Retro compilations definitely have their place in video gaming society. For those of us old enough to remember them in their original arcade environment, they are a pleasant blast from the past and a stark reminder of just how far gaming technology has advanced over a relatively short period of time. For the younger generation of gamers more accustomed to jaw-dropping graphics, immersive game play and full orchestral scores they represent a slice of gaming history, plus a chance to check out what their parents played as teenagers. Capcom was one of the major players back in the day; one of the few companies which have remained so to the present time. Lately they have been catering to a growing – albeit niche - market of retro gamers with their compilations of arcade oldies. The most recent of these is Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 2.
The compilation consists of 20 titles (listed below), plus a Capcom trivia quiz to test even the most knowledgeable retro arcade fan. The games themselves are arcade-perfect reproductions of the originals with unrestricted free play, which is payback for all those times you pumped your pocket money into a game, often for very little return. You can literally play a game through from beginning to end – or until frustration or boredom gets the better of you. The former can be remedied with unlockable training videos and cheat codes (as if!), and the latter will be a long time coming due to the good variety of games and genres on the disc.
As any hardcore retro gamer will know, a large part of an arcade game’s appeal revolves around having a real joystick to clutch and some full-sized buttons to mash. While genuine video game cabinets can be expensive and hard to source these days, purpose built arcade sticks, thankfully, are not. No plastic joystick or console controller can compete with the feel of a decent arcade stick (such as those in the X-Arcade range, available in NZ from http://www.athomedownunder.com/ ), particularly when playing games of the Street Fighter variety. For those who don’t own an arcade stick however the PS2’s dual shock controller is more than adequate for most titles in the compilation.
Sound and graphics, although decidedly cringe-worthy by today’s high standards, are delightfully arcade authentic. From the blocky, garishly coloured sprites to the scratchy, distorted 8-bit sound - all of which was considered cutting edge technology back then, it was a real trip down memory lane.
The selection of titles on the compilation includes something for everyone, with beat-em-ups, side-scrollers and platformers the predominantly featured genres.
The full list of games (some more popular overseas than in NZ) is:
• Black Tiger
• Block Block
• Captain Commando
• Eco Fighters
• Knights of the Round
• The King of Dragons
• Last Duel
• Mega Twins
• Magic Sword
• Quiz & Dragons
• Side Arms
• The Speed Rumbler
• Street Fighter
• Super Street Fighter II Turbo
• Three Wonders
• Tiger Road
All in all, Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 2 definitely holds more appeal and replay value to retro gamers than to anyone else, so with that in mind I can heartily recommend it as a worthwhile addition to your retro collection.