The newly released Capcom Fighting Collection consists of 10 games from the golden age of Capcom fighters in the late 90s-early 2000s brought to modern consoles. Compilations can be surprisingly tricky, getting old games to not only run well but add new content to them to make it worth buying them can be a tough act to get right.
Now that it’s out I can safely say that this is video game preservation at its best, each game plays perfectly, with solid online, greater accessibility for newcomers, and a few extras thrown in for good measure.
In the Capcom Fighting Collection, you get a range of ten classic beat’em ups that while niche today make up some of the most influential and creative games to have graced the arcades. Here’s a good rundown of what’s on offer:
There are five Darkstalkers games included in the collection:
- Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors
- Night Warriors: Darkstalkers’ Revenge (Vampire Hunter)
- Vampire Savior: Lord of The Vampire
- Vampire Hunter 2
- Vampire Saviour 2
Darkstalkers is a fighting game series about various monsters from myths and pop culture brought into one bloody good fighter. I recently wrote a feature about why this monster mash is such a good series and important to fighting games as a whole but let’s go over it quickly: these are some of the most creative and beautifully animated characters ever put into a fighting game from zombies rock stars to a kung-fu werewolf.
I’ll admit that Darkstalkers 1 is a little slow by today’s standards but that may be due to just how smooth Vampire Savior is, by the far the best title out the bunch. It added four of the best character in the series including psychotic Devilman and psychotic Red Riding Hood and amped up the speed and combos to the point where it almost feels like an Arc System Works title.
I will say though that while I know these are supposed to be arcade accurate, it is a bit of a shame that there isn’t a version with the complete 18-character Darkstalker roster like the PS1 and PSP versions of Darkstalkers.
That being said, you still have five games to choose from, and when you have Morrigan, Lilith, and Felicia in Vampire Saviour, are you really going to miss Huitzil?
Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness
Most people probably only know Cyberbots from the appearance of Jin Satome in Marvel vs Capcom 2. Well, this is his original game and while he can’t make his clothes explode off, he can actually use his giant robot to fight other giant robots.
Cyberbots is a rather experimental fighting game, it allows you to pair a pilot (who doesn’t actually do anything besides changing the win quotes) with any of the different mechs and select between different models of each mech. There are a lot of combinations to experiment with and it keeps the game feeling fresh.
In battle, the mechs are a lot faster than I’d thought they’d be but hit extra hard. It’s a small thing but I really like how the background building gets destroyed as you fight past them, giving you a scale of how much chaos your creating. You can also break parts away from your opponent can disable some of their attacks similar to Samurai Shodown. Overall a really interesting fighter that I’m glad I got to try.
As there are too many Gundam references in this game. One of the robots is basically just a Zaku.
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo/Gem Fighter
Probably the biggest surprise of this collection, we have two parody fighting games featuring an adorable chibi art style.
Puzzle Fighter isn’t even a fighting game but rather a competitive Puyo-Puyo-style block-stacking game. You have to stack blocks of the same color until a special sphere of that color drops and lets you blow them up. This in turn drops more blocks on your enemy. It isn’t a fighting game per se but It adds a nice bit of variety.
Gem Fighter is a 2D fighting game but a more lighthearted take. Hitting your opponents will drop gems you can pick up to charge up your supers. The moves in the game involve characters changing into different outfits and using gag items for weapons. The stages are also riddled with cameos, it’s all very cute.
As you can imagine this is very much a fanservice game for those that want a more party-oriented fighting game and as someone who knew little about the game going in, it was a lot of fun. While the more serious fighting games are great, it’s cool to have a game where you can fool around with cute characters with flat-out goofy ways to attack.
If you want a game where you can unwind after playing the more competitive fighting games, this is a great casual game that I’m glad they included.
Hyper Street Fighter II: Anniversary Edition
At this point, I’m sure everyone’s played Street Fighter II to death but it can’t really be a Capcom fighting game collection without it the game that basically started fighting games, and this is probably the best version to include.
Hyper Street Fighter II: Anniversary Edition allows you to fight with any version of the Street Fighter 2 cast. You can have the SFII Turbo version of Cammy duke it out with the SFII Championship Edition version of E.Honda. Like Cyberbots, it was exciting to go wild with the different combinations and take it out on the streets.
Probably the most anticipated game in the collection for me. This will be the first time that Red Earth has been made available on consoles after being arcade exclusive for almost 25 years. I’ve been waiting to play it for ages and not only is it good but it was such a different experience from most other fighting games.
Red Earth is a single-player-oriented fighter. You pick one of four characters and set out to stop a great evil by fighting eight AI-controlled enemies, similar to the original Street Fighter. And these enemies truly are larger than life, consisting of some of the best sprite art Capcom has ever made. I dare say it even rivals Street Fighter III. You have a slimy trident-wielding Kraken, a vicious flying harpy, and a t-rex that takes up the entire screen. It’s simply breathtaking.
The game also has a number of RPG mechanics. You can level up at the end of each round which will unlock new special moves for your character to try. Enemies will also drop items that can restore health.
While there is a multiplayer mode, you can only use the four playable characters so there isn’t much to it. Even so, it’s an incredibly unique take on a fighting game that I’m so glad has finally made its way off arcades for more people to experience.
Fighting game purists will be happy to know that each game is practically identical to the original arcade versions. They all feel on-point with no frame lag or jank as well as in their original 4:3 aspect ratio. You can change the screen including adding CRT lines and wallpapers giving the game a more personalized touch and recreating that 90s arcade aesthetic.
Since most of the games are six-button fighters, you can also map the extra two buttons on the controller to super or special moves that can be harder to pull off. Veterans may cringe at the idea but for newcomers, I think these are a welcomed edition that can help them to play better without fundamentally changing the game the way other fighting game handicaps can.
Also if you plug an arcade stick into the game, it automatically maps out the buttons to the right configuration for each game.
The menu is likewise clean and easy to navigate with a sweet hip-hop theme playing in the background. The game allows you to change the setting of each game in the menu before you start playing, making customizing matches far easier. You can also boot straight into the training mode, which is very convenient.
The only real problem is that you can’t soft reset from within the game. If you want to say, change the speed of the matches or select a new character mid-match, you have to completely leave, make the change and come back.
Taking the game online was fine but with the occasional problem. The game’s rollback netcode kept the games functioning and solid for the most part although there were a couple of games where it could get a little choppy, likely due to me or the 2nd player not having the best internet. It’s still mostly playable but make sure your connection is good.
I also think it’s a problem that the game doesn’t have crossplay. While these games are great, they’re still niche 20-year-old arcade games so I can see them having issues maintaining a player base after a few months, and segmenting them to different consoles isn’t going to help in that regard.
Besides that, the menus are once again easy to understand. You have casual, ranked and private matches which are made better by the option to play through training or arcade mode until you find an opponent meaning you aren’t wasting time sitting around in the menus.
Finally, there are a nice amount of collectibles in the game for the Capgod faithful. The Museum Mode lets you look at old concept art from each game. A lot of the art admittedly has appeared before in previous games/art books and some games have way more than others.
You can also listen to Museum’s music tracks from each game although you can only do so within the music library. As such, I’m not sure how much use people will get out of this but hey if you’re having a house party, Jon Talbain’s Vampire Hunter theme is a bop.
Overall these don’t do a lot but they’re still more content that shows off more history from each of these games and I can’t say no to that.
The Capcom Fighting Collection is a love letter to Capcom’s arcade glory days. Each of the ten games in the collection is perfectly emulated, playing just as well as they did back then, perfect for local play, and mostly solid for online.
The fact that I can finally play Red Earth without having to raid a temple for an ancient arcade relic is a miracle in itself. Combined with what is currently the best way to experience Darkstalkers, as well as Cyberbots and Gem Fighter no longer being stuck on the PS1 and you’ve got a collection that all those interested in fighting games or Capcom’s history should drop in a quarter for.
If you’ve played Capcom’s more recent fighting games or recent fighting games in general and want to see where these button bashers truly starting to evolve with better animation, experimental gameplay, and cute monster girls, this is a very accessible place to start.
|Ten classic fighters perfectly recreated for modern consoles||The lack of soft reset in-game can be annoying|
|Red Earth is finally available outside arcades||Crossplay would have been a good feature to include for the longterm|
|New quality of life options make the games far more accessible and convenient to get into|
Capcom Fighting Collection is available for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC via Steam.