Capcom’s little experiment in reworking some of its many arcade games back into the minds and hands of gamers around the globe is definitely working, folks. Capcom Arcade Cabinet (so far in its second wave of three games) is not only a must-buy collection whether you do it now or in May when the entire set of 15 titles becomes available as a single purchase, it’s probably going to be the way to go should other companies decide to get HD versions of their classics out onto consoles (*cough* Konami! Sega! Tecmo! *ahem* for starters). Sure, there’s no Wii U, Vita or 3DS version on the way as far as I know (a bit of a sticking point for those Nintendo-only gamers or Sony fans who’d LOVE to take some or all of these on the road), but for sheer nostalgia value, this trip down memory lane will have your fingers and brain merrily tapping and plotting away as you take on some oldies that still pack a mean punch.
The first two Game Packs contain six gems that should test your skills and get you more than warmed up for the rest of the collection as it pops up every week until late May. Black Tiger, 1943: Battle of Midway and Avenger make up the 1987 pack and Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Gun.Smoke and Section Z make up the 1985 pack. All of these are pretty challenging (just like they were back in the arcades), but Capcom has added a casual mode if you’re too scared to try these as intended. This concession to the weak is one of the only major gripes I had with this set, but I guess Capcom didn’t want folks used to easier finger-sliding and tapping games on phones or tablets suing them when they got mad and started throwing or jumping up and down on their PS3 or Xbox 360 controllers (or worse, consoles). That said, the PSN version allows for unlimited continues, so even if you’re terrible at any of these games, patience always pays off in the end. That and it’s just great to see how HARD many of these older arcade games were.
In addition to spiffy HD visuals and enhanced sounds, there’s online co-op supported through PSN or Xbox Live Arcade should you choose to use it. Personally, I prefer my second player nearby so I can shove an elbow to the ribs in a versus game or if my so-called “buddy” slacks off a bit, but I guess this more modern approach allows more people to try out the harder games with a bit of assistance whenever they want. Your friends might not be available 24 hours a day, but there’s a good chance that you can get someone online any time you long on. PSN users also get to record and upload replays to YouTube (360 owners can only post screenshots to Facebook) and there’s a music player function that’s quite cool as it allows you to whip up your own playlists. Personally, I like the music where it is, as I remember playing most of these games in the arcades back in the day and those old tunes bring back plenty of memories of quality time spent struggling with some of these games.
Other than the lack of the ports mentioned above (OK, I can see some non-emulator using PC owners wanting these as well), this is shaping up to be an excellent start for Capcom reviving many of its old hits (and a few almost hits). A disc version would be VERY nice indeed for those non-PSN/XBLA users and yes, Wii U gamers who can’t get online, but again, that’s up to Capcom to think about as sales figures on this collection roll in. In a perfect world, this would be out on anything that can play games, but the current “free to play” or dollar game nonsense of selling a business model or “service” has been biting the hand and ass of the industry a bit hard these days. Thankfully, these arcade classics show the pure power of replay value and each game set is more than worth the purchase price.
There are still some major to minor games missing from this first collection, so I’m hoping to see Capcom consider late 80’s to 90’s stuff such as Forgotten Worlds, MERCS, The Punisher (hell, ALL the Marvel arcade games Capcom produced) and hopefully (the much wanted by way too many fans) two Dungeons & Dragons arcade games, Tower of Doom and Shadow over Mystara, which NEED to be out there after far too long as an overpriced Sega Saturn import. I’m betting if those rights clearances can be worked out, this will be one of the better-received, especially if 1997’s Battle Circuit is the third game in that package deal. Of course, all of that probably depends on how many buy up this first collection, so if this floats your boat, go snap this up and set the course for the future, I say…