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Developer: Capcom
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.00.00
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2, iPod touch 4

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★½☆☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★½☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Recently, when Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was announced for iOS, my immediate reaction was “Oh my god I am so buying that right away.” My second reaction was “The controls are gonna be good, right?” I mean, Street Fighter 4 Volt had effective controls and was quite enjoyable to play, so this would be in the same league, right? Not quite.

For the uninitiated, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is a 3-on-3 tag-team fighter, originally released on the Dreamcast, having since been re-released on Xbox 360 and PS3 after Capcom re-acquired the rights. The action gets crazy as players can switch out characters at will and even call them in for assists. The character roster is 56-deep. Who the heck is Shuma-Gorath, anyway? The game is a classic for a reason – there are few fighters that are like it. It’s chaotic, colorful, and even better with a friend.

So, the only question is: how does the port to iOS stand up? Well, I hate to say, but it’s a bit of a mess. The game offers a control scheme that’s similar to Street Fighter 4, with 4 buttons: punch, kick, special, and assist. There’s also a 6 button control scheme that is identical to the original game’s. Unlike Capcom’s previous fighter, this one is iPad compatible, has local Bluetooth multiplayer and is universal.

The problem is that there’s a trade off between being able to do everything possible in the original game, and having a control scheme that works.

For example, while it’s possible to tap on the health bar to activate a super move, characters in this game have multiple super moves, so making this control scheme extremely limited. The 6-button control scheme makes it difficult to activate those super moves by simultaneously tapping 2 buttons without having to cluster buttons close to each other. Then, the assist and special buttons use flicking actions that do make some commands easier to do, but also are ill-advised when everything is going crazy. Isn’t this what the iCade was made for?

The graphics appear to be scaled up directly from the Dreamcast original with little-to-no smoothing. In fact, the entire game may have been ported from the Dreamcast original, because all the original menus and features are here, including that game’s tedious character unlocking system, where points are earned and used to unlock new colors and characters. The console re-releases made all 56 available immediately.

Look, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is an experience that few other games have duplicated, and I highly recommend playing it. Just do so on a system with an actual controller, as apparently for fighting games to work on iOS, they have to be actually designed for the system, or at least dramatically reworked. This is a straight port, and this is just difficult to play.

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Posted in: Games, iPad Apps and Games, iPad Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

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