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Capcom Beat-Em-Up Bundle (PS4) Review

October 7, 2018 | Posted by Armando Rodriguez
Capcom Beat-Em-Up Bundle
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Capcom Beat-Em-Up Bundle (PS4) Review  

 

 

Publisher: Capcom

Number of Players: 1-4 (some games only support a maximum of 2 or 3 players)

Release Date: 18 September 2018

Rated T for Teen

Also available on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC

 

I admit to be a huge beat-em-up fan. As a kid I cut my teeth on the Sega beat-em-ups like Golden Axe, Streets of Rage and Comix Zone and I will freely admit to having played pretty much every Double Dragon game in existence, even the bad ones.  Every time a beat-em-up classic is released on modern consoles I quickly reach for the credit card and give it a whirl. It is no surprise then that I immediately raised my hand and volunteered to review Capcom Beat-Em-Up Collection for the site.  However, my experience with these classics, some of which I have never played before, turned out to be a mixed bag.

 

Let’s begin with Final Fight.  The game is a seminal classic and both inspired and ripped off several other series in the genre. Originally released in 1989, it still holds up well today thanks to challenging gameplay, excellent characters that each felt unique and a soundtrack that stands the test of time.  Memorable boss battles like Rolento and Sodom (characters that ended up joining the Street Fighter series much later) and the large, colorful sprites are just as exciting and impressive as they were way back when. It is such as important game that I shouldn’t question its place in this collection. Yet, we have seen this game in so many shapes or forms over the years (a Game Boy Advance port, the 2013 HD remaster Final Fight: Double Impact and so on) that I wish we had gotten a different game instead. With how rare and weird some of the next entries are, Capcom maybe used the most well-known of the beat-em-ups it produced as an “anchor” game that could justify the purchase for fans.

Final Fight

 

Next up is King of Dragons. The game is clearly inspired by Dungeons and Dragons with a high-fantasy setting that includes wizards, dragons, swords and sorcery.  I loved the art style and the cleverly designed boss fights, but levels are much shorter than I remember from my days of youth. Sure, there are far more levels than in any other game in the collection, but since they tend to be shorter the total play-time is roughly the same.  Some of the boss fights, specially characters that can fly, tend to be overly cheap, which is typical for an arcade game that wanted to eat as much of your quarters as possible. But with unlimited continues, this feels like a chore to get through.  I did love this game, but time has taken some of its luster.

King of Dragons

 

Captain Commando is a game I wanted to like much more than I did. I love the extremely Japanese and disparate cast of characters and settings.  Come on, the playable characters include a futuristic superhero wannabe that looks a lot like Booster Gold of DC fame (the Captain), a ninja, a freaking mummy with dual knives and a baby in a robot suit. What’s not to love? The same weirdness applies to the enemies and settings.  You can’t help but smile when looking at some of this ridiculous stuff. Yet, I didn’t like the gameplay.  I can’t tell you exactly why, but I found myself bored halfway through and finishing it felt like a slug.  I gave it a second shot and even a third playing coop with my wife, but neither of those times I had much fun. I will rate this as my least favorite of the collection, even if some people will hate me for it.

Captain Commando

 

Knights of the Round and Warriors of Fate will get lumped in the same paragraph since they are essentially the same in a different setting. Knights of the Round obviously take place in the era of King Arthur, while Warriors of Fate takes place in an Asian setting.  Both games play similarly though: medieval swords and assorted weapons, the ability to use horses as mounts , cheap enemies that pop into the screen and use ranged attacks amidst the chaos and tons of fun! I would put these as my third and fourth favorite games in the collection, especially in coop since there are so many enemies on the screen. It’s not uncommon to see 9 and 10 dudes up there trying to kick your ass at the same time.  Warriors of Fate is the newest of the two games, so it has better graphics and does not have some of the frame rate issues from Knights of the Round.  But overall, both are excellent.

Warriors of Fate

 

Knights of the Round

 

The next two are the only games in the collection to never see an American release until now. They are Armored Warriors and Battle Circuit and both deserve their own break downs. Armored Warriors is my favorite game in the collection.  The characters are mech pilots are you are controlling a giant robot amidst a chaotic war.  Not only do you fight other robots, but also see humanoid soldiers that are less than a third your size and can be splattered like bugs. The game also adds a third button, since in addition to your typical jump and attack buttons you also have a long-range attack with limited ammo.  The best part? You can take parts of defeated enemy robots and install them on your mech to modify your attacks and movement. You can replace your legs with tank threads and even what appears to be a hover-ship to change your movement type and speed. Don’t like the standard Vulcan cannon? Grab some guided missiles or a flame thrower to change your ranged attack.  Trade that punchy arm of yours for a drill arm that has a multi-hit dash attack or a giant pincer-like arm that can grab, shake and throw enemies that are half the screen away.  It also has the best graphics in the collection in my opinion and is probably the most replayable as well.

Armored Warriors

 

Battle Circuit on the other hand was a mixed bag and another game I wished I could have liked more. It shares the weirdness of Captain Commando, with enemies that include a giant brain-looking thing inside a robot suit, topless motorbike women whose assets are barely covered by a leather jacket (who wears an open leather jacket with no shirt or bra while riding a bike?)And a bunch of weird robots that wouldn’t look out of place in a Sonic the Hedgehog game.  The characters you can play as are equally weird, including a yellow-skinned druid-looking woman, a girl riding what is essentially a giant pink ostrich and something that resembles a walking tree monster.  The characters also are bounty hunters, so there is a focus on acquiring coins, which tie in with the game’s best mechanic: at the end of every stage you can use said coins to buy new moves and health bar extensions.  That’s right, almost like in every modern action game; there is a sense of progression as you add new moves to your arsenal.  However, the story and the gameplay itself weren’t nearly as compelling and unable to live up to this cool concept.  I wish something like this could have been used in a better game instead.

Battle Circuit

 

In terms of special features, the collection is very barebones. No graphical filters, no unlockable concept art or music, not even extra avatars or themes for your PS4.  Outside of playing the games with friends or beating them with different characters there is not a lot of incentive to come back.  This game would have benefited greatly from a museum feature, extra unlockable content or even more trophies to unlock…..just something to inspire you to come back. As it is, after playing each game once or twice and putting around 12 hours into it, I have no desire to come back unless it’s to show Armored Warriors to my friends.  Yes, I loved that game!

7
The final score: review Good
The 411
Capcom Beat-Em-Up Collection is a good collection of classic arcade games, some of which stand the test of time and are worth looking into.  However, there are so many other great Capcom beat-em-ups that are not included (I am looking at you Dungeons and Dragons games) and without the addition of any unlockable extras, it feels sort of incomplete.  If you loved any of these games growing up as a kid, it’s worth the purchase. Heck, for me it’s worth it for Armored Warriors alone!  Yet, modern gamers might play it for five minutes and quickly understand why the genre itself is pretty much dead.  Thumbs in the middle leaning up mostly for Armored Warriors and Final Fight.
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