Damn you, Capcom.
Apparently, with all their terrible business practices and lackluster and/or regurgitated content, Capcom STILL has the ability to get me to consider buying more of their stuff. I downloaded Capcom Arcade Cabinet over the weekend after I found out that Black Dragon/Black Tiger was available to play for free. I have never played the game before, but after I watched the guys here play it, I wanted in on the action.
Younger gamers may not understand this, but I thought this game was brilliant for a 1987 production. The graphics and animation were awesome (however, a lack of parallax kind of stunted the atmosphere a bit) and the gameplay was typically hard (broken?) for an arcade game of that time. As for sound, Capcom did what they could with the board's sound chip for both SFX and music. I like how each stage's music held a theme, but the tinny instruments started droning on my ears if I stuck around the same stage for too long.
It took me a couple of hours and a million continues to finish the game, but I left the game feeling satisfied and wanting to play more; however, the game isn't the only thing that compels me to fire the game up again.
It seems that Capcom has taken design cues from Sega's Vintage Collection series—a series that I am also fond of—to present their own set of classic games, down to the synth-heavy menu music. I joke around that Capcom shares Sega's ideal that an excessive use of synth wave instruments from a Casio keyboard was how videogame music was intended to sound like back then, but that electronic sound really does have a nostalgic ring to it. Music aside, the presentation of Capcom Arcade Cabinet is really solid. The beautiful collage (below) is actually used as the game selection screen; the games you own are in full color, the games you don't have are just black silhouettes, and the games with demos available are colored in a faint grayscale.
Capcom is delivering the games in the collection in sets of three every two weeks, categorized by their year of release. According to what I've seen in the PlayStation Store, people can also grab the games individually à la carte after their respective sets have been released. Giant Bomb mentions in their Quick Look video that Capcom has already announced that once all of the game sets are released, they will be selling the entire set for a discounted price. Contrary to their complaints (they believe that people that purchase the sets as they come out will be ripped off because they won't be getting the discount), I feel that I could easily hold out until the whole collection is available for purchase. My way of thinking is that these games must have been re-released time and time again on various systems in various combinations since the PlayStation. I probably have all of these games (and more) in my original XBox library under the Capcom Classics Collection series, so I think it's pretty bad that they're asking for money from me again. Furthermore, even the extra content—promotional art, production sketches, and trivia for each game—is probably all recycled as well, so what's the point in buying this collection?
This is where I hate myself....Despite having to purchase these games all over again, the presentation is almost irresistible. I've already mentioned the sweet collage, right? Another perk is being able to see all the gallery art at a high resolution. The gallery also provides a music player for each game, so that's really cool....ringtone factory, anyone? Also, for the hardcore gamers out there, there are options like Score Attack, where people can put their best scores on the world leaderboard, a Save Replay (I'm not sure myself, but it will save your entire playthrough data) so you can watch your sessions later, and even a Practice Mode, where players can play stages individually to study and memorize all of the enemy patterns and level design to get that perfect score...legitimately. Lastly, for convenience sake, I feel that stuff like retro gaming collections are best as digital content anyway. Installing all of the games on the hard drive will definitely reduce or eliminate any load times, and I also feel that it's just plain weird to have to pop in a disc to play these games....
Oh yeah, and let's not forget that sweet collage.
Anyway, the first set is $4.99 (only two games), due to the fact that they're throwing in Black Tiger for free, but the subsequent packs will be available for $9.99. There are five packs in total, making the entire set $44.95 via piecemeal, but the whole set, available May 21, will be $29.99. Additionally, there are two "secret" games that you can unlock by fulfilling certain requirements. I hope you don't need to buy the individual sets to unlock these games....that would be horrible on Capcom's part.
On a side note, I noticed that the initial download was 1.5GB...considering that the original ROMs are comparatively tiny, and all of the gallery art and extras are such a high resolution, I'd say that you're downloading the entire set from the get-go, and you're just paying for the unlocks. To me, despite this sounding similar to the Street Fighter × Tekken "everything is on the disc" debacle, I don't find this much of a problem...probably because these old games are already complete. I don't know, I guess I have a bias towards Capcom's older games.