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August 2022

Capcom Fighting Collection

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Fighting
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: June 24, 2022


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PC Review - 'Capcom Fighting Collection'

by Cody Medellin on July 7, 2022 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

It's time to throw hands, drop gems, cast spells, and crush ‘bots! Capcom Fighting Collection features 10 iconic titles, including two Darkstalkers games for the first time ever outside of Japan.

Capcom has long had a history in different genres, and there have been some big hits along the way: beat-'em-up with Final Fight, horror with Resident Evil, and action platformer with Ghosts 'n Goblins. For many players who grew up in the '90s, Capcom was synonymous with fighting games. Street Fighter II is the most successful of them all, but many will also point to Darkstalkers, Rival Schools, and the Vs. series as titles that cemented Capcom as a fighting game powerhouse. After a beat-'em-up bundle, Capcom has rounded up 10 of its fighting games into the Capcom Fighting Collection, and the title selection features some of the more popular options.

Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition may initially seem like padding, since we've seen the series represented in Capcom Arcade Stadium and Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection. However, this entry is different as it is more of a remix of the five iterations of Street Fighter II that were released throughout the '90s. Depending on the fighter you've chosen, you'll be able to play as its specific incarnation from Street Fighter II to Super Street Fighter II Turbo, with game-specific moves including the ones coming from the special meter. It makes for some interesting matchup scenarios for those who are adept in that classic series. The ability to play as Akuma gives players a reason to give this one a shot, especially if they missed it more than 20 years ago.

Cyberbots: Fullmetal Madness is one of the few Capcom fighters to trade the company's six-button control scheme for a four-button one, with one of the buttons dedicated to boosting. It also happens to be its only 2D fighter of the sprite era to have everyone fight as a robot. The character roster is smaller compared to most other fighters, but the ability to choose different robots adds some variety and makes for an interesting title.

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo stands as the odd one out since it is a puzzle game that happens to be of the head-to-head variety, where you can make matches to dump garbage blocks on your opponent's playfield and try to survive longer. It follows the standard fighting game rules of winning two rounds to win the match, but the puzzles aren't of the match-three variety. Instead, you'll manipulate sets of two colored blocks out of four possible colors, and you need to make them connect with a greater orb to create matches and send garbage to the opponent. It's simple to learn but comes with a ton of depth due to the various block strategies and each character's attack patterns. It remains an absolute blast, but the only lament is that this isn't the HD Remix edition, where fast drops can be done with the Up button.

Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix's inclusion is because it remains one of the few Capcom fighters that features its trademark depth and plenty of humor. Like Cyberbots, the game uses only four buttons, with one of them being used specifically for special attacks. Despite the simplified controls, the special move system from Capcom's other fighters still work here, and you can bust out a number of combos by hitting the punch or kick buttons alone. Gems can be collected by beating up your opponent or through treasure chests, and players can use them to get powerful special moves, but like Puzzle Fighter, the main appeal for many will be the chibi characters. Everyone from your fighters to the characters in the back are done in this style, so even the Darkstalkers characters look cute. It also helps that special moves and combos come with immediate costume changes, making this a serious fighter that's still playful and easy enough for newcomers to grasp.

The highlight of the package is Red Earth, as it is the one title that didn't get very wide distribution. The first title to use Capcom's CPS3 board, which would later power the Street Fighter III and JoJo series, it spent the power not on animations but on large spires that moved with the same fluidity as normal-sized characters. It also happens to be a divisive fighting game, as the experience is very different depending on how you play.

If you're playing as a solo experience, then you'll find this to be more of a boss rush mode with fighting game mechanics. Choose from one of four heroes, and you'll go up against some towering bosses until you reach the evil wizard that's threatening to spread evil across the world. The game employs an XP system, where you'll gain resistance to some elements and new moves, and there's a password system to save your character progress so you can level them further in the future. The campaign is short but tough, but it's forgiving. Continuing on the spot means fighting a boss again with the same health they had when you lost, so that's a legitimate tactic if you want to beat the campaign.

If you're playing this as a traditional versus fighting game, prepare for some disappointment because there are only four fighters to choose from. Those who play the campaign have an advantage, as they can enter their password to use powered-up characters, but the game's tiny roster is glaring. It is nice to see the title finally come home, but this is really for those who value playing against the CPU instead of others in their fighting games.

The rest of the package is dedicated to the Darkstalkers series, which has become a cult classic, with some of the characters appearing in other games over the years. All five of the monster-inspired games are here, starting with the first Darkstalkers that introduced ideas like crouching walks and air blocking. Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge ups the playable character count from 10 to 14 but also adopts the strategy of letting you store several levels of the special gauge throughout a match. You can only use a small portion of it, not the whole thing. Vampire Savior made the series go fast, as everyone has one health bar with two levels, and rounds immediately start once one level has been drained. Vampire Hunter 2 and Vampire Savior 2 are more like updates to Vampire Savior, as they simply switch up some of the roster to include characters from older entries. Even though fans may still be clamoring for a new entry, the release of all five titles in one package on modern platforms is a good consolation prize.

Taking a page from Capcom Arcade Stadium, there are a number of options for each game. Except for Vampire Hunter 2 and Vampire Savior 2, which are in Japanese only, every game in the collection can be played with either its Japanese or North American version. Every game has things like difficulty and meter toggles, and those with special characters can have them unlocked and selectable from the outset. Aside from that, every game has its own training mode, which is perfect considering the age and lack of availability for some of them.

Beyond the games, there's the expected Museum mode, which is split into illustrations and music. There's plenty of advertising art, cabinet art, and general sketches for all 10 games as well as stuff made for the collection itself, so there's plenty to peruse. The music section also contains just about every track used for all 10 titles, and with almost all of the music being pleasant to listen to, it's easy to find something to like. What's surprising is the soundtrack for this compilation, which goes for a hip-hop/lo-fi style that fits with a fighting game kind of mood. If it weren't for it being available in the Museum mode, the music would be good enough that you'd simply sit through the menus to soak it in.

For those who want to play online, every game in this collection can be played online. You can search for the games you want as opposed to loading them up individually to see if someone is playing. While you can wait around in the menu, you can also choose to wait in the museum or in-game, so you can keep yourself busy while looking for a fight. This employs rollback netcode, and based on our time with the game, the performance is as good as you'd hope. We did some online play during the review period with a small population of reviewers, we found the performance to be good, which bodes well for when Street Fighter 6 hits, since that's scheduled to use the same rollback code. The only issue we have is that the lack of cross-play means a smaller pool of players, which might not bode so well for the longevity of online play, depending on your platform of choice.

If you're a big fan of classic Capcom or old arcade games in general, the big issue you'll run into with this collection is repetition. The presence of the Capcom Arcade Stadium has made a majority of the games feel redundant. This isn't much of an issue with the first collection, as only Cyberbots gets a repeat showing, but it'll be a bigger deal one month from now when Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium arrives; six titles (Darkstalkers, Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition, Night Warriors, Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and Vampire Savior) also make an appearance there. If you're focused on just fighting games, there is no word on whether the compilation will have the desired rollback netcode. For those who are bound to collect all of the games in that collection due to the potential discount it offers versus buying individually, the number of repeats isn't very enticing.

Repetition aside, Capcom Fighting Collection acts as a great companion piece to the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, bringing out all of the other non-licensed fighting games the company has done over the years to a variety of platforms. The overall selection is solid with a bevy of presentation options, while the extras feel comprehensive if you aren't looking for movies or the histories behind the games. The online play performs well thus far, so fans of 2D fighting games will be happy.

Score: 8.0/10

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