Game Review

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Damien McFerran

Crossover chaos at its very finest

When Capcom’s Versus series burst into arcades in 1996 it was a refreshing change of pace after the seemingly endless stream of copycat brawlers and tired sequels. X-Men vs. Street Fighter also marked a significant new attitude for the veteran developer; it was willing to let its most famous characters duke it out with some of the comic book world’s leading lights, and such a heady combination predictably resulted in plenty of success, both in arcades and at home.

We’ve seen several other match-ups over the years – including an unlikely contest with arch-rival SNK – but Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars is the first crossover title to hit the market in almost a decade. It’s also possibly the most obscure instalment in the franchise – unless you’re Japanese, or are incredibly clued-up about Japanese anime.

Tatsunoko Production Co, Ltd is one of the most famous animation firms in Japan and has had a hand in countless epic series, including Speed Racer, Super Dimension Fortress Macross (later localised for Western markets as Robotech), Samurai Pizza Cats and Gatchaman. Many of the titles Tatsunoko has been involved with will mean nothing to English-speaking gamers, and that’s one of the reasons why the release of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom in the West is such a significant event.

Back when the title made its Japanese debut in 2008, hardcore Capcom fans took a deep breath and mentally compiled a cost list for importing Japanese Wii hardware whilst at the same time tried to work out how much they’d get for one of their kidneys. Even Capcom itself seemed to lack confidence in the game ever making it out of its native homeland, but thanks to fan-pressure the impossible has become possible and after a year of anxious waiting we’ve been bestowed with a version of the game which is possibly even better than the Japanese original.

As has been the case with previous Versus games, the Capcom portion of the roster contains the usual fan favourites such as Ryu, Chun Li and Morrigan. However, Capcom has also gifted us with some less familiar combatants. Alex from Street Fighter III makes a rare appearance and is just as demanding a character to master as he ever was; the inclusion of Rival Schools’ brooding Batsu is also very welcome, especially when you consider how under-appreciated that particular series has been. Elsewhere we have characters from Lost Planet, Dead Rising, Mega Man, Viewtiful Joe and even the ultra-obscure Quiz Nanairo Dreams - Nijiirochō no Kiseki.

The Tatsunoko side of things is obviously going to be less recognisable to Western eyes, but keen anime enthusiasts will spot Ken the Eagle from Gatchaman (better know as Battle of the Planets or G-Force in the West), Casshan and Tekkaman. While it’s naturally harder to feel any degree of warmth towards these fighters if you have no knowledge of the anime franchises that spawned them, as individual characters they’re just as intriguing as the Capcom contingent; you might even argue that they’re actually more interesting, given their gloriously overpowered superhero-style abilities.

While the depth of cast never quite comes close to that of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 – which showcased a staggering 56 characters – the roster contains very little in the way of filler. Every one of these fighters is worth experimenting with and mastering, which makes a change from its aforementioned predecessor that featured a worrying number of dead-end characters within its artificially-swelled ranks. Like the titles which have preceded it, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom calls for you to select not one but two characters to fight with. These can be switched at any point during the match, with your reserve fighter also being able to chip in with occasional Cross-Over Assist attacks.

Visually Tatsunoko vs. Capcom breaks from tradition by being entirely rendered in 3D. While Marvel vs. Capcom 2 had gorgeous 3D backgrounds, the characters were resolutely 2D creations, expressing all of the trademark silky animation that made Capcom’s ‘90s output so aesthetically pleasing, but at the expense of clarity; when placed against the lush backgrounds the flat and pixellated combatants looked strangely out of place. With that in mind, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is definitely a step forward and even the most die-hard 2D purist will eventually be won over by the sumptuous on-screen activity.

In fact, there’s rarely a moment when the playing area isn’t awash with multicoloured destruction as you battle it out with your rival for pugilistic supremacy. Even the most basic of attacks triggers a pyrotechnic display that wouldn’t look out of place on New Years Eve and the ridiculously ostentatious Hyper Combo manoeuvres distort the screen and send shock waves rippling across your TV’s display. It may lack the stunning high-resolution clarity of Street Fighter IV, but Tatsunoko vs. Capcom could be considered a more visually arresting title, thanks largely to the total lack of restraint went it comes to special effects.

It’s a similar story when it comes to the combat system; while Street Fighter IV calls for the player to adopt a methodical approach, teasing out mistakes from their opponent and capitalising on the tiniest of errors in order to trigger a devastating chain of blows, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is all about mid-air juggles, hilariously over-the-top double-team offensives and unpredictable Cross-Over Combination attacks, where both of your characters pool their collective might in a awe-inspiring torrent of apocalyptic energy.

Given that the Wii’s default control configuration is woefully unsuited to fighting games, interface was always going to be an issue with this title. While Capcom has included pretty much every possible option under the sun – including GameCube pad support – you simply cannot beat a proper arcade stick for this type of game. At the very least you should invest in a Classic Controller or Classic Controller Pro; there really is little point in playing this with the Wii Remote. It’s certainly something you should bear in mind before making a purchase.

The control system itself has been scaled back from the tried-and-tested Street Fighter template, with the iconic 6-button layout being jettisoned in favour of a 3-button setup (weak, medium, strong); combinations of these buttons grant access to the various special attacks and Cross-Over commands. This simplified arrangement allows you access to a wide range of attacks while using relatively few button presses; this might seem like something of a compromise to dedicated players but in all honesty it doesn’t have a negative effect on the complexity of the game. As approachable as Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is, you’ll find that a competent player will always crush a button-bashing newbie.

Thanks to the considerable delay between the Japanese release and this Western localisation, the game has been augmented by some particularly fetching additions, the most obvious being the opportunity to square up against friends online using the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Lag can sometimes be an issue in matches, but no more so than any other Wi-Fi Connection-enabled title and the chance to play both ranked matches and fight with friends is a bonus. When you take into account that Xbox 360 owners are paying through the nose for connectivity like this, it’s hard to grumble too much about the odd dip in stability.

Another neat embellishment is the Ultimate All-Shooters mini-game, which allows four players to participate in some good old-fashion top-down shooting action. While it’s hardly likely to keep your attention for very long, it’s a welcome extra nonetheless.

Conclusion

Given the groundswell of anticipation that has preceded the Western release of this title, there’s a good chance that you’ve already made your mind up about committing to a purchase. After all, it’s fan-power which convinced Capcom to take the plunge and tool-up the game for a Western release in the first place, so common sense would dictate that a fairly sizable market is out there, waiting patiently for their chance to crush some skulls. Regardless of this almost blind fervour, there’s no denying that Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is a remarkable piece of software and without a shadow of a doubt the finest fighting title currently available on the Wii. Unashamedly old-school in its approach, it nevertheless manages to feel as fresh and exciting as X-Men vs. Street Fighter did all those years ago. Dust off that under-appreciated Classic Controller you have stored at the back of your cupboard and buy this as soon as possible.

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User Comments (97)

ReZon

#1

ReZon said:

I've been playing it this evening, and I've got to admit, I'm really impressed. So far, this is one of the better fighters I've played. I'm enjoying getting to see all these characters that I've never seen before. Some very interesting moves!

Donatello

#4

Donatello said:

Move over SSB Brawl, SSFII HD Remix and Guilty Gear XX AC Plus...Time to make room for this bad boy. I just have to get a second Classic Controller and I'll be good to go. And thank god it has online....Because when it comes to fighting games i just absolutely love it. Because if you get tired of playing against your friends and want more of a challenge than it's a blast. Hell, I usually dont even care for Online most of the time, but for fighters it's fantastic...Which remindes me of SSB Brawl. geez was it oh so' laggy, just terrible.

CanisWolfred

#6

CanisWolfred said:

The change in control scheme perturbs me, but it makes me happy I read the review beforehand. It's still top on my list, though. I can never resist a good fighting game. Speaking of which, I need to go play some Capcom vs. SNK 2 right now!:D

Mabbit

#7

Mabbit said:

i have T vs. C fever, man!
FEVER!!!
ive convinced my parents to get it for me, ive preordered it, ive waited for a month and a half and guess what? i got in trouble and i cant even play video games....
bleh

metaknave

#9

metaknave said:

I'll be getting it this Friday! I figured it was about time for a new fighter since Brawl began to bore me.

CorbsAdmin

#11

Corbs said:

I normally stick to SNK stuff when it comes to 2D fighting games, but so far this one has been rather impressive. Great review Damo!

pixelman

#13

pixelman said:

I don't like fighting games (and I hate the SSB games), but this one looks pretty fun. May give it a rental some time.

astarisborn94

#14

astarisborn94 said:

I would absolutely love to get my hand on this. This looks awesome. Too bad I have to wait until my birthday. :(

FuzzyYellowBalls

#15

FuzzyYellowBalls said:

meh. that's right. i said it.
not for the game itself... just because i only have a fightstick for my ps3 and i'm not buying another one for the wii just to play this game. if it wasn't a wii exclusive it would already be in my hands... not that i mind exclusives, just the damn fightstick issue. that's the only way i like to play fighting games. :( so no go for me.

Earendel68

#17

Earendel68 said:

I never thought that someday I would see another game of this kind. I am happy for this!!!!!!!

WolfRamHeart

#20

WolfRamHeart said:

I've been playing this game since I bought it earlier today and I have to say that I am really enjoying it. It is a fantastic game and one of the best fighters that I have ever played. If you are on the fence about this game do yourself a favor and just give it a try. You won't regret it.

AVahne

#21

AVahne said:

Capcom is even stronger this year, this game comes out and ends up freaking awesome.

Now the, BRING ON MONSTER HUNTER 3 TRI!

DK_vs_KK

#23

DK_vs_KK said:

I just purchased it, and I have to say, it's one of the best fighting games I've ever played! Unfortunately, on the screen where it shows the different combos, I can't seem to figure out how to use some of them based on the images they show you. It's also more confusing than Super Smash Bros., but just by a little bit. Once I start to grasp the controls, I think it will be much more enjoyable.

NINTENBOY

#25

NINTENBOY said:

I have a feeling this is going to be the wii's year to really shine! With 2 great reviews on No more heroes 2 and now Tasanoko vs. Capcom and this games are wii exclusives which makes me very happy about that. Now I just really hope this games sell, that the thing that I'm worried about.

Pegasus

#26

Pegasus said:

I'm still unsure about those Tatsunoko characters, but it does look like it could be quite fun.

I'm not all that into fighting games, but I thought I might make a small investment again this year... the question for me is: this or the upcoming release of Super Street Fighter IV for my PS3? Hmmm.

Fuzzy

#27

Fuzzy said:

I think this might be the game that will get me into playing a fighter again.

vakama94

#28

vakama94 said:

but the question is, does it have the supposed DLC that capcom announced? probably not

SwerdMurd

#30

SwerdMurd said:

It's phenomenal. And no, the DLC story was a bogus waste of time (it wasn't ever announced in the first place....it was hugely theoretical) and will not ever appear.

This game is fantastic though...what I was hoping SF4 would've been, and with noob-friendly Smash Bros.-style control additions no less!

Best fighter on Wii without question.

Egg_miester

#31

Egg_miester said:

i been playing the game nearly straight for 8 to 9 hours truthfully said time has been lost to me i take a few minute brakes here or there but the game is epic and the best fighter out all year

mushroomer

#32

mushroomer said:

Hi all, I grew up in Japan and watched the transformers hack of an anime called Gold Lightan. I believe this game has that huge gold robot dude if im not mistaken and that was Tatsunoko's foot in the transformer market back in the early 80's which didnd do all too well. But I remember when I was in preschool in japan, I use to make them with paper and scotch tape. You know why that cartoon never made it state side? Cause the robots transformed into cigarette lighters! Gold Lightan! japanese are crazy marketing a cartoon to kids glorifying smoking .. haha bet you guys never knew that! Its like if they came out with a cartoon here called Zippo Fighters
Ill leave you all with this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P_cPb980k0

Percentful

#33

Percentful said:

I wondered if this would be worth it since I have SSBB, and I think it would be totally different and fun.

motang

#34

motang said:

I picked up my copy after work, but I haven't played it yet as I have a paper to write. I shall play for an hour or so before going to bed! :D

I am pumped for this game, now I shall write up quickly this dreaded proposal for Independent Study and I shall start playing...ciao for now!

Frog

#39

Frog said:

I picked it up this morning and have been playing for most of the day. It's amazing. I can't say enough good things about this game. So much fun.

Kid_A

#40

Kid_A said:

Two timely reviews in one day? And they're both AAA??
This is a fine time to be a Wii owner, indeed.

Deviant_Mugen

#41

Deviant_Mugen said:

I'm not too big into fighters, but I'll probably pick this up after it drops in price a bit...

Great review, Damo...

Objection

#42

Objection said:

Unforcunately, my lack of interest in the Tatsunoko franchise and its characters is keeping me from rushing out on this. I think I'll wait and hopefully get MvC2 instead.

MDee14

#43

MDee14 said:

This game is amazing, playing this game makes me want to watch the tatsunoko series. But this brings back so much memories when i used to play MVC2 when it first came out. Don't wait get this game, when was the last time the Wii actually Nintendo got something like this...................
Capcom vs SNK 2...and that didn't even have online. All my online experience has been lag free. Definitely a dream game.

JakobG

#44

JakobG said:

That game is so awesome.
I'll buy it once the price drops; I'm sure the toddlers who control the price won't buy this because of the roster.

Chatham

#45

Chatham said:

Everyone should be hyped over this game... Do NOT let Tatsunoko franchise characters scare you off, I knew nothing of the characters... But then again, did anyone know the characters when they first played Street Fighter 2 or 3?! New characters with interesting abilities make a fighter great... The fact these ones have back-stories on Wikipedia makes it even better.

PhillaLoup

#46

PhillaLoup said:

2010 is going to be awesome ... first NMH2, now Tatsunoko, and it's just the first month of the year!

Golgo

#47

Golgo said:

Anyone have a view on how shapes up against SSBB in terms of online play, waiting around in lobbies, lag, etc.?

LEGEND_MARIOID

#48

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Brilliant. Can't wait to get this delivered. One of my most anticipated games or the last 6 months or so.

This is the best review I'v read of this in terms of quality.

Looks like this game is getting great reviews across the board.

Sean_Aaron

#49

Sean_Aaron said:

Damn, I was going to ignore this because I'm so over Street Fighter, but the simplified controls has major appeal (never understood why six buttons were necessary -- look at the excellent SNK games!) as does the OTT action, Tasunoko characters and budget price at Zavvi (first thing I've ordered from them since they went bust) -- if you're in the UK £17.95 is hard to beat! Released this Friday.

Can anyone confirm if the Japanese soundtrack is intact from the early trailers for the original game?

LEGEND_MARIOID

#50

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

I think they may be in; but the game does miss the superb anime cut-scenes of the Japanese versions which is a big bummer imho. Still, I'm so up for this game!

Sean_Aaron

#51

Sean_Aaron said:

I may pick up the original game in Japan then as well; should be able to get it cheap I expect.

Kirk

#52

Kirk said:

Having spent some time with the Japanese version I would certainly agree that it is by far the best fighter on Wii.

OverlordMao

#53

OverlordMao said:

It's a great game. a little hard to play at first, but once I knew what I was doing, it was so fun to just...PLAY it.

MayhemStaff

#54

Mayhem said:

I'll be getting it (the US version), thankfully I still have my Cube arcade sticks! Bring on the rumble... if I can find enough time between Bioshock 2 and the new AA game...! :p

Sean_Aaron

#57

Sean_Aaron said:

No worries Bass, I think I got that email on Monday (I get spammed by them because I've ordered from The Hut, who seem to own them, but the two sites have different prices/deals), but it took Damo's review to push me over the edge. Looking forward to it!

DamoAdmin

#58

Damo said:

@SanderEvers - It's nice enough but most of the Cube pads I've owned have terrible D-pads and the button layout isn't suited for fighters.

Get yourself a Classic Controller; the original model is cheap enough these days and the D-pad on that is ideal for this kind of caper. Plus the face buttons are positioned perfectly.

SanderEvers

#60

SanderEvers said:

@Damo: I already have 2 Classic Controllers (normal and pro). I do have 4 original GameCube controllers. And I never had any real problems with the D-pad. (Though I do prefer the Analog stick)

I know that Figthing games are better with D-pads, I also have a special Street Fighter pad for my XBOX 360.

Sean_Aaron

#61

Sean_Aaron said:

@Damo: Sorry, somehow I was going between this and the No More Heroes review and though Mssr. Wahlgren did both. Excellent work, you should hit up Capcom for a commission!

Adamant

#62

Adamant said:

@Sean Aaron: "Can anyone confirm if the Japanese soundtrack is intact from the early trailers for the original game?"

It's not, which is a crying shame, and the biggest problem with this new release. Picking up the Japanese original is a good idea (just make sure you don't accidentally get the Japanese Ultimate All-Stars).

(oh, and the review has somewhat of an error - "Ultimate All-stars" is not the localizated version of "Cross Generation of Heroes", it's an updated rerelease similar to all those "Champion Editions" from the Street Fighter days. Ultimate All-stars is getting a Japanese release as well)

The lack of familiarity with the Tatsunoko characters is also, of course, a ridiculous reason to skip on the game. Nearly every fighting game comes with a decent selection of new characters, yet you never see anyone yell "I'm not buying Soul Calibur 3 because I don't know who Setsuka, Tira, Zasalamel and all these other weirdos are!"

(though amusingly enough, I was unfamiliar with more Capcom characters in this game than Tatsunoko characters - this was my introduction to Saki, Soki, Batsu and that Lost Planet bot (though I'm not sure if he counts))

nasachi

#66

nasachi said:

must have :)

and only 35€ great price

2010 really starts great for Wii-owners, lots of great games :)

JoeDiddley

#70

JoeDiddley said:

Going to check with the 2 stores that I preordered this from tomorrow to see if either managed to get it in stock. No one in either (Game & Gamestation) had heard of the release. Hope I have got it in time for the weekend.
I was hoping with Capcom's experience the online would be an improvement rather on par with previous wii games. I would be interested to hear what other NLifer's have to say on this so far.

Sean_Aaron

#71

Sean_Aaron said:

Awesome, the original version is under £20 now. I almost want to import it now and have both versions, but it seems a bit mental.

Ristar42

#72

Ristar42 said:

Stuff the classic controller - I'm breaking out the HORI fighting stick, roll on Friday!

SmaMan

#74

SmaMan said:

Hmm, I wonder how well the NEO-GEO classic controlloer would work with this... do they even make those anymore?

@MetalMario
That's totally what I was thinking! Maybe if this does well enough we'll see a N VS. C... that would be AWESOME!!!

JamieOStaff

#75

JamieO said:

Capcom's manic and hyperactive input to the fighting genre has entertained me since I bought X-Men: Children of the Atom on Saturn and this looks like it may potentially beat Marvel Vs Capcom 2 as my favourite, wacky crossover fighter. The inclusion of the Ultimate All-Shooters mini-game is the icing on the cake, showing that Capcom is willing to go the extra mile. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is a welcome exclusive for Wii owners to get excited about, just in case their PS3 buddies have been ranting about BlazBlue!
I look forward to buying this when I have spare pennies and time, fortunately I have recently been given PS3 Street Fighter IV to tide me over in the meantime.
Cheers @Damo, the review has me amped up for this game. I'm glad I've got my Soul Calibur II Cube stick, 'cause I agree with what Damo said, the GCN controller's tiny D-pad and kidney shaped button layout is dire for fighters, as my only other alternative (I shockingly do not own a classic controller).
I have the Battle of the Planets theme stuck in my head now! ;)

Adamant

#76

Adamant said:

@Sean Aaron: "I almost want to import it now and have both versions, but it seems a bit mental."

Nah. You know you want them.

(I got both, and still played the original a bit today, working on unlocking some more endings. The original has much much better music, a character not in the remake (Hakushon Daimaoh - I don't like him much, but at least he's unique), animated endings, a sound test, full character profiles, and a whole slew of fun minigames. All missing from the remake, in place of 5 new characters, online and a "new" minigame)

JebbyDeringer

#77

JebbyDeringer said:

The best fighting game I've played in YEARS. I use to be really into fighting games all the Capcom ones and a bunch of the SNK ones too. The Last Blade 2 is probably my favorite fighting game ever but this is high on my list. The controls are simple, quality graphics, and a lot of fun factor. I was on the edge about an arcade stick but now I think I should have one. Perhaps I'll gut a classic controller and make my own with arcade parts. I'd still like the try the Japanese release to see the differences it might be better in some ways. This game still has the cheesy dialog/intro song of most later Capcom fighters.

Sean_Aaron

#78

Sean_Aaron said:

@Adamant: Well for the price I'll probably pick it up depending upon how I feel after playing this new release. Maybe as part of an import DS purchase like Yakuman DS Wi-Fi.

I don't suppose this game supports Wii Speak?

Bakajin

#80

Bakajin said:

Tatsunoko was involved with Macross? Please tell me there are Macross characters in this game. (Even though I kind of doubt it since there aren't really any superpowers in that show.)

Adamant

#81

Adamant said:

Tatsunoko were "involved" with Macross, yes. They didn't "make" Macross. The game cast consists of actual Tatsunoko characters, not "characters from series Tatsunoko had something to do with at some point". Macross is a Studio Nue series.

Bakajin

#82

Bakajin said:

I figured it'd be something like that. I did know Nue was the driving force (when that Valkyrie crashes into the Nue studio it's hard to miss). But dammit as much as people on this site love praising reviewers, said reviewers shouldn't get our hopes up with extraneous non-pertinent information. For one bright shining moment there, I had visions of Lyn Kaifun going all Shao Pai Lon on Ryu's arse.

Kingbuilder

#83

Kingbuilder said:

Wow, that Hori Fighting Stick is expensive! Considering that was one of the only reasons I wanted this, I might have to get a different game. >.<

Rerun

#85

Rerun said:

I played the JPN version and I've been wanting this game since. I got it on Amazon with a $10 coupon! I've been playing it all weekend. Best fighter ever!
I miss some of the mini-games on the JPN version though. And the music on the US version is different. IMHO the JPN soundtrack is better.

Nintendude92

#86

Nintendude92 said:

Old school fighting on the wii- its a lot of fun!

Better than brawl in terms of latency, but thats only because its hard to get 4 people with sharp connections each time. This is a fighter so everyone needs to be on the same frame. If brawl gave you issues its going to be here too.. All on your connection.

#88

said:

This game is pretty fun, but the characters (especially on Capcom's end) could've been better. Their selections from the Street Fighter franchise were spot-on, though. The music isn't very exciting either. But I loved playing as Hurricane Polimar, Casshan, Tekkaman Blade, and all the other Tatsunoko all-stars. They remind me of classic DC Comics superheroes like Superman or Aquaman.

DoubleAIV

#89

DoubleAIV said:

Im not all that impressed with this game, especially the imprecise controls. I prefer Naruto Shippuden ClashofNinja3, or GuiltyGear.

LordJumpMad

#91

LordJumpMad said:

Yes.
A Fighting Game with great Online.

I can now stop playing SSBB since I got it on lunch Day.

alvieao

#92

alvieao said:

Finally got this game, I must say Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is an excellent fighter on the Wii. Even though TvC returned the Versus series to 2-on-2 tag team action, the gameplay is absolutely fantastic. Online play could've be better if not for the lag, but it's still good. I've always thought the Versus games were amazing to play, and TvC is no exception. I'm really glad Capcom USA made the effort to release TvC outside of Japan. I wished the character bios and the BGM area in the gallery from the original Japanese version were carried over to Ultimate All-Stars. All things said, this is one Wii fighting game that should NOT be missed!

metaknave

#93

metaknave said:

I'm loving this game! Chun-Li is a great comboer and you can't go wrong with Ryu. For Tatsunoko, both Yatterman are good and Ken is good, too. Hopefully, MvC3 will be just as accessible as this is. Switching characters is an annoyance for me on MvC2 compared to this simple single button press. :)

Belgicario

#94

Belgicario said:

Best. Fighting. Game. Ever.
Also, Ultra Hadouken + Falcon Pawnch + Chuck Norris Roundhouse Kick = Big Bang x 500

pikku

#95

pikku said:

I'm not really a fan of fighters, butr I'm asking for this for Christmas :D

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