Posted in: Game Reviews by Michael Durr on November 20th, 2005
Compilations are so plentiful these days but often what once was, is not meant to be. Too few games, games that don’t hold up with time, and bad porting can make this practice extremely hit or miss. When one is awful, it destroys our relationship with that game of yesteryear so much that we might curse older games, and don’t pick one up for quite sometime. However, when the compilation is well drawn up and executed proficiently, it gives us a sense of our lives before and what made those old games so great. Capcom Cl…ssics is of the latter. It takes 22 games from the period of 1984-1992 and inserts them onto a DVD for some good ole fashioned fun. From Street Fighter 2 to the 194x series to Ghost & Goblins and beyond; a little of every arcade type genre is included from Capcom. It boasts graphics, sound & most importantly great gameplay to a mere twenty dollar disc.
Graphics & Sound are definitely the hardest area to be objective when it comes to retro games. These ARE games from 15-20 years ago. Sure, they are going to be a little dated in those respective departments. However, they should not detract from the experience regardless of what year they were made in. We are happy to report that Capcom has done this right. All of the graphics are incredibly crisp and look perhaps just as good as or even better than their arcade ports. The menu screens are also easy to read and are neatly organized (though they tend to be a little heavy on the Street Fighter graphics), making this a pleasure to play at a moment’s notice. The only screens where graphics seem to be an issue are the heavy tabbed graphics that make up the bonus menus. These are rather drab, and sometimes difficult to tell if you can even unlock certain areas for a game. That being said, the graphics are extremely strong and well emulated for a compilation of yesteryear.
Sound is even more difficult to judge here. Most arcade games are a series of bleeps, sweeps & the creeps (that’s not all he’s lost). So as long as they recreate them accurately, you can’t judge it too harshly. That is what is done here, a tremendous range of all the little sounds just as we remember them. However, at times the sound does feel empty even with a good stereo set up. To add to this, in every game you can activate the “remixed audio” option which basically “tightens up” and “modernizes” the existing melodies we are accustomed too. We use the quotes here since this is extra space that could have been used on more important things such as eliminating those %@#$ loading screens in Street Fighter 2! Anyway, yes, each game has a remixed soundtrack, nothing spectacular, just one of those cute little features Capcom decided to throw in. Maybe because we are picky (well we are); but we also did notice some audio peaks during the score counting at the end of each Street Fighter match. Overall, the audio is nicely done for each piece of emulation.
Games included on disc:
1942, 1943, 1943 KAI, Bionic Commando, Exed Exes, Final Fight, Forgotten Worlds, Ghosts N Goblins, Ghouls N Ghosts, Gunsmoke, Legendary Wings, Mercs, Pirate Ship Higemaru, Section Z, Son Son, Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, Street Fighter II: Hyper Edition, Super Ghouls N Ghosts, Trojan, & Vulgus.
Controls are thankfully explained in great detail in the manual as well as on-screen prior to the game load-up. None of these games are hard to navigate and control comes fairly easy. Even Street Fighter II with the most unique buttons isn’t that hard to control at all with a normal Playstation controller. True, we haven’t been able to throw a perfectly-timed dragon punch on Vega yet; but that is the fault of any control pad based system (Must get joystick! ). The shooters such as 194x or Legendary Wings all boast excellent control allowing you to fly in and out of computer formations. Quite frankly, there is not a single game we don’t feel we can just pick up and play.
Difficulty is very much a mixed bag here. Arcade games in truth are usually very difficult or else nobody is going to keep pumping quarters in them. At the same time, it should be rewarding, leading the consumer to keep coming back time and time again. Is Ghost ‘n Goblins or any of it’s other incarnations ridiculously difficult? Yes! Is M. Bison just as cheap in Street Fighter as he ever was? Yes!! Do we want to keep playing until our eyes bleed and our fingers crumple into dust just so we can get to the next level? Oh you better believe it. Honestly, we felt just like teenagers again playing Street Fighter II again and again just to get to the next stage. Sure we know the moves, sure we know the counters, but the computer will always “cheat” to some degree. But it has never changed, and that is a good thing. Trojan is a little harder than we’d like to remember, but like a few other games in this package, we’re very much used to the NES or SNES version that we grew up with. This is often different from the arcade setup, but makes us appreciate what we’re in possession of now.
The variety of games here is overwhelming. In compilation games, just because there are tons of games, doesn’t mean all of the games are actually playable or re-playable (the Intellivision & Atari compilations heavily suffer from this). It can have shooters, fighters, action or even a little puzzle & platform thrown in, but 50+ games means nothing if you doesn’t feel different for each and every game. Capcom is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition with just 22 games in this disc.
We can honestly say, all 22 games we wanted to play, most again & again & again (the rest just again & again). There is bonuses to be collected here, ranging from music, to art galleries, to a couple of other little specials along the way. These are fun to collect and look into, but our fave is a mode called Street Fighter Deluxe which will let you pit SF2 Ken vs SF2CEHyper Ken and other bizarre combinations. Very fun and brings some new value to these games. True, when you beat certain games such as Bionic Commando, there is little to come back through. But try again and really try to limit yourself on the credits, and you’ll get a far more satisfying (and maybe frustrating) result. It’s similar with all of these games since many of the bonuses in the menus require you to finish them on one credit. In addition, there is difficulty settings which are decently placed so you can create your own challenges around you, so the fun will literally continue on and on……but that’s why we wanted this disc in the first place!
This is a very cool, and well emulated, assortment of games. Despite Capcom clearly showing who they believe to be their cornerstone franchise, SFII, throughout all of the menus, it is a well thought out disc. There are some real gems here, namely the Street Fighters, Ghost n Goblins, Commando, Final Fight & Gunsmoke. Trojan & Legendary Wings, while fun, are a lot harder than I remember them. The only one that is something of a letdown is Bionic Commando which is a straight port of the arcade and not the NES version that most of us remember. As a result, unless you limit your continues, you can finish the game in 20 minutes. No joke.
The only other complaint would be the Street Fighter loading screens, but this might just be a limitation of the disc format. Graphics, sound, gameplay are all amazing overall. We tip our hat to Capcom for including all 3 incarnations of Street Fighter II, (I’ll have to stick with the original, though I love playing with Sagat). This is leagues better than the SFII Anniversary game, and any true SFII fans should own this game based on that testimony alone. Add all this up with an unbelievable price tag of $20 and this is THE retro collection to have, hands down. This makes us very excited for Volume 2, in hopes that more Capcom Classic goodness (perhaps even some NES titles?!?!) will rain down.