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My curly moustache is in the making

I got vouchers for Xtravision around Christmas, and thought I’d be worthwhile actually making use of them, preferably to try other games that I’m interested in but unsure of buying, but hey, trying out movies I wouldn’t bother buying can’t hurt either. … can it?

We watched Outcast. I didn’t even read the blurb in detail, all I saw was a neat lookin’ Resident Evil style claw on the box along with a couple of beardy Irish actors on the images on the back, and I thought, “sold!” Having watched it, I can say it isn’t really my thing.

A mother and son move from their caravan to the inner city slums. The boy happens to turn into a monster at night. There’s two folks from a strange cult out to find the two and kill them. There’s a romance between the boy and a local girl. The mother is frighteningly overbearing. Misery ensues.

It’s… an intriguing film, I’ll give it that. I was intrigued by the visual direction for its very dark and stark look, focusing on grey and brown earthy colours that give everything a few despondent style with heavy emphasis on darkness, shadow and silhouette… but the rest of the film? Ehhh.

My beef is that the whole thing is just so fucking miserable. Everybody is grouchy, moody, needlessly hostile to everyone they converse with, and just no fun to watch. The acting’s fitting for such characters, but the whole story just seems to take place in this orb of unhappiness where everyone’s either a joyless fuck or a fuck hit by hard luck. I couldn’t help but wonder what any of the characters actually do when they’re not on-screen – you don’t see anyone partaking in pastimes or going to work or actually doing anything besides being miserable. It’s like, gee, what do you guys do for fun around here? Oh, you slit your wrists and then paint the walls with blood? Oh. That’s cool. I’m not hanging with you anymore. (yes, that happens in the film. Done in the nude, no less. Tasteful.)

As I said, it is an intriguing film with an engaging story should you settle in with its totally cheerless atmosphere, but it’s just not for me, to be frank. It doesn’t help that the first half of the film is populated by what feels like an endless stream of yobbos – and only one of them is killed off (after threatening to bludgeon a mentally handicapped kid to death with a pipe. Because that’s the best way to show the world what a big man you are.). Not giving me a good incentive to hang around, movie.

On the bright side, I also rented Marvel vs. Capcom 3. I’ve been quite excited about it! I loved the first one not just because it was a total cheese-fest (if you only need to press two buttons to transform into a giant missile-farting robot with humongous laser cannons, that’s my kind of fighting game), but also because I’m a sucker for superheroes and Capcom’s backlog, so it’s a no-duh that this was exciting me.

Mind you, I’m not really a fighting game person. I’ve no doubt mentioned this before – I totally respect them in many, many ways. The sheer complexity to the gameplay; the development that must go in to keep them balanced as best as possible; the quick thinking to keep opponents on their toes; the metagame; the rapid-fire control inputs to unleash devastating special attacks; the unsurpassable 2D pixel artwork… I absolutely admire fighting games. I prefer admiring them for afar, though. When playing a fighting game, this is my idea of a good tactic.

Also my idea of a metagame is to call the opponent fat. Rage Quitter 87 might pop in and share the other verbal smackdowns I dropped on him, if we’re lucky.

So, no, I have no idea how to play a fighting game properly. I think the only way I got all the endings in the PlayStation version of Marvel vs. Capcom was by mashing my hand over the buttons until the opponent died. Totally pro, yo.

So, Marvel vs. Capcom 3! I was meant to be talking about that, wasn’t I?

It’s pretty good. I’m no professional when it comes to judging fighting games based on actual merit or things like that, but I’d say it’s pretty good. I mean, you beat up dudes, the screen goes haywire, and you can pummel the master of magnetism using a small dog.

Yep. Sounds like a decent fighting game to me.

One of the main reasons I love about the Marvel vs. Capcom series is the deluge of tributes paid to the franchises of both companies – I’m not sure how much enjoyment my dad got out of watching a needlessly epileptic fight between Super Skrull and some nobodies from Devil May Cry (excuse me for not paying attention to Capcom’s modern franchises!), but he was impressed just seeing these familiar characters come to life with colourful special moves, especially when the arena was Asgard, complete with the flying Viking ship, while seeing levels paying tribute to Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins and Final Fight kept me happy. Something for everyone!

The character roster seems nicely balanced, both in the range of fighting styles and niches available, but also in its mixture of modern/popular characters and older/obscure dudes. I’m very happy seeing Haggar and Arthur get their time to shine, and padre was particularly impressed seeing Taskmaster and Super Skrull in action (we both can’t wait to get Shuma-Gorath). It does feel a bit strange compared to the original instalments, though – the Capcom side was full of eclectic, colourful and downright strange characters, and now half of them feel look very realistic and down-to-earth. Where’s the outrageously stylish fashion of Captain Commando and Strider? It’s probably more down to the darker colour palette that the cast doesn’t look as colourful (though I’m sure if Wesker were chucked out the colour vs. all-in-black ratio would’ve been more balanced =P ), but it’s just one of those very minor complaints, y’know.

I haven’t played Marvel vs. Capcom 2, but I know for sure the six-button control scheme of the original has been simplified, into three attack buttons and one “special attack” button. Ironically, this just confuses me more – so, do I need to hit the special attack button after a quarter-circle, or just a regular attack button? Why do neither buttons do anything after I input the right command? WHAT DOES WHAT. The Simple mode is a bit more understandable to my ape-like brain, though as usual, the difficulty in differentiating what special attack you want bugs me. It’s almost a pity, because I’ve been wanting to finally buckle down and try and learn some basic fighting game commands, and I still can’t do anything without the game doing it for me. I’ll just blame the controller and move on with my life.

For those who are curious, the characters I’m using most are Spencer, Haggar, She-Hulk, Taskmaster and Super Skrull. I’ve yet to try out everyone yet, but Spencer’s a real knockout – he’s got the perfect range, speed and power for my liking, and pulling people straight into your fist is a hoot. I’m tempted to keep Felicia on my team just to abuse her assist attack – if I ever fight someone locally I’m probably just going to abuse that as part of my metagame, just for her grating-yet-cute “later!” every time she finishes it. It’s like “hi, I’m Daisy!” levels of cute-annoying.

I’m very, very glad I got renting the game (heck, I would’ve been happy paying for the session – I’m just glad I rented Outcast for free) – it’s basically killed my entire afternoon and evening, and it’s a joy to watch. But would I want to buy it? Well… I won’t deny I’d love to have it around, but I’m not sure if I would get the most out of it. As I said, I’m pretty freakin’ terrible at fighting games (I haven’t even bothered with the online multi-player, and I’m not keen on trying – I’ve got dignity to hold onto!), and while I love playing games to slowly master my skills at them (hence why F-Zero GX remains my favourite racing game), I’m not sure if I’d have the right mindset to get into it. I mean, I like fighting games, but I’m not the kinda person to actually play them much, never mind with other people. It’s like playing Snap on your own or something – you sure as hell ain’t achieving anything.

I’ve still got another two nights to play the game before it needs returned. As of this writing, I might just wait until it drops to £10 or something. I’d like to have it, but not quite enough to splash out, y’know.

5 Comments

  1. BIG BEAR BOMB

    Friday, February 25, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Permalink
  2. MightyKombat wrote:

    MvC2 was technically 4 button.

    I so gotta get that game once I get my cheque done.

    Friday, February 25, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Permalink
  3. Codiekitty wrote:

    I still can’t believe they actually made Spencer say “Get over here!” when he hooks somebody with his claw.

    (It’s a Mortal Kombat reference for people who are scratching their heads in confusion. Scorpion I think.)

    Sunday, March 6, 2011 at 1:50 am | Permalink
  4. Ragey wrote:

    I think about three guys in total say it – Spencer and Super Skrull use it for their grab moves, and I’ve got a feeling even Haggar uses it for one of his supers.

    Also either Deadpool or Viewtiful Joe (can’t remember which), after beating Spencer, says they prefer his games now that he can jump. Sounds like FIGHTIN’ WORDS

    Sunday, March 6, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Permalink
  5. MightyKombat wrote:

    Iron MAn has a go at Spencer for not being able to afford the whole suit.

    Sunday, March 6, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Permalink