Capcom Fighting Evolution
REVIEWFollowing the cancellation of Capcom Fighting All-Stars, Capcom transitioned their 3D "Capcom Vs. Capcom" project into a 2D fighting game. Releasing in 2004 under the bizarre title of Capcom Fighting Jam in Japan, Capcom Fighting Evolution (as we know it in the west) is a traditional 2D fighter featuring a small variety of Capcom characters from several well-known franchises, including: Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, Darkstalkers and Red Earth. Capcom also debuted the brand new female character, Ingrid, originally from the canceled 2003 project, Capcom Fighting All Stars.

The gameplay of Capcom Fighting Evolution is 2 Vs. 2 (team style, not tag). Each character uses their respective super meter from their series, so each character plays differently. After each round, players have the option to switch out their current character with their teammate. While the premise of Capcom Fighting Evolution sounds like a novel idea on paper, a few key fundamentals went very wrong with this fighting game "effort" by Capcom... if you dare call it that.

Where else can you get Chun-Li versus a big-ass dinosaur?

As expected, the gameplay of Capcom Fighting Evolution feels very much like something any 2D fighting game connoisseur has played many times before. This, of course, can be interpreted as both a good thing and a bad thing. It actually feels and plays most similar to that of Capcom VS SNK 2... which, ironically enough, is the last 2D fighting game Capcom released before CFE. The gameplay is simple and straight to the point, and perhaps that's the best (and also worst) aspect of the game.

At first glance, Evolution gives off the same vibe that the original Capcom VS SNK did when it debuted. To sum up the "feeling" I'm referring to: Rushed presentation, not nearly enough characters, missing key combos, unbalanced roster, and leaving much to be desired overall. CFE's roster should've, could've been so much more comprehensive, especially considering the quality of characters we're getting... I mean, where's Captain Commando, Strider Hiryu, or even Jin Saotome? Unfortunately, 2D fighting fans in 2004 were stuck with some very outdated 2D sprites and characters (not to mention a measly 2 colors per character! That's just inexcusable!) If that doesn't say lazy, I don't know what does.

To state the obvious, Capcom Fighting Evolution's visuals are below average. Demitri's sprite is exactly 10 years old... and looks beyond dated. Actually, most returning sprites look particularly crappy in this game (for example, Demitri's sprite actually looks better in Darkstalkers). Capcom also curiously edited Zangief's sprite from SFA2... shrinking his original dimensions and changing his facial expression. Overall, Gief looks pretty terrible in Evolution as well. As a matter of fact, for a quick comparison you can even perform Zangief's taunt, which strangely switches back to his old sprite for a moment.


Are those background characters supposed to look like cardboard?

Some of CFE's stages are fairly decent-looking and there are a few catchy BGMs. Other than that, the presentation of this game is pretty terrible. Capcom characters in backgrounds resemble 2D cardboard cutouts... it's just depressing. The animation for the 3rd Strike characters sped up, making even their animations seem worse in this game. 3rd Strike characters also look noticeably "out of place" when fighting against "smaller" characters from Darkstalkers or SFA, and especially because those character sprites contain far less frames of animation.... It just looks like a mess. Times were tough in 2004.

You can sum up everything about CFE in one world... "messy". All of the sprites blended together from different games just gives me a headache. One of the only "solid" parts of the game visually, are the endings. All characters have endings drawn by UDON Comics and are presented in a comic-panel-like sequence. Many endings also contain cool cameos of other Capcom characters (many of whom should've been playable in the game). Besides the spectacular ending artwork, still... CFE is probably one of Capcom's worst-looking 2D fighting games ever.

Overlooking these obvious flaws, hardcore Capcom fighting game fans still might be able to enjoy Evolution for its nostalgia value and "classic" 2D gameplay. For one, certain characters can parry, which can make for some fun (and comical) match-ups, even considering the dated animations and tiny roster. Most characters retain almost all of their special & super moves, but unfortunately, characters definitely don't play "exactly like they do from previous games" (which is funny, because the back of the box says differently).

I consider myself a decent 3rd Strike Urien player, and I can confirm that most of Urien's (good) Aegis Reflector combos are NOWHERE to be found in this game. What's the use of having Urien "from 3rd Strike" if he plays nothing like Urien from 3rd Strike?! This case repeats itself with other characters... but on the bright side, the SFA, SF2 and Darkstalkers characters arguably play closer to the originals. And of course, the Warzard / Red Earth cast is pretty fun to use (since most players never got a chance to use these characters until now). I'm sure most fans can find a handful of characters / teams in CFE that they enjoy using, but in most cases, those characters are more fun to use in their original games.

FUN FACT:  An additional "Street Fighter (1)" team consisting of Retsu, Sagat & Eagle was originally planned for the console version of the game (Capcom Fighting Evolution), but this idea was later scrapped. You can see the actual concept sprites of the SF1 team members inside the Poster Art Gallery.






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Page Updated: January 1st, 2024
Developer(s): Capcom Production Studio 2
Publisher(s): Capcom
Artwork by: Shinkiro   Character Art / Posters
UDON Comics   Ending Art
Platform(s): Arcade, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PSN
Release Date(s): October 2004                    Arcade
Nov. 16th, 2004               PS2
Dec. 2nd, 2004                 PS2
Feb. 12th, 2005                PS2
June 14th, 2005               Xbox
June 16th, 2005                Xbox
June 24th, 2005                Xbox
December 2012                PSN
September 2013               PSN
Characters Ryu, Chun-Li, Alex, Urien, Demitri Maximoff, Guile, Leo, Hydron, Ingrid, Felicia, Hauzer, Yun, Guy, Sakura Kasugano, M. Bison, Kenji, Jedah Dohma, Rose, Anakaris, Zangief, Karin Kanzaki, Shin Akuma, Pyron

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Featured Video:

Related Games: Capcom Fighting All-Stars, Capcom Fighting Collection, Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Street Fighter Alpha 3: Max, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, Darkstalkers, Darkstalkers 3, Red Earth, NeoGeo Battle Coliseum, SNK Vs. Capcom: Chaos, Capcom Vs. SNK, Capcom Vs. SNK 2, Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, Street Fighter 6

Gameplay Engine

 7.5 / 10

Story / Theme

 6.0 / 10

Overall Graphics

 4.0 / 10


 6.0 / 10

Music / Sound Effects

 7.5 / 10


 6.0 / 10

Art Direction

 8.0 / 10


 2.0 / 10

Options / Extras

 4.5 / 10

Intro / Presentation

 4.5 / 10

Replayability / Fun

 5.5 / 10

"Ouch" Factor

 6.0 / 10


 6.5 / 10


 6.2 / 10

 Review based on PS2 version    


Final Words: As bad as this game was.... my friends and I actually had some FUN playing Capcom Fighting Evolution. That's more you can say about most "bad" 2D fighting games. Of course, we spent most of the time laughing at how bad the game is, but we surprisingly and ironically ended up having some entertaining matches, nonetheless. That's gotta count for something!?

Though too small for its own good, the character roster actually isn't completely terrible and there are some stupidly fun "dream match-ups" to be had. Again, the classic 2D gameplay is solid enough to play, meaning CFE wasn't actually the worst-feeling fighting game out at the time. Even so, there's definitely no excuse for Capcom's laziness with this title. It was almost "insulting" to 2D fighting game fans. Thankfully, somehow, Capcom redeemed itself in the years to come. But things we're looking bleak for Capcom in 2004-2005, fighting game wise.

Reasons to play Capcom Fighting Evolution? Not many... but finally being able to use Warzard / Red Earth characters and checking out the nicely drawn UDON Comics character endings was worth a look. The character artwork & poster artwork by Shinkiro (which you can find below) also added a nice flavor to the game, along with the semi-decent music tracks. Sadly, everything else about Capcom Fighting Evolution is embarrassingly lackluster and leaves so much to be desired. If the game's roster was at least double the its size, the existence of Capcom Fighting Evolution would've made more sense... and the game could've turned out much better.

I have a funny theory about this game (and it's probably not true)... but "pirating" arcade games on PC was a big talking point in the early 2000s (and looked down upon by game companies). Thus, I think someone at Capcom thought it would be "cute" to purposely make this game look cheap to mock those certain individuals who we're pirating Capcom's games at the time. Also, by 2004, most of us saw plenty of MUGEN games that shoved SFA, SF3, and Darkstalkers sprites together into one game... which ended up looking eerily similar to CFE.

would Capcom do such a thing and mock what was going on with pirating games on PC? I don't know... as a joke? To prove they can still sell something with minimal effort? Who knows. This game is such a joke, that it's hard to find any other reason it turned out to be so bad. Like Capcom Fighting All-Stars, it seems like Capcom started this game but decided not to finish it... deja vu all over again. In any case, CFE is still a must-play for Capcom fighting game fans to see one of the "low points" of 2D fighting games. I'd say this game was rock bottom.
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

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