Tuesday, September 14, 2010

X-Men Vs. Street Fighter on Sega Saturn

X-Men Vs. Street Fighter was the first game to utilize the 4-Megabyte RAM cartridge for Sega Saturn.  This added memory turned a 2D powerhouse console into a behemoth.  Now Saturn could deliver astonishing, jaw-dropping 2D arcade games with speed, fluidity and detail never before seen.  It is no hyperbole that these are the greatest arcade conversions ever made.  Good Lord, the Sega Dreamcast could not match this level of power and sophistication.

This game was nothing short of miraculous when it first arrived in the late '90s, and it's a testament to Capcom and Sega that future games would leave X-Men Vs. Street Fighter in the dust.  This is an amazing video game, with stunning animation, precise controls, and amazingly fluid speed.  The crossover appeal is a great attraction - has there ever been a better use of comic book characters in a video game?  I love all the various Vs. games that Capcom delivered during this period.

X-Men Vs. Street Fighter is easily overshadowed by the manic intensity of Marvel Super Heroes Vs. Street Fighter, but there's no denying the spectacular animation and fluid gameplay.  The core of the fighting game takes center stage, and it's something I greatly appreciate; the Versus series had yet to devolve into seisure-inducing visual assaults and button-mashing for its own sake.  Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 was excellent on the Dreamcast, but nobody would mistake it for a serious fighter.  You could just drag the controller across the carpet and do very well.  Same for the new Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom on Nintendo Wii.

Once again, I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but none of the 4-Meg Saturn games ever left Japan.  Fighting games were immensely popular in the arcades, and the Saturn's strength lie in 2D.  So why didn't Sega of America bring these masterpieces to our shores?  Ah, yes...Bernie Stolar's absurd notion that "2D is Dead," and that gritty, macho, Westernized 3D games would sell.  It's funny to see how Sony made a mockery of these statements, as they brought many excellent 2D games, as well as RPGs and strategy games, to the Playstation.  Saturn was never allowed to compete because the executives thought they knew better.  Obviously, they were terribly, horribly wrong.

Ah, well, that's all in the past now.  We can appreciate these fantastic games today, and thanks to the overwhelming dominance of 3D polygon graphics, the 2D Capcom fighters haven't aged a day.  X-Men Vs. Street Fighter still looks amazing in 2010, and for that, we are all thankful.

No comments: