Review by JPeeples

Reviewed: 01/13/06

A must-have collection for arcade fans.

Remember the carefree days of yore that allowed you to go to arcade with five bucks in your pocket and leave four hours later with a ton of memories in your head? Capcom Classics Collection Volume 1 combines 22 of the biggest and best arcade and console games onto one disc, for the low cost of just $20. Take one look at the disc’s lineup and you’re sure to find at least a handful of games that you either loved as a kid or always wanted to try out.

If you can’t find something to enjoy in a complilation that includes three GnG and Street Fighter II games, trade in your gamer’s card. Maybe shuffleboard is more your speed. Beyond those, this is heavy on shooters, a genre I’ve neglected over the years; and fighters, a genre I’ve enjoyed immensely over the years. So for me, the lineup is a packed list of things I loved years ago, and still love today, along with a ton of games (just about all the shooters) that I missed out on originally. My fond memories of Street Fighter II in the arcade and Super Ghouls N’ Ghosts on the couch came flooding back when I played them again on this collection.

To my delight, they were all replicated well. While I could do without the awkward menus that pop up during some games to let you choose between solo and multiplayer gameplay, everything else is done so well that I can easily forgive that slight flaw. I do wish there were some other inclusions on this disc though. Captain Commando, Strider, and both Saturday Night Slam Masters games would have been nice to see here, especially since Strider will be on the PSP rendition of this collection. Luckily, this is only volume 1, and I’m sure volume 2 will fill in some of these blank spots.

Digital Eclipse did a fantastic job making sure everything played as well as they could given the PS2’s pad limitations. While some games (like MERCS) would have benefited if the control customization extended a bit further. That game in particular is just begging for a right analog stick setup for shooting, like Smash TV had in Midway Arcade Treasures. If you’ve got it, I recommend using the Retrocon for many of these games. The NES-styled pad makes Ghouls N’ Ghosts and Ghouls N’ Goblins (just to name two) really come alive. I wouldn’t recommend using it for the SF II games, or anything that requires heavy use of the shoulder buttons, given their awkward placement on the pad, but just about everything else comes out all right.

Visually, just about everything is spot-on. All of the little arcade intricacies (and SNES ones for Super Ghouls N’ Ghosts, like massive flicker) are intact. The vertical shooters suffer a bit though, since you don’t get a completely authentic view of the playing field, but it’s nothing that really hurts play. The presentation is a love letter to Capcom loyalists. You’ve got Zangief doing a spinning clothesline through loading screens, and a notebook-styled menu system that reminds me of the days when I’d jot down special move combinations onto scratch paper. This is the kind of stuff I love to see in compilations, and it sure beats the drab logo-filled menus that litter most of these things. Kudos to Capcom and Digital Eclipse for keeping it real.

The audio holds up even better than the visuals. The many classic tracks contained on this disc are retained perfectly, as are the sound and sometimes comedic voice effects. If you loved the audio of the original games, you won’t find anything to complain about here. Conversely, if you didn’t like it, nothing here will change your opinion. As someone who enjoyed a lot of the songs contained in these games, and found some comedic charm in the campy voice work, I love the audio.

This is definitely a Capcom game collection made by folks who loved the games, and wanted to bring them to a new audience, while at the same time paying homage to those who helped make these games classics to begin with. While I do think some of the game choices are a bit questionable (Pirate Ship Higemaru springs to mind), most of the games here are either all-time greats, or classics in their genre. If you grew up in either the mid-to-late ‘80s or the early ’90s, you’ll find a lot to love here. They even threw in a ton of bonus features like trailers, artwork, a music player, and more for those who dedicate themselves to the games. Arcade games were usually pretty good at rewarding loyalty, and this collection keeps that tradition alive. Capcom Classics Collection Volume 1 is a definite must buy, and raises the bar for game compilations.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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