Initial release date: June 24, 2022
Genre: Action game
Platform: Playstation4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows
Series: Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, Cyberbots, Red Earth
"Review Copy Provided By Capcom"
In the last 2 decades Capcom has made it a point to rerelease the classic franchises in compilations for newer hardware and newer generations. Starting from the Sega Saturn and Playstation all the way up to the current console generation, Capcom has given numerous collections such as several for Street Fighter, Mega Man, Resident Evil, and their more obscure and classic franchises like Captain Commando in the Cappcom Beat Em’ Up Bundle and much more. Capcom has decided to make another collection that consists of fighting game classics to celebrate the companies 35 years of genre defining fighting games with the Capcom Fighting Collection which consists of 10 games that include the entire Darkstalkers series, Hyper Street Fighter II, Red Earth, Cyberbots, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, and Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix. Is this a collection worth getting or is this a collection of games better left to the annals of history? Let’s find out!
Given that I grew up in the 90s and got to experience the height of the arcade era and the birth of every fighting game franchise; This collection appeals to me for the simple fact of nostalgia and also because these are incredible games. Granted, these games are from MY ERA and likely won’t appeal to the generation that grew up in the 2000s and 2010s; yet there may be some who will find a lot to love from this compilation. The collection consists of:
·Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors
Night Warriors: Darkstalkers’ Revenge
Vampire Hunter 2 - Previously unavailable outside of Japan!
Vampire Savior 2- Previously unavailable outside of Japan!
Red Earth - Releasing for the first time outside of arcades!
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
Hyper Street Fighter II
Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix
Now, there will be many who will groan at the fact that there is another Street Fighter title in a compilation especially with it having its own as well as appearing in Capcom’s other Arcade compilation; and yet this is for many the definitive version of Street Fighter II as it allows you to select from every variation of the World Warriors from Vanilla SF II all the way up to Super Turbo X Grand Master Challenge (Japan Only) complete with their moves and buffs and debuffs from their respective game. So if you select the Street Fighter II: World Warrior version of Ryu and Ken then will have everything they had from that entry specifically and they won’t have access to the super meter or air Tatsumaki’s or their individual moves they gained from Super Turbo. This makes the match making process incredibly interesting as this changes up how you will approach the matches.
Since we got Street Fighter out of the way, let’s talk about the real star franchise of this collection of which happens to be Darkstalkers aka Night Warriors.
This series has been one of the most HIGHLY requested franchises from fans to have a return as there hasn’t been a new entry in this series since 1997 with Vampire Savior 2 which (along with Vampire Hunter 2) never released outside of Japan and all we got in the west that same year was Vampire Savior. This series has had a few compilations with 2005’s Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower for the PSP and 2013’s Darkstalkers Resurrection for PS3 and Xbox 360 of which both were teasers to see if we’d get a new franchises and yet we never did and hat’s including the infamous “DARKSTALKERS ARE NOT DEAD” promotion that was done by Capcom at an event in the 2010s. So why the history lesson here? Well it’s simple, Darkstalkers is a hype series that deserves to be acknowledged and it’s my hope that by letting you know this tid bit of the series’ history that you will come to understand why this collection including every game in the franchise is so important not only to fans of the series but also fighting game fans all around.
So, what’s it like to play Darkstalkers? Well it’s safe to compare this series and its mechanics to the Street Fighter Alpha series in that it has a anime-esque artstyle that makes the animations all look incredibly fluid and masterful even to this day some near 30 years since the first release. The series has some of the most original fighters this side of Street Fighter with the likes of Dmitri Maximoff, Jedah, Felicia, Pyro, and the most famous of the cast being the succubus Morrigan who has starred in more cross over games then she there are Darkstalkers titles and is arguably more famous than the franchise she comes from! Each entry plays differently from one another with Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors being the most basic entry and a good starting point with a solid roster while each subsequent enty had more and more mechanics added to them making these games still be some of the most grounded and complex fighters to this day! If you can play Street Fighter then you can play Darkstalkers as the same inputs for SF for the most part are used in this series.
So, what I’m saying is PLAY DARKSTALKERS!
Next up we have the hidden gem of this collection and the one title that’s never been released outside of arcades is Red Earth or Warzard as it’s known in Japan. This game was unique even for its time in 1996 as it is essentially a hack n slash, action RPG, semi-fighter that has not only a pretty involved story but also utilizes a password system to record character progress. This is one of the games from the era of when gaming companies were incredibly experimental, and during this era Capcom took all kinds of risks to innovate their games. This was one of the first CPS III games for Capcom’s new arcade board that was oddly stuck in the arcades since 1996 and has never received a home port until now. This game has you selecting one of 4 characters such as Leo and Tessa and diving into the fray as you go one on one with large bosses and gain new abilities as you progress in battles in the Quest mode. While this does have a versus mode where two players can duke I out, it is primarily a single player experience although it’s probably one of the most addictingly fun experiences in this collection outside of the standard fighting games.
Red Earth is the most experimental games in this collection next to Cyberbots but is also one of he most fun so make sure you check this one out.
Cyberbots: Fullmetal Madness is a mech fighter that was the debut of Jin Saotome who went on to be one of the most popular characters in Marvel Vs Capcom and Marvel Vs Capcom 2. In this game you select one of a handful of mech pilots and then select what type of mech they will pilot and then you’ll be brought into an arena to do battle. Rounds are best of 3 and before each battle you’ll be presented to some cutscenes between the combatants of which will give you some background into what each character’s relationships and motivations are. The controls in battle are fairly simple with you having a light and heavy attack, special weapon attack, and a boost ability. You’ll have your standard health bar along with a super meter that builds as you deal and receive damage and once built up, you can execute a super art using standard Street Fighter style motions which do a good chunk of damage.
Cyberbots is a game that is a lot of fun to experiment with each of the characters in order to find what’s a good combination for you and your playstyle.
Last up we have Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix. If you’re into Tetris then you’ll enjoy Puzzle Fighter as it is honestly one of the most addicting variations on the Tetris formula and is the game that started the trend of fighting games having a Tetris like game or mode and even had a full on mobile game at one point that was full of gacha and pay to win. As you stack up columns of gems in a row, you will see your fighter end up performing one of their signature moves such as Sakura or Ryu performing the Hadouken or Ken performing the Shoryuken or Morrigan performing her Soul Fist. The other half of this duology of games is Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix of which lifts the characters from Puzzle Fighter and puts them in a more traditional one on one fighter albeit with some twists. Since this game was aimed at being an easier to get into crossover title, the controls are simplified with you having a button for punch, kick, throw, special, item attack, and mega crush. As you battle you will collect gems of which you can eventually pull of the mega crush ability that’s highly damaging. You can do character specific item attacks such as Ken’s hammer smash and donkey kick which can be comboed into your normal attacks and super arts. All in all, this is a fighter that while simple, hides a lot of technical depth and is a lot of fun to get into all the ins and outs of what it has to offer.
With all the games and what they are out of the way, let’s talk about what all else is in this collection. You have the ability to select from the main menu either online or offline modes of which if you go online then you’ll be able to select any of these games and experience the superb rollback netcode which makes every battle feel as though you’re playing someone right next to you in the arcade. Offline mode gives you each game in their arcade perfect forms with the ability to select between the US and Japanese versions of each title (save for the last two Darkstalkers games) as well as modify the game difficulty and various dipswitches and controls.
The options menu gives you access to system wide settings such as the interfaces language, changing in-game controls for the Coin, Menu, and Start buttons, and view the collection agreement. The Music tab allows you to tinker with the volume settings and the sound you hear when you get a challenger online while the Network tab allows you to change up settings like your mic being muted or hot and the volume of it, what kind of input delay you want as well as setting the connection strength limits for online matches that you can be paired with. Last up is Credits of which lets you see who all worked on this collection.
There’s also an area called Extras where you can look at our Fighter Awards and a Museum where you can look at various artwork for each game and listen to various music tracks.
Downsides to this collection? Well, the only true downside to this collection is that there is no cross-platform play which is something that has started to be incorporated in a lot of games lately so depending on your platform also depends on how often you'll get to play others online although if you're an offline purist then this won't matter at all to you.
Long review aside, is the Capcom Fighting Collection worth it? To me as a long time fan of Capcom, fighting games, and as someone who grew up in the arcades it most certainly is and I would also say that if you are into retro games and or are interested in learning some gaming history and learning where a lot of these characters come from and seeing some of Capcom’s older and retired franchises then this is a must own especially with how amazing the netcode is if you decide to play online. I do feel above all that the fact that we finally have the entire Darkstalkers series in one collection is in and of itself worth the price of admission here and I hope this leads to us getting a new Darkstalkers entry. Get this collection now!