It was true in 2000, and it's still true nearly a decade later: The crossover demographic between comic books and videogames is immense. Never one to miss a moneymaking opportunity, Capcom has reissued its seminal 2D fighter Marvel vs. Capcom 2 for the Xbox Live Arcade (and, come August 13, the PlayStation Network), and while there's much reason to rejoice, this isn't exactly the game you grew up with.
The first big change players will notice is that all 56 of the game's fighters are immediately available for selection. That's great news for fighting game fans who abhor spending hours unlocking characters, but it also severely limits the amount of single-player content in the game. You can only take a three-man tag team through the ranks of the tournament so many times before growing tired of Thanos' nihilist grin. The problem is only compounded by MvC2's lack of any discernable story: Who is this pirate chick? What's her connection to the Mexican cactus guy? Why does Iron Man want to punch them both? It's a mystery!
Obviously, this game was built with fighting fans in mind, and in that light, it's a triumph: Capcom has essentially grafted the phenomenal network code from Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix to the Dreamcast version of MvC2, making this latest version the ultimate iteration. Online games are lag free, all the characters' old tricks are present (infinite combos, anyone?), and the minor graphical upgrades that make the game palatable on widescreen HD TVs are a welcome addition.
MvC2 isn't perfect, and I could think of a handful of changes that would make the game even better—but this $15 re-release isn't about exposing the title to a new generation of fans. MvC2 is a gift for Capcom's faithful legions, and anyone who has ever lined up quarters for a chance to punch Wolverine in the jaw will feel right at home.