Finally, a worthwhile retro collection. The bods at Capcom have obviously been watching other firms churn out arcade/retro collections and come to the conclusion that none of them have done it right. This is in part due to the quality of games in the collections and the number. Take Midway’s ‘Arcade Treasures 3’ for example. It includes eight games, of which I’d only want to play three for more than five minutes. Capcom Classics Collection includes 22 true arcade classis, and bar some slight problems, they’re all pretty much arcade perfect.
The 22 games span a period from the mid-eighties to the early nineties, with games like Commando, Gun Smoke and Ghosts ‘n Goblins from the pre-CPS era, and Mercs, Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, Forgotten Worlds and three Street Fighter II games based on CPS hardware. These are all great games that still play well today. Other less known games are included too, such as Exed Exes, which is a great little shooter that you’ve probably never heard of.
Final Fight and Mercs, in particular, are just as great now as there were back then. The visuals (especially the animation) look a little crude by today’s standards, but the great gameplay at their core hasn’t aged at all. Each game also has its own set of options, allowing you to customise controls, choose remixed music (if available) and set difficulty levels. All high scores are saved, but as with the original games, you can’t save mid way through a session. It’s a little disappointing, but most of the games can be completed pretty quickly.
They’re not all great though. Section Z, Volgus, Son Son, and Trojan aren’t the most thrilling games and certainly won’t have as much appeal as the rest of the games in the collection. Also, the shooters in the collection, including the classic 1942, 1943, and 1943 Kai, suffer from aliasing and interlacing problems which make them look considerably uglier than they did in the arcades. They still play great, but these are niggles that shouldn’t haven’t been there.
Street Fighter II is the most well known game in the collection and is actually featured three times, with Street fighter II, Street Fighter II Champion Edition and Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting all included. You can even mix it up and pit characters from each version against each other in versus matches. It’s a nice touch, but sadly the games aren’t quite perfect. Again, it’s little things: there’s a slight loading pause between fights, some minor sound issues and the speed of Hyper Fighting doesn’t quite seem right. If you’re after arcade perfect ports you’ll be a little disappointed, but these issues aren’t going to bother most people.
Capcom has also included a fair amount of bonus content. Each game includes unlockable artwork, music, game history and more. To unlock all this extra content you’ll have to play through the games properly, not simply using continue after continue, like some spoilt little kid with pockets full of coins. This might not be for everyone, but it’s a great way to simulate the feeling of being in an arcade with a limited amount of cash. On the whole the presentation is functional, but not all that exciting; it’s a huge step up over Midway’s arcade collections, but it could have done with a little more polish. There are also a number of games that are inexplicably absent, such as Strider – no doubt a decision based on potential for further games in the Capcom Classics Collection series.
If you have fond memories of playing Capcom games in the late eighties, then you’ll really appreciate the selection of games on offer in Capcom Classics Collection. The majority of games included are top quality and could be enjoyed by anyone, but rushing through the games with infinite continues is a rather shallow experience. Play them like a man, and treat credits like you would as a kid and you’ll have a great time.