X-Men vs. Street Fighter was the first game in the VS. fighting game series by Capcom. It came out for the CPS-2 arcade system towards the end of 1996.

It was the next step in the fighting system started in X-Men, Children of the Atom and was preceded by Marvel Super Heroes. It is slightly different from the Alpha Series (under which I think DarkStalkers and the like falls) It gains the following advantages over previous games:
  • Air recovery: Unlike the previous two games, you could not recover into a move in the air. In XVSF, you could be hit in the air (even in an Air combo, and still recover out to a move).
  • Push Guarding: For the first time, you could repel and enemy with a guard. This solves the problem in Marvel Super Heroes whereby a person could get stuck in the corner by a mean player. You can now force a player away with a guard.
  • Aerial Supers: You can now super in the air starting with this member in the series. You could do special moves in the air, but not supers.
  • Tag: Of course, the main point of the game is to be able to tag another team mate in, so that the other one can heal, while one is fighting. This leads to an in interesting new set of strategies based on healing, when to tag, and matching up the right opponent. You can also do a tag-team special, which does quite a lot of damage.
  • Constant levels of super-move energy: In Marvel Super Heroes, people could max out their energy at different levels (number of times through the bar). Now, the max is three for all characters.
  • You can super after a round was over: There is a well-known trick whereby pressing the start button will allow you to "kick someone while they are down". During that time previously, all special moves where turned off. In XVSF, you can now do special moves (hadoken, and supers)
  • Less lead in time to special moves: It is easier to get finishing moves (supers) off more quickly. there is some lead in time to it, but it is not active time (IE: the player cannot react in the time you wind up, the screen goes dark). This leads to a more finishing move-heavy game (see issues below), but it makes them less frustrating to use than ones in Marvel Super Heroes, or Children of the Atom.
  • Better animation: There are clearly better animations to the characters in this later and more advanced game. There are more frames to each animation.
What are now gone from previous games in the series:
  • Infinity counters: You can now push guard, or a normal counter. Infinity counters were good ways to get gems and such before, but are now not worth it. Thankfully, this feature is gone.
  • Gems: They were unbalancing for characters who had easy special moves (Wolverine). They are now thankfully gone.
The game is a lot of fun, with a huge cast of characters to choose from:
  • Magneto: This magneto is basically the same from MSH. He is a good beginner character
  • Sabretooth: Not a great character, with some odd timing. His supers are slow, and he's awful tall
  • Gambit: His first appearance in a fighting game, Gambit is over powered, and has the strongest super in the game (he also has a known way to cause 100% damage).
  • Wolverine: Wolverine appears to be the same as every other Wolverine in all of the games. (Possibly without his drill claw.
  • Juggernaught: Juggernaught does not have the advantage he did in MSH. He did not increase in speed with all of the other characters, and thus suffers a large (and needed) disadvantage.
  • Storm: This is basically the same Storm as in COTA.
  • Rogue: Her first time in the series, Rogue is a well rounded, well put together character. She is fast and strong, but her supers are tough to hit with, making her a well balanced character. She can steal other character's powers, making her a fun person to play with.
  • Cyclops: Cyclops gained tons in the transition from COTA. His optic blast is fast and painful; it does lots of damage, and it eats other projectile specials. His finishing move is not as damaging as others, but it's hard to get out of the way of.
  • Akuma / Gouki: Akuma is slightly weaker compared to previous versions. He is a good mix between Ken and Ryu. Akuma is accessible by pressing up on the top row of the grid.
  • Dhalsim: Dhalsim is still the same weird character he always was.
  • Chun Li: Chun Li does awesome for herself in COTA. She gains some nice abilities that make her a formidable fighter for newbies and experienced players alike. Her supers are powerful, and well balanced.
  • Cammy: Cammy makes a nice transition over from Super Street Fighter 2, where she debuted.
  • Ryu: Ryu is the same old fighter he always was. In this installment, he keeps the good, well balanced supers he had in Street Fighter Alpha, and Street Fighter Alpha 2. His Hurricane Kick and Dragon Punch are not as good as Ken's but his Hadoken is more finely honed.
  • M. Bison: Bison keeps many of the same abilities and feel that he did in Street Fighter 2.
  • Zhangief: Zhangief gains a lot by the way of several ungaurdable moves. He is not for the beginner player, but can be devastating in the hands of someone who can make up for his lack of speed.
  • Charlie: Charlie keeps his same feel from the Alpha series (he is Guile from Street Fighter 2).
  • Ken: Ken receives a better Hurricane Kick and a better Dragon Punch than Ryu or Akuma, but keeps many of the same moves and timing as they do. Again, he keeps his supers from the Alphas
There are a few disadvantages to the game compared to others, many of which surrounding the poor game balance (some characters mop the floor with the rest, some moves do too much damage, etc). The later games in the series (especially Marvel vs. Capcom), are much better off. Another common complaint is that the game is based too much around the all-too-easy finishing moves. On the worst case, it is reduced to piddly fighting and timing of numerous super moves. These items aside, this game is very popular in arcades and it makes a great addition to anyone's collection.

Interestingly enough, the English version of the game is the first in the series to default to two coins per credit, thus making this game fifty cents by default, all across the country (many arcade operators lower it to a quarter per play, but still). It was one of the games that suffered from the hike in arcade rates around that time. It is available for emulation if you own the actual arcade machine.

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