Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Capcom Fighting Collection (Ver. 1.0.2) Review

Developer: Capcom
Platforms: XB, PC, PS, NS
Version Played: NS
Price: $40

DarkStalkers' 25th anniversary came and went and we never got a DarkStalkers Anniversary Collection. I guess Capcom Fighting Collection will have to do. It's not exclusively a DarkStalkers collection, but it has all the games, along with some deep cuts from Capcom's fighting game library, like Cyber Bots and Pocket Fighter. Super Puzzle Fighter is in here, too. It's a nice collection of games, and after a recent update, I had to give this another look.

Even after the update, the biggest thing this collection has going against it is that it's missing a lot of features found in other Capcom collections. Capcom Fighting Collection is sorely missing a real VS mode, like the one found in Street Fighter 30th anniversary Collection. Capcom Fighting Collection only has the same 2P modes found in the original arcade games, so you can't pick a stage or switch characters in between matches if you win, like in SF30AC. The emulator in CFC is also lacking key features available in Capcom Arcade Stadium, which has manuals, rewind, save states for each individual game, and emulator level speed settings. The emulator in Capcom Fighting Collection only has the most basic features such as the arcade's settings, a move list, button configuration, display settings, and 1 save state for all the games. Yeah, you have to share 1 save state between 10 games. I know they’re fighting games and playing through those arcade modes doesn’t take long, but still, 1 save state for 10 games is ridiculous. It almost sounds like a bug.
This collection does have some nice new features, though. CFC has all games on free play by default, so you don't have to mess with an insert coin button. It also lets you easily pick secret characters, like Akuma, without putting in a code on the character select screen. I totally missed this in my 1st review, but CFC also has training modes for all these games minus Puzzle Fighter. SF30AC only has training modes for 4 of its 12 games. The recent update also added an option to display hitboxes, which is great if you really want to learn how to play these games. I originally missed the training mode because you have to press the + button on the game selection screen to get to it, and the only thing that tells you this is some small scrolling text at the bottom of the screen.
Online play with rollback netcode is supposed to be the big special feature here, but you're going to have to set up a fighting game night with your Discord friends to enjoy it because there's nobody playing it. It has a cool implementation, though. It allows you to pick the games you want to play from a list and then lets you play whichever game you want while waiting for a match. All these games are playable online, too, unlike in SF30AC. I don't know if people just aren't playing this on Switch, but I wouldn't buy this with the intention of playing randoms online.
The display options are pretty good. It has 4:3 and pixel perfect aspect ratios in 4x its original resolution and stretched to fit the full screen vertically. It also has a stretched 16:9 mode for people with no respect for beautiful pixel art. Each game has 3 unique border wallpapers, which is better than only having the same 3 for every game, like other collections do, but seems low considering how much artwork of these games there is. You also get 8 different scanline filters with varying patterns and brightness levels. I don't usually use scanlines, but this seems like a good variety of styles.
The Museum is full of music and artwork from all the games. There's a lot of arcade cabinet art, flyers, and concept art here, which is really cool. It's not quite the art book's worth that's in Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, and it doesn't have all the history of the series stuff, but there's a lot of art from all these games here. The recent update also added an art shuffle mode which shuffles art from all the games like a screensaver.
The music player has repeat, shuffle, auto play, and the update added a mode that shuffles music from all the games, so it's a decent music player, but it doesn't let you make playlists or look at the artwork while you listen, which would've been cool. The music selection looks pretty nice. It has all the music recorded for the Capcom Fighting Collection, and it looks like it has all the music that's actually in the games. I noticed it's missing Sakura's vocal theme, though. "I Want You To Know" was a track you could play if you put the Super Puzzle Fighter II PS1 disc in a CD player. It was also unlockable in the GBA version. I don't think it was in the arcade game, but it should have been in here!
There are some great games in this collection; though, so let’s go over them!

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo (1996) - The only game in this collection that’s not actually a fighting game. SPFIIT is Capcom’s answer to Tetris and Puyo Puyo. It basically plays like Puyo Puyo with special blocks that clear connected colors instead of them clearing once you connect 4. It features chibi versions of characters from Street Fighter and DarkStalkers and is a parody of Capcom’s own fighting games right down to its name. We don’t get a lot of parody games these days, but it used to be a thing companies, like Konami and Capcom, did.
Pocket Fighter (1997) - Of course, when people saw Super Puzzle Fighter's cute characters, they had to have them in a fighting game! This is a 3 button game, with only punch, kick, and special, but it has real fighting game inputs. It also has stuff like dashing, supers, and all sorts of things that would be familiar to people who played Capcom's fighting games from this era. This game is even sillier than SPFIIT and is packed with Capcom references and cameos.
Cyberbots (1995) - A very Gundam-esque fighting game in which you play as mechs. It has a bunch of characters, but they all pilot the same mechs, so they all kind of play the same. It’s very floaty and clunky compared to Street Fighter and DarkStalkers, but maybe people who are into mechs like that? The main character, Jin, is much better known for his appearances in Marvel VS Capcom games. Jin might or might not be Ryu's descendant, and this might or might not be the future of the Street Fighter universe, so that's interesting.
Red Earth (1996) - This is the game Tessa comes from! It's the only game Capcom made for the CPS3 that wasn't called Street Fighter III. It's very experimental and kind of hard to even call a fighting game. It controls like a fighting game, but it's more like a boss rush game. Usually more like the Galactus in MVC3 kind of boss rather than the M. Bison kind of boss. It has experience, leveling, and uses passwords to save your progress. The weirdest thing is how bosses’ health carries over after you continue, as if this was a beat ‘em up or something. Even though this game has a bunch of characters you fight in single player, it only has 4 playable characters, so it's not much of a multiplayer game.
Hyper Street Fighter II The Anniversary Edition (2003) - This is the game Capcom released for Street Fighter's 15th anniversary. It's Super Turbo, but with the ability to choose any version of any character from any previous game. You can play as Champion Edition M. Bison, for example. This is the game they played the last time SFII was played on the main stage at Evo.
DarkStalkers (1994) - This game’s mythical monster theme and awesome artstyle made it stand out from every other fighting game at the time. It didn't play radically different from Street Fighter when it first came out, but this series is where a lot of mechanics we see in Street Fighter and Capcom’s Marvel games come from.
Vampire Hunter (1995) - This was called Night Warriors in English. It added new characters, stages, and introduced real EX moves, tech rolls, and pursuit attacks. It was a sequel to DarkStalkers, but all these are really more like Champion Edition style revisions.
Vampire Savior (1997) - AKA DarkStalkers 3. It added new characters and stages and introduced advancing guard and super jumps to the series. It also made it so that the winner's lifebar doesn't reset after KOs, essentially getting rid of rounds.
Vampire Savior 2 (1997) - A revision of Vampire Savior which rebalanced the game, switched out some characters and stages with ones from Vampire Hunter, and added Lilith.
Vampire Hunter 2 (1997) - This game came out at the same time as VS2. It’s more like VS2 with Vampire Hunter characters and the characters that weren’t in VS2 than it is a revision of Vampire Hunter. It plays just like VS2 and has Vampire Savior’s health system with no health resets after KOs.
This is a great bunch of games. If you care about Capcom's history, their art, and all that jazz, then yes, this is a must buy. I just don’t think it's going to be worth it for everyone. I mean, the art and music are nice, but I bet most people don't look at that stuff twice. And if you're not into the competitive aspect of these old games, you probably don't care about the training modes. The online is deserted, too, and that was its biggest selling feature. Six out of ten of these games are already on Capcom Arcade Stadium 2, and the rest will probably be there eventually. You could get these games there without online, but with a better emulator that lets you make a save state without overwriting another game's save. You could also just get the games you want for $4 each in CAS2 instead of spending $40 for this. I guess if you have friends who will play these games online with you, then CFC would be the way to go, but if you're only sort of interested in these old games, just check them out in CAS2.