Capcom has spawned some of the most loved and influential characters in video games. Yet, for a company that can often equate in fame and following to Nintendo’s own IPs, they don’t half love to share the common trait of bench warming some of their most sought-after creations.
Take Darkstalkers as a prime example. A stylish fighting game series involving a group of deadly combatants with an anime gothic horror twist. Besides managing to popularise some of its roster as cameos in numerous other cross-up fighting games, the core series itself has ultimately been sealed tightly in a coffin for over twenty years without a modern sequel.
Darkstalkers’ style of artwork and gameplay mechanics laid the blueprint of the arcade fighting game scene that Capcom was most famous for during the mid-90s. From the Street Fighter Alpha series to the licensed Marvel properties and all the collisions in between, all had the Vampire Saviour signature written all over them.
Capcom Fighting Collection celebrates the history of the lesser known, but still heavily adored 90s Capcom. Darkstalkers is the series that deservingly headlines the collection by bundling all five of its arcade games to ever be released. While the fourth and fifth games can be taken as a sort of direct reincarnation of the third entry, their presence within the collection is still relevant enough due to the roster changes and various gameplay tweaks throughout the three versions.
Another niche one on the list is Cyber Bots. A spin-off from scrolling brawler; Armoured Warriors. This Robot Jox style one-vs-one fighter has you selecting a pilot to navigate giant cyborgs to scrap it out with its unique mechanics and style. Choosing the pilot does little more than change up the story in the single-player mode. However, choosing the bot itself across a series of selectable classes provides the familiar individual traits of what to expect from a fighting game.
Red Earth, on the other hand, is quite a different beast when it comes to one-on-one fighters. The first game to show off the CPS-3 chip before the Street Fighter III series, Red Earth acts more like a boss battler than It does a traditional fighting game. While its very small playable roster of four can be pitted against each other in VS play, this one is more single-player focused by how the majority of characters are exclusively AI-controlled.
What makes Red Earth a little more unique though, is how the game implements RPG level-up elements to beef up your chosen fighter. The motive behind this would allow the player to scribble down a password in the arcades and carry where they left off on the next visit. One of the more experimental games from coin-op Capcom, and one that has surprisingly never had an official home console release.
The rest of the games in Capcom Fighting Collection are focused on the Street Fighter franchise. An expected choice given it’s the 35th anniversary of one of the most beloved fighting game series on earth. One important thing to note, however, is that none on this list have been featured in the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection.
Hyper Street Fighter 2 is like a fighters mega mix of the classic sequel saga, and the very final game to have been made using the CPS-2 board. Initially released as a 15th-anniversary celebration, Hyper Street Fighter 2 allows players to mix and match up all the different versions of each character for the ultimate, “what if” showdown.
Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo is the only game here that isn’t strictly a fighting game. Although, the potential rivalry between friends is still as strong as ever. The idea is to beat your opponent by stacking blocks of falling gems and breaking them with colour-coded orbs to execute powerful combos. The more smashed gems that can be chained together in sequence, the more powerful the attack will become. This then leads to dumping the opponent’s screen with trash, which the opponent must work through with quick thinking to gain a potential comeback.
If puzzle games aren’t your thing but want the adorable chibi sprites of Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo to scrap in real-time, then Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix has you covered. A fighting game that doesn’t take itself seriously and stuffs as much Capcom lore and essence as possible throughout its characters, stages and gameplay.
Unlike the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, compilation kings Digital Eclipse is no longer involved. Instead, Capcom Fighting Collection is developed in-house by Capcom themselves. The first thing to note is that, compared to the shoddy netcode of the previous Street Fighter Collection, the online this time around happens to be far superior in comparison.
All games on the list are available online with rollback netcode, including the added convenience of allowing the freedom to search for any, if not all, the games on the list at once. The odd choice of three bouts before getting kicked makes a return from the 30th Anniversary Collection, rather than the first to two formula that is usually standard in fighting games.
Similar to the Digital Eclipse collections, the Capcom Fighting Collection has a plethora of artwork, development sketches and music for fans to feast their senses on. There’s even a small amount of artwork penned exclusively for the collection. Furthermore, you can even browse through it all while matchmaking for an opponent.
With that said, the collection doesn’t showcase the games on offer quite to the high standards Digital Eclipse is known for. There’s no trivia or dates to read through, no timeline to reminisce over, and while there are some nice splash screens, it doesn’t provide the feeling of celebration that the developer would focus on when leading a project.
All in all, Capcom Fighting Collection is a very welcome addition to anyone who enjoys stockpiling retro classics for the Nintendo Switch. Many of the games on the list may not be the most famous entries when it comes to Capcom’s back catalogue, but that doesn’t mean that they are any less fun or important. The visuals, sound and gameplay mechanics across the board are still as beautiful and interestingly presented today as they ever were. Furthermore, Capcom Fighting Collection sets a firm reminder of classic Capcom’s creativity at its best.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Capcom