Monday, November 20, 2006

Capcom Classics Collection Remixed Post-Mortem

I picked up the PSP Capcom Classics Collection Remixed for two reasons. One, because I understood that David Sirlin had had a hand in it and was curious to see the results, and two, because I was really hanging out for some portable shoot-em-up action. It turned out to be an almost perfect anthology title, ruined by two nearly unforgiveable flaws.

This is a collection of Capcom's 80s and early 90s arcade hits. Note "arcade" - these are all the cabinet versions, not the console ports. You get 1941, Avengers, Bionic Commando, Black Tiger, Block Block, Captain Commando, Final Fight, Forgotten Worlds, Last Duel, Legendary Wings, Magic Sword, Mega Twins, Quiz & Dragons, Section Z, Side Arms, The Speed Rumbler, Street Fighter, Strider, Three Wonders, and Varth.

As best I can tell, they're all fairly accurate ports of the originals. The exception is the boardgame-esque trivia title Quiz & Dragons, which has had its mid 80s list of questions replaced with a new set more appropriate to the 21st century. (It's an improvement, trust me.)

There's bound to be some nostalgia in there for just about anyone who's over 20. The personal favourite for me is the short but charming Three Wonders, or possibly top-scrolling shoot-em-up Varth. Old-school brawler Final Fight is also a gem (as is any game featuring Metro City mayor Mike Haggar).

Each game comes with a couple of pages of in-game text describing the game and its history. You can also unlock some very relevant tips, cabinet and concept art, and music for each game by achieving some fairly easy in-game goals. There's also the option to play each game in a variety of visual modes, including a widescreen version to fit the PSP screen, a 90-degree rotated mode where you turn the PSP sideways to replicate an original cabinet display, and a remix mode which presents the original game in its original aspect ratio in the center of the screen, except with the HUD info shuffled off to the right.

Theoretically, the game supports multiplayer, and supports it quite well. Anyone running the game near you can tag in mid-game, exactly like at an arcade cabinet, and tag out just as easily when their "credits" run out. (The games all feature unlimited continues, by the way.) This would be an absolutely fantastic way to play these games, except that there's no download play - each player needs their own copy of the game.

I don't know about you, but it's a very rare occasion when I find another person who owns a PSP and even one of the same A-list games that I do I think the only non-download play I've ever got up and running has been Liberty City Stories. The chances of encountering another player who owns this game outside of some kind of Capcom fan convention I'd have to rate at zero to none.

I don't know whether the lack of a download option was a technical constraint or not, but I can't imagine that these games are too big to download individually via wi-fi. It just seems like a horrible oversight to not let you serve the game out from a single PSP.

The other crippling flaw with Capcom Classics Collection Remixed is the lack of any form of save game. You can't save your progress inside any of the games, which means if you want to finish one, you have to do it in a single sitting, just like in ye olde-timey arcade. I can't even begin to talk about how hideously inappropriate that is in the age of prolific arcade emulators like MAME, let alone how out of place it is on a portable system. Games in this collection can take anywhere up to four or five hours to get through (I say after finally clocking Quiz & Dragons) and I absolutely cannot believe that no one thought that was a problem.

Anyway, if you absolutely must own these games in a legal portable format, then Capcom Classics Collection Remixed is definitely your best bet. It'll work even better if you can con a friend into doing the same thing. But if you're just as happy to play them at home, then stick with emulators, because you'll get a better experience out of it.


Sirlin said...

Capcom Classics Remixed has the best possible game sharing feature, you just don't know about it. It's so simple that there is no UI for it at all. Start a game. Give the disc to your friend. Have him start the same game and now you can play together.

Also that's quite an assumption you're making that "no one thought it was a problem that you can't save anytime." I happen to know a thing or two about that:

You'll notice that the next collection in the series, CCC2, does let you save anywhere in every game, as does Sega Genesis Collection.


GregT said...

Hey Sirlin, didn't notice you commented way back when, but your input is very much valued! That's awesome re: game sharing, I think I'll have to go back and wring some more hours out of this pack as a result.

GregT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.