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In Memory
Sean Pettibone

Capcom Classics Collection Remixed (PSP)



By Michael Palisano

Fans of vintage arcade games have another superb compilation to enjoy with the release of Capcom Classic Collection Remixed for the PSP. This latest release includes more than 17 classic titles ranging from the obscure to the sublime with a consistently high level of quality and few duds. A surprise appearance from the original Street Fighter (1987) is probably the most notable title here with additional games like 1942, Captain Commando, Strider, Final Fight, and Vulgus offering plenty of nostalgia, challenge and, enjoyment. The games' multiple viewpoints, adjustable difficulty and flawless emulation should satisfy your retro itch, while the wi-fi game sharing mode lets you to share the fun with another player. Read on and discover why this is such an excellent title that should please hardcore and casual gamers alike.

Porting classic arcade titles to a handheld system such as the PSP has proved to be a successful approach over the past year, and this release is another great addition to the console's growing library of emulated arcade titles. After the successful release of Capcom Classics on consoles last year, its appearance now is a no-brainer. These classic games' simple play mechanics, accessible controls and short duration typically make them ideally suited for portable action. Capcom's slightly scaled down classic compilation; subtitled Remixed is a fine example of how this should be done. With twenty unique titles included on the disc, there's plenty of variety for players of different tastes, and most of the games here are excellent in terms of overall quality and play value. There's a decent selection of titles here, and many are exclusive to the PSP release, making this worth purchasing if you've already own the console ports. There are a few interesting oddities that should appeal to more than hardcore gamers. First up, is the initial installment in one of the most popular series in gaming history. Players who've been near an arcade or console in the past 15 years will be familiar with the Street Fighter II franchise, which has evolved significantly over the years. The original installment included here is a bit surprising in its relative simplicity. There are only two playable characters, Ryu and Ken available and its rather primitive graphical approach and simple play mechanics used. Many of the now familiar techniques like fireballs are missing or difficult to accomplish, making this an interesting, though occasionally strange experience for fans of the series. Once you adjust your playing style to the constrained controls, the game is quite enjoyable in its own right. Another classic brawler from the same era was Final Fight, which pioneered many techniques seen later on. While the gameplay seems a bit simple these days, the straightforward play mechanics and simple structure means that the game remains quite enjoyable these days. The side scrolling fighter seems to have vanished these dyas, and its nice to see this type of game again on this package with Captain Commando, which plays quite similarly to FF but adds multiple playable characters and more. As expected, the large, colorful sprites make for an appealing experience, as does the ability to jump into larger vehicles, a la, Metal Slug. While this is somewhat obscure these days, Captain Commando has been resurrected and remains quite challenging these days.

The classic side-scrolling combat title Strider is probably best-remembered for its sterling Genesis translation, and this version stays very true to its origins, creating an instant flashback for anyone who remembers the classic game. There haven't been any improvements made, though the game still controls fluidly and looks as robust as you remember it. The linear gameplay feels slightly limiting 15 years later, but Strider still offers players one of the more memorable quests in gaming history and its appearance on Classics Collection Remixed has to be counted as a highlight. Another timeless gem included here is Forgotten Worlds, with its mixture of shoot 'em up action and unique aiming mechanics translated effectively on the PSP. It's all-black, decidedly old-school backgrounds and colorful sprites look fantastic on the PSP, and most gamers should have little trouble mastering the basic gameplay mechanics. Capcom seems to have put a number of odd-ball shooters and side-scrollers on this disc, with the genre hybrid Legendary Wings attempting to meld these two types of gameplay. While the side-scrolling portions of the game aren't as interesting as the shooting areas, this is still a decent game, and one that will hold your interest. A much better effort in this style of play is Mega Twins, which takes a much cuter approach more reminiscent of the Sega classic Fantasy Zone. Mega Twins is a fairly interesting title and definitely one that evokes memories of its age. There seems to be two of each type of game on this pack, and both Magic Sword and Black Tiger taking a decent medieval spin on side scrolling. Both games offer fast action, large levels and tons of enemies along with some minor RPG elements, and should give players' thumbs a decent workout. Of these two titles, Magic Sword is definitely the superior game with smoother controls and more engaging play. The majority of the games on this disc are excellent, but there are a few duds. One of these noble, yet ultimately unsuccessful games is Quiz and Dragon, an odd trivia game with some RPG elements that doesn't offer much in the way of action. It's basically a video board game, where successfully answering trivia questions moves your character on the board, which is competent, but probably won't hold your interest for beyond a few minutes.

Players who enjoy classic shooters (or "shmups") will be happy to find several solidly entertaining ancd challenging shooters on this package. The most well-known of these is probably 1942: Counter Strike, which is an enhanced version of the classic vertically scrolling shooter, with the same classic play mechanics, power-ups and enemy formations players have come to expect. This particular version features nicely upgraded graphics and smooth controls. Playing the game in full-screen mode with the PSP turned sideways is really cool, though it probably takes awhile to learn the controls. In a similar, yet far less popular vein is Varth which takes many of the play mechanics of 1942 and adds power-pods and massive weapons upgrades to the genre. Despite its odd name, this is another solidly addictive and entertaining shooter, and a definite must-play. Sidearms is a more traditional side-scrolling shooter which again, features excellent play mechanics, fluid controls and multiple weapons power-ups. The twist with this game is the fact that players can change their direction of fire either left or right, making for a more challenging game overall. Finally, players will encounter the classic Section Z, which offers some impressive parallax scrolling environments, great sprite animation and interesting weapons design, making this a solid compliment to the other shooters on the disc. All of these titles are quite addictive and remain quite challenging these days, and their continued high replay value is a testament to their solid design and timeless approach to the genre.

Several other titles highlight this package, with the Arkanoid style play in Block Block making it an addictive puzzle game. Block Block's levels are challenging and offer plenty of variety, along with numerous upgrades and power-ups which add to the game's replay value. Unfortunately, the controls are a bit touchy here, and their over-responsive interface makes the game a bit too frustrating at points, leaving a game that doesn't quite live up to its potential. Capcom has also included another oddity here in the form of Three Wonders, which contains three simpler titles consisting of a shooter, a puzzle game and a side scroller, which recall gaming's earliest days. Of the three games, Chariot is the most enjoyable, while the other two titles are somewhat forgettable. Midnight Wanderers has some cool backgrounds, but the predictable action and gameplay make the experience feel less than original. There are several obscure titles on the disc which should appeal mainly to die-hard arcade aficionados. These include Avengers, a simple top-down fighting title that's decent but nothing spectacular and Last Duel, a simple racing/combat title that offers challenging gameplay, solid visuals and great controls. The package's biggest disappointment is Speed Rumbler, which attempts to combine racing and fighting but doesn't create a compelling experience for either element, making it fall short of Capcom's otherwise high quality titles here.

Each game in the package includes a number of objectives and goals which unlock additional content such as artwork or hints when completed, which helps to keep you motivated. In addition, many of the games can be shared with other players via wi-fi connections and played online competitively, adding value to an already excellent package. As stated earlier, the package's emulations are fairly robust with each game faithfully recreated in looks and sounds. Controlling the action onscreen is fairly straightforward, and most games can be played with either the PSP's analog nub or d-pad. Players can also adjust the screen size of each game, with options ranging from letter-boxed to full screen, stretched appearance. Playing the games in their original format is interesting, though some of them seem too small on the PSP's small screen, with can strain your eyes after awhile. Switching between these modes only requires you to press the select key, which makes finding the best viewpoint easy. The menu system is easy to navigate, and while there is some load time between games, its nothing that can't be tolerated. While the PSP has already featured some outstanding collections to date, Capcom Classics Collection Remixed is the best on the system to date. Despite a few, scattered dud titles and some disappointing omissions, this excellent compilation with outstanding emulation, sharp controls and an outstanding presentation that makes for an almost flawless portable compilation any classic gamer will love.

Grade: B+

> Related Links

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Capcom Classics Collection (PSP)
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