The best thing about the Nineties rivalry between Capcom and SNK was easily the crossover explosion that followed at the turn of the century. The two companies mined some real gold from the endeavour, with SNK producing excellent Neo Geo Pocket games and Capcom delivering two brilliant arcade fighting games. However, SNK’s fortunes went south shortly afterwards, so it wasn’t until 2003 that the successor Playmore gained the SNK trademark that the company could finally deliver an arcade game of its own. But how did it compare to Capcom’s efforts?
Truth be told, not that well. Whereas Capcom vs SNK was a bold experiment with novelty value and Capcom vs SNK 2 was a long-lived competitive staple, SVC Chaos is neither bold nor competition-worthy. The game design is largely lifted from The King Of Fighters 2002, with minor adjustments (dashing replaces running, there’s no team system, etc.). Unfortunately, just as that wasn’t the most technically sound game in its series, SVC Chaos has some real problems with hit detection and character balance. The problems continue with the presentation, as with few exceptions the sparse backgrounds and sombre music are competent but forgettable.
It’s a shame, as all of the Capcom characters are sporting excellent new sprites in the SNK style, and there are some interesting inclusions here – Red Earth’s Tessa and Samurai Shodown 64’s Shiki are particularly nice, and we love the appearance of Metal Slug’s Mars People. With such a cast assembled, this could have been something spectacular – but there’s no bang here, just a whimper.