Review: SNK vs Capcom Chaos (XB)

Man, did I love this game in the Arcade. I waited and waited for it to come out from the day it was announced. Capcom vs SNK was a lot of fun. CVS2 was slightly less fun. But those were Capcom made fighters. This was going to be a SNK one! I thought about a graphically updated game that would play like SVC MOTM on the NGPC, truly the best fighting game ever made (with Vampire Chronicles a distant second). And when I got to the Arcades I found … Chaos was NOTHING like MOTM.

Was I disappointed? Far from it. It reminded me of my early days with SF2. Where there were so many things playtesters missed, half the fun was experimenting. Finding Geese’s infinite combo! Redizzies! Unblockabale moves! Frame rates when characters are invincible. Things like that. I loved it. As always I used Sagat, who was able to hold his own against even Orochi Iori and Zero. But I also used the unlockable Demetri. Containing all of his style from the Darkstalkers series, this Romanian vampire was able to surprise a lot of players not used to that gameplay.

And it surprised no one, not friends, family, or fellow IP staff members, that when it came out for my Neo Geo system, that I plunked down three digits worth of cash for this game. Yes, close your mouths. I was pleased to find Shin Akuma was now a playable character! And that it was just as fun at home as it was in the arcade.

Yes, I liked SVC Chaos a lot. I liked it for it’s bugs and balance issues. It played like any other fighter. There are some characters that will always be used, especially in tournaments, and some that just suck big time, like Dan and Genjyuro.

SO I was very happy to hear it was coming out for the Xbox. And more importantly, that it was XBOX LIVE Capable! The only problem was that I knew this meant eventually, the players would just be Geese and Zero cheese heads, and little to anything else. But it didn’t bother me. After all, I could take those would be masters down with Sagat and Demetri in the Arcade. Beating them online would be just as satisfying, right?

Then came a change. SNK started retooling the game. Geese’s infinite combo was removed. Zero’s was changed to be all but impossible to pull off. Earthquake’s cheese was taken out. Things were looking bright. Would the mass home console release of SVC Chaos make long time 2D fighter maniacs like myself happy without pushing away the ones that whined about issues they had with this game I guess I can’t fathom.

Let’s Review

1. Story

It’s your typical SNK/Capcom story. A bunch of fighters from around the world compete to see who is the strongest. But unlike any other fighting game before it, SVC Chaos has specific dialogue before each battle between both competitors. It’s great to see actual conversations and reinforcing which characters like and hate each other. I really enjoyed this. And there’s also different endings, depending on who your last boss is. You also have a choice of four end bosses: Shin Akuma, Shin Mr. Karate, Athena, and Red Arremer. It all depends on how good you are at playing the game. But Athena and Red, those are the real bosses. Pray for Athena, as she’s one of the easiest end bosses ever. But if you get Red…heh. Good luck suckers.

The conversations between characters is what really helped me to love this game as much as I did in the arcade. Whether it’s Ken and Chun Li trading friendly comments before fighting, or everyone being creeped out at the Mars People, it never fails to bring a smile to my face.

Is there much depth though? No. It’s a fighting game. But SNK gave us what they could, and they succeeded in giving us more characterization than I’ve ever seen in a fighting game before.

Story Rating: 7/10

2. Graphics

It’s an SNK game people. Don’t hold your breath hoping for jaw dropping graphics. But what is here is pretty good. There’s a lot of recycled graphics in this game. But there are some new ones too. Demetri is a LOT taller than I remember for example. And Red and Athena are pretty impressive as well.

The game is pretty. Not as gorgeous as Sammy’s Guilty Gear games, but better than any SNK 2D fighter that came before it. I’m very happy with what’s on the screen. There’s also very little slowdown, even when Zero is being used, and that is always a plus for a 2D fighter.

It’s not going to win any awards for graphics, but it’s fun to look at, and the dialogue scenes, winning poses, and endings are all excellent graphically.

Let me end this section with one comment: The opening video is the biggest markout I’ve had for a fighting game EVER.

Graphics Rating: 6/10

3. Sound

I love everything here! All the voice acting is incredible. The sound effects? PERFECT. If you’re playing against me you will hear the word “TIGER!” over and over again until you chuck a controller at me. Sagat gave me goose bumps when I heard him. After all, it’s been a while.

The music is some of the best I’ve heard in an SNK game. It fits the game and mood perfectly. It doesn’t distract you while playing either, but yet it adds to the overall fun of the game. I was very pleased with this.

The only thing I wish I could hear in this game? “SHINGO KICK! SHINGO KICK!”

Sound Rating: 8/10

4. Control & Gameplay

Well I think the controls in this game are amazing. I never had a problem executing any specials or Exceed moves at all. But then, some Capcom fans might have trouble as SNK games are notoriously demanding. But oddly enough, I have always found SNK games easier to execute moves on then Capcom ones. I had a devil of a time getting Tiger Uppercuts to work on the Xbox version of CVS 2 EO, but on SVC Chaos? I can pull off Zero’s infinite without any problems (even if I do refuse to use Zero against other human players).

I think anyone who had issues with the controls of the Arcade or Neo Geo versions of SVC Chaos will be pleasantly surprised to see the retooling that has gone on here. It is subtle, but the game is a lot friendly to the average player. And a lot meaner to Geese and Zero fans. I urge anyone who enjoyed the game but flinched at the bugs or weird shenanigans with the arcade version, to buy or rent the Xbox rendition.

I think out of all the fighters on the Xbox right now, the best controls go to KOF: MI, Guilty Gear XX Reload, and SVC Chaos. But I do need to point out there are still some issues with this game. There is some slowdown, there are some times when a character can’t be hurt, or like with Sagat, your fireballs won’t hurt the opponent if you are too close, and sometimes where you will just go “WTF?” It’s not a perfect fix, but it’s gotten better.

I do want to say it is weird to have an SNK game where the main mode is a one on one fighter and where there’s no team mode.

Control and Gameplay Rating: 6/10

5. Replayability

Two Words: Xbox Live. If you have Xbox Live, you need this game. There seems to be far less issues with this than with Guilty Gear that I’ve noticed in terms of lag and/or slowdown.

Besides the fact you can spend limitless hours beating up people you’ve never met and pissing off people by going to a time limit with crappy characters like Vega, you’ll have the two super bosses to unlock. And how do you do that? You’ve got to beat 36 characters in a row in survival mode. Good luck there! You also unlock characters gallery’s when you beat them in survival mode, giving you double the reason to play it.

With 36 playable characters, each with their own distinct style carried over from the games they are known best from, SV Chaos gives you more to master than any other fighter out there.

I’ve been playing this game at home for almost a year now on my Neo Geo. And for a game to keep me riveted that long? You know it’s good.

Replayability Rating: 8/10

6. Balance

Okay. Let’s say thee is a tournament. There are only 11 characters worth playing in a tournament due to their being amazingly powerful: Zero, Geese, Orochi Iori, Goenitz, Sagat, Chun-Li, Demetri, Shin Mr Karate, Shin Akuma, Tessa, and Earthquake. Everyone else might as well have the word “Jabroni” attached to them compared to these guys.

But still, 1/3 the lineup is still pretty impressive as often there will only be a few fighters worth playing as. That shows right there, part of the “SVC is unbalanced” hype is just that.

Or is it? Even with those 11, it’ll be the Geese, Goenitz, and Zero players who will dominate, unless you know how to get around their stuff. But still, more often than not, it’s those three that will be seen more than all the other characters combined.

But you know, the Real Bout Fatal Fury and SVC1 Geese’s were even more powerful and unbalanced. I think a lot of fighters have forgotten that.

To SNK’s credit, they’ve taken away some of Zero and Geese’s cheapest stuff. Same with Earthquake. And they’ve powered up some characters, most noticeably Tessa. I don’t find her half as good on the Neo Geo. Same with Sagat. I mainly stuck to Demetri and Geese in the Arcade. Now Sagat and Demetri are my main two. LIKE IT SHOULD BE.

Although yes, there is a lot of balance issues with Chaos, from some characters being totally worthless to some characters being able to win even if the player is blindfolded (Damn you Goenitz!), but SNK has corrected the biggest issues and balanced some things out. It’s still a fighter for fighting fanatics and may not be for everyone.

Oh. And it’s hard. Ha ha ha. Oh my is it hard. This game will make you swear and rend your clothing and grind your teeth. The computer is an evil fellow indeed.

Balance Rating: 4/10

7. Originality

Okay, the best thing in regards to this character is the lineup of characters. Demetri! Thank god. No Morrigan. If you’re going to take a Darkstalker, stop with the chicks just because some people like to jack off to them. Donovan Bane and Lord Raptor deserve to be in compilation games far more than Lilith or BB Hood or Felicia. These characters bring nothing but boobs to fans, and that’s just sad Capcom chooses to go that route. I want my British Chainsaw Zombie. So big props to SNK for including good ol’ Mr. Maximoff. Same with Zeor and Violent Ken. Excellent ideas for fighting game characters. Hugo and Tessa surprised me too.

On the SNK front we have Mr. Karate, Choi, Mars People, Earthquake, Genjyuro, Shiki, and Kasumi as unexpected playable characters! I so love the SNK lineup for this game.

However, I would like to say that SNK should have included Shingo. And Joe. And Poppy as playable characters. Screw Kim and two versions of Iori and Mr. Karate.

Aside from that and the great endings and conversations, SVC is just another fighter at the core of what it is. It’s still nice to see that SNK can squeeze every last drop of originality as still remains in a 2D one on one fighting game.

Originality: 6/10

8. Addictiveness

I don’t know why, but I can’t stop playing this game. I played it nonstop in the arcades when I finally found it available here. I bought it and got it launch day when it came out for the Neo Geo and played it non stop, And I got this on launch day for it and only taken breaks to play all the other games I have to review for Inside Pulse. I love this game. It make me feel so nostalgic for the early 1990’s when Street Fighter 2 came back. It may have bugs, but so did that classic game, and something about this game reminds me strongly of being in the arcade for hours waiting to find anyone that could pose a challenge to my Ryu or E Honda.

I love this game. I love it more than any other fighter I own for this current console wars. I’d rather play it than Maximum Impact. Laugh at Guilty Gear if given the choice. I snub Soul Calibur 2 easily. I spit on CVS 2 EO for the Xbox.

Maybe it’s just SNK created a game for someone like me. Who plays ALL 2D fighters, not just KOF 98 or SSF2T. Someone who has devoured everything from Mortal Kombat to Art of Fighting to Eternal Champions to Samurai Shodown to God Help Me, Time Killers. SVC Chaos has just what I look for: A certain indescribable and enjoyable quality to it that sucks you in if you let it.

Addictiveness Rating: 8/10

9. Appeal Factor

Fighting fans are a fanatical bunch. And the fact this game is balanced out and has Xbox Live compatability should send every SNK and Capcom fan rushing for this game. However bad publicity and the fact this game is renowned for having AI that doesn’t just want to beat you, but make you cry like a little girl, will dissuade a lot of people from picking it up.

Those who do will have a lot of fun with this game. It’s SNK vs Capcom after all, and what fighting fan doesn’t get misty eyed at the thought of that?

With a decent word of mouth and fighting fans spreading the word that the Xbox version is better than both the Neo Geo and Arcade versions, hopefully the game will have a long standing community on Xbox Live. And that way I can have a steady stream of opponents.

Appeal Factor: 5/10

10. Miscellaneous

One of the best rosters ever for a compilation fighter, SVC Chaos is missing only Shingo and Lord Raptor for this to be totally complete. It gives you an extra Survival mode that was missing from the Arcade to increase the value, it’s finally on a home system, and doubled up with Xbox Live ability so that finally, you don’t have to pay 300 dollars just to own the game. For me, that means a lot. But I still find my original purchase well worth the cash.

Great dialogue, great characters, and some strong improvements and tweaks from the Arcade version, SVC Chaos may not be MOTM2 like I was hoping for, but it’s a decent game in it’s own right. SVC1 is still a far superior game, but I’m still quite happy with this in the long run.

Miscellaneous rating: 7/10

Short Attention Span Summary
A decent SNK creation, but nowhere near the best they have done. The PS2 offers KoF 2001 and KOF:MI if you want a truly good SNK fighter from this generation, but SVC is still a fun (albeit flawed) game where Xbox Live and a more balanced engine increases the enjoyment. I have a strange attachment and love for this game. Hopefully you will too.



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