Review - Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (iPhone)

Posted on May 7, 2012 - 1:55pm

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Easily one of the most beloved and revered fighters of all time, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was a very risky game for Capcom to attempt a port of. Of course the question on everyone’s mind isn’t whether or not MvC 2 is a good game, it is whether or not Capcom succeeded in keeping it a good game through the touchscreen translation. So did they?


Graphics remain completely unchanged from the original MvC 2, for better or for worse, so if you know the arcade or Dreamcast version of the game, go ahead and skip to the next section.

The sprites are still very colorful, pleasing to the eye, and offer quite a bit of detail, though nothing like the HD textures we’re used to today. All of the characters look incredibly dynamic thanks to the game’s distinct art style, with a few specifically standing out, like Venom. The attacks, especially those involving lasers and explosions, are surprisingly impressive, even by today’s standards. The super moves specifically are absolutely stellar.

There are only eight stages in MvC 2, but they are actually pretty interesting. They are each unique and feature numerous moving parts in the background, which help add energy to an already bustling screen. Luckily they never become too distracting, but this is probably just because all the flashy attacks out-distract them.

MvC 2 is definitely well-done visually, and while the unchanged graphics can be a little distracting at first, they soon become part of the game’s charm.


You will spend a surprisingly large amount of time in the character select screen. Thank goodness that throughout all that time, they only play one song. And that song is just the repetition of one line over and over, broken up by a brief set of saxophone stings. And I’m very happy to report that the song doesn’t fit the game in any way, shape, or form.

Speaking of which, during the matches themselves the music choice is terribly out of place. It consists of mostly slow jazz, but has one or two light pop songs. Needless to say, neither of these genres really inspire you to fight. It tries to convey a “party” feeling, which was a little silly even back then, so now it’s just laughable.

The voices are pretty hit-and-miss. Most of the fighters are fine, their shouts and grunts sounding exactly like one would expect them to, but there are quite a few annoyances. For example, some characters feel the need to declare aloud what move they are performing every time they do it, which gets really obnoxious really fast. Sometime, silence is golden. Better write that down somewhere, Spidey.

The sound effects of MvC 2 are as good as any fighter I’ve played. While the quality itself isn’t necessarily up to today’s standards, they still fit the impact they are assigned to and make each hit much more satisfying. The combined sounds of a fully-charged super move is incredibly invigorating, especially if it’s followed by the announcer proudly declaring “KO”.

Music is really the only out-dated element of MvC 2, and it is painfully obvious (highlighted by a woman softly singing “don’t give up” to you after losing a match). The voices and sound effects, however, are timeless.


Marvel vs Capcom 2 is known and loved for its incredibly fast-paced combat and ridiculous, over-the-top action. Luckily, this essence has been very well maintained in the iPhone port, despite what many skeptics, one of which being a certain ScrewAttack reviews editor, feared.

MvC 2 is a high-energy fighter featuring 3-on-3 match-ups. Emphasis is placed heavily on assists, which allow another member of your team to jump into the action for a brief amount of time to perform an attack. Button-mashing will get you nowhere as even the CPUs know how to effectively utilize their teammates and their unique abilities. Mastering these skills is crucial to both winning and enjoying the game, because without it, you really aren’t getting the true MvC 2.

Designing controls for such a high-intensity fighter on a touchscreen was no easy feet for Capcom, but with a little adjusting on the user’s end, they work well enough. For the best results, I recommend moving the joystick to the very bottom left corner. Your four (or six) buttons are best comfortably placed under your right thumb. Turning down the transparency of the buttons is also very helpful. In any other game, addressing how to arrange controls would be incredibly unnecessary, but with a game like MvC 2, it is very appropriate.

The controls are, however, the biggest downfall of MvC 2. It is simply the nature of the iOS system to put your fingers in the way of the screen. Most iPhone games adjust for this so it is only a minuscule problem, but this is a direct port of a console game. This means that your fingers will commonly cover up large portions of important screen space. This does take some getting used to, but it is nowhere near a game-breaker.

The attacks of MvC 2 are laid out pretty simply. You have four buttons, one for kicking, one for punching, and two “flick” buttons. The “flick” buttons are designed to allow the player to slide it up, down, and to the sides. One “flick” button is used to control special moves, flicking it in different directions triggering different attacks, and the other is used in the same way to activate assist-related actions. Occasionally these are counter-intuitive, such as Ryu's shoryuken (a jumping upper-cut) being assigned to left and right, but they are easy to memorize and do a great job of streamlining the controls, therefore limiting clutter. Occasionally these “flick” buttons don’t respond, but this is a fairly rare occurrence. It should also be noted that if you would rather switch to a more traditional six-button control scheme, you can do so in the options menu. In this case, I personally think that the simpler controls work better.

The biggest strength of MvC 2 is definitely just how diverse and balanced the roster is. There are a few cheap characters, specifically Iceman, but for the most part things are pretty fair. Finding and then memorizing the moves of your favorite characters is a little intimidating at first, but you will very quickly develop a trio of fighters that simply work the way you want them to. Trust me when I say that there are plenty for every type of player.

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is a very unique game. Most fighters are intense, but very few can reach this level of chaos. To those just watching the game, MvC 2 appears to be just pure carnage, but players know that there is a great deal of method behind the madness. It should be noted that I experienced all the madness this game could dish out without a hint of frame rate drop.


Because I take this position very seriously, I sat down and did some math. After figuring in all characters and assist moves, I discovered that there are nearly nine million different combinations of match-ups in MvC 2. All for $4.99. While of course you aren’t going to play that many matches (I hope), that massive number does give you a good indication of just how much experimenting and discovery awaits you in this incredibly deep fighter.

Only 24 characters (out of 56) are available at the beginning of the game. The rest have to be unlocked by beating the game while fulfilling certain criteria. As an alternative, there is an in-game shop that allows you to purchase new characters, colors, and artwork. Refreshingly, these points are obtained exclusively by playing the game. In a very strange move for Capcom, there are no in-app purchases.

The main mode of MvC 2 is the Arcade Mode, which consists of seven stages, topped off by a three-part final boss. While playing straight through will only take an average player about 20 minutes, the nearly endless amount of combinations make anyone stopping after a single playthrough absolutely criminal, especially when it’s such a fun game.

While there is a bluetooth mode, allowing you to play against friends who are in the same room as you, the lack of an online mode is just painful. With nearly every fighter these days having one, including Street Fighter 4 Volt (an iOS Street Fighter game by Capcom), this is incredibly disappointing. Yes, this game is a direct port of the original, which did not have online either, but the PS3 and 360 rereleases did. I strongly urge Capcom to add this as a FREE update later on, because as is, the game feels a little lacking.

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 still holds up today as one of the best fighters of all time, and this port, for the most part, lives up to that legacy. If you already own MvC 2, this isn’t really worth your time and money since nothing has changed and you’ll most likely be unable to adapt to the new controls. If you’re new to the series, however, be prepared to spend hours of your downtime selecting and fine-tuning your perfect trio of superheroes and Street Fighters. While an iOS original may be better suited for the platform, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an iPhone fighter more intense, more robust, or more fun.


8s are great games that have something holding it back from excellence, or some features aren't as polished. The game is still extremely worthy of playing, but it may not be the most impressive.

Sean Capdeville is the official mobile game reviewer of A cynic and aspiring film editor, his favorite games include Skyrim, Link's Awakening DX, and NOVA 2. In his spare time, he likes to reference Casablanca.


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