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Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 2 (PlayStation 2) artwork

Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 2 (PlayStation 2) review


"Basically, the games here are the lionís share of memorable titles you might have missed from the first collection. Thereís no Ghouls Ďn Ghosts here, because that was already done. Thereís no Trojan or Final Fight for the same reason. What you get instead are a collection of brawlers and shooters, along with Strider and Super Street Fighter II Turbo to round things out."



Thereís not a lot to say about Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 2 except that it gathers together a lot of games and presents them in a convenient sort of fashion with nice extras for the historian and the gamer. Sometimes thatís enough to make for a game people like me want to buy and sometimes it isnít. This is one of those cases where it is.

The reason someone might wish to purchase the game should be fairly obvious: Capcom is one of the greatest game developers in the world. If you agree with that statement and youíve been a fan of the company for a long while, thereís not really any reason youíd want to keep reading this review. Just go right on out and buy the game, no questions asked. For $20, itís difficult to go wrong. If youíre a bit dubious, if you donít like brawlers and shooters or if youíve found Capcomís output to be hit-or-miss over the years, then thatís the sort of thing that calls for further reading.

Basically, the games here are the lionís share of memorable titles you might have missed from the first collection. Thereís no Ghouls Ďn Ghosts here, because that was already done. Thereís no Trojan or Final Fight for the same reason. What you get instead are a collection of brawlers and shooters, along with Strider and Super Street Fighter II Turbo to round things out. For the most part, games fall into one of four categories.

The first genre youíll see a lot of is the shooter. In that group, there are 1941: Counter Attack, Varth, Eco Fighters, Last Duel, Side Arms: Hyper Dyne and The Speed Rumbler.

1941: Counter Attack should need no introduction. Itís one of the many in the 194X series of vertically-scrolling shooters, with graphics that are improved over games like 1942 and 1943: The Battle of Midway (both of which were featured in the previous collection). Varth is more of the same, but with a more urban approach and a screen so small (thanks to the black bars on the side that maintain its original aspect ratio) that youíll have a hard time making out important details on anything less than a 30-inch television.

Eco Fighters is a shooter of the horizontal variety, but unlike Side Arms, itís actually fun. The main reason for that is its arm mechanic; an arm rotates around you at your direction, and it can absorb shots while also firing boosted shots to help with boss encounters. Managing that unique system is actually pretty fun. Finally, Last Duel is a vertically-oriented game that combines racing with furious action in a manner much more satisfying than The Speed Rumbler, which is just a nearly unplayable mess.

The second category in the collection is the brawler. Think Final Fight and you get a general idea how these play. The assortment here is pretty nice, though I would have liked to see the later Final Fight games included. They arenít (a sign that Capcom perhaps intends to finish things up with a third collection), and instead we get King of the Dragons, Captain Commando, Knights of the Round and Avengers.

With the exception of Avengers, which is an overhead game that shares more in common with Ikari Warriors than it does anything you might expect from Capcom, the selection here is fairly brainless fun. King of the Dragons is distinctive because your warriors can level up as they progress through the numerous stages, and because there are five character classes to choose from. Someone played some RPGs before making that particular title. Captain Commando is interesting because itís futuristic, like a Final Fight game set 100 years from now. Knights of the Round has always been a personal favorite of mine, both because it leaves Metro City behind in favor of Arthurian legend, and because the background art is easy on the eyes. I would have liked to see Cadillacs & Dinosaurs, but either licensing issues (something I presume to be true also of Willow) or a desire to keep producing these collections got in the way.

That brings us to the next main type of game on this pack, the action-adventure. Though the last disc had the Ghouls Ďn Ghosts games and Bionic Commando, it was still fairly light overall in this category. The second collection makes up for it somewhat, with games that tend to be more technically proficient than those we got the last time around. These are Strider, Black Tiger, Magic Sword, Mega Twins and Tiger Road.

While a lot of people will jump at the chance to play Strider again, I was anxious to try some of the other games. I came away pleasantly surprised. Mega Twins is quite a treat, with colorful graphics and fun levels. Magic Sword is one of Capcomís more widely-recognized classics, and should provide you with hours of enjoyment if you havenít moved past it and to other more recent games within the genre (though it loses its luster somewhat on a disc already full of medieval chaos). Thatís the better half of the four games, while Tiger Road is at least interesting (it feels a bit like Rygar) and Tiger Road is fairly forgettable fluff. Itís nice to have it here for the sake of completion, but not for any other reason.

Then thereís that fourth type of game, which isnít really one sort of experience at all. Instead, itís a little bit of everything. Block Block is just Breakout on steroids (later stages see all sorts of complications like portal holes and walls all around you that must be busted away), Quiz & Dragons is a quirky quiz game, and the two Street Fighter games really need no introduction. Truly, the most interesting of all of these is Three Wonders, so Iíll tell you about that.

Three Wonders is basically three games in one. When you play it, youíll choose from three sub-games. Going in, I expected that to mean that none of the three games would be worth playing, but that didnít prove to be the case. The action game is hugely fun, if a little on the easy side. You battle your way through stages that look similar to those in Mega Twins and you fight a variety of monsters that will test your reflexes a bit without taking things to an arcade-like extreme. Itís very cool. The shooter is similarly inspired, and one of the better selections on the whole compilation. Youíll get cool weapon upgrades and fly and shoot your way through a horizontal shooter that feels a lot like a Darius game. Some boss fights feel a bit cheap, but itís not like youíre actually spending quarters to continue. Finally, thereís a rather standard sort of puzzle game that youíll probably find interesting, as well.

So, those are the games, but how do they play? Quite well, actually. Youíll find that the PlayStation 2 pad is quite responsive, and you can also control things with the analogue stick if thatís your thing (though it wasnít mine). Instructions precede each game so that you donít need to consult the instruction manual.

Similar polish was applied to other aspects of the game. Each one is accessed from a simple menu that comes up right from the start, and if youíre having trouble remembering which game is which, a little display shows clips of the game in action that make everything quite clear. As you play each selection, youíll also be able to unlock hints on how to do well at the games, and you can even make available the musical tracks from each. Finally, artwork galleries let you take a peek at promotional material that accompanied each gameís release. The fact that you must play through each title to unlock the goodies is fairly standard, but the implementation and the rewards felt more natural than they have in some other compilations of this nature.

Though it doesnít have the Ghouls Ďn Ghosts games or Final Fight, and though some of the games might not be familiar to you at all, Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 2 at least succeeds at bringing together a fine collection of games that only sometimes falters. It probably wonít mean a lot to those of you who are interested only in recent Capcom offerings like Devil May Cry or Resident Evil, but for the gamer with a historianís tendencies, this compilation is a must-buy and one of the best values youíll find on retail shelves today. Try it. Youíll like it!

Rating: 9/10

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Staff review by Jason Venter (December 05, 2006)

Jason Venter founded HonestGamers in 1998, and since then has written hundreds of reviews as the site's editor-in-chief. He also is a prolific freelancer with game reviews, articles and fiction available around the Internet.

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