Review by Will Smith

"Digital Eclipse rehashes Capcom Generations Vol 1 thru 5 for the North American audience."

Import gamers from the 32-bit era will remember that Capcom released a series of their classic arcade games under the moniker "Capcom Generations" on the Sony PSX and Sega Saturn consoles beginning in August of 1998. This series of nostalgic games ran for 5 volumes, and it was Capcom's attempt to cash in on the then popular "retro-gaming" craze that was so popular during that time (Namco Museum series, Midway Collection, etc).

The Capcom Generations series featured arcade flyers, exclusive artwork, profiles on the development of each game, and in some volumes arranged and remixed soundtracks. Certain features could be unlocked after achieving certain objectives, such as beating the game on a certain difficulty or scoring a specific number of points.

Basically, ALL of the games and features included on the Capcom Generation series are included on the Capcom Classics Collection. So right from the start it was a no brainer. Digital Eclipse (the publishers) just had to emulate North American versions of the games included on the Capcom Generation series and the Digital Eclipse had 95% of their work done.

Unfortunately for the Street Fighter fans, Digital Eclipse chose to emulate the PSX version of Capcom Generations 5 (also known as Street Fighter Collection 2 in North America) for this compilation. Why did they do this incredibly lazy and absurd move is beyond me. The options for the SFII games are EXACTLY those present on Capcom Generation 5 (Street Fighter Collection 2): Versus Mode, Training, Mode, CPU Battle, and Deluxe Versus Mode. It is clearly evident that the PSX version was emulated since you can clearly see the familiar "Now Loading..." text between bouts. I'm pretty sure the PS2 could handle a 14 year old CPS-I game without having a "Now Loading..." screen. The least they could have done was to emulate the Sega Saturn version which had no loading times. Although it is a very minor complaint it just proves that this compilation isn't "arcade perfect" as it claims to be.

And another complaint concerning the SF series needs to be addressed: why were the CPS-I SFII games the only SFII games available on this compilation? What about the original game that started the series back in 1987, Street Fighter? What about the two CPS-II upgrades to the SFII series, Super Street Fighter II and Super Street Fighter II: Turbo? This further proves that the publishers of this compilation took the lazy route and decided to port the 32-bit conversions rather than go through the trouble of emulating the original arcade games. It's sad, since Capcom Generation 5 for the PSX wasn't 100% identical to the arcade (at least to to the die hard SFII fans).

Now this isn't to say that the Capcom Classics Collection isn't without merits. Digital Eclipse did make one brilliant move: they decided to to include the Arcade version of Final Fight on this compilation, which to me is worth the price of admission. There never has been a true 100% port of the original Final Fight on any console to date. The closest attempt was Final Fight CD for the Mega-CD console, which featured an awesome remixed soundtrack, redrawn and expanded cinemas, cool voice overs in the cinemas (at least in the Japanese version), and an exclusive Time Attack mode. Although that game was incredible, it suffered from the Mega Drive's meager 64 color palette (making it look washed out and pale compared to the arcade version), a few missing items, and it didn't have the original arcade BGMs. Well, the Capcom Classics Collection brings the arcade classic straight onto your PS2 exactly as you have remembered it. So Final Fight fanatics can finally die in peace knowing that there is an 100% arcade perfect port of Final Fight on a home console.

But thankfully Digital Eclipse didn't stop there. They included Forgotten Worlds (yes, the original arcade version, not the Mega Drive port), Legendary Wings, Trojan, Section Z, and Bionic Commando. These games are all arcade accurate (as far as I know) and are well worth their weight in nostalgic value.

The publishers also decided to include Remixed and Arranged tracks of the all the games soundtracks (which wasn't that hard since they were available on the Capcom Generations series to begin with). They also included trivia and unlockable artwork which can be done by completing certain objectives (again, just like in Capcom Generations).

This compilation is truly valuable (especially to non-import gamers who missed out on the 32-bit Capcom Generation series) but you can't help but feel that the list of classics included on this disc is incomplete. What about Saturday Night Slam Masters (Muscle Bomber) and it's upgrade, Muscle Bomber DUO? The only port we had of this game was a mediocre Super NES port. It would have been nice to have an arcade perfect port on this compilation. And what about Strider Hiryu? If that game isn't a Capcom classic than I don't know what is. Where is Darkstalkers? Black Tiger? Block Block? Capcom Baseball? F-1 Dream? Avengers? Tiger Road? Buster Brothers? 1941? 19XX? Eco Fighter? Armored Warriors? Speed Rumbler? Mad Gear? Cyberbots? Dynasty Warriors? Magic Sword? Varth? U.N. Squadron? Carrier Air Wing? Captain Commando? Knights of the Round? King of Dragons? Mega Twins? Side Arms? All of these games are considered Capcom classics by most gamers, yet they are mysteriously omitted.

And then there are some other Capcom classics which I'm sure were omitted because they were licensed properties. Classics like The Punisher (one of Capcom's greatest beat 'em up games of all time), Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom, Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara, X-Men: Children of the Atom, Cadillacs & Dinosaurs, NEMO, Willow, and Alien Vs Predator would have been excellent additions. Hopefully a Capcom Classics Collection Volume 2 can rectify this.

And I know this is nitpicking, but the presentation in CCC is downright disgusting. The presentation is extremely poor and low budget, which lets me definitely know that this compilation was rushed. The whole menu layout is presented as if it were on a notebook or looseleaf scrap paper, and it looks incredibly crappy. I don't know what Digital Eclipse was smoking when they thought about designing the menu layout, but it's pure crap. If they were going to emulate the Capcom Generation series, they might as well have copied the presentation and layout Capcom used in the Generation series, which was more pleasing to the eye.

Overall, considering it's incredibly reasonable price ($19.99), the inclusion of Final Fight, and overall nostalgic value, CCC is a good deal. However, those who imported the entire Capcom Generation series Volumes 1 through 5 for their PSX and Saturn might feel ripped off, as they would be playing the same EXACT versions of those games on that they had on the 32-bit consoles, with several extra titles thrown in. The owners of various PC emulators such as MAME shouldn't even bother, as they already have access to the best Capcom has to offer and with more flexible graphics and control options.

PROS:

- An Arcade perfect console port of Final Fight, finally!!!!
- Incredibly cheap (Only $19.99)
- A large collection of Capcom arcade classics on one disk
- Excellent for those who missed out on the Capcom Generation series Vol. 1 through 5 for the PSX and Sega Saturn back in 1998

CONS:

- Very little incentive for those import gamers who own the entire Capcom Generations Vol. 1 through 5 for the PSX and Saturn (considering that is what makes up 90% of this compilation). The only games that you are missing out on are Final Fight, Forgotten Worlds, Bionic Commando, Section Z, Trojan, and Legendary Wings.

- The versions of the CPS-I Street Fighter II games are based on the PSX version of Street Fighter Collection 2 (Capcom Generation 5) and are NOT arcade emulations. Loading times are inexcusable. The original 1987 Street Fighter and the CPS-II SFII upgrades (Super Street Fighter II and Super Street Fighter II: Turbo) are suspiciously absent, thus making the representation of Street Fighter games incomplete.

- A TON of classics are missing (Strider, U.N. Squadron, Slam Masters, Mega Twins, King of Dragons, Dark Stalkers, etc)

-Very sloppy and poor presentation. The menu design looks like crap, what was Digital Eclipse thinking?


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 10/20/05


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