Review: Relive the good ol' days of repeatedly swearing at M. Bison.
In 2005, the news was all about next gen hardware, primarily the Xbox 360 and the PSP. But lost in the hype was the fact that 2005 was also a banner year for ?old gen? game revivals, with a surprisingly large number of ?classic? game collections from such storied developers as Atari, Midway, Namco, Taito and Tecmo, all of which allowed veteran (read: ?old?) gamers to relive their misspent days of feeding quarters to insatiably hungry arcade machines.
The Capcom Classics Collection is perhaps the best of the bunch, providing a great trip down memory lane with 22 of the famous developer's arcade classics. As with all collections, this one has big titles, minor titles, and some that are so obscure only the truly hardcore gamer would recognize them. You could debate the title selection until you're blue in the face but overall you get a pretty good mix of your favorites from the past and can see the interesting progression of Capcom's creative and technical development over the years.
The interface is very easy to use and the emulations run smoothly for the most part ? both of which sadly cannot be said for all collections of this nature. Each game comes with a brief history and background, along with some interesting trivia. You can also unlock bonuses for each game such as artwork, gameplay tips, character profiles and even the original MIDI music soundtracks. Hey, nothing rocks the house like the beep-beep-beep of MIDI!
The collection allows you to adjust some game settings right off the bat, like customized control mapping and enabling rapid fire. In some games, you can choose to immediately continue from the point that you died so you don't have to start all over from the beginning again ? a very nice touch.
Not surprisingly, the star of the collection is Street Fighter II
, the game that set the standard for all modern fighters and is still considered one of the best ever. As a result, Capcom included not one, not two, but three SFII titles: the original (released in 1991), SFII Champion Edition
and SFII Hyper Fighting
(both released in 1992). Why three? Why not? You will have an absolute blast reliving the days of beating up Balrog, Vega and that damn annoying M. Bison. You can change various settings like the round timer and even enable ?Street Fighter Deluxe? versus mode, which essentially combines the three games into one, allowing you and a friend to fight as characters from all three versions. Cool! When playing against your buddies, it's amazing how quickly and naturally the old strategies and combos come back to you ? amazing, or geekily scary, depending on your point of view. In any event, the SFII games are the ones you will likely spend the most time playing since they are still as fun as ever and have the best replayability of the whole collection.
This is not to say the other games aren't fun; in fact, many of them still stand the test of time, although for some you can easily get tired of the simple repetitive gameplay. However, compared to modern games that require deep involvement and commitment, most of these games are great for a quickie dose of entertainment. In fact, some of them are so short you can finish them in a matter of minutes. Here are the other 19 games in alphabetical order:
(1984): The classic scrolling shooter returns as you hunt down swarms of enemy fighter planes.
(1987): The sequel to 1942 adds two-player co-op which really ups the fun factor, in addition to the ability to shoot ships and use cyclones, lightning and tsunamis as weapons.
(1988): This is one of those head-scratching ?why did they include this?? titles, which is just a slightly updated version with improved graphics and tougher AI that was only released in Japan.
(1987): Gamers may remember this action platformer starring Super Joe as being quite hard. That's not surprising since Capcom employees themselves consider this one of the hardest games they've ever made. They won't get an argument from me.
(1985): Super Joe's first game was also one of the very few at the time to use an isometric view, an unusual and risky choice in the days of the flat two-dimensional horizontal or top-down views. Commando and its official sequel Mercs are run and gun shooters that are still fun enough to entertain even today's most spoiled 3-D FPS gamer.
(1985): This scrolling shooter also allowed two-player co-op as you blasted bugs and cocoons across a cool-looking hexagonal mutant beehive-like landscape.
(1989): Another big name in the collection, this fun brawler also supports two-player co-op. Despite the simple controls (there's a jump button and one attack button) you could pull off some pretty varied combo attacks. It's also surprisingly short; somehow I remember it being longer but I finished it only 20 minutes and wasn't trying to speed through it either. You can even enable rapid fire which gives your character the ability to punch with hilarious machinegun speed.
(1988): This is a very cool-looking horizontally scrolling ?jetpack shooter? where you fly across the strange Dust World blasting aliens. This game also supports two player co-op and features the then-unusual ability to buy weapon upgrades in ?stores? scattered across the landscape.
Ghosts N' Goblins
(1985): Here's your chance to once again help Sir Arthur rescue his sweetie Princess Guinevere from the evil Goblin King in this classic platformer.
Ghouls N' Ghosts
(1988): Sir Arthur returns in the sequel with the new ability to attack vertically as well as horizontally.
(1985): Help clean up the West by gunning down bad guys. You also have the ability to ride a horse and shoot at an angle ? yeah, it sounds funny now but angle firing was mind-blowingly innovative back then when you could only shoot sideways or up and down.
(1986): Another two player co-op shooter, this game has the unusual distinction of combining two game types in one, as you switch back and forth from vertical scrolling shooting in the air to side-scrolling platform action on the ground. It's an interesting concept but you will ultimately wish they had just chose one or the other and stuck with it throughout the entire game.
(1990): The sequel to Commando, Mercs is an absolute blast; in fact, other than SFII, this is the one title that feels most like a modern game. It's basically just another war shooter but utilizes cool features like an isometric view, great graphics and most innovative of all, support for up to three-player co-op; heck, even Halo only offers a wimpy two-player co-op. Each player can pick up weapon upgrades that include rockets, rapid fire, wide fire and even a devastating flame thrower that turns enemies into smoldering piles of ash. All three players can even pile into vehicles like jeeps, tanks and boats where one player drives, another mans the mounted weapon and the other shoots from their seat. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? It's also incredibly fun, though disappointingly short; three of my buddies teamed up and finished it in well under 20 minutes.
Pirate Ship Higemaru
(1984): This is another obscure title that originally never made it out of Japan ? where this Pac Man-like game probably should have stayed.
(1985): This is the first of the company's ?jetpack shooters? that obviously inspired Forgotten Worlds and other titles.
(1984): It's likely only true Capcom fans will remember this one, which is thrown in for historical purposes because it is only the second game the company ever made and their first released in North America. It's a simple platformer that also supports two-player co-op.
Super Ghouls N' Ghosts
(1991): You can't keep a vengeful knight down, so Sir Arthur returns in this sequel with vastly upgraded graphics, sound, weapons and gameplay, including his new double-jump ability.
(1986): You play as a powerful warrior in this fighter that clearly inspired Final Fight. Capcom also calls this title a precursor to the Street Fighter series.
(1984): Another obscure title that was only released in Japan, but this one is different because it has the distinction of being Capcom's very first game. It's a simple scrolling space shooter that basically goes on forever since there are really no levels. However, the game was the basis for all of Capcom's future shooters like the 1942/1943 series.