Insert Disk collects X-Men Children Of The Atom for the Sega Saturn.
Welcome to Part 2 of 11 of this Sega Saturn Capcom Fighting games mini series.
We will be taking a look at all of the major Capcom fighting game releases from Street Fighter, Marvel, Street Fighter Vs and Darkstalker series. These retro gaming classics form a large part of the Sega Saturn’s lasting appeal and of particular interest to collectors of Japanese Sega Saturn collectors.
Part 2 sees the launch of the Marvel Fighter Series on the Sega Saturn with X- Men Children Of The Atom.
Greetings collectors and welcome to today’s retro game review. You join us in part 2 of the Sega Saturn Capcom Fighter Mini series.
We’re taking a look back at Capcom’s fighting games for the Sega Saturn. Expect Street Fighter. Street Fighter Cross-overs. Marvel and Darkstaklers all battling it out on behalf of Capcom.
1995 had already seen the release of Street Fighter The Movie: The Game and Capcom fans had been left a little flat by the experience. The same year though we also knew that Capcom’s new fighter would be out, X-Men Children of the Atom. Now Children of the Atom had already been out in the arcades so it came as no surprise to anyone that this was going to be a great game on the Sega Saturn. 2D fighting games were something of a forte for Sega’s black box and the conversion was excellent.
Out of the gates you can play as 10 X-Men characters. Well known characters such as Wolverine, Storm and Colossus but also less household known characters such as Omega Red and Spiral. The game follows a similar style to street fighter in which you select a character and work your way through a list of opponents. What sets X-Men Children of the Atom apart is its hi-octane energy. Sure, we had played Street Fighter Hyper Fighting but Children of the Atom took this all to the next level. Larger sprites, the ability to jump to an extending screen and overall more exaggerated move sets.
Children of the Atom gave Capcom the licence to let their hair down and go bigger and better than any previous fighting game that they had put out in the mainstream. The nature of comic book heroes lends itself really well to this type of game and the game is still seen as an important entry in Capcom’s back catalogue. Years later you can still see many of the elements this game introduced in their more modern titles. The game sounds fantastic, the tracks are uplifting when they need to be and suitably dramatic when there is call for showdowns with the bosses. The game just works really well. With the sound being excellent it’s fair to say that the graphics also lived up to expectations. Well animated, well detailed and vivid they leap off the screen even to this day. We’ve seen many incarnations of the characters over the years but I’m pleased that Capcom and Marvel decided to use the 90’s cartoon of X-Men as the base template for their designs.
In terms of game play Children of the Atom feels reasonably well balanced. Silver Samurai can seem a bit over powered as does Omega Red. However, characters such as Psylocke are given a speed advantage to compensate. Activating the special moves is always fun and feels reasonably intuitive to get in to as a fighter. The game isn’t perfect by any means. Previous Capcom games always felt a little more contained. Children of the Atom literally lets you jump from one side of the screen to another. It produces a very different experience to the Street Fighter series. Everything feels a lot more exaggerated, noisy and at times slightly messy as a fighting experience. After a while you sink in to the game and get used to it but this is perhaps a game that does take some level of mastery to get the best out of it.
Overall though Children of the Atom is a landmark game and well worth picking up. The physical presentation is spot on. The cover artwork is typically marvellous and this all flows through to the CD artwork and of course the well-presented manual, stocked with useful player by player tips and move sets. The introduction of outrageous combos and special moves made Children of the Atom a standout game of the year. Now perhaps overshadowed by its sequel Marvel Super Heroes, X-Men did prove above all things that Street Fighter now had a challenger from within its own house.
With Street Fighter The Movie having undermined the series and Children of the Atom now the fan favourite on the Saturn the ball was in Street Fighters court. The following year, in 1996 the Street Fighter Series would fight back.
The Street Fighter team would fight back with a landmark entry in the Street Fighter Series. The age of Street Fighter 2 had come to an end, the rise of Street Fighter Zero was coming… Join me in the next episode as we take a look back at Street Fighter Zero for the Sega Saturn and find out how Capcom transitioned from a failed 32-bit entry in to a best in class fighter.