Fanart Friday returns, armed with fifty dollars in quarters specifically to take your ass down. Last week, we took a dip with the anime standard that is the hot springs episode, but this week--with the release of DmC: Devil May Cry--we're looking back at the history of a video game company that's gone through some tough times with fans as of late.
Capcom started out as an arcade game manufacturer and developer, but eventually became a big name in console games on the NES. Since then, we've all thrilled to Mega Man's bright, futuristic adventures, grit our teeth and fought it out with our best friends in Street Fighter, crept down terrifyingly claustrophobic hallways in Resident Evil, and kept it stylish with Devil May Cry, not to mention the many, many other favorites Capcom has been responsible for.
I can't completely say the same about Capcom right now, but back in the day, you knew you were in for some quality gaming after that logo flashed. Let's get this show on the road!
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Capcom may be known for fast-paced action and fighting games, but they've also dabbled in RPG territory, like the Breath of Fire series. Breath of Fire 4 is my all-time favorite, but the poor reception to the inventive Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter killed any prospects of future titles, at least for now.
Betcha didn't expect to see these two goofballs here! Ixion Saga DT is based on a Japan-only Capcom MMORPG, but I'm wondering if the actual game has as much dedicated destruction of male genitalia as the anime.
There's the (Mega) man of the hour! It's safe to say that Capcom's most beloved franchise is Mega Man, and each unique variant of him has its own different charm. There's the pastel and friendly-looking classically-hardcore O.G., the dark-and-gritty X series, the exploration-focused and incredibly ahead-of-its-time Legends series, the portable collect-'em-all madness of Battle Network, the somehow darker-and-grittier Zero saga, more portable strategy in Star Force, and the massive fanservice-a-thon that was ZX. Which was your favorite?
Despite all the pre-release fan rage, it looks like the Japanese fanart community has really taken a liking to the reimagining of Devil May Cry's Dante, regularly teaming him and his brother up with the original Dante and Vergil. The game itself isn't too shabby, either--expect a full review from us this weekend!
While the Red Arremer demon Firebrand made his debut torturing us in Ghosts & Goblins, he really shined in the Metroid-like platformer Demon's Crest, which is still one of my all-time favorite video games. Capcom hasn't done too many other games in this style--only Okami and the Mega Man Legends games immediately come to mind.
The original eight World Warriors of Street Fighter II set the standard for just about every other fighting game since then. They were also a pretty balanced cast across the board, which is rare--the only other times this has really happened in the franchise were in Super Turbo (minus Akuma) and AE 2012.
True and weird story time: I wasn't a fan of Morrigan until I saw Bengus' character designs for her. Now she's one of my all-time favorite favorite favorite video game characters. I just didn't like her in Darkstalkers because I couldn't figure out a way past her c.HP or s.HK when I was twelve years old and taking on high schoolers in the arcade.
In the CRN 2012 Favorites - Video Games list, I called Asura's Wrath "the gold goddamn standard" of QTEs. I still hold to that--the game is an absolute blast, especially when played in small chunks and extended over like a week or two.
There's one thing I'm not thankful enough to Capcom for--popularizing the traditional adventure game. Phoenix Wright made being a lawyer fun, which is saying something--a realistic Ace Attorney game would have you spend most of the game navigating questionable language on an 800-page divorce settlement.
It may be standard practice in Resident Evil now for some jumbo-sized maniac to follow you around, but it was terrifying in the early days of the series. Resident Evil 2 had Mr. X tag along and show up at the worst possible times, but it was Resident Evil 3 that introduced the rocket launcher-wielding Nemesis, who hounded you for the entire game, and would be nice enough to show up if you were lost or loitering.
I've already professed my love for Mega Man X in graphic detail, but the original series really pushed what platformers were capable of, with smart mechanics and some really cool graphical tricks. Don't mind all the haters who base games solely on graphics--the 8-bit styled Mega Man 9 is a masterpiece. Check it out sometime!
Clover Studios was probably the single best thing Capcom ever did--as well as one of the worst. Giving some of their top designers free reign to design unique gaming experiences, we got a Zelda game that's as good (or even better in some cases) than actual Zelda titles with the jaw-droppingly gorgeous Okami.
Of course, Clover's first game was the f**king awesome Viewtiful Joe, which was what convinced several of my friends to pick up GameCubes when the game first hit. Why didn't this do well again? Everybody keeps talking about how games were so much better back in the day, and then when a game does come out that's just like it was back in the damn day, nobody buys it!
Of course, we all know the sad end to this story. After massive critical acclaim and pretty decent sales, Clover released the hardcore-gamers-only brawler God Hand, and then was shut down by Capcom. Thankfully, the best was yet to come--most of Clover picked up, left Capcom, and went on to form Platinum, whose worst game is still better than many developers' best.
There was a brief period in time where all I did was play and replay Resident Evil 4 so I could max out my weapons' stats, then do it all over again on a higher difficulty. While it may have been more action-heavy than previous installments, I still feel it's the single best RE game the company has made, and is part of the short list of games that I replay every year.
In anticipation for the online-capable Darkstalkers Resurrection, I've been practicing on the PSP's Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower. Why haven't Jon Talbain or Jedah shown up in any other Capcom games?
Some readers have been wondering why I bag on the 360/PS3 Devil May Cry 4. Well, the answer is simple--it's a major step down from 2005's Devil May Cry 3. Playing almost like a fighting game, DMC3 was the most challenging and demanding game in the entire series. It's a shame that the HD Collection feels so slapdash (menus, cutscenes and title screens are in 4:3 while the game is in 16:9--it's jarring as hell), but the game itself looks great on the huge flatscreen.
Chun-li is pretty much the leading lady of fighting games, and paired with Super II's "new challenger" Cammy, they've proven to be a fan-favorite team. Kinda nice to see Capcom tone her down some for Street Fighter IV, though--in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, she was a top-tier monstrosity capable of responding to any situation.
Mega Man Zero was an awesome surprise on the GBA, but it took me forever to get the hang of dashing with the shoulder buttons. Y'see, while playing Mega Man X, my right hand is this weird gimpy claw thing that I'm quite comfortable with, and that's how I do dash jumps and the like. While mapping dashes to the shoulder button is a smarter idea, it's still difficult to wrap my head around, even to this day.
A lot of people had plenty of venom for DmC: Devil May Cry's redesigned Dante, but let's be honest--this is a thing that Capcom does regularly. After six Mega Man titles on the NES, they gave the Blue Bomber a harder, grittier redesign with Mega Man X. Years and years after Radd Spencer fought the Badds in Bionic Commando, they brought him back with white-guy dreads in a Bionic Commando reboot. Does anybody remember being blown away by Hitler the Badd Commander saying "you damn fool!" in the NES game?
I'm never, ever gonna get sick of this joke. As a brawler, Final Fight unfortunately hasn't aged well (especially when compared to the rival Streets of Rage series), but its characters live on! Cody and Guy have appeared in the Street Fighter Alpha and Street Fighter IV series, Mayor Mike Haggar finally returned in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and villains Hugo, Rolento and Poison got the spotlight in Street Fighter III, Street Fighter Alpha, and Street Fighter X Tekken! Have you noticed that I haven't mentioned Final Fight: Streetwise at all? That's because it's crap, and we're not gonna talk about it here.
Admittedly, Dino Crisis kinda sucks--it's just Resident Evil with a new coat of paint. But I don't care, I love it anyways--there's a lot of tension in a survival-horror game where enemies can easily run you down (or are like two-story tall death factories). Plus, it's easy to see someone take down a zombie with a knife--it's much less believable to see somebody take down a velociraptor with one, since it's practically made of knives.
Monster Hunter is Capcom's current golden child, enjoying extraordinary success across multiple platforms. I usually approach RPGs as a story rather than a game (part of why I'm not as into MMORPGs), but MonHun's addicting, skill-based gameplay had the gears spinning in my head when I practically lived off the PS2 original. Once Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate hits the Wii U, expect my productivity to drop.
Mega Man X4 was the first game I bought for my PlayStation--and we didn't even own one yet. I had saved up money from my very first job as a paperboy, bought the game, and let it sit on my desk unopened until a week later when we finally got a PS1 (because Ma wanted Crash Bandicoot). The anime-style cutscenes, the vivid graphics, characters getting killed left and right, Double's betrayal--the game blew me away! That was a hell of a way to start off on a great console like the PS1.
Y'know what's funny? For all its uber-manly action and hot-bloodedness, Sengoku BASARA is mainly aimed at a female audience. Yeah, guys can enjoy all the fighting and any time Kasuga appears, but the cast is primarily sexy bishies with "manly bonds greater than friendship." OYAKATA-SAMAAAAAAAAAA
During the Dreamcast days, it seemed like Capcom tried everything under the sun--it had its tried-and-true 2D fighters, a great Resident Evil game in Code Veronica, even an Unreal-style arena shooter with Spawn: In the Demon's Hand. Power Stone was a great 3D multi-stage fighter, the likes of which we didn't see for a good long while. Anarchy Reigns captures the spirit well, but I'm hoping for an HD collection of both Power Stone games at some point.
Here is where I normally say that I want a new Strider title, but it's best to just be patient on this sort of thing. Hardcore action games thrive on handhelds and as downloadables (like Contra 4 or Mark of the Ninja), so there's always hope! C'moooon, Capcom! I know today's gamers are babies (Assassin's Creed 3 left me so sad--"just hold this button to parry! No timing needed whatsoever!" Ugh), but give us a game that chews people up and spits them out! Bring Strider back!
On the other hand, the Rival Schools fighting games were pretty casual-friendly, playing like a dumbed-down Marvel vs. Capcom (the combos were literally called Textbook Combos), but they had so much character and spirit to them! Plus, it was great getting to literally play a school battle/delinquent type story in a video game, which isn't very common in the American market.
Personally, I just like to think Leon stuck all the fish in his attache case alongside his guns and ammo. Part of his success in rescuing Ashley Graham was that all his weapons stank like hell, making his opponents hang back so he could shoot them more easily. Have I mentioned that I could spend all day just futzing around in the attache case making an optimal setup for Leon's entire inventory without even playing the game proper? Resident Evil 4 was so damn good.
And that's all for this week! I know I wasn't able to include everything, so what were some of your favorite Capcom titles?
Like I say every week, your work is always welcome here on Fanart Friday, regardless of your skill level or experience. Just PM me a link to your work, and I'll be sure to include it in a future installment! For those of you wanting a head-start on next week's theme, we'll be celebrating the launch of Level-5's excellent RPG Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch with a HAYAO MIYAZAKI and STUDIO GHIBLI-themed Fanart Friday! If you're still somehow on the fence about Ni no Kuni, be sure to check out Victoria's review!
Thanks again for checking out Fanart Friday, and we hope to see you next week! Have a great weekend, everybody!