Capcom have been a big player in the downloadable titles market for quite some time, bringing both brand new titles and updated versions of their classic franchises to the Xbox Live Marketplace. Now the developer is bringing a selection of its favourite downloadable titles to those who may not have access to the online service, or may rather just have something they can hold in their hands, in the form of the Capcom Digital Collection, which includes 8 titles from a range of genres.
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
It only seems right to start with Street Fighter given that its one of Capcom’s most well known and prestigious franchises and will be the first game you see in the collection, sitting proudly at the top of the box art and at the front of the menu system.
It is obvious from the start that this title is aimed at true fighting game fans. The game expects you to know the basics of not only the genre, but more specifically the Street Fighter franchise before you hit start. The fighting controls are as precise as ever and pulling off combos will be much easier for series veterans than newcomers like myself. It took me a good few hours to learn even the most basic of combos for a single character and even longer to build up enough experience to feel confident in my fighting abilities.
Although the gameplay has been tweaked slightly to be more accessible, hardcore fighting game fans will feel more comfortable than others in the game’s no thrills environment. Gamers who are accustomed to modern fighters may find themselves disappointed by the game’s lack of extra modes and unlockables, whereas others will be happy to play in a purely competitive environment – gaining a sense of accomplishment through beating others in match lobbies, rather than playing through single player modes.
Even though it’s one of the least popular titles in the collection, Flock appealed to me more than any other game on the disc. I find it very easy to get lost in a puzzle game, especially when that game has an interesting concept and character – something which I was pleased to find Flock! is packed with.
In the game, the player takes control of a UFO which has been tasked with herding sheep and returning them to a spaceship known as the Motherflocker. This may sound easy, but clever level design adds an extra challenge the simple idea. Ramps and walls prevent animals from running straight towards the ship and sheep are scattered across the level, which often makes it difficult to gather enough of them at a time.
Pleasing patchwork aesthetics, an upbeat soundtrack and cute squeaky animal noises add a lot of charm to a game that could quite easily have turned out to be a bland puzzler doomed to find success in later life, possibly as an iOS port. With heaps of content in the form of single player and multiplayer levels, as well as a level creator, this will keep you coming back from more.
Although the game is one of the better puzzle games I’ve played lately, it does have its flaws. The biggest of which is its tendency to frustrate if you play it for extended amounts of time. Sheep will continuously walk into trees and walls, or fall to their death, which will more often than not cost you a high score. Look past these frustrations though and you won’t want to leave your TV until hunger strikes.
Bionic Commando Rearmed 2
In 2008, Capcom’s classic franchise Bionic Commando, received a new lease of life in the form of a downloadable title, which took the form of an enhanced remake of the original NES game. Sadly, for whatever reason, this didn’t make it onto the digital collection. Its 2011 sequel, however, did.
Unlike its predecessor, Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 is an entirely new game, with a new story and new gameplay mechanics. The most noticeable of which is the inclusion of jumping. A simple mechanic, but one that I felt was missing from the first game and means you can now explore levels with ease.
It would have been nice for Capcom to speed things up a bit, either by giving your character’s bionic arm more power, or giving Nathan a faster set of feet. As it stands, it’s fairly difficult to swing through levels using the arm and one can only imagine flying through levels at breakneck speeds, swinging from platform to platform – a dream that never comes true during the course of the game.
Although the levels work well with Nathan’s bionic arm, providing a number of platforms for you to grapple onto and swing from, the design of each level is relatively uninspired with no stand out areas that will put a smile on your face.
Gunplay within the game is simple, but can get boring at time as the rinse and repeat nature of killing enemy after enemy will begin to tire in the dull environments you’re thrown into. The story is fairly weak too and much like other games in the title, the basic presentation of talking character heads probably doesn’t do it justice.
It’s hard to avoid the fact that this feels like a step down from its predecessor, with lacklustre levels and a weak storyline, which is why it was an extremely odd decision for Capcom to include the weaker sequel in the collection and not the superior first instalment.
Final Fight: Double Impact
Final Fight: Double Impact is one of the more nostalgic games in the collection and serves as a great trip down memory lane for anybody who remembers playing the original arcade game.
Final Fight: Double Impact stays true to its roots, with upscaled visuals and colours that pop on an HD TV, whilst retaining a retro look through traditional character sprites and arcade cabinet presentation, which is a nice touch even if it doesn’t make you feel like you’re really stood in an arcade. Maybe if it was in 3D.
Capcom have done a great job of implementing drop-in/ drop-out co-op into the game, which allows you to join a friend or a stranger almost instantly and heaps of unlockables will have you coming back for more, especially if you’re a perfectionist.
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
Although the name would suggest otherwise, this is and HD remake of the first and only game in the Puzzle Fighter series and it’s no coincidence that its name bears more than a small resemblance to that of Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, as this clever puzzle game spoofs not only the Street Fighter series, but also Darkstalkers.
If it wasn’t for the comedic nature of its spoof elements, Puzzle Fighter would be nothing more than a standard tile-matching game. However, the inclusion of familiar characters from other games and a fantastic soundtrack help to make the title one of the best puzzle games you’ll ever play.
Puzzle Fighter is a great game in its own right though, with heaps of content and a variety of different modes that will help to mix up the experience if things start to get a little boring. This is one of the most feature packed and addicting puzzle experiences available today, with 4 player multiplayer adding yet another incentive to keep playing.
1942 Joint Strike
Just like the two HD Remix titles on the collection, 1942 Joint Strike is a remake of one of Capcom’s classic titles; however as the original dates back to 1984, the upgrades and additions here are more impressive than anywhere else on the disc.
Developer Backbone Entertainment has taken elements from other games in the series, to enhance the experience and make today’s gamers feel more at home and in the process, create a more complete package than you’d expect from a downloadable remake.
1942 was one of Capcom’s first major hits and it’s easy to see why when playing Joint Strike. The simple concept of the top-down plane shooter is enhanced by accurate controls, interesting enemy placements and refreshing boss fights.
There have been a lot of copycat games since the release of the original 1942, which is why it’s no surprise to see the franchise take reign once again as king of the genre. If you like planes, guns or video games, you’ll most likely find something to enjoy here and you’ll want to enjoy it time and time again.
Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3
Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 is a sequel to Capcom’s 1983 arcade game, Commando, and the third game in the series. Unfortunately though, Wolf of the Battlefield isn’t likely to leave an imprint in the history of video games and is likely to be remembered as just another top-down shooter.
It really is surprising that Wolf of the Battlefield wasn’t named Tanks and Guns: The Video Game, as this is what the game is about right from the start. Characters, including the protagonist, make no noises other than grunts and the game doesn’t have any real connection with its player outside of barely animated comic-esque cutscenes.
The level design in the game is much better than other top-down shooters, with plenty of items to take cover behind and some destructible items making the action slightly more interesting at times. It’s just a shame that everything else feels so hollow and so boring that you’ll want to put the controller down only 10 minutes after you’ve picked it up.
Wolf of the Battlefield provides a great opportunity to jump into a game for a short period of time and enjoy yourself for the sake of enjoying yourself then, but don’t expect this sense of fun to last for very long.
Rocketmen: Axis of Evil
Rocketmen: Axis of Evil didn’t appeal to me when it was first released. I don’t know why, but releasing a top down shooter based on a discontinued constructible strategy game just didn’t seem like a great idea, which is why I was surprised to see the game included in the Capcom Digital Collection. I was even more surprised that it was amongst the 8 titles on the disc when I found out just how much of a mess this game really is.
During its original release, Capcom seemed to make a big deal of the game’s character customisation, which in reality consists of a few very basic options and adds nothing to the experience whatsoever, especially when every character model in the game is tainted by stiff animation that is nothing short of horrible to look at.
Once you’ve created your character, the game will chuck you onto a spaceship and expect you to kill hordes and hordes of identical alien creatures, for reasons not fully explained by the laughable animated comic strips that have been tasked with telling the game’s story. It’s a typical top down shooter affair, with the left stick controlling your character’s movement and the right stick being used to control the direction your bullets will be fired.
The game does have one redeeming quality, in that the well implemented co-op mode will allow you and a friend to laugh at the game’s repetitive, bland levels and horrific voice acting together. Not only is Rocketmen a poor game in itself, but it also highlights the main problem with the Capcom Digital Collection as a product – It really is just a collection of titles that are currently available to download. There’s not a single graphical or technical upgrade and with the exception of free DLC for Rocketmen, there’s no additional content at all.
Although there’s a few games that hold the collection back a bit, there is enough great content here to make the Capcom Digital Collection worth a purchase, especially at the low asking price. It’s just a shame that Capcom didn’t put more effort into choosing a greater selection of games, or at least giving something extra to those who have bought the disc.
Rating: Good Review Policy (version tested: Xbox 360)
The Capcom Digital Collection is out this Friday on Xbox 360 and is available to order from ShopTo now for £19.85.