Fighting games have come a long way since the very first Street Fighter arcade game. They have gone through many renovations over the years and most are pretty straightforward—two fighters enter, only one can leave. But one title took the competitive fighting game genre and gave it a new twist: the ability to play as two different characters. But that wasn’t all, this game also kicked off the crossover genre of fighting game. Strap in for a flashback to gaming past! I am Devildriver1313 and this is Time Warp Review’s look back at how the cross-over genre began by reviewing the game that started it all—”X-Men vs. Street Fighter.”
During the heydays of arcade gaming, Capcom released the coin operated console game in 1996 that pitted their own against the X-Men. The Street Fighter characters retained their appearance from Street Fighter Alpha 2 while the Marvel character remained largely unchanged from Capcom’s two previous Marvel releases, “X-Men: Children of the Atom” and “Marvel Super Heroes.” Gameplay for X-Men vs. Street Fighter is similar to the style of Marvel Super Heroes, and adds a tag team feature. Unlike the aforementioned title, this game’s matches consist of two-on-two battles as opposed to a best two-out-of-three match. Players controlled one character while their partner waits off screen. You can switch partners on the fly and the match lasted until a team is defeated.
X-Men vs. Street Fighter’s two-on-two matches provided much more variety than in other fighting games at the time. You can begin your assault with one character and finish with the other. No best-out-of-three matches here. It’s one match; winner take all. The character models were smooth and fluid, and cartoony, much like in the first two Marvel based games and in Street Fighter Alpha which made intergrading Ryu and friends with the X-Men a seamless fit. The character sprites for the X-Men characters were drawn from X-Men: Children of the Atom, with the exception of Rogue, Gambit, and Sabretooth, who had not appeared in a previous Capcom fighting game. The sprite designs themselves are based on the characters’ appearances from the 1990s animated X-Men television series, complete with the original voice actors. The Street Fighter character sprites are reused from Street Fighter Alpha 2. In order to create a level playing field between the cast of Street Fighter and the X-Men series’ superheroes and supervillains, the Street Fighter characters were re-imagined with highly exaggerated versions of their special moves. For example, Ryu comes equipped with a “super Hadouken” that fills the entire screen. The action is very fast paced, pulling off insane combos to devastate your opponent. Hyper Combos add flare to your attacks. These are enhanced versions of a character’s super combo. To further this attribute, players can have both characters combine their attacks for a Super Hyper Combo to decimate their opponent.
The game borrows elements from previous Marvel licensed titles “X-Men: Children of the Atom” and “Marvel Super Heroes” such as the ability to super jump and attack your opponent with combos while in the air. Should your main character suffer too much damage, you can swap them out so they can recover off-screen while your secondary character joins the fray. By today’s standards, X-Men vs. Street Fighter would be considered a turtle plodding along in the sand. Though its roster of 17 fighters and graphics have nothing on current titles Street Fighter 5 and the upcoming King of the Fighters XIV, X-Men vs. Street Fighter was the game to play back in its heyday. Still, today’s fighting games and even some action games have to thank the fighting games of yesteryear. X-Men vs. Street Fighter not only brought variety to what was once a straight forward genre (beat your opponent and that’s it), but it has also inspired gameplay for titles such as God of War series, current Mortal Kombat release, and Devil May Cry series. X-Men vs. Street Fighter set the standard for cross-over fighting games as well as games that succeeded it. It was a fun and entertaining game enjoyed by many an arcade attendee and still is to this day. And will continue to inspire future tag-team crossover fighting games.
See you on the next level!
X-Men vs. Street Fighter game play!