Classic game compilations, along with remakes of old classics, are the preeminent fad these days, but even though the majority of them are solid collections packed with nostalgic good times they usually only feature maybe a handful of games at the most that still manage to withstand the test of time and remain fun to play past the initial punch of nostalgia.
What’s also been disappointing is the celebratory feel many compilations tend to have missed out on providing. I’m talking about things like historical background data for the included games and other unlockable extras that give old-school fans everything they could ever want in a collector’s item. Graciously, Capcom has not only avoided these pitfalls, they’ve actually nailed each one with enthusiasm in the exceptional Capcom Classics Collection.
Available for both the PS2 and Xbox at a local game shop near you, Capcom Classics Collection comes locked and loaded with 22 of Capcom’s greatest arcade games, spanning nearly a decade of time between the early 1980’s and 90’s, and amazingly every single one is a joy to play still to this day. Shooters are represented more than any other genre, and the selection is definitely impressive.
Forgotten Worlds is easily the best of the present shooters with its more advanced gameplay style and visuals, but classics like 1942 and its follow-up, 1943 (and the updated 1943 Kai) are probably the most addictive titles of the bunch. Although not as good as the aforementioned lot, titles like Exed Exes, Legendary Wings, Section Z and Vulgus (Capcom’s first arcade game ever) are sure to make any old-school gamer as happy as a clam. Many of these shooters also support two-player co-op, which only makes them that much better.
Action titles, both top-down and side-scrolling, are represented masterfully as well. Capcom’s beloved Ghosts N’ Goblins, along with its successors Ghouls N’ Ghosts and Super Ghouls N’ Ghosts, have been included, and are all as addictive and brutally difficult as ever. Just these three titles alone would be worth paying $20 for, but waitÃ¢Â?Â¦ there’s still so much more to see. Commandos and its sequel, Mercs, along with Gun.Smoke, are true gems that hearken back to the origins of what we see in modern third-person shooters, and there’s no way I can forget to mention the classic beat’em-up Final Fight.
Sure, its fighting engine doesn’t hold up too well, but playing co-op is still more fun than most current beat’em-ups. Speaking of fighting, Street Fighter II also comes as part of the deal, accompanied by two of its enhanced versions: Champion Edition and Hyper Fighting. Arcade purists will probably find all three ports less than stellar, and being honest I can’t say the arcade-to-console translation is the greatest, but it’s still three solid versions of Street Fighter II that are plenty nostalgic if you don’t get overly picky.
Truthfully, the only major disappointment in Capcom Classics Collection is Bionic Commando. Growing up, Bionic Commando was one of my favorite games on the NES, and even to this day it’s lodged in my memory banks as an all-time classic. Sadly for those like me, the Bionic Commando in this compilation is the arcade version, which is a vastly different game and isn’t nearly as good, in my opinion at least. That said, the arcade Bionic Commando isn’t a bad game in the slightest, I just wish the home console version was the one Capcom would’ve gone with. Yeah, this is a compilation of arcade titles, but I don’t careÃ¢Â?Â¦ I want the NES version dagnabbit!
Getting past that small personal nitpick, what ultimately leaves Capcom Classics Collection shining above all other compilations are its bonus materials and presentation. Historical details and obscure facts are provided right off the bat for each and every game, enabling you to read up on a brief background synopsis before jumping in so you have sort of a knowledge and understanding of what the games are all about. By achieving specified milestones within each game, special extras also become unlocked for nostalgic Capcom fans to revel in.
Artwork, concept sketches, gameplay hints and tips, character and cast profiles and both original and remixed music tracks are all available to discover for each of the 22 titles. Better yet is how the game and all of these facts and goodies are presented. Yes, the games themselves are technically past their prime, however the notepad menu system that displays the games and their info as if everything has been scribbled on a piece of notebook paper is very, very slick, not to mention extremely functional. Back to the actual games themselves, the graphical and aural translations are stupendous, and features such as screen scaling and control scheme customization make for arcade games that play as smoothly as possible on a console.
Needless to say, Capcom Classics Collection is by far the best game compilation I’ve ever seen assembled. Games like Ghosts N’ Goblins, Final Fight, Commandos, Mercs and Forgotten Worlds are worth the price of admission alone, then consider there are 17 other smashing displays of nostalgic arcadey goodness and its easy to see why this disc deserves a spot in your game collection. Combine the lineup of 22 classic games with the cool bonus materials and you get an elite compilation that proves once and for all what the genre is supposed to be all about.