Retro Requisition would like to draw your attention to a classic video game of old that we shall be formally requisitioning to be reborn, revisited, rebooted, or remastered. We will explain what makes each game such a timeless classic still worthy of attention, pitch what it would be all about and get all realistic by discussing the possibilities of it actually ever happening.
X-Men VS Street Fighter
THE PLAYERS: Capcom, Marvel
PLATFORM(S): Arcade, Sega Saturn, PlayStation
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
X-men Vs Street Fighter is an arcade fighter by Capcom, based on the mechanics of their Street Fighter franchise and featuring characters from both the aforementioned title and Marvel’s X-men series. Now, before the internet opens it’s authoritative mouth and shoots me down in a ball of digital flames, may it be known that I am quite aware that Marvel Vs Capcom has received many sequels right up to the present day. I am also aware that there are more Street Fighter renditions in the world than there are biscuits in your gran’s cupboard. Regardless, I am here today to pay tribute to a game that perfectly showcases comic book characters like no other.
Xmen Vs Street Fighter can be identified as a ‘what if’ crossover in terms of plot, which means leaving any judgement on it’s validity as ‘cannon’ behind. This genre has proven to be majorly successful over the years, within video games, comics and film, with many concepts being explored as a one off. Bringing the cast of Street Fighter and the X-men together was the perfect combination, as they were both prominent groups of bad-ass heroes that made a big impression during the 90’s.
As is typical in early fighting games, the plot is fairly light, being savored as a reward for beating the game with each character in the form of an ending sequence. Most of the charm comes from the whole ‘what-if’ scenario of franchise collaboration, something that was extremely popular in the 90’s. If you’ve always wanted to see that girl-power dream team of Rogue and Cammy join forces, then now’s your chance. It’s also quite amusing to see Chun Li being invited to join Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters as a reward for beating the game.
X-men Vs Street Fighter was actually the result of Capcom creating two previous titles based on Marvel characters. X-Men: Children Of The Atom was the debut of the series, followed by Marvel Super Heroes, featured sprites based on the work of Jack Kirby’s Marvel illustrations. The style of these games brought the classic characters to life, with vibrant sprites and environments that stay true to their original art form. This, paired with the solid fighting mechanics of Street Fighter II, created a game that is both fluid to control and beautiful to watch unfold.
In actuality, this series of games is a strong example of why games are both simultaneously art and entertainment, providing an experience that traditional media cannot. Mechanically, this game stays true to the Street Fighter formula, making it easy for fans and newbies alike to pick up and play. It does add a fantastic tag team element to battles, allowing the player to select two fighters that can alternative during a match by pressing both heavy kick and punch buttons at the same time.
WHY DOES IT NEEDS TO BE REBORN?
This unique series of comic-based fighting games may have survived to the present day in the format of Marvel VS Capcom, however, it seemed to ditch its original style after the second entry. So while the series keeps hold of its weird new 3D style, we can take a look at its predecessor and ask for it to be brought back. The dawn of 3D graphics changed the industry, in both good ways and bad, giving us lots of new gaming experiences, while ditching anything that didn’t fit the mold.
To be fair to Capcom, the 2D sprites remained part of MvC even during the 2D cull of the fifth console generation. This was probably due to Capcom wanting to include franchises such as Devil May Cry without having to turn the characters into sprites, even though that would have been fantastic.
Bringing back Xmen Vs Street Fighter would allow the series to start a fresh, retaining it’s glorious art style while utilising new hardware and resolution capabilities. You can tell that a game has nailed its art design when it still looks good today, which is definitely the case for all the games mentioned above. This also applies to the Street Fighter corner of the game, as many of the beautiful sprites from the likes of Street Fighter Alpha are used in the series.
WHAT WOULD WE WANT TO SEE IN ANY REBIRTH?
Bringing back the series to its roots would be the perfect way to create something different than the current format of Marvel Vs Capcom. The modern technologies of today have enabled 2D style games to look like artistic masterpieces, especially when compared to 3D titles that look dated after a few years of release. Going back to Xmen Vs Street Fighter and recreating it with a modern engine would help revitalise the genre of 2D gaming, giving the title the ability to look like the developers envisioned.
Reviving this classic would also cater to those die hard comic book fans, who perhaps would love to see their favourite characters represented in illustrated form. So many Marvel games opt for a style closely associated to the Marvel cinematic universe, which paints characters in a different light at times. In addition to this, maintaining a 2D style would also accommodate classic Street Fighter fans, giving them something that isn’t the mainline series, or a port of a previous title.
So basically, bring back everything that made the original so great, but enhance things with modern technology, rather than re-imagine it. Maintaining the beautiful art form within this game, while adding functionality such as online play and perhaps a more in depth story mode would make this a must have for Marvel and Street Fighter fans alike.
IS IT LIKELY?
This is a pretty hard question to answer, as even though Marvel has become a prominent household brand, the specific format of Xmen Vs Street Fighter might not be as in demand as you’d think. With Marvel Vs Capcom already serving as a 2D fighter under the Marvel banner, there technically isn’t a gap in the market that could be taken advantage of.
That being said, publishers will often go back to their old IP’s at some point and consider using them again, which means that there is a chance. Saying that, I’m unsure how much of an impact Disney’s ownership of the MCU could have on such a game making a comeback, as getting the licences can be tricky.
Ultimately, we probably won’t see X-Men Vs Street Fighter return in the guise that we’d like. However, there’s always the chance of getting something spiritually true to what this game represented; fantastic artwork, classic fighting mechanics and a host of beloved characters.