Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Marvel Super Heroes Vs. Street Fighter - Sega Saturn's Final Masterpiece

Marvel Super Heroes Vs. Street Fighter may be the best of Capcom's 4Meg-enhanced Saturn games. Just wait until you see this game in motion, with four fighters jumping in and out, blasting away with their astonishing super moves. The visuals in this game are chaotic, and yet there is no slowdown whatsoever. And there is virtually no loading time whatsoever. This may very well be Sega Saturn's crowning technical achievement.

Thanks to the 4-Meg RAM cartridge, MSH Vs. Street Fighter is absolutely arcade perfect. Every frame of animation has been retained, as every visual and audio effect, every kick and punch and special attacks...everything. I cannot emphasize enough how incredible this game looks and plays. As this was one of the final games developed for Sega Saturn, it represents a final, thrilling triumph of an era. Never again would traditional, 2D video games play such a prominent role on a console. From here on out, 2D would become a precious rarity, rarely championed, barely noticed. In the year 1999, Arcade Games were out; Cinematic Games were in.

This moment also marks, sadly, Capcom's peak as well. There would be future successes with Marvel Vs. Capcom and Street Fighter 3, but these would be the final triumphs. The CPS-3 board, despite its amazing power to render animation-quality graphics, would never become successful as CPS-2. And that's unfortunate, because I see no reason why these games should be abandoned. Heck, I'm kind of curious to know if the Saturn could have handled a perfect translation of SF3: Third Strike. Maybe an even larger RAM cart would be necessary. I'm fairly certain a Saturn Third Strike would kick everybody's ass.

I'm just as certain that Capcom would continue to be successful if they revived the CPS-3 arcade board and made more 2D sprite-drawn games. That's very unlikely at this point; the company bosses have declared that polygons are here to stay, in the vein of Street Fighter 4. I still say these Saturn Vs. games look better. The older games were a lot more popular, too. Something to think about.

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