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"Tatsunoko VS. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars": Wii!

The Versus Series expands into new territory, pitting some of Capcom’s greatest characters against the heroes and villains of Japanese animation. Years ago, the Street Fighters clashed against the X-Men, the Marvel Super Heroes, the entire Marvel Universe, and the SNK fighting characters, and now the Capcom legends face off against some of the Tatsunoko’s titans. Ryu and Chun-Li face off against Ken the Eagle and Jun the Swan from Gatchaman, the henshin hero of Viewtiful Joe faces off against his heroes of Tekkaman, Casshan, Polmar, and more, and even succubus Morrigan and zombie photographer Frank West (he’s covered wars, you know) throws on his Megaman armor alongside Zero, Megaman Volnutt, and Roll to tackle Doronjo, Karas, Gold Lightan, and more!

Capcom’s exploits are legendary across all consoles, genres, and media. Tatsunoko, on the other hand, is nameless in America. Only known for a few of their properties making their way to America (Gatchaman, Casshan, Karas, and Tekkaman), Tatsunoko has created classic characters in Japan. This game, once titled Cross Generation Of Heroes, showed the clash between legends and lesser knowns. Tatsunoko VS. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars comes after extensive speculation. Once expected to never reach America, due to the prevalence of copyright law and mixed properties prevalent on the Tatsunoko side of things, the game has finally hit American shelves minus one character and adds tons more.

The fighting engine continues the VS. series mindset of a five-level Super bar, with characters having both single level Supers, triple level Supers, and can combine to perform Partner Supers. Added to the mix are Baroque and Mega Crash, with the former allowing the player to continue chaining combos while sacrificing life, and the latter saving them from crushing attacks.

The only real way to play this game, outside of a arcade stick (which were made specifically for the game, which is a nice touch), is with a Classic Controller (or a Classic Controller PRO, coming soon). Three buttons are dedicated to light, medium, and hard attacks, with one button dedicated to partner actions (press it to call out your partner for an attack, or hold back and press it to swap out with your partner). Any other control scheme, and you’re limiting your accuracy; given that this reviewer was raised on SNES pads with Street Fighter II Turbo, the Classic Controller just tends to be the best way to tackle the game.

Multiple modes are expected with a fighter, and while Ultimate All-Stars doesn’t break any new ground, the roads traveled are no less fun. Arcade, Time Attack, and Survival are fighting game standards, with arcade going through eight matches, time attack going through seven (omitting the final battle with Okami’s boss, Yami), and Survival lasts as long as you do. Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection allows for both ranked and player matches, but it seemed to take an inordinate amount of time to make connections. Once made, the fight seems laggy. It’s hard to quantify this as an erroneous code or just a bad connection; the sheer inclusion of a Online mode puts the game a step ahead of its Japanese half-predecessor, but Nintendo’s third place weakness in the online department shows.

One of the most frustrating unlocks in the game (with art, character colors, videos, and more available for purchase with Zenny earned from playing naturally) is the Extra Game, Tatsunoko VS. Capcom: Ultimate All-Shooters. Unlocked by beating the game AND collecting all highlighted letters (spelling THANK YOU FOR PLAYING) during the ending credits… it took 26 runs through the game to unlock this mode. Once unlocked, Ultimate All-Shooters is a four-player shooter starring Ryu, Ken The Eagle, PTX-40A, and Tekkaman Blade. While not worth a game purchase on itself, Ultimate All-Shooters is a fun little bonus game that’s worth a few play throughs, but not worth completely going out of the way to unlock.

Much of Ultimate All-Stars fun comes from the style and reverence held throughout the game. Past the point that the combo counters showing how much damage ranks up in the billions, Capcom (and UDON, the artists behind the new endings, which replace the animated endings of Cross Generation Of Heroes) show how much fun can be had when combining two relatively dissimilar brands. While the plot is pared down to “the worlds are combining, we have to fight to save them”, character moments make it beyond the generic setup. Viewtiful Joe gets to hang out with the heroes he only could buy toys of in the past, the roster of the Space Knights is enhanced by Roll, Zero, Gold Lightan, the PTX-40A, and more, and a certain picture on Frank’s camera during the Willamette Mall incident is revealed. The multiple openings feature such text quotes, including Ken’s suggestion that Ryu should join G-Force, but show a problem that will come from the American players: all voice acting is Japanese, outside of characters that are uniquely English-speaking. While it’s better than having an offensively-poor dub, when you can’t understand the dialogue thrown in the middle of matches, it loses some of the fun. After-battle quotes are tailored for many of the matches, and levels pulled straight from the franchises enrich much of the feel of the game.

If you own a Wii and enjoy the franchises involved, definitely check out the game. If you just want a good fighting game that isn’t party-designed like Super Smash Bros., this is your best bet. If you love both factors, this game will go high on your list of instant classics. While parts of the game are just incredibly obscure, the fans of them will get their money’s worth.

This review originally appeared at gaijINside. It is reprinted with permission.

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