As a teenager in the 1990s I grew up with Capcom arcade games. Between the hundreds of hours I put into Street Fighter II and my undying love for Strider, I have always had something of a soft spot for Capcom. That's why I'm always excited when Capcom releases a collections package, it gives me a chance to go back and remember some of my favorite games of the past twenty years. But while most of Capcom's collections manage to offer genuine hits, they rarely go back and look at the companies smaller and more obscure titles, the games that meant so much to me when I was young.
In many ways Capcom Classic Collection Remix for the PSP addresses that concern, offering some of the best games ever made alongside some of their long-forgotten titles. This UMD contains 20 Capcom arcade hits, including a few that are just now seeing their first console release. The 20 titles include: 1941, Avengers, Bionic Commando, Black Tiger, Block Block, Captain Commando, Final Fight, Forgotten Worlds, Last Duel, Legendary Wings, Magic Sword, Mega Twins, Quiz & Dragons, Section Z, Side Arms, The Speed Rumbler, Street Fighter, Strider, Three Wonders, and Varth.
There are a few key games that make this set a must-own. Strider, for example, is easily one of the greatest action games to ever grace the arcade. It features a futuristic ninja and one of the best weapon effects of the 90s, this game alone is nearly worth the price of admission. Final Fight is another classic, a game that defined the brawler genre. Captain Commando, one of Capcom's most underrated brawlers, is also here in full effect. The diverse Three Wonders also makes a showing in this set, and although you probably haven't played this Metal Slug rip-off before, I guarantee you're going to love every second of it. Both Magic Sword and Black Tiger find a home in this collection, two games that are just as much fun today as they were 15 years ago.
These six games alone make Capcom Classic Collection Remix worth buying, they are the types of games you are actually going to want to pull out and play over and over, and best of all, most of them aren't that long. Most of those games were either not released on home consoles (Three Wonders, Black Tiger) or severely edited when they got ported (Final Fight, Captain Commando). Now you can experience the complete games on a screen that really gives them good representation.
Thankfully Capcom's portable collection doesn't just have six great games, it actually has a few other stand outs that are worth checking out, even if you wouldn't buy the game specifically for them. A perfect example of this is the original Street Fighter, a game that pales in comparison to the Street Fighter II, which is still considered one of the greatest games of all time. This game is slow with terrible controls, the graphics are laughably bad and the action is hard to keep track of. But no matter how crummy it is by today's standards, the fact that this is the first time the original Street Fighter has been released on a console since the TurboGrafx-CD makes it well worth having in the collection. Capcom has had plenty of chances to put this game in a collection (most recently their Street Fighter Anniversary Collection), but failed to do so until now. You may not want to play this game for very long, but chances are you will want to have this part of Capcom's history with you.
Another game that is interesting to play through is Bionic Commando, which is not the NES version that everybody fell in love with. Instead this is the arcade port of Bionic Commando, which is inferior in just about every way. The good news is that it's still very playable and a whole lot of fun, even if it is littered with cheap deaths.
Some gamers may be interested in the collection of shooters, many of which are real winners. The side scrolling games (Side Arms, Forgotten Worlds) work best, while the overhead shooters (1941, Varth) are somewhat hard to see thanks to their tiny vertical screen. All of these games are fun to play, they offer four unique takes on the shooter genre, but you might find games like 1941 to be too hard on the eyes after awhile.
But with the great and the not so bad come a few real clunkers, the games Capcom should have probably left buried. I'm talking about games like Quiz & Dragons, an arcade trivia game that asks you really hard questions and then expects you to answer them as quickly as humanly possible. Not only is the game frustratingly tough (with completely out of date trivia) but the button layout is among the most confusing things I have ever seen. The lack of onscreen help really keeps this game from being even marginally fun.
Avengers, a hybrid shooter/brawler, should also have been left to die. With it's terrible graphics and horrendous game play, you have to wonder why this game was released at all. Imagine playing a space shooter but only being able to kill an enemy by getting up next to it and almost hitting it, that's the level of excitement you have with Avengers. Equally bad is Block Block, an Arkanoid rip-off that could not control worse on the PSP. The paddle ends up moving so fast that you miss nearly every shot. This one should have been left in the basement to collect dust.
A few of the other games suffer due to the PSP's controls, including Forgotten Worlds. Even with all of the buttons, nubs and pads, this is one game the PSP could not get right. The Speed Rumbler would also be fun if it weren't for a few control quirks that didn't plague the arcade version. And like I said, Quiz & Dragons is a complete mess.
But there are enough high quality games here to keep you excited about the collection for at least a few months. It's easy enough to ignore the few disappointments and focus on games like Strider and Captain Commando, two games I guarantee you haven't played enough of recently. These games hold up remarkably well, and they are great to have on the go.
A testament to how good this collection is comes in the game's presentations. The games look exactly like they did in the arcade and sound amazing. All of the music has that classic Capcom arcade sound, the type of tunes that bring a flood of memories into your head. You can also fiddle around with the way the game's are displayed. By simply pushing the "select" button you can switch between the standard 4:3 look (with two black bars on the sides), a stretch 16:9 look (that fits the entire screen), or even an original setting. All of the vertical games also give you the option to change the display to a full screen vertical look, which involves you turning your entire system counter clockwise. It's great to have that option, but it certainly made the controls more difficult as far as I was concerned.
Along with nailing the look, sound, and feel of most of the games, Capcom Classic Collection Remix also manages to give you incentives to play each and every game through to the end. Capcom has implemented an achievement system similar to what Microsoft has done with their Xbox 360. Each game in the collection has three extra features you can unlock (game play tips, an art gallery, and the full soundtrack), usually picked up by beating a certain boss, collecting a certain amount of points, or beating the game. It would have been nice to have better bonuses, but this is a great step for Capcom and these types of collections. It makes me wonder if the Xbox 360 has spurred companies to create that type of achievement system for games on other systems. Either way, it's a great addition here.
If your fellow PSP owners also remember these classic games then you're in for many nights of exciting two-player gaming. Most of the games in this collection are two players simultaneous, including some of the greats like Final Fight and Magic Sword. If two-players isn't your thing, then perhaps you should gather four PSPs together and play Captain Commando the way it was intended (with each person as a different brawler). Technically all of the games support at least two people, but games like Strider only allow for alternating game play.
Capcom Classic Collection Remix manages to stuff some of their best arcade games into one concise, easy to navigate product. This is the perfect game for when you're on the road or only have a limited amount of time to play, these are easy games to pick up and put down without even breaking a sweat. But even with Strider and Captain Commando in the collection this is still without a few of Capom's greatest games, like Street Fighter II, UN Squadron and Ghouls N Ghosts. As far as I'm concerned Capcom can keep these collections coming, it's great to have all of these arcade games at the palm of my hands.
Capcom Classic Collection Remix features some of Capcom's greatest games (Strider), some of their worst (Avengers), some that have been completely forgotten (Street Fighter), and one that makes absolutely no sense what so ever (Quiz & Dragons).