Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars

A shining example.

I've always been more concerned with improving my Street Fighter skills than keeping up with the latest Marvel or DC adventures, but when X-Men vs. Street Fighter hit the arcades - eventually evolving into the adrenaline-pumping Marvel vs. Capcom 2 - there wasn't a fighter fan in the land who could resist its crossover charms.

Here was an opportunity to dragon punch Spider-Man in the face, or pair-up Wolverine and Strider in a toe-to-toe showdown against Magneto and M. Bison. Needless to say, Capcom had hit upon something big.

The obvious difference with Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is, rather than wondering if Capcom have included Carnage as an unlockable character, you'll probably be saying, "Who the hell is Tekkaman?" This is because most of the included Tatsunoko characters are sourced from vintage seventies anime - the kind your average Shonen Jump fan will be unfamiliar with. What you can expect from the likes of Gatchaman and Neo-Human Casshern is a vibrant abundance of capes and PVC helmets.

However, once you play the game any issue of crossover continuity quickly becomes irrelevant. Ultimate All-Stars is an accomplished coming-together of shotokans and space knights, and for the first time in vs. history, everything is full 3D.

The design is top-notch and uses subtle cel-shading techniques to give each character a rugged Wii interpretation. Even the animation has been handled well with each fighter rapidly chaining their moves in seamless succession. But the 2D departure also means that unlike Marvel's cast of 56, Ultimate All-Stars has a more modest, though still impressive, select screen of 26.

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For any chance of pulling off a decent chain combo, invest in a GC pad, classic controller or Madcatz FightStick.

Apart from Daimao, every character from the "Japan-only" Cross Generation of Heroes has made it into Ultimate All-Stars. The street fighting Ryu, Chun-Li and Alex, as well as Batsu from Rivals Schools and Soki from Onimusha, are representing Capcom. We also get the machine gun toting Saki from Quiz Nanairo Dreams - an obscure Capcom dating sim. Still, beats Captain Commando.

Characters returning for Tatsunoko include Ken the Eagle and Jun the Swan - who Western audiences may recognise from Battle of the Planets - as well as the crime-fighting Polimar and the canine-cuddling Casshan. But as the only character created during this century, the demonic swordsman Karas, is the more unique inclusion. His Hiei Zangetsu level-three super is also one of the most brutal.

Capcom has garnished Ultimate All-Stars with five new faces, including Dead Rising's Frank West. His moveset is reminiscent of Jill Valentine from Marvel as he can call upon zombies to attack from each side of the screen, as well as bundling them into shopping trolleys for projectile attacks. Frank also gets his own zombie-infested mall stage, but unfortunately he seems to have forgotten the art of the flash kick.

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In addition to choosing a tag-team, players can also pick Tatsunoko’s Gold Lightan and a PTX-40A Vital Suit from Lost Planet.

The only other new Capcom character is Zero, who makes it into Ultimate All-Stars with a generic dragon punch and sonic boom. But to spice things up, Capcom have given the Mega Man rival his own custom-combo super.

Moving on to the new Tatsunoko trio we have Tekkaman Blade - who I can only guess is different from Tekkaman in the same way as the white and green Power Rangers. As a regular player of Tekkaman in Cross Generation, I can say that Blade has a few similarities, such as a button-mashing hundred-hand-slap like attack, but overall he feels more rushdown.

The other new bloods are Joe the Condor, another member of the Science Ninja Team with good combo-ability and fast projectiles, and the irritating to unlock Yatterman-2 - essentially Yatterman-1's missus and fairly handy with an electric baton.

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