High Points – Street Fighter II Turbo, Final Fight, Ghouls n’ Ghosts
Low Points – Vulgus, Trojan, 1943
Quirky Surprise – Pirate Ship Higemaru
Capcom’s initial PS2/Xbox compilation is one packed with 22 relatively safe picks that bundle a bunch of games within the same series together, leaving most of the disparate and eclectic selections for the second one. Here you have three Street Fighters, 194Xs, and Ghosts n’ Goblins, as well as the thematically similar trio of Commando, Gun.Smoke and Mercs. This is because this comp takes its roots from the PS1 Capcom Generations titles Capcom released in Japan (this is why SGnG is included, which is the only Super NES title in both comps). Scattered in are six of Capcom’s earlier arcade titles. As best as I can tell, Digital Eclipse did a good enough job with their emulation work, as everything I played in the arcade seems relatively spot-on enough to convince me.
In terms of the best content this game has to offer, you can look forward to the three iterations of Street Fighter II that are all still excellent to this day, although Turbo is by far the best of the bunch. Final Fight is one of the pioneers of the beat-em-up explosion in the 80s, taking the core of Double Dragon to its next logical evolution. And Ghouls n’ Ghosts feels the fairest of the masochistic franchise, looking fantastic and providing a ton of insane platforming action (although the other two are also good times). I also like Mercs, a very good overhead run n’ gun, and SonSon, a simple but pleasurable shooter/runner.
The low points are definitely Trojan, a game I’ve ranted about before so I’ll refrain from tearing into it again for now; Vulgus, Capcom’s first game but a primitive, barebones vertical shooter; and 1943, which is redundant thanks to the improved Kai also being on the disc. The lesser stinkers include the arcade rev of Bionic Commando, which pales greatly to its NES sequel due to the janky grappling and poorer level design and Exed Eyes, an adequate but uninteresting vertical shooter dwarfed by Capcom’s other efforts.
As for the pleasant little surprise, Capcom made a very solid maze game in Pirate Ship Higemaru, which made its American debut on this comp. It adds more offense to your avatar by letting them kick barrels around, and while it’s nothing too deep it’s still a delight.
Other games include Forgotten Worlds, Section Z, and Legendary Wings.
In terms of bonus material, there’s some remixed music, history, artwork and cast profiles for the games (varying by title), some modernization to the controls (like the option to add in rapid fire), the ability to mesh the three Street Fighter titles into one all-encompassing package to mix up the fighter options, and saving high scores.
All and all, this is a great comp that perhaps plays it a little too safe, loading down about half of its 22 game roster with sequels of included games.
High Points – Strider, Black Tiger, Three Wonders
Low Points – Avengers, Street Fighter, Tiger Road
Quirky Surprise – Captain Commando
I admit a preference for Volume 2 over the first, mainly because it takes a much broader look at Capcom’s arcade backlog as a whole with its 22 selections. Here is a wider breadth of games from many genres, some of Capcom’s crazier output, as well as the capability to now save your progress! Many of the bonus features from the last game also carry over to this one, depending on the title. There’s also a Quiz & Dragons remix exclusively focusing on Capcom games up to that point, although it is a little less full in its question bank than the default version. Again the emulation from Digital Eclipse appears to be solid.
Strider is a landmark action game from the 80s that may control a little stiffly but is full of awesome setpieces and boss designs well worth experiencing. Black Tiger is a near clone of Ghosts N’ Goblins that seems much more fair and more in line with modern 2D platforming roguelikes (although the game is not randomly generated), and is a lot of fun. And Three Wonders is a set of three games each in its own genre that are gorgeous to look at and very well programmed, making each monumentally great. Super SFII Turbo is the best Street Fighter II in my book, so its inclusion is perfect. Also worth looking into are Magic Sword, Varth, Eco Fighters and Knights of the Round.
The poorer titles are unfortunately pretty poor indeed. Avengers is an overhead beat-em-up and is clumsy in execution and in its controls, making it very unfun to play. Tiger Road is a lot like Trojan, and I don’t like it for similar reasons. And Street Fighter is unarguably the worst of the lot, lacking any of the precision or pleasure of its sequel in nearly every fashion. The other noticeably unexciting ones are The Speed Rumbler, an overhead action racer that is confusing to play, Quiz & Dragons, a long-winded and very dated board game, and the derivative Block Block, which is Taito’s Arkanoid with better graphics and some different powerups. Since Taito failed to include it on their comps, this isn’t a bad alternative, but it’s still a ripoff.
Captain Commando is the standout surprise here, being a batshit crazy beat-em-up that is far more violent and insane than the titular hero’s Marvel Vs. Capcom appearances may suggest. It could use some expansion in terms of move depth, but it’s so kooky and weird you’ll probably be able to overlook its flaws.
Also featured is Side Arms, King of Dragons, 1941, Last Duel, and Mega Twins.
If you can only pick one comp to go for in terms of Capcom’s comps, I heartily recommend the second over the first. It covers a much broader range of genres and it helps the overall package feel fresher and richer to me. But both are great and a solid investment.
Before signing off, Capcom attempted to bring these to PSN and Xbox Live via the Capcom Arcade Cabinet, but burned out before getting anywhere near matching the quantity of these comps (maxing out at 17, and only if you buy all five sets of titles or the bundle), although they did recruit M2 to emulate the games with this one, so I have to imagine the quality is higher. The selection here includes: Set 1 – Black Tiger, 1943, Avengers; Set 2 – Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Gun.Smoke, Section Z; Set 3 – Side Arms, The Speed Rumbler, Exed Exes. Set 4 – Commando, Legendary Wings, Trojan. Set 5 – 1942, SonSon, Pirate Ship Higemaru. Buying all five sets would unlock bonus games 1943 Kai and Vulgus. While the Cabinet did do a decent job of blending the two comps, it definitely focused on Capcom’s early to mid 80s output, perhaps to its detriment. I haven’t tried this out, so I won’t give it a proper review, but I felt I should say something about it.
And one last quick note, the PSP also got two comps in this series, mixing up the games from the two console siblings between them to make them unique for some reason? Not really sure why they did that. But regardless, most of the games made the transition, with only Super SFII Turbo, Trojan and Tiger Road getting the bench. And of course there’s the GBA one I discussed last time that is its own thing.