bshirk's Capcom Classics Collection Volume 2 (PlayStation 2) review

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Are There Enough Capcom Classics to Warrant a Purchase?


Classic game anthologies are often difficult to review because of the plethora of old-school favorites (and stinkers) they contain. When opening a game such as Capcom Classics Collection: Volume 2 that includes 20+ titles, it must be decided whether each title should be reviewed individually, or if the package should be judged as a whole. To simplify this potentially messy situation, I've decided to summarize each title, then determine the value of this entire classics collection.

1941: Going Back to the Good ol' Days

Remember when you used to dream about becoming a dog fighter? Not the Michael Vick kind, silly. I'm talking about following in the footsteps of your favorite scientologist, Tom Cruise. Well, 1941's vertical-scrolling 2D flying doesn't exactly let you swoop through three-dimensional canyons, but it does allow you to take on hordes of miniature planes, in addition to jumbo jet-sized bombers. Sure, you may have done this before in 1942 or 1943, but since when have you played a game like this with so many continues and sweet tunes?

Avengers: I'm Not Avenging Anyone!

Remember '80s arcade games? They were pretty rad weren't they? Well not this one. Have you ever wanted to walk in eight directions, punching and kicking hordes of zombies at a speed slower than Chuck Norris? What's that? You say you'd rather play E.T. for the Atari 2600? I don't blame you.

Black Tiger: Boss Fights as Ridiculous as Claiming Brittney Spears is a Talented Singer

You know that kid that claims Blood, but is afraid to walk in a Beverly Hills 7-Eleven? Well, Black Tiger is similar in that it pretends to be Ghosts & Goblins, but it's not nearly as innovative or fun. If you like opening treasure chests, stripping, and leaping clumsily through side-scrolling environments, Black Tiger may appeal to you, but just beware that its bosses will hit you harder than a dragon uppercut.

Block Block: Let the Clone Wars Commence

Have you ever played Breakout, Arkanoid, Brickles, or any of the other dozens of block-breaking games? If so, you should know what to expect from Block Block. Playing Block Block is like your third time dating a cheerleader -- you might enjoy it, but you now know what to expect. If you decide to play, expect one ferocious paddle battle.

Captain Commando: Four-Player Brawling With an Eclectic Cast

Are you a fan of Streets of Rage? Yes? GTFO with that two-player garbage. Real men (and women) like their brawlers played by a quartet. But don't worry, you won't find any violinists here; instead, you'll play as a ninja, a mutant-looking dude, a captain wearing dorky glasses, and a baby piloting a mech. If you can't take control of the streets with that diverse cast, you haven't earned the right to call yourself a gamer.

Eco Fighters: It's All For the Environment

Don't you hate those evil corporations that suck the life out of planets? Yeah? Well if you want your chance to fight back, hop in this dual-analog, horizontal-scrolling shooter and take out hordes of ships and mechanized turtles. This title's 360 degree aiming takes awhile to get used to with the second analog stick, but you'll be saving whales and getting that green in no time.

Knights of the Round: King Arthur Wouldn't Be Proud

Do you ever regret your mundane existence? Don't you wish you were someone cool like King Arthur or Sir Lancelot -- long flowing locks and all? If those man-hunks were anything like they are in the game, I'd rather keep my job as a telephone operator -- thank you very much. Really though, this three-player medieval brawler that allows your characters to level up isn't that bad -- it just doesn't bring anything new to the table. Next!

The King of Dragons: A Solid Alternative to Dungeons

Have you ever played Dungeons & Dragons? No, not the dice game -- I'm talking about the two best arcade brawlers in existence. The Dungeons & Dragons arcade games were a blast because of their six-player gameplay, role-playing elements, alternative paths, and gorgeous visuals. The King of Dragons may not look as pretty and it features three fewer players, but it's still an excellent beat-'em'up that allows you to gain levels, upgrade your equipment, and play as one of six classes. Don't keep it in your pants (your quarter stack, silly).

Last Duel: Thank God It's the Last!

Vertical-scrolling shooters are pretty fun aren't they? (at least until you've played two-hundred of them). Even though vertical-scrolling shooters are about as common as red spots on someone with Chicken Pox, Last Duel actually puts a twist on the formula: You can fly and drive. This change creates a bit more gameplay depth, since you can now make your car roll over chasms, but that doesn't stop this formula from growing stale quickly.

Magic Sword: Before There Was Such a Thing as a Magic Broomstick

You know those unoriginal RPG side-quests that have you climbing 100-floor dungeons? Well this is like that, except cut in half -- and without turn-based random battles. Despite the repetition of this side-scrolling dungeon crawler, it's actually pretty fun, because of the varied enemies and bosses. Magic Sword may throw more treasure chests (and sidekicks) your way than Nathan Drake would know what to do with, but it's pretty darn good for a dungeon crawler.

Mega Twins: Twins Are Always Fun

I once knew a set of blonde twins who were ditzy and fun, but I can't say I'd associate them with the word 'mega.' Mega Twins on the other hand is mega awesome. Really, it is. What makes this side-scrolling platformer fun is its fair difficulty, great power-ups, and solid controls. Colorful visuals and an upbeat soundtrack that'll remind you of the 16-bit days only sweetens the deal. I guess even virtual twins are fun.

Quiz & Dragons: Less Appealing Than a 5000 Dollar Credit Card Bill

Everyone likes quizzes, right? I've even written one of my own called the Mobquiz. The reason that quiz didn't suck is because it actually asked questions its audience might know. Quiz & Dragons on the other hand fails, because it asks questions you're less likely to know than how many blunts Dubya smoked.

Side Arms: You Won't Be Grippin' a Glock Gangsta-style In This Shooter

Did you ever play the arcade Section-Z? You know, the shooter that had you playing as a person gliding through 'letters of the alphabet'-shaped courses, and allowed you to turn in all directions in its horizontal and vertical-scrolling environments? Well, this is pretty much like that -- with infinite continues and cheaper enemies. If you enjoy fighting swarms of unavoidable foes and palette-swapped bosses, this might be up your alley, but most players will find this shooter about as charming as an angry, elderly man.

Street Fighter: Is The One That Started it all The One to Rule Them all?

Remember the good ol' days at the arcade, fighting in epic battles with the likes of Ken, Ryu, and Dhalsim? Well you've got the wrong Street Fighter buddy; this is the one that initiated that knockout series. Unfortunately, this fighting game hasn't aged so well. You can still perform three types of punches and kicks in addition to a couple special moves, but you can only play as one character: Ryu, and he doesn't even have black hair. Red-haired Ryu will fight numerous unfamiliar lackeys during his martial arts quest, but that's not enough to keep a champion like yourself attracted to this rudimentary fighter. I recommend saving your allowance and playing the much better Super Street Fighter II Turbo.

Strider: A Futuristic Platformer That Can't Climb High Enough

Running, jumping, climbing -- it's all part of a day's work for an explorer. Strider performs all these ordinary feats in his 1989 platformer, but what makes him special is his ability to walk on ceilings in areas with a reverse gravitational pull. Unfortunately, this gimmick doesn't make up for his slow movement speed, cheap boss fights, and the fact that you'll need ear plugs to block out the horrendous "voice acting" and maniacal laughter accompanying the Game Over screen. An adjective to describe this title? Overrated.

Super Street Fighter II Turbo: Prepare to Get Beat Down

Most of us U.S. Street Fighter II fans were so overwhelmed by Street Fighter II iterations that we missed out on Super Turbo. This 1 on 1 brawler brings back the fighters of Super Street Fighter II, but this time there are a few new abilities, speed settings, and super moves performed by filling up a gauge. For fans of Street Fighter, that's super, but most gamers will find themselves bashing their heads against the wall after being unable to stomach Super Turbo's difficulty.

The Speed Rumbler: No High Speed Chases Here

Remember those old driving games with tiny cars played from an overhead perspective? Well, this is one of those. Instead of just driving, however, you'll run over enemy soldiers, blow up tanks, and dodge explosive barrels. You'll probably find The Speed Rumbler a bit difficult due to strict time limits and not being able to respawn where you die, but it's a decent retro experience for those with a significant amount of skill and perseverance.

Three Wonders: A Collection Within a Collection?

For retro gamers, arcade collections are treasured possessions. Something of even more value, however, are arcade games that consist of multiple games. Three Wonders is one of those: it includes an excellent side-scrolling platformer, an equally awesome horizontal-scrolling shooter, and an addicting puzzle game. This game is one sweet deal, and I'll probably be returning to it next time I pop in this iteration of Capcom Classics Collection.

Tiger Road: Repetitive Gameplay Meets Annoying Boss Fights

Everyone admires Chinese monks. In movies and video games, they're often skilled warriors who can chop through a throng of baddies like a knife through a roll of sushi. Unfortunately, Tiger Road's monk protagonist isn't nearly as cool, but at least he can equip a few different weapons ranging from an axe to a morning star. What makes this title mediocre is its Ghosts & Goblins-style platforming mixed with cheap boss fights. I'll just say this: One-hit kills are not fun.

Varth: Strange Name Meets an Unusually Hard Game

Finally, we're at the last game of this package. Like the first title of Capcom Classics Collection, Varth is a vertical-scrolling shooter that has you piloting a fighter plane. It has a great power-up system including weapons such as lasers, missiles, and spread shots, and it also allows you to protect your ship with rotating energy orbs. Varth also has a decent soundtrack, but it's marred by infrequent checkpoints, a limited live stock, and bosses that'll put you through bullet hell. If you decide to play this shooter, make sure you've already signed up for anger management class.

The Verdict

Well folks, I've gone through 20 titles and nearly 2000 words, so I think it's time to assist you with your purchasing decision. If you enjoy multiplayer brawlers, platformers, and 2D shooters, you really can't go wrong with Capcom Classics Collection: Volume 2. Many of the games are repetitive, but that was the nature of late '80s and early '90s arcade games. If you have quick reflexes, can tolerate gameplay that was designed to suck quarters, and enjoy gaming with a pal, you'll probably have a good enough time to justify this title's ten to fifteen dollar price tag.


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