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Rant for September 6, 2000

Confessions of a Capcom mark.

Okay, okay, I'm guilty.  But I just can't help it.  Confused?  Let me start at the beginning.

It seems years ago, Capcom made a departure from their standard side-scrolling adventure games to put out a little game called Street Fighter 2 (I'm skipping over the original Street Fighter because even though I know they made one, I still have a hard time believing it ever existed).

It was good... no, it was great, and everybody went crazy... yaddha yaddha... whatever.

I played it, I liked it, but I never really put much time into until it came to the Super Nintendo.  On the SNES, it was good... no, it was great, and everybody went crazy... yaddha yaddha... whatever.

Then they put out one that had the bosses as playable guys... cool.  Then they made a version that was Super and Turbo, with 4 new guys... okay.  By this time, I wasn't going to fork out the money for a new game just for 4 (or even 8) new characters, especially when I pretty much got my game play out of it, and Mortal Kombat had just come out for the SNES.  At the time, MK seemed like the better game... it was more realistic looking and had solid game play, so we all thought that it was naturally better.  MK wasn't as potentially deep as the Street Fighter engine and the cartoon animation never really goes out of style (and is less noticeable when it's badly outdated).

But at the time, who knew?

So time passes, MK 2 comes and goes, other great games come out, SF Alpha pops up, but who cares, it's the dawn of the Playstation!!!  Tekken, Battle Arena Toshinden, Wipeout, and the glorious Twisted Metal 2 (I'll rant about that one soon enough, don't worry) take my mind far away from the SNES and that quaint little Street Fighter game.

More time passes, fight games are starting to get a little old (SF Alpha 2 comes out and people care even less), but there is a glint of wonder and beauty as Marvel Superheroes makes it to the PSX and the Marvel Vs. series makes its debut as a coin-op.  I am immediately hooked to the Vs. series, but I attribute that to the fact I'm a big Marvel fan from back in the day, and I was overjoyed to see my favorite characters done well in a video game (a feat that seemed impossible from previous Marvel affiliated titles).  So I stand at the arcades and watch the slow evolution of the Vs. series, noticing each new character.  I also begin experimenting with my old friends from the original Street Fighter 2 (although Chun-Li was never the same... >gasp<... and what's up with those thighs anyway?).

Then Capcom throws me a curve by releasing a Survival Horror Game?  The first of a new genre?  I pick it up, not even realizing or caring it was made by my friends at Capcom.  It, of course, becomes an instant classic at my house, throughout the nation, and even around the world.

Good job, Capcom.

I guess you won't be making any more of those Street Fighter games anymore... ah well.... They were good while they were here, but they were getting old... even with the handful of Marvel characters.

Marvel Vs. Capcom.

Okay, trying to breathe new life into an old game... okay, I'm a sucker... I'll bite.  Helpers?  Not bad.  But it's a fading light in a VERY dark tunnel.  It's obvious Capcom has bigger and better things that they're dealing with.  Besides, Soul Blade and Soul Calibur are where it's at now.

That's what I thought.

I was pretty much like you.  I sympathized with both views.  Yeah, it's a great fight game, and I'll hold it close to my heart, but they should kill it.  It's done.  Then, this past summer, something happened.  Something I never would have guessed.  Something that will make me a Capcom mark for quite some time.

It started with me picking up my copy of Resident Evil: Code Veronica (I know, I was late on that one).  I wasn't disappointed, as I knew I wouldn't be.  Then, I start hearing all kinds of buzz about a Marvel Vs. Capcom 2.  I heard a lot of things, but seeing is believing, so I wait until one day, while I'm on my lunch break, I happen to see it at Babbage's and pick it up.

Hell, who am I kidding, I got it as they unpacked the box - I had been waiting with fever.

I took it home, played it until I thought the cd would melt.  3 men tag, all the Marvel characters from all the Vs. games (even the rest from Marvel Superheroes and X-Men: Children of the Atom), Cable and Marrow (not my first choices, I was thinking they would make real characters from the helpers in MvsC - Thor!), and awesome backgrounds.  My only complaint was not being able to alter the tag ratio (1vs 3, 2 vs. 2, etc... even a good old-fashioned 1 on 1 would've been nice).  Inspired by that, I picked up SF Alpha 3 for the Dreamcast (I had it for the PSX, but I didn't want to become a Jedi master to unlock Guile) and was amazed by the depth of game play.... X-Ism, V-Ism, A-Ism.... And Dramatic Battle, yeah Baby!!!  Capcom was making a large comeback in my gaming life, but they weren't done. Just a short time thereafter, I picked up Tech Romancer.  Great game!  But hold on... there's one more little title that slipped its way into my gaming heart;  Power Stone 2.  All ranting aside, if you have never seen this game in action, do yourself a favor.  It is leaps and bounds over the original Power Stone.  Yep, Power Stone 2, another Capcom instant classic....

So what does this rant really come down to?

The fact that I picked up 5 awesome new Capcom games in as many months, was thoroughly pleased and surprised by each one, and have found myself on the Capcom bandwagon once again (almost 10 years later)?

From Strider and Mega Man to Resident Evil and Tech Romancer, Capcom has given us tons of great games and they show no signs of stopping (I await the Vs. SNK game with baited breath).  This section normally tempts me towards expressing my negative views of things, and it feels good to be able to give props to a game manufacturer rather than dogging them all the time.

By the way, honorable mention goes out to the Dreamcast (which is the system that I bought all these games for) for giving all these great Capcom games a home.  The Dreamcast has used this summer (Wacky Races, Seaman, Dead or Alive 2, NFL2K1, etc.) to become a comeback kid and extend it's life despite what it's critics (including myself) may have initially thought.

Agree?  Disagree?  You got something to say?  Let me know, drop me a line.