The classic arcade fighting game Marvel vs Capcom 2 is now available in the iOS App Store, but it’s not exactly what we hoped for.
Marvel vs Capcom 2 is a fighting game that pits Capcom characters like Mega Man and Street Fighter’s Ryu against Marvel characters like Wolverine and Captain America. Capcom released the arcade original in 2000, and 12 years later it has arrived on iOS so that gamers can play it anywhere.
Strangely though, the 12-year-old fighting game will only work on newer iOS devices. At the bottom of the description of the game, Capcom notes that Marvel vs Capcom 2 will not function on the iPhone 3GS or the iPad 1.
I tested the game on the iPad 1 before seeing the disclaimer. The game started, albeit with muddier-than-usual graphics (the game seems to feature the same hand-drawn pixel art from 2000) and slowdown. The game runs fine until a match starts, where it promptly crashes.
The game seems to run fine on an iPhone 4 which has the same A4 CPU as the iPad 1. The iPhone 4 does have twice the RAM of the iPad 1, however, 512MB compared to 256MB, which is likely the cause of the issue.
Playing the game on a device that it does support has some issues as well.Because the game is a direct port, players have to unlock most of the characters in the game. The game has a total of 56 characters, of which only 24 are available at the start. Popular characters like Iron Man, Magneto, and Dhalsim from Street Fighter are among those that need to be unlocked.
Players unlock other characters by playing the game and earning points. Players then use those points in the in-game store to buy characters that are in put in the store randomly. The process took a long time when the game was on the PlayStation 2 and Dreamcast, and now will take even longer for iPhone gamers who play in short bursts.
Getting those points is difficult as well because the game doesn’t control that well, at least not on an iPhone 4. The frame rate of the game is far lower than is ideal for a fighting game. Characters seem to walk through water when you want them to run. In fact, the game is so slow, that I haven’t been able to finish a single match before the 99-second timer ran out.
Capcom tried a new method of “flick control” for the game, which seems great in theory. The game uses buttons which players flick in one of four directions to perform different moves. Except the directions don’t always seem to do the same thing. A flick down should execute a super move with all three characters the player is using in the fight, but often times it ends up force swapping the opponent’s characters.
Capcom needs to improve the controls, and create an easy way to unlock all characters, even if through an in-app purchase, before the game can live up to its arcade and console siblings.
Marvel vs Capcom 2 is $2.99 until May 6 to celebrate the Avengers movie release, and will sell for $4.99 after. It’s tough to recommend right now, but diehard fighting fans might find something to love.
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