Capcom Classics Collection Vol. II Review

By Bradley Philbert, GN Editor-in-Chief

Perhaps even Capcom was surprised when they discovered a bona-fide hit in their original Capcom Classics Collection. Keeping with the old Hollywood standard (which is, sadly, being adopted by the interactive entertainment industry), a sequel was surely in order, and Capcom has delivered another solid lineup of arcade classics with Capcom Classics Collection Volume II.

Keeping with the tradition of the last installment for consoles (Vol. II includes games found in the PSP’s Capcom Classics Remixed and Capcom Classics Reloaded), the game features unlockable bonus content for each title on the disc—game tips, art, and music. The tips are mostly helpful, though there are several no-brainers included for some of the straightforward games. Art is the standout bonus, not only because it is unlocked at each game’s halfway point (tips come at a certain points level, most of which I hit in the first stages, and music comes only when the individual game has been beaten), but because the content itself is abundant and rich. Between concept art, original promotional material in Japanese and English, and cabinet art, Vol. 2‘s bonus art alone will leave gamers plenty nostalgic. The included music is often little more than the individual tracks from each game, but there are several remixes.

Also included are two additional treats. The first is “Capcom Quiz,” a version of the included game Quiz & Dragons that tests gamers on their knowledge of classic and contemporary Capcom titles. Playing through the sometimes-repetitive quiz game will unlock cheats for the included games. One of the most fascinating inclusions is the Super Street Fighter II Turbo tutorial video set, which breaks down basic, intermediate, and advanced strategies for playing the game—a game that can still be found in arcades. The tutorials are alternatively engrossing and esoteric, but the content itself is useful.

The bonus content alone makes the Capcom Classics Collection Vol. II a worthwhile buy (at $19.99, why rent?), but the most important feature of the collection is the games, right?

There are some stellar games, some clear hits, a few misses, and several yawn-inducing inclusions. Among the clear hits is 1941 and its soulmate Varth, and the RPG-like action games Black Tiger, King of Dragons, and Knights of the Round. Two innovative (at least for the era) scrolling shooters, Eco Fighters and Side Arms are a fresh change of pace from the traditionally top-down or side-scrolling genre. Three Wonders is an excellent three-in-one game—an action/shooter/puzzle.

The absolute misses are few and far between, from the infuriating Avengers to Block Block. In an era when flash games are readily available and block-busting puzzle games are on cell phones, PDAs, and every factory-installed hard drive, the inclusion of the basic Block Block is—forgive the pun—puzzling.

There are several titles which, while not bad in their own right, are simply overshadowed by better games on the disc. These include Last Duel, Magic Sword, Mega Twins, The Speed Rumbler and Tiger Road. The shooters (Last Duel, The Speed Rumbler) are far less enjoyable than either 1941 or Varth, and the other three action/brawlers (Magic Sword, Mega Twins, Tiger Road) are all outmaneuvered by some of the excellent games on the disc (Black Tiger, Three Wonders, and Strider).

The three standout games on the disk are a forgotten brawler, a silly (but wonderfully entertaining) puzzle/quiz game, and a Capcom arcade mega-hit. Captain Commando is a cult favorite, a four-person brawler set in a toxic future. The gameplay is speedy and relentless, and the game sports the most gore of any included in the collection. Especially with friends, the motley combination of a space-suited Captain Commando, a knife-wielding mummified alien, a mecha-baby and a ninja is wildly entertaining. While I originally balked at the puzzle/quiz game Quiz & Dragons (mostly because of its ridiculous title), the quiz-show-meets-RPG elements contained in the game grew on me, and answering general knowledge trivia questions from 1992 caused plenty of giggling (“What day did the U.S. declare war on Iraq,” for example). The game is equally successful as the reinterpreted Capcom Quiz, which retains the exact same format, just with new, Capcom-related questions. Strider is the third clearly superior game in the collection, a slash-and-dash action game with simple, elegant controls and animation. I was astounded to see the clear influence the combat style and mechanics, including leaping aerial attacks and environmental interaction, had on contemporary games, the foremost being God of War. Playing through Strider, it’s clear why the game was such a hit for Capcom, pre-Street Fighter.

There are a few small caveats to be considered about the collection. First, the new interface is dull and somewhat clumsy—if autosave is turned on, prepare for a quick save and reload every time you view bonus content. In addition, these are games from the late 80s and early 90s, so don’t expect a tremendous amount of graphical punch or lifelike sound. You won’t be using all the buttons on your controller, either, and some games are inherently more difficult without an arcade-style controller. While the controls are mapped out well, there are some games which aren’t exactly intuitive until muscle memory sets in.

The most extensive possibilities for the collection of games are in multiplayer. Every game supports two players, and three of the excellent action games (Captain Commando, King of Dragons, Knights of the Round Table) support three or four. The games don’t take more than ninety minutes to play through, and an old-school arcade game party is just the thing for the anti-Mario Party, twentysomething hipster who wants to show all his friends how cool and retro he is.

For $20, there are plenty of options for any gamer—Greatest Hits and Platinum titles, for instance—but Capcom’s collections are a welcome return to gaming’s roots, and Vol. II outshines its predecessors in bringing once-forgotten games back into the spotlight.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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