Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars Cover
Platforms Wii
Genre Enjoyable 2.5D Fighter
Buy from Amazon

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars is the latest installment in the crossover series developed by Eighting and published by Capcom. Originally released in Japan more than a year ago (Dec 11, 2008), Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is finally making it's stateside debut January 26th, 2010.

You may be asking yourself, "Who the heck are these Tatsunoko characters?". I myself am asking this same question as I venture into this unknown universe. To my current knowledge, it is basically one of the grandfather anime production studios that really took off in the 80s and early 90s in Japan. Most of their work made it overseas with the likes of Samarai Pizza Cats, G-Force, and Robotech. If you grew up with cartoons in the 90s, there is a chance you will run across some familiar faces here (though you may have forgotten their names).

Capcom took a huge gamble bringing such an unknown universe stateside. To put the odds in their favor, the game has gained a few critical changes. First off, online match making has been included. Secondly, at the cost of losing one character from the original Japanese game due to licensing issues (see Hakushon Daimaō), Capcom has graciously added five new playable characters to the international version of the game.

This game was never originally planned to make it over here. I was able to play the title while I was over in Japan a year ago and was super excited to hear Capcom was putting so much effort into bringing it overseas. The game definitely warrants a purchase and fills the empty void of 2D fighters (with online) on the Wii. Hopefully word gets out about this game because I have a feeling it's going to be an uphill battle. I've lived in Japan for two years and I still don't know who half these Tatsunoko characters are.


2.5D visuals
How do you make a 2D sprite based fighting game feel next gen? The answer, bump it up to 2.5D and get all the graphical prowess without the clunky gaming mechanics of 3D. Like previous Vs. titles, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom at it's heart is the 2D fighting game you know and love. Don't be worried about any of the prior game mechanics changing because the only thing that has changed are the aesthetics, which in my opinion, give games like this the graphical freshness it needs to survive this generation.

Kept the original Japanese voice acting
You may be asking yourself; Who exactly is going to buy this game...? I'll tell ya who. It's the hardcore gamers out there who will be deciding if this game sinks or swims in the U.S. Leaving the original Japanese voice acting in the game is one simple step Capcom has taken to appease this demographic.

Fun for beginners and veterans
Besides a game like Smash Bros. I don't know many games who are able to accommodate both beginners and veterans. It's usually overly complex or simplistic and repetitive. While advanced users can dive deep into mechanics like advanced guarding, mega crashes, baroque combos, and other techniques. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom does a wonderful job of making beginners feel welcomed by adding fewer buttons and simpler controls. This doesn't mean Capcom has dumbed down combat at all. Think of Smash Bros., combat is fast and furious but there aren't many commands you have to memorize and try and pull off to compete with other players. Everything you need is pretty much handed to you. However, an advanced player will always win against a new comer (just like Smash Bros.). Don't think your practice and hard work won't pay off because it most definitely does. I noticed as I played the local versus mode with a friend of mine who is not entirely adept at fighting games. That he was able to contend with me and have some pretty intense matches. I could also see how it was accessible for him and that he was able to quickly evolve in skill level after each match we played.

The ability to view the command list while fighting in real time
Why didn't anyone think of this sooner? How many fighting games have you had to pause in the middle of an intense battle only to sit and wait for you or your opponent to memorize the various commands for the chosen character? It's a real momentum breaker and on top of that it's a pain to branch out and try new characters because you will have to learn a new move set. Capcom has added a wonderful ability to this game and I have no doubt in my mind the same function will be a staple for fighting games in the future. Anytime during combat you can pull up your command list and have it displayed at the top of the screen while you fight in real time. This gives you the ability to learn new characters on the fly or help memorize the variety of special attacks your particular character possesses.


The obscuring size of some of the characters
Anyone who has played any of the previous bosses in the Vs. series can attest to how truly annoying they are. Because the bosses are much larger in size compared to the other cast of fighters they suffer no push back when struck by attacks. This means that if you run up and melee them, they won't be phased at all and will continue swinging like you aren't even there. The only way to defeat them is to cheaply back yourself away from them and continuously throw projectiles at them (no strategy what so ever). For some reason, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom has decided to include this taint into local versus and online play by making two playable characters from the roster enormous. Granted they tried balancing this by making it that if you chose one of these behemoths you have to fight solo and won't be allowed to pick a partner to tag team with. A veteran player can easily take these guys out but if you have two newcomers and one chooses a regular tag team and the other chooses one of the giants, it's more than likely the giant will win. It's largely due to the same issue that is tied to the bosses. When a character runs up to attack, even if he connects the larger character doesn't get stunned like every other character. This allows the player controlling it to just brute force through and put a ton of pressure on the opponent he is facing.

If you don't fancy absurdly large characters to face as your opponent, how about absurdly small characters? Anybody remember Serve Bot from Marvel vs. Capcom 2? He was easy to take down but just a pain because your combos were hard to connect on him. Roll, Viewtiful Joe, and Mega Man have similar feats. They don't break the game, they aren't even that hard to beat but fighting them is just wonky.

Tatsunoko Vs Capcom Ryu Ken Ptx 40aTatsunoko Vs Capcom Ryu Roll Polimar Karas
Annoyingly large or annoyingly small, pick your poison

The unoriginality of some of Tatsunoko's cast of characters
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom suffers from Power Ranger/Ninja Turtle syndrome. All the characters tend to look the same and with names like Ippatsuman, Yatterman, and Tekkaman it doesn't help much. Just imagine it like this; If you lived in a foreign country and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were never introduced to you and you decided picked up a pirated copy of the recent TMNT: Smash Up from your local super market. You would feel completely gypped with a fighting game with the same character wearing different bandannas right? You don't know your Michalangeos from your Donatellos. You only see that there is a turtle with an orange bandanna and a turtle with a purple bandanna. So who's your favorite!? Who would you like to master!? I have no idea. I don't know their personality or back story. All I see are a bunch of guys wearing tights, a helmet, and a cape.

Tatsunoko Vs Capcom Ippatsuman Yatterman Tekkaman
Can Mr. Ippatsuman please step forward? Umm.. which one of you is Ippatsuman again...?

Unable to filter out opponents with bad connections in online play
Online play is top notch as far as a Wii game is concerned. Capcom has found away to semi bypass those annoying friend codes by implementing a system similar to Metroid Prime Hunter on the DS. After you finish a match with an opponent you will be allowed to register them as a rival in which you can face them anytime they are online. This is definitely a welcomed feature and makes you feel like your not just playing a bunch of bots with screen names. There is no voice chat or anyway to really communicate with your opponent though, so you do get that feeling sometimes. Online is pretty good as far as lag goes. There were very few matches I played that lag was any sort of issue. Occasionally, there would be a hiccup in frames but nothing that broke the game. Users of Xbox Live or PSN are not going to come running from Street Fighter IV for this but it does have a formidable online and is probably right up there with The Conduit as far as stability and robustness are concerned.

One major complaint I have is the ability to filter out people who have horrible connections. I'm sure only a few people in the U.S. have actually bought an Ethernet adapter for their Console. Luckily, with a game that is so niched toward a hardcore audience you'll likely find more people who made the purchase than if you were playing something like Smash Bros. Brawl online. Online works well wirelessly via the console's built in WiFi device but to get optimum latency you will need to splurge on the wired adapter. For some reason, there is no way to filter out people who are below a certain latency level. Making some matches a complete waste of time. Like I said, if you only own a Wii and haven't tapped into it's older, more online capable brothers you probably won't mind most of the online issues.

Tastunoko vs. Capcom is definitely the most approachable of the series. It's more comparable to SNK vs. Capcom than to Marvel vs. Capcom. There are fewer characters, you have a 2 man tag team instead of 3, and hyper specials don't spam the screen with unavoidable damage as much. If you were a die hard fan of Marvel vs. Capcom 2, you will definitely still enjoy this game, though it probably isn't the exact successor your looking for.

If your looking for a 2D fighting game on the Wii then this is definitely something you want in your library. Though 2D fighters have been around for awhile the 2.5D approach really makes it feel fresh and looks great. Online is viable and playing with the classic control felt comfortable. I was able to pull off all the moves with ease. If you need even more control you can dish out some extra cash for an arcade stick (I didn't find a need for it, though some swear by it).