Review: All the fun of a 1980's arcade without all the big hair and Reaganomics.
For years now, game companies have realized that they can make a quick buck by repackaging old favorites from the 80's and 90's, and putting them in compilations- often with little enticing bonuses here and there. Sometimes this works, other times it doesn't. Really, these projects rely on two things- the quality of the game emulation and the nostalgia that the games give to the player. If the first of these fails, the game will more than likely fail. However, if the player is unfamiliar with the games, all is not necessarily lost. There is a reason these games are called classics after all. Still, nostalgia can only get one so far, and unfortunately some of the games in Capcom Classics Collection Remixed will only be fun to folks who remember them.
When it comes to emulation, Capcom Classics Collection Remixed is spot-on. Despite the fact the games initially take around 10 to 15 seconds to load, the emulation runs flawlessly without any hiccups in framerate or sound. For the most part the controls are intuitive, with the rare exception of games such as Quizzes and Dragons in which the player must answer questions by pressing button 1, 2, 3, or 4- a difficult task seeing as there are no numbered buttons on the PSP. In general, most games only use three buttons, and players are free to map those three buttons anywhere on the controller.
By pressing Select, players can change the screen size and shape on the fly. When pressed, most games merely stretch the resolution of the game to fit the screen; however some games, such as the infinitely awesome 1941 allow players to turn the screen sideways to get the full effect of the vertical shooter. For the vertical games, things become a bit awkward because players must play with one hand below the screen to use the D-pad, and one hand above the screen to use the face buttons. It doesn't detract from the experience too much, but it's just a flaw in the overall design of the software and hardware. Once players get used to the vertical setup, they will find there really is no better way to play the games that allow for it.
Of course with all compilations, players will get to choose from several games- some of which are good, some that are bad, and some that are downright ugly. The list of games includes:
Bionic Commando (The arcade version, not the NES version)
Quiz & Dragons
The Speed Rumbler
Street Fighter (Yes, the first one)
Strider (The Arcade version, neither the NES nor the Genesis versions)
Games like 1941 and Final Fight really bring high quality entertainment to the mix while titles such as the confusing Quiz & Dragons will probably leave you scratching your head as to why they are in there in the first place. On a side note, one big problem about Quiz & Dragons is that most of the questions pertain to late 1970's and early 1980's pop culture, so if you are like me and only saw the later half of the 80's, expect to get thoroughly trounced by this confusing (and actually, really ridiculous) game. And don't expect too much out of Street Fighter. The game is darn near unplayable due to the game's naturally wonky controls- something that isn't the fault of this compilation. It's just too bad that Digital Eclipse didn't throw Street Fighter 2 in the mix.
All of the games feature four bonuses- the game's history, a photo gallery, a sound test, and a series of ?tips' (most of which are obvious). The history portions of the games are interesting, filling in details about the games that you probably didn't know. These history sections are automatically unlocked when the game is started. The other three sections must be unlocked by making some simple accomplishments in each game. As long as a game is beaten, you'll almost be guaranteed to unlock everything in it.
This brings me to my next point- beating the games. Players are allowed to choose how many continues they want. This, of course, makes the games either very easy, or hair-pulling difficult. Sadly, there is no in-between.
Multiplayer is handled in an interesting way. Players just need to leave their PSP's WLAN switch on. Other players can then see who is playing what, and join in at any time, much like a real arcade. When one player gets tired of the action, s/he can quit at any time, not interrupting the other player's action. It definitely goes a long way to aiding that authentic arcade feel.