Hey all, this game arrived in my mail box a few days ago (DC version). I've played it before in the arcades, but haven't really played it into any depth until only recently. Anyway, I thought I'd give prospective players my impressions. GRAPHICS So-so. The stages aren't too plentiful at default, although there could be more hidden away. What there is available from the start are decent, but some stages are definitely better than others. I really like the lantern stage (Haohmaru and Honda one) but dislike the ice stage; the latter is just too cheap looking. The characters animate beautifully, again, some better than others. Characters still suffer a slightly pixelated look and some will complain about that, but it really doesn't bother me all that much. I'd give the graphics a 3/5, adequate but nothing special. SOUND Pretty good, there are some nice tunes in there. Voices and BGM are clear. Etc. etc., like anyone really cares about the music. I'd give it another 3/5. GAMEPLAY Ahh, the only section we really care about. Lessee... When I first tried it out at E3 (test version) and at the arcade, I was really excited. I mean, there was a few threads back about convergence--boy, this game is it when it comes to 2D. It amalgamates much from both Capcom and SNK worlds, and this is most obvious in the groove system. There are six grooves: C -> This is the standard Capcom groove in the first CVS A -> Basically your Alpha system, with Alpha combos and air blocking P -> Parries SFIII style; this groove also has short jumps S -> Similar to SNK groove in the first CVS but instead of rolling you get KOF95 introduced dodges, with the dodge attacks; basically the KOF95 system N -> Basically the KOF98 system K -> Mark of the Wolves system with Just Defending Basically, there's a groove for everyone. I personally favor P, S and N. P because of my familiarity with SFIII, S because I loved KOF95 but N is my main groove because it has two of my favorite features: short jumps and rolls. I've only played Garou once and have no idea what Just Defending really is. Anyone want to clue me in? So I was pretty excited because CVS2 really seemed to address the problems CVS1 had. Now characters are not bound to a predetermined ratio (I like to pick all bosses, heh heh); you have freedom to choose which groove you like; and most important of all, characters no longer feel "butchered." I.e. Capcom characters feel familiar now with 6 buttons and SNK characters get many of their moves back. There is no EX version of characters and most characters are a combination of EX and original from CVS1. As for the SNK characters...man, with the 2 extra attack buttons, some characters have become poking monsters. Now it's easier to 2-in-1 as Capcom gave many characters a cancelable low MK (for example, Geese, Terry, etc.). I must say that CVS2 really shows how boring the Capcom universe is compared to SNK. I find myself picking SNK characters much more than Capcom characters, and the Capcom characters all seem to be so shallow. Freak, Guile still has the two same moves as he does in SF2 (not that he needs anything else, but still). And Capcom cheated a little bit too. C'mon, rolling is a KOF feature, but Capcom's inclusion of it into both C and A grooves (while on the SNK side only N groove has it) makes it seem like its primarily a Capcom thing. What does Capcom really contribute here? Air blocking? Alpha combos? Really, the only notable system addition are parries, and even then, SNK was sort of there already with guard canceling. Anyway, these are just minor quibbles neither here nor there to the gameplay. My biggest gripe with the gameplay is that things seem so jumbled up with the different grooves; you just know that there is practically no balance in the game, not that the designers tried to make it balanced given all the grooves and different characters from different games (I mean, Haohmaru for goodness sake!). Some characters, for example, just don't go well with certain grooves. Geese and P groove is a great example. The utility of parrying is a lot less with Geese's reversals...practically the only reason I play the fella. Then again, I don't really mind I guess. I never saw CVS as a "serious" game...yes, definitely better than the likes of MVC, but one that I play more fun than to win. I'm guessing this is the purpose of the game, a game for Capcom and SNK fans to have fun with the melting pot of different games. Truthfully, I think SNK has more to gain from the project. When Capcom players finally see the light and try out the SNK characters, they will realize how fun to play they are. And when they think about it carefully, they'll realize that a lot of the exciting game system (the KOF-style dashing, the rolling/dodging, short hops, big jumps, etc.) features are mostly from SNK. I haven't played good competition yet, but so far, the game is feeling more SNK in terms of speed and style of gameplay than Capcom. So the gameplay is fun, but because there is no cohesive design focus to this game, you know there'll be balance issues. I give the gameplay 4.5/5. MISCELLANEOUS There are other options but I haven't tried them much. Seems pretty standard. The menus are rather annoying though. 4/5. I'll just assume it's up to snuff. P.S. Stuff maybe someone can help me on: - So what's Just Defending again? - What's the timing to break Rock's 360 degree throw (with the 3Ps)? It seems awfully difficult for me to time it right and combo with the super. Rock's an awesome character...a mix between Geese and Terry, two among my favorite characters. - The first time I played in the arcade, I got challenged by Vega (M. Bison) right before my final stage. After I beat my final stage, I got challenged by an incredibly overpowered Akuma....I mean, damn, this Akuma was incredible (CPU, not human). It just totally destroyed me; I think one DP took off 1/3 of my life, or something insane like that. Anyway, I've never been able to get that again after playing my CVS2 DC many times through (8 stars and I usually don't lose). I've had Vega challenge me once again but that's it. Anyone know how to get this Akuma back? I'm ready for revenge!