Review | Screenshots

Namco x Capcom on the PS2

YEAR: 2005
SYSTEM: Sony PlayStation 2
DEVELOPER: Monolith Soft
PUBLISHER: Namco Japan

In 2005, a little-known company called Monolith Soft decided to take the tried-and-true "versus" gaming format (in which one company's characters were pitted against another's) and do it one better. They decided, instead of doing a fighting game like Capcom vs. SNK or Marvel vs. Capcom, they would do an action RPG.

It sounded like a great idea. An RPG could last for days, involving hundreds of characters, milking the game for as much enjoyment as possible.

The only snag would be getting the characters' licenses. Without proper licensing, none of the characters could appear in the game if it shipped outside Japan.

Monolith Soft didn't get the licenses. Namco x Capcom (pronounced "Namco cross Capcom") is now, and remains, a Japanese-only release.

Nevertheless, there's some good stuff in it for the dedicated Strider fan. Hiryu, Hien, Solo, the Kuniangs, and Grandmaster Meio all show up in the game. In fact, Meio is one of the primary bad guys in the game. And Hiryu himself is one of the better characters, being more balanced than his Marvel vs. Capcom incarnation, according to Zero-Chan, who sent me videos and screencaps of the game in advance.

The Strider characters enter during a sequence in the game where everyone winds up on the Third Moon. Your party encounters Hiryu and Hien facing off. Hien naturally tries to get Hiryu to turn to the dark side, but Hiryu just wants to kick his ass.

I respect that. Hien's such a scrub character.

Anyway. Hiryu and Hien fight, then midway through the battle, Solo shows up to inform everyone that the Third Moon is going to explode (of course), and all manner of mayhem breaks loose as everyone tries to escape. Hiryu joins the party after this, though he seems to have a bit of trouble deciding.

Grandmaster Meio shows up in the second-to-last sequence. Meio had discovered the defeated Rockman Juno and rebuilt him as part of a scheme to steal a huge energy crystal called "The God's Eye." The power of the "God's Eye" would then be used to take over Eden, the supercomputer space station from the Megaman Legends games. This is why Meio was willing to destroy The Third Moon earlier. Naturally, a trip to Eden was required in order to put a stop to these plans, and Hien, Meio, and the others were defeated.

Hien has an interesting death speech, lamenting how someone like him could allow themselves to be corrupted with the desire for more strength.

Hiryu responds to this with the cryptic line, "Because you were a Strider, Hien..."

Good to know Monolith Soft got the weirder aspects of Strider right, huh?

Unless you know Japanese and have about $60 to spare, don't bother with this game. It's certainly fun enough, but due to it being an RPG, you won't enjoy it properly unless you speak the language.


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