X-Men Vs. Street Fighter

Capcom has delivered its most impressive arcade-to-home conversion yet

Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Genre: Fighting

Third-party support for the Saturn in the US might be dwindling, but that s not the case in Japan, where if a game s hot in the arcades, it ll almost certainly show up on our favorite console in no time flat. Such is the case with X-Men Vs. Street Fighter, the latest installment in Capcom s long-running series of 2D fighters. Blending the best elements of the Street Fighter and X-Men fighting engine bloodlines, the game that proved excellent in the arcades proves to be every bit as good on the Saturn.

The premise is still the same: two separate groups of fighters have come together to take on the mammoth Apocalypse and free their captured comrades. Unlike previous games in either series, players assemble a two-man team comprised of characters from either the Street Fighter or X-Men universe. Several familar faces return on both sides, including the likes of Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Wolverine, and Cyclops.

The brilliant fighting engine that made the game s coin-op incarnation so addictive has been fully retained. A departure from past fighters that featured team play, X-Men Vs. Street Fighter allows players to switch characters on the fly during a match. Not only does this allow you to bring a healthy fighter into play, but allows the injured tagged out character to partially recover their health off-screen. And once your super bar is fully charged, both of your characters can combine to execute a devastating team attack.

Thanks to the Sega's new 4 megabyte RAM expansion, this switching of characters is accomplished seamlessly, with absolutely zero wait time -- a technical marvel in and of itself.

But this isn t the only area of the game that benefits from the extra breathing room of this impressive new add-on. Aside from the near abolishment of between-match load times (down from the 15 seconds of Marvel Super Heroes to roughly 3-5 seconds), nearly every frame of character animation found in the arcade game has been retained, the sound effects are clear as a bell, and the action never slows down, even with huge characters like Magneto and Juggernaut on-screen. In short: the game looks incredible, sounds incredible, and plays even better.

Combined with these impressive technical leaps are the standard assortment of home-only features, such as hidden characters, options, and character variations that only add to the already polished experience.

The bottom line? With X-Men Vs. Street Fighter, Capcom has not only delivered its most impressive arcade-to-home conversion yet, but what is the best 2D fighter available for the Saturn. If you fancy yourself a fighting fan, the game is a must-have in the truest sense. Import game of the year? Without a doubt. Now let s just hope Capcom decides to bring this marvel to our shores in the not-too-distant future.