What exactly was up with the PS1 port of X-Men: COTA?


#1

(Besides the fact that it was a substandard port, like 95% of all PS1 2D fighting game ports!)

I was recently browsing through my copy of EGM #73 (August 1995, unmasked Sub and Kano on cover, MK3 console ports cover story, my first real copy of a game mag!) and stumbled upon a preview for the Playstation/Saturn ports of X-Men: Children of the Atom (which by then was most likely growing long in the tooth, soon to be supplanted by it’s sequel MSH by the end of the year) and read as the EGM editors promised that it would be 100% faithful to the original coin-op (kinda can’t fault them there, no one had any idea at the time that the stock PS1/Saturn hardware couldn’t deliver arcade-perfect ports…enough with the parentheses!) and would be coming out sometime in late 1995/early 1996. As some should remember, both ports were delayed for a while longer and the Saturn port finally came out in the US sometime around Spring 1996 (via Acclaim who published it)…while the PS1 port was nowhere to be found. The rest of 1996 passed and nothing. 1997 came and went…still nothing. By then whoever hadn’t forgotten about the game or it’s port probably gave up on it ever hitting the PS1’s store shelves.

Then, in early 1998 not too long before the Japanese PS1 port of XMvSF (EX) was to come out, with no prior announcement or advertising the PS1 port of COTA FINALLY hit store shelves. And the result after such a long wait and presumed conflicts between Capcom & Acclaim??? Possibly the worst port of a Capcom 2D fighter to the PS1. From what I recall, the port (by Probe Entertainment instead of Capcom of Japan) managed to retain most if not all of the character animation which was unheard of in any other 32-Bit Capcom port…but at the expense of the frame rate which was halved to 30fps and got even worse whenever lots of fireworks went on on-screen. The game literally played like it was underwater. The opening sequence and all of the endings/cutscenes were lazily converted to grainy-ass FMV as well. Needless to say many mags and sites had a field day with this port and shitted all over it as they did with the XMvSF port which came out mere months later. But the hate was even worse for COTA because it already was a dated, 4 year old game that was supposed to have been in store shelves 2 years earlier, and of course the port sucked and would’ve been handled much more differently if Capcom did it themselves (one of only two fighting game ports they oursourced to other developers IIRC, the other being the PS1 port of Darkstalkers which was handled by Psynogsis and was similarly delayed like Saturn COTA was).

I’m just asking, does anyone recall or know exactly why the PS1 COTA port took so long to hit store shelves??? By the time it actually hit store shelves in early '98 it was more of a tax write-off for Capcom/Acclaim than anything. And was anyone intrigued by how this port was handled compared to Capcom’s own handywork??? Even though the framerate dipped to hell, most if not all of the character animation was retained, and after XMvSF even the CPS2 hardware itself cut some corners, and many characters lost a chunk of animation frames in future CPS2 fighting games like MSHvSF and MVC1.

Also, anyone know of any other unique console ports such as this one and the impressive, yet unpolished PS1 Darkstalkers port??? Like the unfinished port of SF2:CE port for Genesis that got canned halfway in favor of the watered-down SNES Turbo port that became Special Champion Edition…

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#2

IIRC the Saturn port was handled by Capcom themselves, just that Acclaim paid Capcom for the domestic console distribution rights.


#3

I think X-Men Vs. Street Fighter was probably the crown jewel of awful PS1 ports. All the frame rate problems of COTA, even with many frames removed (if you thought Alpha was a chop job… boy howdy), and the most innovative element of the game–the tag team feature–required you to first unlock it, then use the same characters as your opponent. Fucking crap.

I remember being really impressed with MSH Vs. SF on the PS1, for the simple fact that the frame rate problems were fixed. It was so refreshing to be able to do Ken’s screen-filling Shinryuken, and not have the game slow to a crawl. Still an awful port.


#4

Wait - you couldn’t tag in XSF? LOL. I’ve only really played the Saturn versions of these games which are all good with the exception of MSH which runs like crap.


#5

you couldnt tag in any of the ps1 ports.


#6

Technically not true. Mirror matches allowed tagging IIRC


#7

it was same only, so if you use ryu, and your opponent picks cyclops, you can do a ryu/cyclops vs cyclops/ryu match.

that’s all

The only thing i liked about the ps1 ports… training mode… i don’t recall training mode on xsf for Saturn.
edit; i think shotos were interchangable, so you could use ryu / ken vs. akuma / ryu and not have a problem.


#8

yeah, i was talking about normal tagging.


#9

You could super cancel on PSOne ports too…


#10

Yeah, for whatever that was worth. Most who had the means to do so immediately jumped towards the RAM-enhanced Saturn ports…while young, broke nikkas like me had to make due with these Playstation ports. :sad: The only PS1 ports I’ve bought that I felt weren’t an entire waste of money was Street Fighter Collection (used copy, scratches n’ skipping) and Street Fighter Alpha 3 (GH copy). Regardless, I was a special move-spamming scrub back then so it’s not like I completely got my money’s worth out of these ports anyway.

I bought a new copy of PSX COTA even after reading all of the bad reviews. Definitely a purchase based on curiousity. At least I got a good amount of credit for it when I traded it at the defunct FuncoLand ages ago. (Why is it that most Capcom ports become uncommon/rare so quickly??? This goes back to the 32-Bit era and still today)

Going by some ancient usenet convos I dug up (man, it’s sure a trip going through those!), Capcom supposedly attempted to port the game as best as possible twice and in their minds failed, so the game was tied in limbo afterwards. How good again was the Saturn port???


#11

I just got my hands on a “copy” of PS1 COTA, and looking at the SLOPPY logo sequences (no animated Capcom/Acclaim logo whatsoever) and the familiar options screen…this honestly looks like it’s a rushed yet direct port/emulation of the arcade ROM. It even has the exact same configuration screen as the arcade ROM (and many other CPS2 titles). Probe didn’t seem to even make an effort to cut or drop any frames at all, and if they did I can hardly spot them because the animation is as smooth as the coin-op’s more or less. On the most barren backgrounds (like the beginning of Psylocke’s stage) the game almost, ALMOST runs at full arcade speed, but overall the frame-rate seems to fluctuate depending on the backgrounds and fireworks on-screen. The game damn well slows to a crawl on stages like Silver Samurai’s and Colossus (Sentinel+Colossus+lower level of Colossus’s stage=slide show :rofl: ) As bad as it is, it really is an interesting port. If indeed it was an emulation of the arcade ROM, think all the combos and glitches of the original are possible??? :confused: