: Release Date: 30 November 1999

Ultimate arrives just nine months after Marvel Vs Capcom 3, a fast turnaround of a fighting game revision even by Capcom's standards. We'd like to think the publisher felt compelled to action by the overwhelming dominance in the original of character Dark Phoenix, a glitch missed by QA that players could exploit to deliver overpowered combos, and some distinctly fuzzy netcode. Sadly there's the niggling sense that the speedy revision was the plan all along. It certainly fits the pattern set by Street Fighter IV; one addition is spectator mode in eight-player lobbies, a feature held back from SFIV and introduced in its first revision, Super.

Phoenix has been dialled down, the combo glitch fixed, and while it's too early to speak for the netcode, Capcom has made tweaks elsewhere. A redesigned HUD gives greater prominence to the game's comeback mechanic, X-Factor, which can now be activated in the air but has a shorter duration. Adjustments have been made to other overpowered characters including Wolverine, Wesker and Akuma; those at the lower end of the tier list have been buffed; and many characters have new special moves. So far, so Capcom.

Of the 12 new characters, the most noteworthy is Phoenix Wright, and Capcom's efforts to integrate a lawyer into the game's ranks of street fighters, superheroes and robots has resulted in a move set so complex and confusing it could fill a strategy guide of its own. Wright's moves change greatly over the course of three phases: at the outset he has to collect three pieces of evidence, leaving him open to attack and necessitating smart use of assists and his assistant, Maya, as shields. By the third phase, he has a fullscreen finger-point which juggles opponents, and access to the most powerful Hyper Combo in the game. Getting there is a pain, but his design ties in very neatly with his courtroom escapades, where he starts out clueless but ultimately prevails. In the right hands, Wright is devastating.

The handheld edition of Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 will feature online and local multiplayer, touchscreen functionality, NEAR and everything you would find in the PS3 version. In addition, the PlayStation Vita version includes a Spectator Mode and Replay function that allows players to watch or share exciting matches over wi-fi. PlayStation Vita exclusive Gold Herald colour options are also available for the characters. As an integrated option, gamers can use the PlayStation Vita as the "Ultimate Controller" to play the PS3 version of the game.

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