In 2002, Capcom began development on Capcom Fighting All-Stars. All-Stars was a 3D fighting crossover that featured characters from games like Street Fighter II, Darkstalkers, Final Fight, Rival Schools and several new characters. In 2003, the game received limited beta tests in London and Japan. Unfortunately, it poorly handled its Video Game 3D Leap, and the game was canceled that year.
However, Capcom decided to do what they could to salvage the remains of All-Stars, and released Capcom Fighting Evolution (a.k.a. Capcom Fighting Jam in Japan and Europe), in 2004. It is a Massive Multiplayer Crossover between some of Capcom's popular fighting game series, including Street Fighter II, Street Fighter III, Street Fighter Alpha and Darkstalkers, and the obscure, arcade-only (until 2022) Red Earth.
Unlike All-Stars, Evolution is completely 2D. It dropped most of All-Stars' original characters, with the lone exception of a mysterious schoolgirl named Ingrid. Each franchise gets four characters, with Pyron from Darkstalkers serving as the final boss. The game operates on a semi-tag system – while players can't swap in and out during a battle, they can change to their alternate character after a round.
All characters fight using the rules from the games they came from - the Street Fighter II characters use the single Super Move meter from Super Street Fighter II, the Darkstalkers characters have the stacking Super Move meters, and so on. In the typical fashion of Capcom crossover games, there is no overarching storyline, although each character does have their own ending cutscene.
- Representing Street Fighter II: Ryu, Guile, Zangief and M. Bison
- Representing Street Fighter III: Alex, Chun-Li, Urien, and Yun
- Representing Street Fighter Alpha: Rose, Sakura, Karin, and Guy
- Representing Darkstalkers: Demitri, Felicia, Anakaris, and Jedah
- Representing Red Earth: Leo, Hauzer, Hydron (Nool) and Kenji (Mukuro)
- Original character: Ingrid
- Bosses: Pyron and Shin Akuma
Tropes used in this game:
- All Just a Dream: Zangief's ending.
- The Cameo: Many Capcom classic characters appear in the game, in both the backgrounds and endings, such as:
- Jon Talbain in Ryu's ending.
- Mike Haggar, Jessica, Carlos, Tom, and Patricia in Alex's ending.
- Gill (who gets beaten down), Sagat, Vega, Balrog and the Bison dolls in M. Bison's ending.
- Morrigan in Demitri's ending.
- *breath* Ken, Dhalsim, Charlie, Dudley, Sean, Mai Ling, Hsien-Ko, B.B. Hood, Rikuo and Victor in Pyron's ending.
- *deeper breath* Cammy, Ibuki, Elena, Effie, R. Mika, June, Ele, Hinata, Natsu, Akira, Tiffany, Yurika, Ayame, Rouge, Lilith, Q-Bee, Tong Poo and Yellow Iris in Felicia's ending.
- Dan (who gets beaten down) and Kei in Sakura's ending.
- Tessa, Blade and Mai Ling in Leo's ending.
- Dante in Jedah's ending.
- Gen and Yang in Yun's ending.
- Several Twelves in Urien's ending.
- The News Combo 7 newscaster in Shin Akuma's ending.
- Makoto, Maki and E. Honda in the background of the Japanese street stage (alongside the aforementioned Dan and Ibuki).
- There were also other background cameos, like Ken, Cammy, Sean, Cody, Dee Jay, T. Hawk, Birdie, Charlie, Hugo and Q in the New York stage, and Sagat and Adon in the Myanmar stage.
- Easter Egg: Using LP-MK-HP when performing Demitri's Midnight Bliss can result in alternate transformations for some characters: for example, Alex turns into Patricia (the daughter of his mentor Tom) instead of a female version of himself, while Chun-Li is transformed into her chibi Pocket Fighter form as opposed to donning her Alpha-era attire.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Demitri's Midnight Bliss takes this form instead: as opposed to visibly sucking the transformed fighter dry, he simply waves his cape over them before cutting to black and dashing backwards with the opponent collapsed and turned back to normal.
- Massive Multiplayer Crossover: What this is supposed to be, given the characters are imported into the game complete with mechanics and attributes that are also pulled from their respective games (so Alpha characters can use Custom Combos and Alpha Counters while III characters can Parry attacks). The back of the box even promises the characters will play just like they did in the games they were imported from. However the underbelly is wholly based on the engine of Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium so the actual hit detection and combo physics reside entirely within that game's gameplay (plus characters like Ryu and Guile use their CvS2 sprites, which basically ensures they can't play precisely as they did in Street Fighter II). Notably, despite making her debut in Street Fighter II, Chun-Li here represents III, complete with re-using her sprites from said games as opposed to her CVS2 ones despite Ryu and M. Bison using theirs.
- New Work, Recycled Graphics: The game suffers from the same problem as Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and Capcom vs. SNK 2 in that regard. The use of more recent and higher quality sprites for certain characters (such as Ryu and M. Bison's redone sprites from Capcom Vs SNK) makes the older ones from the early-to-mid '90s, especially the Darkstalkers characters that, outside of Demitri, still use their 1994 sprites, look even more jarring by comparison. Zangief has a baffling situation: he reuses Alpha-era sprites, used in other crossover games, but had his face redrawn.
- No Plot? No Problem!: Capcom Fighting All-Stars actually was supposed to have a plot but when that game got scrapped and Capcom Fighting Evolution was conceived to replace it, they didn't write a story to go with that.
- Promoted to Playable: As Red Earth featured only four playable characters to use against a larger set of bosses, this is Hauzer and Hydron's first playable role.
- Russian Bear: Zangief's ending has him battling several bears in his homeland of Russia after a long dream sequence.
- Rose's ending has her imprisoning Pyron in a card, pretty much like Sakura (well, not the Street Fighter by that name, though).
- Rose's two Midnight Bliss transformations are both references to JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. The first one has her wearing a gondolier outfit with a mask, just as Lisa Lisa did (to whom Rose is based on). The second one turns her into a Miniature Senior Citizen who looks exactly like Enya the Hag.
- Ryu's Midnight Bliss is the little Indian girl with the milk jug he bumped into in the Street Fighter II anime movie.
- Yun's Midnight Bliss form is based on his childhood friends, the twin sisters Hoimei and Shaomei.
- Guy's Midnight Bliss causes him to resemble fellow Final Fight protagonist Maki; outside of the hair, female Guy even goes so far as to reuse Maki's sprites from Capcom vs. SNK 2 wholesale. His alternate Midnight Bliss is a character from Gotcha Force.
- The Worf Effect: Gill gets beaten down in M. Bison's ending.