Remembrance of shames past.
Man, it feels like ages since I’ve been in a legitimate arcade, and I’m not talking about the video game section in the local pizza joint. I’m talking about coin-ops as far as the eye can see, broken change machines and that one kid glued to the Street Fighter
machine in the corner, sweat-stained and beaming.
Sadly, most of those fine establishments have gone the way of the dodo, but that doesn’t mean we can’t reminisce, which is precisely what Capcom Classics Collection Remixed tries to get us to do on our PSPs. Featuring twenty of Capcom’s biggest arcade hits, this anthology of gaming goodness has been shrunken into a nice pocket-sized package.
Shooters and action games make up the bulk of the offering, which includes actual hits like 1941, Final Fight and Strider alongside relative unknowns like Forgotten Worlds, Last Duel, Legendary Wing, Section Z, Side Arms, Speed Rumbler, Avengers, Captain Commando, Black Tiger, Mega Twins, Three Wonders and Magic Sword. Rounding out the collection is Bionic Commando (not the same as the NES version, by the way), the Arkanoid-clone Block Block, an interesting quiz board game appropriately called Quiz & Dragons and a little ditty you might have heard of called Street Fighter.
It’s actually a pretty weird selection. We all know Final Fight and Strider, but does anyone remember Speed Rumbler? I think not, and for good reason - it’s terrible. Even worse, it’s not alone. Several of the offerings aren’t worth more than a glance. It’s also surprising that Capcom included the original Street Fighter (which isn’t very good) but not Street Fighter II (which is). No Capcom game is more classic than that one, expect for maybe Block Block. Ugh.
So the game selection is mixed, but actually selecting them is easy thanks to a simple front-end menu. In a nice touch, earning specific point totals in any of the games unlocks extra goodies like artwork, soundtracks and gameplay tips.
In a not-so-nice touch, some games like Legendary Wing and 1941 aren’t exactly captured in their full glory. Playing these games on the horizontal PSP screen is tough, since the games are meant to be played on a vertical screen. To get the games to fit at all, everything had to be squeezed down and stretched out. There is a video option that allows for full-screen vertical play, but it requires you to rotate the PSP 90 degrees. This might look right, but good luck trying to play a game with the buttons in such awkward places. No matter how you look at it, the shooters simply don’t fit that well on the PSP.
Still, more screen options are better than less, and this collection has quite a few. Most games can either be played in their native resolution or stretched to fit the entire PSP screen, while a few also feature an enhanced viewing mode that takes all the data from the game screen, puts it to the side, and presents a much more attractive play window.
Aside from the shooters, most of the games play just like they used to. That isn’t necessarily a good thing, but at least none of these game’s flaws can be chalked up to a sloppy translation. The graphics and soundtracks are all spot-on, so the games look, sound and play exactly like their standup counterparts.
In games like Final Fight and Street Fighter, that means Ad-hoc multiplay, as long as each player owns a copy of the game. Unfortunately, that isn’t likely, and there’re no multiplayer option that only requires one copy. Some sort of download option would seem like a natural fit – Namco managed it on their PSP classic collection, after all.
Capcom Classics Collection Remixed offers a mixed bag of old greats and ancient flops. While there are some cool view modes and the front-end is nice, you’d have to be quite a die-hard to shell out forty bucks for Final Fight, Strider, Street Fighter and a bunch of stuff no one even liked in the 80s. We’re all for trips down memory lane, but not when the fare is so steep.