The youngest won’t remember it, but there was a time when we kids didn’t have a chance to play our favorite games when we felt like it and we had to go to some fantasy places called “Arcades”. In those places, there were some machines twice our size that launched games that any of our mobile phones would laugh at today.
Of course, none of you need me to talk about Street Fighter, the most classic fighting game franchise (and successful for me, even if it’s “only” the third best seller) in video game history. Street Fighter came to us with mechanics that seem very simple to us today, but which really laid the foundation for today’s fighting video games. It was about two street fighters facing off on the best of three matches, and each character in the possible roster used their own moves and dynamics to get the most out of the minute of the fight. You’ll be wondering why I’ve been hammering this introduction into the Street Fighter storyline; Well, that’s what you won’t find in the Capcom Fighting Collection.
We all agree that Street Fighter was Capcom’s great success and one of the reasons it has reached our days where many other historical companies fell, although this path was not only made with street fighters. Today we have the console war, but in the ’80s and ’90s the battle was over who would make the franchise that would make the maximum number of kids fall in love with these machines willing to spend their life savings. In what shall we say “Arcade Wars”, the Osaka company developed other IPs that did not achieve the same success as its flagship, but helped it reach the ports where it anchors today.
In the recent contexts of commercialization of nostalgia or, if you are a more optimistic person, preservation of video games, releases of compilations like this Capcom Fighting Collection are becoming more and more common. With this, Capcom collects those other franchises that they liked so much in the early years of life and gives them new energy. It’s a release to coincide with the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection already available for all platforms. In this case, Capcom presents us with a compilation focused on classic titles, many of which didn’t have a European version. For this reason, within the same game menus we can choose whether we want to play their American or Japanese version (although some of them only have a Japanese version).
Darkstalkers, logical protagonist of this edition
The first thing that catches our attention when we start the game is that it could have been called the Darkstalkers Series Collection. Darkstalkers was the franchise that Capcom competed with as an alternative to Street Fighter, betting on taking inspiration from European horror fantasy (vampires, werewolves, Frankenstein…) to create its characters. Of course, this inspiration was Japanese, a very strong manga aesthetic with animations that seemed to be inherited from Dragon Ball and in many cases gave their characters a greater charisma, very large by the way. Although the combat system was similar to the classic Street Fighter, the animations and movements were much faster and they opted for more spectacular and daring attacks and magic (in some cases bordering on blood in our current mentality).
In this edition, Darkstalkers has up to five games, the most interesting are those released in 1997 (Vampire Savior and Vampire Hunter). In these deliveries we can enjoy more fluid animations, as well as more careful characterizations. Darkstalkers chose their fate and set out to find the series’ most interesting mechanic: non-stop strikes with no recovery. It’s quite a change, not only then, but above all in the catalog of games that Capcom offers us in this compilation. On the other hand, the special attacks and EX moves are a novelty, especially in the aesthetic that always distinguishes them from the most classic franchises.
Red Earth and Cyberbots, secondary luxury
It is important to point out how in this case the company accompanies us the Darkstalkers collection with what I consider to be the most outstanding contributions of this game. Both Red Earth and Cyberbots represented a drastic shift in the mechanics and way of viewing or reinventing fighting video games.
We started with Red Earth (my favourite, I’m not hiding), where Capcom worked hard to create a fighting game that introduced absolutely revolutionary RPG mechanics for the time. Our character will evolve, level up, acquire new skills and change them in battle, and there’s even the possibility of choosing the ending we prefer. It’s a fictional world set in a heroic era full of monsters in pure Conan the Barbarian style and inspired by history’s most popular mythologies. We can only choose between four fighters, each with very different mechanics, some of which are enormously charismatic. The difficulty is massive, but the game knows how to reward you instantly once you learn the right mechanics (thank goodness you don’t need 5 Duros to continue).
In the case of cyberbots, where would the Japanese be without the mecha genre? Here he transfers the popular genre to a combat system in which we can develop a very specific character. Being able to choose between pilots, four robot classes (each with their own specific mechanics), and three different robots in each class gives us an immersion that’s hard to match in any other series in this collection. Cyberpots is original in its approach but also in its mechanics, leading to the situation where we lose elements of our vehicle and in full combat we can acquire others.
The necessary tips
Although, as we have already seen, Capcom brings with it some of its best and most forgotten franchises, it is inevitable that we think of Street Fighter when we talk about the Japanese company. For this reason, the company seems to take the opportunity to present three titles related to the historical IP, so that no unsuspecting user will feel disappointed if he does not find a title from it in this game.
Although the first thing many players will do is launch Street Fighter II The Anniversary Edition, the truth is that it’s the least graceful of the entire collection. It’s the anniversary edition that the company released in 2004, which was a breath of fresh air back then, but adds nothing compared to, say, the great Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection.
However, the other two titles, Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix and Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, are a surprise and a breath of fresh air compared to the other games in this collection. With its chibi aesthetic, it seems to want to appeal to younger users, or perhaps those who aren’t as keen on pure combat mechanics. While Puzzle Fighter II is a very addictive puzzle battle (the concept of battle changes everything), Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix is designed as a proto of Super Smash Bros, a beginning of a fight and laugh game intended to tease the rival and not tease him only hit. Both are real gems that shouldn’t go unnoticed in the Capcom Fighting Collection set.
when is the next
As an additional note, the soundtrack as well as the aesthetics of the game in the menus are quite spectacular (it’s a bit reminiscent of the new style of the upcoming Street Fighter 6 with the graffiti and others). The version I played is the one for Nintendo Switch and I have to say it runs pretty smoothly, just like what happened to me with the 30th Anniversary Edition; With its portability, it seems like the perfect format for this type of gaming (although the Joy-Con’s default buttons aren’t directional pads). As in the other compilation, it’s possible to change the game screen between the classic resolutions (with the decorative ribbons on the sides) and full screen, which is the format I’ve practiced and for which I’m really grateful.
To wrap up and give my honest opinion, aside from the fact that this is yet another simpleton compilation, Capcom Fighting Collection is a relief from the Osaka house’s continued release of classic Street Fighter versions. It’s fortunate to find titles like Red Earth that have never appeared in any format other than classic arcade machines. The worst thing is that the Capcom Fighting Collection title makes us long for other fighting titles that have made Capcom great and we don’t see it here, probably because of the licensing difficulties: Marvel VS Capcom, Capcom VS SNK… Although that could be, as they said in Casablanca, “the beginning of a wonderful friendship”. We look forward to a possible Capcom Fighting Collection II.