In their heyday, Capcom were – along with Sega – masters of the amusement arcades releasing a string of hit games that would eagerly consume any change poured into it by ever hungry and enthusiast gamers. The days of the arcade are long gone with home consoles on a par with anything that arcade technology could deliver, and these classic games faded into nothing but memories…
That was until consoles reached a generational level to be powerful enough to run arcade emulators and deliver perfect recreations of these classics while offering ample storage to not only offer gamers a single retro arcade experience, but entire libraries at their disposal in a single software package. We’ve seen the likes of compilations from Taito, Namco, Atari, Sega, Midway and other so it was just a matter of time before Capcom looked to their back catalogue so this – and it’s sister compilation, the Capcom Classics Collection Remixed – were released for the PSP.
Now available as a download from the PSN Store for the Vita, it’s a surprisingly small download weighing in at just 334Mb. On offer as part of the package are no fewer than 19 classic games from Capcom’s library of games from the 80s with a healthy mixture of shooters, platform games, and beat-em-ups to keep most gamers happy. While some of the games in the collection – as you would expect – are some of the more obscure titles released, there are also some big hitters. In the set you’ll be able to find such classics as Commando, 1942, Street Fighter II, Ghosts ‘n Goblins and many more. In all honesty, I’d have to say that while technically there are 19 games available in Capcom Classics Collection Reloaded, there are a couple of occasions where games are variations of existing games – there are three versions of Street Fighter II for example – and with 1942 and its two immediate sequels you may feel a little disappointed.
On loading, the Main Menu presents you with four basic options – Play Game (which gives you access to the games themselves), Slot (which I’ll come onto shortly), Collection (which is where you’ll find the bonus art gallery, music player and extra features and Sharing. The Sharing option is probably the most interesting as it allows you to share six of the games with another PSP owner wirelessly for ad-hoc play. Temporarily for the duration of the game, it is sent to another PSP for play before being deleted at the end of the gaming session. Six games are available to share – a mix of single and multiplayer although surprisingly Street Fighter II isn’t one of them. It’s a great feature though and while not online, it does allow for multiplayer gaming with a single copy of the game. However, I would like to stress that I haven’t been able to test this game sharing element with two Vitas although it did work superbly using two PSPs.
Moving into the Play Game sub-menu and here you can cycle through all 19 games on offer. On the left you’re presented with the game’s original arcade logo and on the right is a video preview of the game in action so you can get a feel for the type of game that it is if it’s one you’re not familiar with. Each game has its own options screen where you can adjust the controls, general game and difficulty settings and even the background images. Remember that arcade games weren’t developed in widescreen so they naturally leave some of the screen blank so you have a few options of what to do with that empty space.
I won’t go into each of the games themselves as I would be here for an eternity but there really is a fabulous choice to sink your teeth into and they are all near arcade perfect. Controls can be configured to suit whatever feels most comfortable to you but default to use both the joystick and d-pad so you can use whatever you prefer… but as these are arcade games there’s nothing quite like playing them with a good old fashioned joystick so it’s the left stick for me on these and it works surprisingly well! Graphics and sound are understandably dated but still look good on the Vita’s OLED screen no matter what the game is. While the bass speakers that were found in most of the arcade originals can’t be reproduced with the Vita’s tiny speakers, leaving some of the sound and music a little tinny and muted, it’s nothing that a pair of earphones won’t put right to finish off the full arcade sound experience.
One really nice touch I liked with this collection was with the displays during the games. Most arcade cabinets didn’t conform to the 4:3 standard seen with televisions and instead had screens that had taller displays. With every game you can alter the aspect ratio on the Vita and alter the display to suite your personal tastes. There are no less than seven different display modes to choose from, ranging from a standard arcade mode, to a standard mode with the score / credit text to the side to my personal favourite – a 90 degree rotated full screen display. This one takes a little getting used to at first with the controls as the joystick ends up at the bottom and the buttons at the top but it looks fabulous!
I mentioned Slots earlier as an option from the Main Menu and this is something that links into all of the games in the collection. Each time you play a game, once all your lives are lost and you’ve used all your continues (or have chosen not to), you’re taken to a Stats Screen. Here you’re given an update on your performance on that game – the current score from that game, how long you played, what level you reached and general statistical information based on your current and long-term gaming sessions and these are stored for each and every game. However, as well as recording these, you’re awarded coins at the end of each game.
Coins? Well, you use these coin in the slot machine to gamble them away to your hearts content. It’s a traditional 3-wheel slot machine and the more coins you gamble, the more chances you have to win. 10 coins means that your winning line has to be horizontally across the middle. 20 coins adds a second winning line and so on to a maximum of five potential chances to win. Then just spin the wheels, stop each one separately and if you match three symbols (all based on Capcom characters / game related images) you win. The prizes are either extra coins or unlockable items for the Collection. These could be character or poster art from games, music tracks or even unlockable cheats to use during games. There are hundreds of unlockables and with only 7 available to unlock at any one time, it will take you some time to get everything!
At just £7.99 this really is exceptional value for money. Even with the duplication of themes with some of the games, when you consider that Capcom’s similar arcade engine – Capcom Arcade Cabinet for the PS3 – charges over £3 per game and even though it promises a greater overall range and has one title free, the long-term cost of the PS3 version would be astronomical. If – like me – you’re a fan of retro gaming then you can’t go wrong with this. While some games do show their age badly, there are still some real gems in here and even if you only find a few games you like, it’s an absolute bargain and the addition of the stats and slots, it will keep the completist occupied for weeks trying to unlock everything, and you can’t say fairer than that!
At A Glance
- Title: Capcom Classics Collection Reloaded
- Publisher: Capcom
- System: PSP
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: N / A
- Cross Play: N / A
- Online Multiplayer: No (Ad-hoc multiplayer for some games including game sharing)
- PlayStation TV Compatible: Yes
- Memory Card Space Needed: 334Mb