Capcom Classics Collection (PS2/Xbox)

Capcom Classics Collection
PS2/Xbox (2005)

It is impossible to deny the impact retrogaming has had on the gaming industry. Those of us who spent our youth hanging out in smoke-filled arcades are now the prime videogame demographic. Many of us have spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars on games, and the companies from our childhood have figured out a way to tap into that cash flow through retro compilation discs. Its taken a while for companies to get the formula right; too few games or to high of a price, and consumers complain (or simply avoid) your package. Developers (particularly Sega) have experimented with updated versions of classic games, which have been met with mixed reviews. In 2005, manufacturers seem to have dialed in to what consumers want arcade ports of 20 or more games for $20. Bonus features are a plus.

While it may appear that Capcom is simply tagging on to the current retro craze with Capcom Classics Collection, they certainly have the games to warrant such a release. With series like 1942, Ghosts N Goblins and Street Fighter II included, there is no doubt that Capcom puts the classic in the term classic collection.

By scrolling through the disc it becomes apparent that Capcom released games for almost every genre. There are vertical SHMUPs (Vulgus, 1942, 1943 1943 Kai, Legendary Wings), horizonal ones like Forgotten Worlds, and ones that move both directions (Section Z). There are 2D platformers (Bionic Commando, Ghosts N Goblins, Ghouls N Ghosts, Super Ghouls N Ghosts, Trojan) and games where you run and shoot in a number of directions (Commando, Gun.Smoke, and Mercs). Fans of one-on-one fighting will appreciate the three Street Fighter II games, including the original followed by Street Fighter II: Champion Edition and Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting, while beat-em-up fans will get a kick out of the original Final Fight game. And, like all retro compilations, there are games you probably havent heard of before but are worth checking out, like Exed Exes, Pirate Ship Higemaru, and Son Son (Exed Exes is a particularly fun SHMUP). One advantage that Capcom Classics has over many of the other compilation discs is that their roster begins in 1984, so all the games benefit from (relatively) newer graphics and multiphonic tunes.

Each game within the compilation contains a multitude of unlockable extras, including folders full of artwork, music, and more. Each unlockable item is listed next to the means to unlock it some require you to achieve a predermined score, some require you to reach a certain level, and some require you to simply beat a game. All of the feats are easy to perform considering the fact that all the games are set on free play and most of them allow unlimited continues, so unlocking every extra for every game requires more time invested than skill. Each games menu contains a brief paragraph or two explaining the game and commenting on its history. Most of the games also list a trivia fact, but most of the facts listed are simply what the games name in Japan translates to. At the menu, players can also tweak each games settings or change the controller configuration. All the games support both the d-pad and the analog stick, depending on just how old school you are. The unlockable sound-remixing capability is an interesting one, which will update each games music and sound effects. Purists will prefer the originals; others simple wont care.

Like most other compilation discs, the games load times are negligable (under five seconds), which keeps the packages pace moving along. Game emulation has been performed by Digital Eclipse, responsible for everything from Midway Arcade Treasures 1 and 2 to the recent Arcade Anthology. Digital Eclipse does another stellar job here, as the games all appear to function identical to their arcade counterparts.Incidently, I could tell no difference between the Xbox and PS2 versions of this package at all. If I had to choose between the two versions, Id buy the version for whichever systems controller you liked better.

22 classic games in a $20 package. Even without the mounds of extras I still need to unlock, Im sure Id be playing this games for months on end. This is one retro compilation that has earned the right to use the word classics in its title.

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