E3 2000 Wrap-Up
A look at Sega's showing at E3 - By BenT and Fragmaster
Capcom vs. SNK
Ok, so they only had the arcade game there. We all know the Dreamcast version will be identical, though. :) Anyway, Capcom vs. SNK was looking awesome, even though it was only 15 percent complete. The game runs in beautiful 640x480, giving a crystal-clear clarity to the beautiful background. Unfortunately, the character sprites are merely scaled-up versions of their old selves. I guess Capcom didn't feel like redrawing each character from scratch... that's too bad. Another great graphical trick was that the game took advantage of the Naomi board's 3D features. Special moves such as Iori's ground spark and dragon punch thingy emitted beautiful wisps and swirls of purple light. You might think these effects would clash against the traditional 2D elements, but they actually looked to be integrated wonderfully. The character styles looked like a cross between Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Street Fighter 3 -- cartoony, but not overly so. Artistically, the biggest surprise came on the character select screen. The character portraits are now done in a semi-realistic style (ala SNK), such that even the traditionally freaky characters like Zangief would look (almost) normal in the real world. I like this style; it seems to make the characters look more human again, after having degenerated into mutants in the versus series and Alpha 3. Finally, the gameplay. I mention it last because there wasn't much to see; the game *was* only 15% complete, after all. The most interesting tidbit is that upon selecting your roster of characters, you can choose from a "Capcom groove" or a "SNK groove", which obviously affects how the characters play. (Exactly how remains to be seen.) The arcade version of Capcom vs. SNK is scheduled to debut in late summer, but word is that they'll have a tough time making that date. Myself, I'll be happy with a pre-2001 release. 2D fighter fans had better prepare... this one's gonna be big.
This is kind of funny... the original Japanese name for this game is Gunspike. But no, the word "gun" doesn't fly in America anymore, so what did they change it to? Cannon. Riiiight. Anyway, Cannon Spike is the result of a unique collaboration between Capcom and shooter gods Psikyo, and is an original entry into the shooting genre. Gameplay seemed to take place in a series of limited-scrolling arenas, ala the classic Smash TV. Enemies came in; they were shot and destroyed; then more enemies came in. Unfortunately, the game doesn't make use of the classic dual joystick control method (ala Robotron), which seemed to hamper playability a bit. Anyway, this is sure to be a solid title, although I'm praying it rewards skill more than the number of quarters you can waste on it. (I couldn't tell which way the game would swing based on my short experience with it.) The Dreamcast version of Cannon Spike is headed our way this August.
Yes! Capcom is doing shooter fans a great service by bringing this excellent title over to the States. What's so special about it? Gunbird 2 is a very solid shooter from Psikyo, in the vein of their own Strikers 1945 II. In fact, the gameplay and interface are almost exactly the same, so if you liked Strikers, you'll love Gunbird 2. With this, Giga Wing and Cannon Spike, Capcom has suddenly become the number one shooter publishing company in the US. Great job, guys -- it's much appreciated by us beleaguered shooter freaks. Gunbird 2 should be available in October.
Marvel vs. Capcom 2
Want more 2D insanity in the style of Marvel vs. Capcom? Look no further. Bigger (56 characters!), badder, and (oh god) more ridiculous than ever, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 will be blasting into American Dreamcasts this fall. The Japanese game's wacky arcade/DC interoperability has been removed, since American MvC2 arcade machines do not have VMU sockets. This means it'll be much less of a pain in the ass to unlock the various secret characters -- yay. It's not known if the American version will feature online play, but here's hoping.
Power Stone 2
The anticipated sequel to Power Stone is almost here. This time around, four players can take part in the insane fighting action. The arenas are neater than ever, being much more spacious and having several phases each. For example, one stage took place atop a flying airship, and after a while the characters proceeded to leap from said plane and take their fight to the air. Very cool. There's a huge variety of weapons to obtain, and the feel is extremely arcade-like. That makes sense, since Power Stone 2 is also a Naomi-based arcade game. In all, this looks to be one of the higher-profile sequels to hit the Dreamcast this fall, and is probably Capcom's biggest upcoming title.
Spawn is a third person arcade deathmatch game. You know the drill. Death, chaos, destruction, and frags. The game seems to have a sort of manic intensity to it, which made the gameplay seem a bit spastic. Still, the game supports four players via splitscreen, and it looks to be a fun little hack-fest. And it's the first Spawn-licensed game to not suck, which must be worth something. Spawn is headed our way in September.
Street Fighter III: Third Strike
Err... Street Fighter III: Double Impact is due in America for June, and Capcom intends to release Third Strike in September? That does not compute, to say the least. Anyway, Double Impact was nowhere to be seen at E3, while Third Strike was featured prominently. SF3:TS is the latest incarnation of the troubled Street Fighter III series, and the roster has swelled up to 19 characters. It's just another Street Fighter 3, so you know the deal -- awesome animation, back-to-basics gameplay. The most exciting new feature is the "Progressive Hit Frame System", which is basically a technique that'll refine the game's hit detection further than has even been attempted before, giving it a new precision. Cool beans. Like MvC2, it's unknown if the title will offer online play. All we can do is cross our fingers and wait for more details.