While we were out picking up Dissidia: Final Fantasy we also grabbed the Wii exclusive Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, which we’ve had our eye on for a while.
Tatsunoko is a Japanese animation studio responsible for some of the biggest Japanese cartoons, but probably not many you know of. They did the original anime version of Speed Racer, which was based on the manga. Sadly, they don’t own the rights to Speed and that’s why he doesn’t make an appearance in this game.
They also made Gatchaman, which was re-edited for America as Battle of the Planets and then later as G-Force. That’s where the playable Ken the Eagle comes from and is the only character I remembered seeing from my childhood. He also happens to be a great character in the game. A nice rival to Capcom’s Ryu… with a cape. Another great character is the sword-wielding Karas from the anime of the same name, which can be seen in the video below.
There’s a chance that Capcom might bring this game to the United States, but most likely with a much different roster. It’ll probably be much heavier on the Capcom side at that point. I’d love to see missing Street Fighter classics like Ken, Bison, and Sagat make an appearance. It’d also be cool to get some other Capcom characters like some Resident Evil heads and Dante from Devil May Cry. In any case, this game makes us want another US Vs. game so hopefully the rumors of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 coming to the PSN and XBLA are true.
The gameplay itself is simplified a bit with the usual Capcom punches and kicks being replaced by combined attack buttons. There are light, medium, and heavy attacks but whether it’s a punch or a kick is determined by the direction or special move. It takes some getting used to, but it works. There’s also the assist button to bring your partner in for a quick attack or swap places.
Big Street Fighter fans will be saddened by the fact that only Ryu and Chun-Li make an appearance with the rest of the Capcom roster filled out by characters like Mega-Man, Morgan (from Darkstalkers), and even a giant robot from Lost Planet.
So what is the gameplay like?
The gameplay is like Capcom’s other versus games and it emphasizes big combos, juggling, and lots (and lots) of specials. It’s not uncommon for players to unleash 4 or 5 specials in a row. Damage is light, which extends the length of battles and injured characters will regain a bit of health while waiting in the wings.
We’ve had the game running here at the office for a few days and people invariably find their way to the Wii Classic Controllers (a necessity) to battle it out. We might not recognize all of the characters, but they present enough variety and play differently. There’s some trial and error when learning a new fighter, but the game is great fun.
Players will often pick Ryu or Chun-Li every time in an effort to hold onto their gaming roots, but you should be encouraged to try out the wacky Tatsunoko characters.
Characters have three levels of specials, many of which can be performed in mid-air. Level 1 specials can be done by both of your characters at the same time for huge damage and combos.
There are defensive abilities like “Advancing Guard”, which acts as a parry while letting you advance toward the enemy and something called “Baroque”, which takes away the red in your life bar (that you would eventually regenerate) to boost your attack power for a short period.
Abilities like that definitely add depth to the game for players that want to advance to the top levels, but there’s plenty of enjoyment to be had for gamers that just want to beat up on random Japanese characters.
So you’re interested in this game… is it worth importing? If you have a Wii and are looking for a fighting game the short answer is: Yes. Especially since you won’t be getting Street Fighter IV on Nintendo’s console. Now the question is, can you?
To play Japanese Wii games, you’ll need a Freeloader disc. The only catch is that the most recent Wii firmware update broke Freeloader support. If you haven’t done the most recent system update, you’re free to import games as you please.
You won’t need to know any Japanese to enjoy this game, as it’s a pure fighter. Move lists are readily available on the Internet as well.
If you have any questions about the game or want to see any specific fights, let me know.