"Amazingly, I remember finishing Ghouls ‘N Ghosts, and Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts in their heydays. I would have two questions for my old self were able to ask him now, a good one, and an even better one: how, and why?"
If you’re dying for a Capcom Classics Collection, you should pick up the one subtitled Remixed, and not the subject of this review, the one subtitled Reloaded. That’s my best advice after having played both. Remixed not only has a more balanced group of quality titles, but Reloaded does itself and fans a grave disservice by bringing substandard emulations of its big names to the table.
It only takes a cursory glance at the back of the package to determine this compilation’s primary selling point: the Street Fighter II series. The original Street Fighter II, Champion Edition, and Hyper Fighting, are all included on the disc – a fact that would have any fan of the franchise drooling in anticipation.
Time to clean up that spittle. Because all three games are plagued with the same emulation problems. Inexplicably and frustratingly long load times between fights, music that cuts in and out, and inconsistent controls. This last issue cannot be understated: while the controls actually do allow for every move to be executed, they can't be counted on to register. And after playing Street Fighter Alpha 3 on this system, I know that the PSP’s D-pad can do better than this.
It’s infuriating to have a decent round with Ryu, your favourite hero with a headband, pummeling bendable Indian mystic Dhalsim with the punishing Dragon Punch – only to have that same Dragon Punch fail you continually the following round at the most inopportune moments. Any fighting game fan knows that a missed counter spells disaster, and with the imperfect fashion in which Capcom presents its trifecta, there will be missed counters aplenty.
So, with the main draw this regrettably flawed, can those games bringing up the rear save the collection? Not really. And the problem is the distinct lack of variety in the package. In much the same way that the trio of marginally different Street Fighter II games spearheads the disc, the supporting cast features the Ghosts ‘N Goblins series, the 1942 series, and the very similar The King of Dragons and Knights of the Round games.
While I enjoy the old school vertical shooting action of 1942, its sequels offer little variation, and in the end we feel as if we are playing nothing more than three iterations of the same game. This is particularly troubling considering the fact that any given 1942 game is already an unequivocally repetitive and straightforward exercise.
The Ghouls ‘N Ghosts games manage to offer much more unique missions; however, the feeling that playing each elicits is the same: complete and utter disgust. Old school gamers would do well to hear me out – I too, looked back on this series of games fondly. Unfortunately, it seems as though that old man nostalgia is the culprit again. Amazingly, I remember finishing Ghouls ‘N Ghosts, and Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts in their heydays. I would have two questions for my old self were I able to ask him now – a good one, and an even better one: how, and why?
Like Ghosts ‘N Goblins before them, the two games in the canon which I managed to best feature unwieldy jumps and checkpoints spaced ridiculously far apart. A towering boss will vanquish you and send you minutes back to an area that doesn’t even look similar to the one in which your life came to a sudden and unceremonious end. Brilliant music and wonderful scenarious? Sure. A joy to play? Another story entirely.
Moving on, The King of Dragons and Knights of the Round are decent beat-em-up distractions in the Golden Axe vein, but Final Fight of the Remixed compilation has a lot more personality. Commando is actually decent fun, involving a lone commando (surprise) versus a million other guys. It’s what you expect: vertical shooting action with guns, grenades and flamethrowers, but it’s very fast paced and very fair, which amounts to it being one of my favourite distractions in the anthology.
By contrast, another vertical shooter on the disc, Gun.Smoke, is an abomination. This is no fault of the emulation – the game was never good. It plays like Commando on crack, involving a double pistol-toting cowboy dragged greasily on rails through saloon-bordered streets, with everything happening quite a bit too fast. Expect deaths to come early and often before you inevitably get fed up and move on to something else.
Unfortunately, there's not much else to turn to. Rounding out the list of games worth mentioning, are a few pleasant surprises like Eco Fighters, a decent horizontal shooter with a good gimmick (a mechanical arm that can spin 360 degrees, attached to the front of the ship); and Mercs, a solid Contra-esque title that features diagonal scrolling and the freedom to blow lots of things up.
The way I’d sum up my feelings about Reloaded is like this: I’d love it if Capcom got Street Fighter II and its derivatives right – the rest of the bunch would make a competent supporting cast. But with Ryu and Ken and the guys making such a mediocre showing, the rest of this compilation simply cannot carry the day. Remixed didn’t look as good to me on paper, but if you want Capcom-to-go, it’s Strider’s Hiryu, Cody and the gang who are the Capcom performers to be reckoned with.
Staff review by Marc Golding (July 02, 2008)
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