The 8 Ball 12.11.12: Top 8 Capcom Games
Here we are with another week and another installment of The 8 Ball column. This week I plan on looking at some of the best specific games Capcom has made. I really could have just done a list of “Top 8 Capcom Franchises” which would have been easier.
8. Mega Man 5
Mega Man 5 was (arguably) the best Mega Man game of the NES era. While others might have had better bosses, or different weapons, Mega Man 5 was generally the least “not cheap” of the series. Mega Man has always been a challenging series, but Mega Man 5 scaled it back some so that you could actually make it through a level or two without dying, or having to memorize every pattern of every level. The big inclusions of this iteration was a better Mega Buster, the inclusion of Beat (who was dumb, but really cheap), and some varied level designs, notably with Gravity Man’s stage. Everyone probably has a favorite classic Mega Man game, but 5 is the best in my eyes.
7. Marvel Vs. Capcom 2
Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 is one of my favorite fighters, ever. Mainly because of how traditional it feels, despite all the wild stuff going on in it. With 56 playable characters, I’d say at least 20 of them essentially play like Ryu. It boils down to, “If you can press down, forward and a punch button, you can win most of the time”. Not that there weren’t screwball characters to use, Anakaris, Felicia, Spiral, but a lot of characters actually just played the same, which made the game extremely approachable. While there are some joke-y characters, most of the fighters were effective against each other. At the time, it also looked great, with huge screen-filling super attacks that were impressive, as was the game’s overall speed. The most ironic thing about MvsC2 is that my most-used team, Cyclops, Gambit, and Iceman didn’t appear in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. So screw that game.
6. Resident Evil 2
While the first Resident Evil was the dawn of the survival horror game genre, Resident Evil 2 was the game that cemented the genre and series into popular culture. From breath-taking graphics, to a spooky story, to the new characters, this game was firing on all cylinders when it was released. Sure, parts of it seems anarchistic now (especially the tank controls), but at the time, RE2 was one of the most impressive games of the PS1 generation. The branching system was also interesting with having the A and B storylines interacting with one another. Once you complete the game with one character, you can save the game, and see how their actions change the world from the other character’s perspective. Resident Evil 2 was just a masterful game all around, and is one of the big sources for people’s continued love of the Resident Evil franchise.
5. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
While I’m not an especially huge fan of the Zelda franchise, and especially the ancient, never-changing formula, Minish Cap was actually a well-made game by Capcom. It didn’t break the mold any, but everything felt like it was refined, be it item selection, combat moves, puzzle solutions, and just the overall world that is presented to you. Minish Cap also had a much better “world-shift” mechanic (going tiny), than Twilight Princess did (going to the stupid dark world), that had actual gameplay ramifications. While the core storyline quest could be completed quickly if you powered through it, the game was more about meeting everyone, doing side-quests, fusing Kinstones and just seeing what the world had to offer.
4. Mega Man X4
While Mega Man 5 might have been the best NES Mega Man game, Mega Man X4 is the best Mega Man game overall. If anyone says “Mega Man Legends”, you deserve to be stabbed. As I’ve said before, MMX4 has it all when it comes to what a Mega Man game should be, great stages, hilariously bad robot names (Cyber Peacock), incredible music, and two characters who played drastically from one another. While the anime cut-scenes might be cringe-worthy by today’s standards, they were effective back in 1997. The game also was much better detailed then past Mega Man games before, or since (except for Mega Man X8), with everything looking both cool and functional.
3. Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 2 was the best of the “old generation” Resident Evil games, but Resident Evil 4 blew all of the old away. The first big change was that it didn’t have pre-rendered backgrounds or fixed camera angles, it adopted a behind the back camera, and actually functional controls. The game was also a lot faster than the previous games, with enemies that actively tried to kill you, rather than zombies to be ran around. Resident Evil 4 also set a good pace of being challenging but not too difficult as to be unbeatable. The only downside is the limited time where you have to babysit Ashley. The bewildering part about that is they somehow thought it was a great idea and incorporated it into Resident Evil 5 (making the game annoying to play), then further refining a terrible idea into Resident Evil 6, where it is just non-stop partner garbage. Resident Evil 4 was good because it was just a pure gameplay experience, and wasn’t bogged down with unnecessary garbage.
2. Street Fighter 2
The fighting game that really got the party started, Street Fighter 2 was the genesis of the fighting game as we know it today. Characters that were introduced in that game, Ryu, Chun Li, M Bison are as relevant today, as they were 20 years ago. The fighting was pixel perfect though, with many kids spending many hundreds of dollars in quarters in arcades, learning everyone’s moves and fighting against one another. Street Fighter 2 laid the foundation for fighting games, and while revisions and sequels have come out, and other franchises have sprung up, Street Fighter 2 will always be remembered as the king.
The best Capcom game, and one of the best games that has been made, Okami is still an astounding game to play and experience. Damn near everything about the game is perfect, the precise controls, the puzzle-solving, the story, and the combat all make it a fantastic game. The visuals get a lot of the praise as well, and they should. The game came out 6 years ago, and aside from being fuzzy (the PS2 version at least), still is damned impressive to this day. It’s actually the best “Zelda” game as well, which is another impressive feather in the game’s cap. If you have a system that the game is out on, PS2, PS3, or Wii, you owe it to yourself to track it down and experience the magic inside. The fact that this game, and God Hand didn’t sell well in the initial release, which caused Capcom to close down Clover is still a depressing realization. However, Platinum Games sprung forth from Clover’s ashes and is currently doing an excellent job of making Capcom pay for their short-sighted mistake, so perhaps it’s not all bad.
The following is a list of games that people will likely complain about for not being on this list. A few of these are some of my favorites also but they wouldn’t belong on a “Best of” Capcom list, really. Anyway, here’s the list: Dead Rising, Mega Man Legends, Onimusha (any of them, Devil May Cry (any of them), Phoenix Wright, Cannon Spike, Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons, Marvel Vs Capcom 3, Dino Crisis, Rival Schools, Power Stone, Street Fighter 4.
So…I guess a lot of people like the “Tales” series, eh? I’ve only played one of the Tales game, that being Vesperia, and I didn’t finish it. I’m at least half way done with it (my save is like 40 hours in or so), but I just lost track of what I was really supposed to be doing, and the game opens up SO much that it becomes overwhelming. Some of the characters were interesting, but I just never really got a handle on the battle system or how to really exploit it. Also, Ridge Racer PSP is an amazing game, especially on the platform, but it just kind of felt hollow to me. Plus it recycled too much from prior games.
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