Hmmm, this is a strange one. It’s hardly the first time Capcom have put together a compilation, but it’s certainly the first time they have released one with such disparate qualities. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a solid enough collection of games and is certainly a decent enough deal if you haven’t already downloaded the games on offer, but other than all having been previously released on XBLA, there really is nothing to support the choice of the games on offer or to help explain some of the more bizarre omittances from the collection.
With eight games on the disc (nine if you include Magic Sword), Capcom’s Digital Collection will deliver hours upon hours of content for those who have yet to experience the charms of the games on offer here. While not delivering anything new for those who may have already picked them up online, for those without an internet connection, or for those who rarely dip a toe into the download only market, Capcom have put together a collection of games here, that while making little sense as an actual collection, are, for the most part, really rather good when approached on a game by game basis.
While it boggles the mind as to why Mega Man 9 and 10 haven’t made the collection or why Bionic Commando Rearmed failed to make the cut despite its inferior sequel making an appearance, on the whole, Capcom have put together an extremely eclectic mix of games that does a decent job of mixing old school gaming treats with more modern releases. While the only genuinely ‘’retro’ game comes in the form of sidescrolling classic, Final Fight (which comes combined with the aforementioned fantasy hack ‘n’ slasher, Magic Sword as part of the Final Fight: Double Impact release), there are a host of other games here that, while utterly old school in design, have either been re-imagined or simply re-skinned to fall in line with more modern visual standards.
From the utterly gorgeous HD makeover of Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo to the mostly successful returns to the Commando and 1942 franchises in the visually impressive, but ultimately old school, Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 and 1942: Joint Strike, fans of classic, arcade-style gaming will find a lot to take pleasure from here. Combine that with the always enjoyable, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix and, from a classic gaming basis, this digital collection certainly does a lot of things right.
Ok, so I still find it hard believe that they left out the truly brilliant Bionic Commando Rearmed, but its sequel, despite not being quite as good, and certainly being a game that loses much of the purity of the original remake/re-imagining, is a game that, in its own right, has arguably been unfairly treated up to this point and is probably due a reappraisal on its own terms. If nothing else, it’s certainly the more accessible of the two games, and once approached more objectionally is actually a very handsome, and extremely well put together side-scrolling shooter. I actually missed out on this game when it was released on XBLA and, despite its flaws, has turned out to be the surprise game of the package.
As for the more contemporary releases, well, they’re a bit more hit and miss. While both Flock! and Rocketman: Axis of Evil provide flashes of fun (well, Flock! does anyway), neither feel like they truly belong alongside the other games in the collection. Flock! in particular, with its cute and cuddly visual style and, dare I say, rather un-Capcom premise, is arguably the black sheep of the family (I can’t believe I’m actually leaving that in). It’s an enjoyable game and a nice departure from the more action-oriented titles on the list, but with so many other games to choose from, I’m genuinely surprised to see that Capcom’s herd-a-thon has made the cut. The same goes for Rocketman: Axis of Evil. Yes, its co-op, top down shooting action is more befitting of the collection, but honestly, Rocketman, like Flock!, doesn’t really feel like a Capcom release. Maybe it’s just the visual style (which I’m not too keen on if I’m to be honest), but if I had my way, it’s the one game that I’d happily see dropped from the collection completely. It’s the weakest of the bunch, and as I said, doesn’t particularly look or feel like a Capcom videogame.
Despite the overriding feeling that this could, and really should have been a more definitive collection of Capcom’s online offerings, there is no doubt that, for the most part, you’re getting a very strong selection of games here at a very reasonable price. Of course, the value will take a hit for anyone who may have already downloaded some of the titles included in the collection, but for those coming into this having not experienced the games beforehand, I find it very easy to recommend Capcom Digital Collection (even if Rocketman: Axis of Evil is a bit pants). If Capcom had left out Flock! and Rocketman in favour of the recent Mega Man releases and the first Bionic Commando Rearmed, then we could have had a truly exemplary compilation on our hands, but even as it stands, this is a solid, if disjointed collection that will deliver more than enough bang for ones hard earned buck.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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