Capcom Takes You Back To The Past, Again!
In terms of rich history, few companies have a legacy of great games like Capcom. Especially in the arcade – Capcom were known for putting out some great games such as the likes of Final Fight, Captain Commando, Mercs, 1943, Marvel vs Capcom, Alien vs Predator, Strider, Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara and the legendary Street Fighter II. 2005's Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 1 was an excellent collection of 25 of Capcom's better arcade works, only hampered by a few flaws. Over a year later, Capcom come back with a second collection of classic games, the imaginatively titled Capcom Classics Collection Vol.2, but don't let that fool you. CCC2 is just as good, and somewhat better than its predecessor.
The first things that'll grab you with CCC2 is that not only are there less games than the original collection, but this collection isn't a compilation of a previous, multi-disc collection previously offered in Japan only for the original Playstation (though one of its discs came out here). Sure, while the lack of games in comparison to the original CCC is a disappointment, the fact that this is a new collection offers a new gameplay experience. In CCC1, the games were too skewed towards specific genres and series (notably, 19XX, Ghosts N Goblins and Street Fighter). This is rectified immensely in this collection, with a much more even balance between genres (namely shooter, platformer and fighting/brawling).
One of the more interesting approaches that Capcom took with the collection is to include some of their more obscure games. Sure, while there are already some big names in the form of Strider and Captain Commando, there are plenty of lesser known and still playable games present. Games such as Three Wonders (a horizontally scrolling shooter, platformer and puzzle game in the one game), Quiz & Dragons (a Quiz game in a medieval setting), Mega Twins (a shooter/platformer hybrid), Knights of the Round (Final Fight with King Arthur), King of Dragons (a Platformer/RPG hybrid) and Eco Fighters (an environmentally themed shooter, created via idea submission contest in Japan). For anyone with an interest in Capcom, getting the compilation for these games is worth it – some of them still hold up well.
Arguably the centrepiece of the compilation is an arcade perfect port of the last Street Fighter II game to hit arcades, Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Super Turbo, as it's also known as, is known as possibly the most well balanced version of Street Fighter II, introducing a faster default game speed and Super Moves, it's also the version of SF2 most used for tournament play. Finally, Super Turbo is the first Street Fighter game to feature Akuma, although you'll need to input a button code to use him (and be warned, he's extremely overpowered). While Super Turbo is great for versus play, be warned when playing single player – the AI is known to cheat and will utterly destroy you. If that wasn't enough Street Fighter for you, the original Street Fighter (also known as Fighting Street) is also present. After playing it, you'll realize just how big of an improvement Street Fighter II is over it's predecessor, and finally understand the impact that it had for the fighting game genre.
Finally, other additions to the collection include the ability to save states, that is to say, save anywhere in any of the games. And trust me, you'll need them – some of the games in this collection are not only ridiculously difficult (Strider and Super Turbo, notably) and some can take a long while to play (King of the Dragons). Unlockable items are better tracked , you can now view what you need to do to unlock an item in the pause menu, and you'll also be notified when you've unlocked something. Also, an in-depth tutorial on playing Super Turbo is provided by David Sirlin, whom not only supervised the port of the game, but is also a highly regarded tournament player. It covers all aspects, and is worth the price just to watch how to play Super Turbo. And last, but not least, is the ability to play Quiz & Dragons with all Capcom questions. The latter is quite fun, and really does test your knowledge of one of the greatest Japanese developers of all time.
Despite all these improvements and a strong list of games, there are still some problems with the collection. The most notable is that some of the games have become so dated that they're not really all that fun to play. Black Tiger and Avengers are the two that most stick out. While granted, it would be difficult to gain the rights to put in some of Capcom's exemplary licensed work (such as Alien vs Predator, Cadillacs & Dinosaurs, their Marvel Comics games etc.), there must have surely been better games to replace Black Tiger and Avengers. But the worst case of a game being so dated it's difficult to play, is Quiz & Dragons. Because the game was made in 1992, it might be extremely hard to remember what was going on back then, resorting to either educated guesses or blind luck. So much so, that the manual to the game refers to this fact! Thankfully, you'll stand a much better chance in the Capcom version of Quiz & Dragons.
Graphically, you're in for a mixed bag. After all, this is a collection of games from the late 80's to early/mid 90's. For the most part, each game does look good. While granted, the earlier games don't look so great, it's still enough that it doesn't become distracting. In terms of presentation, it's mostly the same as in the previous collection, but that did a decent job and wasn't distracting. Overall, don't be expecting the best looking games – these are nearly 20 year old products, after all.
Likewise, the sound is a mixed bag. Granted, the newer games do sound better (Eco Fighters, Three Wonders and Super Turbo benefit thanks to the CPS2's Q-Sound technology) than the older games, the sound is definitely solid. There's lots of great songs and the sound effects are great, but there's little else to comment on here.
Overall, Capcom Classics Collection Vol.2 is a must for anyone who's an arcade aficionado. All the games in the collection are well emulated, and the save state feature is a huge bonus. There's a great selection of games on hand, and while there are a few duds, there's plenty of established classics and some really fun hidden gems on there. Add in the bonus Capcom Quiz & Dragons and Super Street Fighter II Tutoral, and you've got a great package. Definitely one for the arcade enthusiasts, or Capcom fans out there.