Brian Johnston

Editor in Chief

   After taking on comic book giant Marvel twice, then going toe-to-toe with rival game publisher SNK three times, Capcom is now duking it out with Japanese animation studio Tatsunoko in “Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars.”

   “Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom,” like its predecessors, is an arcade-style fighter. Exclusive to the Wii, it allows players to select two characters, throwing them in a tag-team battle similar to “King of Fighters,” with polygonal characters similar to “Street Fighter IV.”

   Thirteen of the characters come from game juggernaut Capcom, featuring old favorites such as Ryu and Chun-Li from “Street Fighter,” and new surprises such as Frank West from “Dead Rising.”

   The Tatsunoko side of things contains characters most Western fans won’t be familiar with, from titles such as “Science Ninja Team Gashaman” and “Karas.”

   The end result is an incredibly fun but challenging game, which will appeal to old-school arcade fans and new gamers. It also seems geared to a more “hardcore” audience, something the Wii direly needs.

   Simplified from the “Street Fighter” experience, Capcom has gone with only four buttons: three attack strengths and one “partner” button.

   The “partner” button will allow your secondary character to assist or trade places with your primary character, as well as being functional in multi-hit combos.

   While the simpler control scheme might seem to imply a simpler game, it’s anything but. While not as technical as “BlazBlue” or “Guilty Gear,” “Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom” employs a series of combos, cancels, baroque combos, mega crashes and enough other elements to keep fighting game stalwarts on their toes.

   Another welcome addition is online play, a Wii feature often neglected by developers. Players can set up matches against friends or complete strangers.

   Regrettably, the online play is perhaps the weakest part of the game. The lag compensation doesn’t seem to be so hot, there’s no voice chat, and finding “friends” online involves swapping “friend codes.”

   Another nagging flaw is how offense-heavy the game feels at times. Defensive players beware: constant blocking is a road to ruin in this game.

   Flaws aside, “Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars” is a welcome addition to the Wii library, and certainly a refreshing change from endless mini-game collections.

   You might now know who Tatsunoko is, but that won’t make the gam