So far in the GameCube’s lifecycle, we’ve seen a small handful of games that could be classified as “fighting games”, but most of these are a stretch. Legends of Wrestling and WWE Wrestlemania X8 can’t really be put into this group, as they aren’t the traditional type of 2D fighting game that you think of when you think of the genre. Super Smash Bros. Melee was already a fast hit, and so far is the only title that can wear the “fighting game” label proudly. It took the world by storm, and became so popular that it became an esports staple in the 2010s. But back in 2002, Melee was all by it’s lonesome on the GameCube, and there weren’t any other fighting games trying to give a traditional arcade experience on the home console. That is, of course, until Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO showed up.
Originally released as Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001 in arcades, CVSNK2 was the sequel to Capcom vs. SNK, which was also released in arcades and Dreamcast in the year 2000. As a fighting game pitting characters from Capcom games versus SNK games, the series is generally held to be a great fan service, allowing players to choose their favorite characters and settle long-held company rivalries with their virtual fists. The game pit 24 Capcom fighters, such as Ryu from Street Fighter, Morrigan from Darkstalkers, Maki from Final Fight 2, Kyosuke Kagami from Rival Schools, and 19 other fighters from the Street Fighter series, up against 24 from SNK, including Kyo Kusanagi from The King of Fighters ‘94, Nakoruru from Samurai Showdown, Rock Howard from Garou: Mark of the Wolves, Raiden from Fatal Fury, and a slew of other SNK fighting stars. Even though Capcom relied heavily on their Street Fighter cast (which, let’s face it, who else were they going to use), there was still an incredibly large variety of fighters to choose from, each with different moves and abilities for a robust roster of play options.
CVSNK2EO tries really hard to give the players as many options as possible for customizing their play style, and it ends up being a really robust offering when it comes to different control options. First, the combat system is based upon Street Fighter’s three-strength, six button combat system, and all of the SNK characters have been reworked to fit this mold. In addition to different character types, there is also a Groove system, six different options to choose from that change how your dashes, guard cancels, running, special techniques, and Super Gauges are handled and executed. There are even custom Grooves available, giving you complete control over how you play.
The hurdle that comes into play on the GameCube – and the point of most of the criticism – is the controller itself. Being a highly technical 2D fighter, EO is really tough to play with an analog stick. The precision just isn’t there that you’d find in a digital pad, and unfortunately, the D-Pad on the GameCube controller is so small that most players had a tough time executing moves the way they wanted. That’s where the developers stepped up and offered a new control scheme: Easy Operation, or EO for short. Instead of relying on a combo string of digital inputs, the EO method relegates all of your techniques to the C-Stick. This is called GC-ism, a control method designed for the GameCube version of the game and also used on the Xbox port. Depending on your play style and relative skill, GC-ism is a friendlier, more accessible method of play compared to its counterpart, the more traditional AC-ism.
From a visual standpoint, most of EO looks great. The backgrounds are all 3D and polygonal, offering up some wonderful and exciting visuals for you to see behind the fight, and the SNK fighters were all redrawn with brand new 2D sprites with a uniform look. Unfortunately, the Capcom sprites were reused from their respective games, and can at times look rough around the edges, especially when they came from older, lower-quality titles and were placed next to some higher-quality sprites.
Critics weren’t entirely too kind, and most took an issue with the GameCube’s control scheme, saying that the GC-ism made the game too easy, whereas playing it more traditionally was nearly impossible with the GameCube controller. While praised for its variety of play options and large character offerings, it was, in the end, the controller that relegated the game to a mediocre reputation.
I enjoyed my time with Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO, once I got a hang of the control scheme. While it is true that the GC-ism controls with the C-Stick tend to feel like cheaper shots that make the game easier, I’m not particularly good at fighting games, so I didn’t mind the extra advantage that I gained. With such a large array of customization, there is a lot to explore in the whole package, and if you have a GameCube, I hope that the controller isn’t what keeps you at bay.
Did you ever play Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO? What did you think of it? What did you like or hate about the game?
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