Also On: XBLA
For their 30th anniversary, Capcom has released an interesting collection of some of their more classic arcade games with Capcom Arcade Cabinet. It is a sort of time release collection with new games being made available in DLC packs. Judging from the first available pack and the promised future releases releases, this collection is aimed to satisfy every Capcom fan old and new. It remains to be seen if some of the games offered in this collection will get folks to download the game at all, but thankfully, you can pick which wants you want and skip the ones you don't, but only on the PS3 version (more on this later). Being a classic gaming enthusiast, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one. Will this be the classic collection to end all others? Read on.
First off, I have to tell you that Capcom Arcade Cabinet is a free download, but you only get a demo of Black Tiger, a side scrolling beat-em-up. If you want to get more games, you have to get them individually or in DLC packs. The first pack contains the full version of Black Tiger, a really obscure vertical fighter called Avengers (no relation to the Marvel property) and the classic shooter 1942. You have a pretty straight forward menu set up, for playing straight Arcade versions of the games, or playing in Score Attack where you get one credit to get a high score. Your Score is then uploaded to the leaderboards where you can challenge your friends.
Avengers and Black Tiger also have Online Play, so you can team up and try to beat these classics with a friend. The online worked well, with no drop outs or lag. I hope the online option continues with future game packs, because I really had fun playing these classics online! Each game has their own options menu for screen size, graphic smoothing, and controls, which is great since some of these games look better with smaller screens that others. I don't like how in other collections like this, where you set the screen for one game, and that setting carries over to another. Thankfully that doesn't happen here. You can even set wallpaper for each individual game. You start out with only a few backgrounds to use, but as you play and meet certain requirements, you unlock more. Also unlockable are posters and artwork from the games, pics of the cabinets, and various other art type rewards.
The presentation here is really nice. The game selection screen is a collage of Capcom Characters representing their individual games. As of this writing, it was mostly a giant silhouette since most games are not available yet. You can scroll through the games you have and the games coming soon, so there are really no surprises as to what is planned. There is, however a spot marked "Bonus Game" that is unlocked when certain requirements are met. Upon reading up on this, I discovered that once you get all the DLC packs and complete the silhouette, the Bonus Game unlocks. There's no telling what that game might be, but since it's a secret, I would bet it's a big one. Control is what you would expect with classic games like this. Standard Jump, Fire and/or Attack buttons are all responsive and, as previously stated, can be customized to your liking. One thing I love is the addition of Rapid Fire buttons. For games like 1942 and other shooters that will become available later, this is a must have. I even found Black Tiger benefited from having a rapid fire option. I know that the classic Ghosts N' Goblins is coming soon, and I can only imagine (for now) what having rapid fire will do for this gem!
The graphics retain all of the charm from the original arcade releases. Everything looks just as great as they did when they were new. Turning on the smoothing option gives the visuals a little HD effect, but comes off as just a little blurry. You can also set scan lines (to emulate the original arcade monitors) but like I always say, these graphic filters are for individual tastes so you may need to play around with them to get the set up that's right for you. I personally recommend leaving them alone and playing the games with no filters. Sound effects and music are classic and fantastic. Every time I fired up one of these games, the audio just brought me back to standing in a dimly lit arcade looking for quarters. I've probably used that analogy before, but I cannot think of a better description of how it feels to hear these classics being played. There is also a jukebox option, where you can listen to all the music tracks, just in case you want hear some classic tunes.
Now, jumping into the individual games for a bit here, I have to address a few thoughts, mostly with Avengers. I, like many others, were unfamiliar with this game in the arcades, so I found this one to be a weird choice for the collection. The controls are a little quirky and the A.I. (if you can call it that) just acts strange. Sometimes, I just went right past a group of enemies, as they just walked around in a circle randomly. Other times, I was bombarded with a wave of attacking enemies that was so bad, there was no hope to process further into the level. The Boss battles at the end of each stage are also really strange as well. Sometimes the boss can overpower you, and at other times the same boss will back off and you can pummel him easily. The only conclusion I could come up with is this game might need a patch to address some issues, so you may want to skip playing this one until it gets fixed. I didn't notice any issues like this while playing Black Tiger or 1942, but since I was unfamiliar with Avengers, this may be how this game was originally. Another small item of concern is for Xbox 360 users and the DLC packs. The games aren't available individually on the 360 like they are on the PS3, so you may have to pay for a game that you don't like just to get the one you want. Since that only applies to the 360, it doesn't effect my overall opinion, but it may be a deciding factor for those who don't have a PS3.
Capcom Arcade Cabinet is a fine example of a true classic collection. The DLC packs and a few strange games may scare some away from getting this one. For those who don't want to get parts of a game, there will be a complete DLC pack with all the games (including the mysterious bonus game) in one Download. If you are curious about this but are not sure if you want to spend the money, download the app, try out Black Tiger and see for yourself if the upcoming lineup is for you. If you know these classics and really want to dive in, I suggest waiting for the entire collection to be made available, as these DLC packs can be obnoxious and you can save a little cash. In the end, this might be a great collection for fans, but it will not be for everyone. Try before you begin to buy.