After eight weeks and 45 dollars, we have come to the final Capcom Arcade Cabinet update. Between February 19 and April 16, Capcom managed to release 15 classic arcade games from the 1980s on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. We've revisited the company's best games (Ghosts 'N Goblins, The Speed Rumbler), as well as their worst (Legendary Wings, Trojan). And after months of complaining about high prices, it has finally brought us to this point. The Capcom Arcade Cabinet is complete.
This final package brings us three old school arcade games from 1984 -- SonSon, 1942 and Pirate Ship Higemaru. This package also unlocks the final two games in the collection, a special bonus for fans who bought all five overpriced packages. After months of speculation, the two bonus games are Vulgus and 1943 Kai.
Before I take a closer look at the three classic arcade games found in this $10 pack, let's first spend a moment talking about the now-complete Capcom Arcade Cabinet. This is far from the first time Capcom has packaged these games together, and it shows. With its slick interface and wide assortment of options, it's obvious that Capcom has built on what they've learned from each of the past compilations.
As an emulation of old school arcade games, Capcom Arcade Cabinet is one of the best. Not only does it offer arcade-perfect visuals and sound effects, but it also contains multiple versions of each game. Now players can choose between the international and domestic releases, which can sometimes feel like drastically different games. It's small touches like this that tell me that this is aimed specifically for collectors and old school aficionados.
Perhaps my favorite addition is the Casual Mode, which allows players to customize the experience they are looking for. With the flick of a switch, SonSon will be granted more lives and Ghosts 'N Goblins will finally be beatable. For the first time ever, some of these notoriously difficult games can be enjoyed by casual players, gamers who aren't looking for a frustrating challenge. This is the kind of added value I would like to see included in all future classic game collections.
But as good as this collection is, I do take issue at the high price and relatively small amount of games. PSP and PS Vita owners can pick up nearly 40 of Capcom's biggest arcade hits for half the price of this collection, and that includes Street Fighter II, Ghouls 'N Ghosts and many other classics missing from this compilation. It's a shame that Capcom didn't offer a wider variety at a better price point.
This week's package features two popular additions, as well as one rare Capcom gem that never made its way outside of Japan. While not the showstoppers Capcom could have released in their final week, this is definitely the most consistent of the five weeks. Let's take a closer look at each game and find out why.
Of the 17 classic arcade games featured in this Capcom collection, three of them are from the 19XX franchise. Having already released 1943: The Battle of Midway and given 1943 Kai away for free, it's time to go back to the game that started it all -- 1942. Despite having fewer power-ups and a noticeably simpler look, 1942 remains an instantly playable overhead shooter.
Players fight through 32 action-packed levels, shooting down Japanese airplanes and taking on enemy battleships. The game mostly takes place over the bright blue ocean, immediately giving 1942 a different look from the countless space shooters that came before it. There may be flashier games in the Capcom Arcade Cabinet, but few are as addictive as 1942. Say what you will about SonSon and Pirate Ship Higemaru, but 1942 is a fitting way for Capcom to end this compilation.
SonSon mixes the fun of horizontal 2D shooters with a side-scrolling platformer. This weird action game sees our hero weaving his way through six different layers of platformers in order to dodge, shoot and destroy all kinds of nasty enemies. Players pick up vegetables and plants, while avoiding killer fish and fighting entire buildings full of armed guards. Thankfully SonSon is able to shoot in all directions, giving him everything he needs to save his friends.
Despite all of the disparate mechanics at work, SonSon ends up being an enjoyable romp. Like many games of the era, it becomes repetitive in a hurry. Instead of creating new graphics between levels, stages will turn different colors and loop around in order to fool the audience. We are now fooled. Repetition aside, I was impressed with the game's large cast of villains and fast pace.
Pirate Ship Higemaru
Released one year after Bomberman, Pirate Ship Higemaru feels like Capcom's response to Tecmo. Instead of exploding bombs, this 1984 arcade game is all about throwing large barrels at pirates. Some barrels offer valuable fish, others will have the invincibility anchor. Defeat enough pirates and it's on to the next maze.
While not as competitive as Bomberman, this overhead action game is a real surprise. The gameplay is fast and I enjoyed seeing all of the battle locations. Like so many arcade games released in 1984, Pirate Ship Higemaru is a bit too shallow for its own good. With a few more power-ups and a new paint job, this could be a really fun four-player battle for modern game systems.
This is the way the Capcom Arcade Cabinet ends; not with a bang, but with a whimper. These three games are good, but not the showstopper you might expect. These aren't the three games you'll come back to weeks and months down the road. On the other hand, 1942 is a genuine classic and SonSon isn't half bad. Plus, this is the first time American gamers have had a chance to experience Pirate Ship Higemaru. This is a solid, if unspectacular, end to a collection.