Capcom Fighting Evolution

REVIEWDebuting under the odd title of "Capcom Fighting Jam" in Japan, Capcom Fighting Evolution (as we know it in North America) is a 2D fighter featuring an assortment of Capcom characters from the likes of Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter III: Third Strike, Darkstalkers and Red Earth. Capcom also threw the brand new female character, Ingrid, originally from the canceled Capcom Fighting All Stars.

The battles in Capcom Fighting Evolution are 2 VS 2 (team style, not tag) and each character uses a super meter corresponding to their respective series. After each round, players have the option to switch out their current character. While the premise of Capcom Fighting Evolution sounds like a novel idea on paper, a few key things went wrong with this fighting game "effort" by Capcom... if you dare call it that.

Well... where else can you see Chun-Li VS a big-ass dinosaur?

As expected, the gameplay of Capcom Fighting Evolution feels very much like something we've played before, which can be interpreted as both a good thing and a bad thing in this case. It actually feels and plays most similar to that of Capcom VS SNK 2... which, ironically enough, is the last 2D fighting game Capcom released before CFE.

At first glance, Evolution gives off the same vibe that the original Capcom VS SNK did when it debuted. To sum up the "feeling" I'm referring to: Rushed presentation, not enough characters, missing key combos, imperfect gameplay, and leaving much to be desired overall. CFE's roster should've been a lot more comprehensive, especially considering the quality of character sprites we're getting... I mean, where's Captain Commando, Strider Hiryu, or even Jin Saotome? Unfortunately, we're stuck with some very outdated 2D sprites and characters (not to mention a measly 2 colors per character! Booooo!) If that doesn't say lazy, I don't know what does.

Just to state the obvious, Capcom Fighting Evolution's visuals are below average. For one, Demitri's sprite is seriously too old to be in a 2004 fighting game (10 years old to be exact)... and to top it off, his sprite looks particularly crappy in this game (yes, Demitri's sprite actually looks better in Darkstalkers). They also curiously edited Zangief's sprite from SFA2... shrinking the original dimensions and changing his facial expression. Overall, he looks pretty terrible in Evolution well. As a matter of fact, for a quick comparison you can always perform Zangief's taunt, which strangely switches back to his old sprite for a moment.

Are those characters in the background supposed to be made of cardboard? :(

Some of the stages are fairly decent-looking and there are some catchy BGMs. However, several backgrounds feature cameos of other Capcom characters; and for some reason, these characters closely resemble 2D cardboard cutouts... seriously Capcom dev-team, what type of drugs were you guys on?!?! The animation in general is sped up, which means the 3rd Strike characters that appear in Evolution don't animate quite as smoothly they do from their original series. 3rd Strike characters also look noticeably "out of place" when fighting against characters from Darkstalkers or SFA, simply because those character sprites contain far less frames of animation.... It just looks weird. 

You can sum up the graphics of CFE in one world... "messy". All of the sprites blended together from different games just gives me a headache. One of the only good parts of the game visually, are the endings. All characters have endings drawn by UDON Comics and are presented in a comic-panel-like sequence. Many endings also contain cool cameos of other Capcom characters (many of whom should've been playable in the game). Besides the spectacular ending artwork, still... CFE is probably one of Capcom's sloppiest 2D fighting games to date.

Overlooking these obvious flaws, hardcore Capcom fighting game fans still might be able to enjoy Evolution for its nostalgia value and "classic" 2D gameplay. For one, certain characters can parry, which can make for some fun (and comical) match-ups, even considering the dated animations. Most characters retain almost all of their special & super moves, but unfortunately, characters definitely don't play "exactly like they do from previous games" (which is funny, because the back of the box says different).

I happen to be a decent 3rd Strike Urien player myself, and most of his (good) Aegis Reflector combos are NOWHERE to be found... disappointing indeed. What's the use of having Urien from 3rd Strike if he plays nothing like the real thing?! This case repeats itself with other characters... but on the bright side, the SFA, SF2 and Darkstalkers characters play closer to the originals (as far as I know). I'm sure most fighting gamers can find a handful of characters/teams in CFE that they enjoy using, but in most cases, those characters are far more fun to use in the original games that they are from. This game could've been a hell of a lot better, Capcom.

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Page Updated: June 29th, 2014
Developer(s): Capcom Production Studio 2
Publisher(s): Capcom
Artwork by: Shinkiro   (character art /posters)
UDON Comics   (ending artwork)
Platform(s): Arcade, Playstation 2, Xbox, PSN
Release Date(s): October 2004         ( Arcade)
Nov. 16th, 2004     
( PS2)
Dec. 2nd, 2004      
( PS2)
Feb. 12th, 2005     
( PS2)
June 14th, 2005     
( Xbox)
June 16th, 2005     
( Xbox)
June 24th, 2005     
( Xbox)
December 2012     
( PSN)
September 2013    
( PSN)
Characters Ryu, Chun Li, Alex, Urien, Demitri, Guile, Leo, Hydron, Ingrid, Felicia, Hauzer, Yun, Guy, Sakura, Bison, Kenji, Jedah, Rose, Anakaris, Zangief, Karin, Shin Akuma, Pyron

Featured Video:

Related Games: Capcom Fighting All Stars, Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Street Fighter Alpha 3: Max, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, Darkstalkers, Darkstalkers 3, Red Earth, NeoGeo Battle Coliseum, Capcom VS SNK 2

Gameplay Engine

 7.5 / 10

Story / Theme

 6.0 / 10

Overall Graphics

 4.0 / 10


 6.0 / 10

Music / Sound Effects

 7.5 / 10


 6.0 / 10

Art Direction

 8.0 / 10


 2.0 / 10

Options / Extras

 4.5 / 10

Intro / Presentation

 4.5 / 10

Replayability / Fun

 5.5 / 10

"Ouch" Factor

 6.0 / 10


 6.5 / 10


 6.2 / 10

 Review based on PS2 version


Final Words: My friends and I actually had some fun with Evolution, for a while... it was something "different" to play at the time, at least. Of course we spent a lot of time laughing at how bad the game is, but we surprisingly ended up having some pretty entertaining matches. While a bit lonely, the character selection isn't terrible and there are some fun match-ups to be had. The gameplay is pretty solid in "2D fighting game terms"... but at the end of the day, that doesn't save CFE from being a lazily-made piece of crap.

I don't completely hate the game... I've certainly played worst fighting games in my time. My favorite things about Evolution would be parrying (with the few characters that can parry), the endings, the epic character artwork & poster artwork by Shinkiro (which you can find below), and a few of the music tracks. Sadly, everything else about the game is lackluster. So what crawled up into Capcom's ass and died? I actually have a theory.... 

Perhaps, someone at Capcom thought it'd be a "brilliant" idea to purposely make the game look cheap to mock the many people who ripped off their 2D fighting games using emulators. I've seen a fair share of MUGEN games that shoved SFA, SF3, and Darkstalkers sprites together... and they looked eerily similar to this game! Why would Capcom do such a thing? I don't know... to show they can still make money with minimal effort (not sure if that even worked)? Who knows the reason, but the lazy effort behind CFE seems to make such a statement. I would only recommend this game to hardcore Capcom fighting game fans... everyone else should probably steer clear. 
~TFG Webmaster

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Click here for all character art!