaos, using the SNK engine and gameplay.
SNK is notorious for games filled with imbalances, where we can always find one character being so overpowered that he or she can wipe the floor with every character in the game. Here, there are four secret characters that, when unlocked, are so overpowered that it is ridiculous to even play with them. You can put a chimp behind the console and it can win this game using these characters simply by pressing a few buttons at random again and again.
On the SNK side, there are selectable characters to choose from a roster that includes the knuckle-bashing Terry Bogard, the ridiculously scantily-clad fan-wielding ninja Mai Shiranui, the taekwondo fighter Kim Kaphwan, the teleporting blade-wielding warrior woman Shiki, the crazy purple-flame blasting Iori Yagami, the father and son duo of Mr Karate and Ryo Sakazaki, the huge giant Earthquake, a Freddy Kreuger wannabe midget named Choi Bounge, the young lady Kasumi Todoh, and an angry blade-wielding samurai named Genjuro Kibagami. On the Capcom side, there are, of course, Ryu and Ken, the kung-fu lady Chun-Li, the angry US soldier with the weird hair Guile, the uglier version of Ryu called Akuma, the boxer Balrog, the Muay-Thai scarred brute Sagat, the wrestler Hugo, the wizardess Tessa, the Indian yoga master Dhalsim, the masked Spaniard claw-wielding fighter Vega, and the crime boss M Bison. Anyone familiar with the original games these characters come from will realize one thing straight away: too many of these characters have a similar sense of fighting (a fighting style consisting of juggling uppercut-like air defense with projectile attacks). In fact, more than half of the roster fall under this, so this makes diversity in the roster very lacking indeed.
But what makes this game boring is that my character can evade attacks from my opponents by, upon blocking the attack, my pressing either the B and C buttons simultaneously or dashing forward. This method of evasion, called “Guard Cancel Front Step”, allows me to dash either in front of or behind the attacking opponent depending on the direction of my joystick when I perform the Guard Cancel Front Step. The opponent has no time to recover from his or her attack when I do this, which means that basically I get a free attack on my opponent whenever I perform the Guard Cancel Front Step. Because of this, any smart person playing this game will be very leery of attacking because any attack can be punished severely by the opponent in this manner. Some characters, such as Chun-Li and her awesome super move where she dashes forward and sends the opponent a flurry of rapid kicks, can perform the Guard Cancel Front Step and punish the opponent severely in this manner. Other characters, like Kasumi and Shiki, have no way of taking advantage of this system and therefore at a severe disadvantage in this game. Shiki, especially, has a gameplay where she has pull off a flurry of blows with her blades to attack the opponent. Shiki will keep continuing to slice thin air when her opponent pulls the Guard Cancel Front Step on her, leaving her completely wide open to attacks from her opponents. Against characters like Terry and Chun-Li who have fast dash attacks that can cover long distances of the screen quickly, Shiki is their perfect punching bag!
So basically this game has a system that for some reason renders nearly all its roster unplayable because a handful of characters will trash them with this Guard Cancel Front Step system. Believe me, when I can exploit this system three minutes into using Chun-Li and savage my opponents like a puppy crashing through a set of bowling pins, I don’t think anyone else will have much problem taking advantage of this system. But what’s worse is that some of the unlockable secret characters are so overpowered that they don’t even need the Guard Cancel Front Step thing to trounce the competition. Geese Howard’s wind projectile sends the opponent flying up into the air, allowing him to jump after the opponent and attack. He can repeat a pattern of unleashing his projectile and attacking his opponent in the air again and again and the opponent will have no opportunity at all to recover. He has this super move where he sends up huge tidal waves of energy in a cage structure around him. This move chips off huge damage from his opponents even when they are blocking. Then there is the diminutive Mars People creature which his insane combos that take off huge damage, one that actually can kill an opponent outright if executed correctly. What’s the point of even playing this game then when some of the characters are so overpowered that there is no point in even going against them?
Oh, and the last opponents in this game are super-cheesy. Shin-Akuma’s attacks take off huge damages and out-prioritizes nearly everything. He has a cheesy teleport too so he can avoid my attacks by zooming behind me and then performing some super-cheap move that takes off half of my life bar. The upgraded boss Mr Karate is worse with his invisible projectiles that stun me when they hit or his ridiculous moves that he can follow up to cause major damage. And that’s not considering the cheesier and overpowered secret final bosses! It becomes a point where exploiting the Guard Cancel Front Step is the only way to beat these bosses.
I wonder whether the SNK people even tested this game before they push it to the market. This game isn’t fun at all because it’s either choosing underpowered characters and get beaten badly or use overpowered characters and win even if I am half-asleep. After a while playing this game sees me repeating a single pattern of attacks again and again. It’s monotonous. SNK Vs Capcom: SVC Chaos is an utter bore.