Classic compilations seem to have been very popular for 2005, especially for the fall season. We've had releases from Sega, Namco, Midway, Taito, Tecmo, and now Capcom. Capcom has had a fairly rich history in the arcade market in the mid 80's, as well as holding a steady stream of fighters in the 90's. Capcom Classics Collection dips into Capcom's arcade library between 1984 to 1992, including 22 well known and some unknown arcade releases. The question is, like many other collections, are the games in here worth your time and money?
So what did Capcom decide to unlock out of it's vault? Here's the list: 1942, 1943, 1943 KAI, Bionic Commando, Commando, Exed Exes, Final Fight, Forgotten Worlds, Ghosts N' Goblins, Ghouls N' Ghosts, Gun.Smoke, Legendary Wings, Mercs, Pirate Ship Higemaru, Section Z, Son Son, Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting, Super Ghouls N' Ghosts, Trojan and Vulgus. Not a bad amount for Capcom's first time into the compliation genre, taking a page from Midway's book rather than Namco's. But as you will notice, a few of these games are modified versions of other games (like 1943 and 1943 KAI, and the Street Fighter II games), and one is a port of an SNES game (Super Ghouls N' Ghosts). Much of these games are either fighters or shooters, so if you're expecting a racing or puzzle game thrown in here, maybe you should look into Midway's or Tatio's offerings, but regardless, this game is well worth picking up.
Digital Eclipse has taken the task of emulating these games, and they've managed to put out a solid effort for every game in this collection. While I haven't played every game in this collection at the arcades, these games really don't seem to have many evident problems that come with emulation (like graphical or sound glitches). Digital Eclipse also managed a fairly nice interface for the games as well, looking something like a high school notebook, but leaving the games and options easy to find. They also include remixed soundtracks with most of the games, as well as art galleries and tips for playing the game. I think the only thing this collection is lacking in terms of content is video interviews, but there's enough information here to keep most people happy.
Now, even though I said that the games had solid emulation, that doesn't neccessairly mean that all of them have solid gameplay. The best games of the collection include 1943/ 1943 KAI, Bionic Commando, Commando, Exed Exes (although the looping music is grating), Forgotten Worlds, Ghosts N' Goblins, Ghouls N' Ghosts, Gun.Smoke, Mercs, all versions of Street Fighter II and Super Ghouls N' Ghosts. Legendary Wings and Section Z are decent shooters, but I didn't find them as addictive as the other shooters. 1942 and Final Fight aren't exactally as great as we remember them, but at least they're here, as the collection would feel incomplete without them. For the rest of the games, they're pretty forgettable, which tends to happen in these compilations.
While much of the collection is solid, you can't help but notice some missing games. The one serious omission is Strider, which is one of Capcom's better know games. They could have also thrown in U.N. Squadron as well. Hopefully there will be a second collection with these games included (I know the PSP version of the Capcom collection will include Strider), as well as later games such as Super Puzzle Fighter, Marvel VS. Capcom, and Giga Wing. Also, it would be nice if the next collection went beyond the arcade games, and included some of their great NES games like DuckTales. Capcom and Digital Eclipse has created a very solid foundation for a new series of compilations, so hopefully we'll see at least one more collection.
I own a lot of compilations, and I can say that this one by Capcom is among one of the most solid that has been released. While not every game in here is not as popular as Street Fighter or Mega Man, there are some suprisingly fun unknowns, as well as very familliar classics. This is a great collection, and it's nice to see that Capcom has decided to give a great number of games on it's first outing, for an affordable $19.99.