Capcom is no stranger to releasing various collections, but there are a couple of titles that are notorious for missing the cut each time. A title like Red Earth, for example, hasn’t seen a rerelease since its 1996 arcade debut … until now, that is. This title and several other criminally overlooked Capcom fighting games find new life in the simply titled Capcom Fighting Collection. It’s a collection that may seem unassuming to the uninitiated, but holds nearly all gems and is presented with flexible settings and extra content to boot.
Capcom Fighting Collection includes ten fighting games. Half of the titles are from the Darkstalkers series, with every main entry from the franchise showing up in this collection. In all honesty, this itself would make up a decent compilation, but the collection also includes the fantasy fighter Red Earth, the mech battling Cyberbots, the chibi-styled Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo, and Super Gem Fighter MiniMix, as well as the obligatory Hyper Street Fighter 2 Anniversary Edition.
There are numerous settings to fiddle with, both in general and with each title. The button mapping feature is essential here, as some titles vary drastically in their original button layout. Each game can save its individual settings, which may seem like a no-brainer, but isn’t always found in collections like this, so it’s greatly appreciated.
Difficulty settings in Capcom Fighting Collection are also adjustable with a wide range for nearly every player. This was also fascinating to see, as some games’ defaults are naturally easier or tougher than others. It’s a bit of a peek into how Capcom views each release’s difficulty.
To get that CRT arcade appearance, there are several filters players can adjust to their liking. These vary in intensity and line pattern but can also be turned off altogether for those looking for a cleaner HD pixel look. A few border art options for each title are also present. If you’re not into the full-screen presentation, you can change the aspect ratio for a more stretched and distorted look.
Players can also switch between Japanese and US versions of games that were released in both territories. There may be more than language changes here, but it’s nothing I noticed without a deep dive. Still, the choice to switch regions is awesome to have.
A quick save and load is also present, although this feature is not game-specific and unfortunately applies to all titles. Multiple saves would be a nice option, but given that most fighters don’t have a long play time, it’s not a huge issue for me. Still, other players’ needs may vary.
There is a save error that pops up every so often when you attempt to save settings or use quick save. Even though this message appeared, it never seemed to actually fail when saving, but the alert is always a bit alarming — even if it seems to be unwarranted. When this error displays it will also ask if you want to return to the title screen, which, depending on where you’re at in the game, can be a bigger issue than the save failure if you accidentally click yes. Hopefully, this is an issue quickly resolved with an update, but as it stands it’s a bit annoying.
As for the titles themselves, it’s an extremely solid roster and the games feel like they gel well with each other. All of the Darkstalkers games are exceptional fighting titles with superbly designed monsters wreaking havoc in atmospheric gothic settings. Some of these characters are rightfully iconic despite the few releases they’ve seen. It was an absolute joy to play this series in particular again.
Red Earth and Cyber Bots are certainly more deserving of love as well. Both feature gorgeous backgrounds and scenery where your battles take place. They implement breakable objects in extremely creative and mesmerizing ways. Both titles have the most deviations from other fighters in the collection, requiring you to really understand the nuance of the fighting mechanics and what is being asked of you. Red Earth even features a password mode and leveling up features, something almost unheard of in typical fighters.
Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo is a fighter in name only, as “combat” sees you playing out bouts on a drop-down puzzle board against an opponent. Super Gem Fighter MiniMix is a fun cutesy take on Street Fighter with similar combat to the more traditional Hyper Street Fighter 2.
As quick-paced as many of these titles are, accurate response time is crucial. Controls in Capcom Fighting Collection feel extremely responsive and accurate to my memory of each game. For those looking for more competition, there is local and online play as well, as Capcom Fighting Collection has leaderboards to see where you rank against other fighters.
In addition to this, there are also “fighter awards,” which are achievements unlocked once you meet certain requirements. Some of these are simple like “playing a game for the first time,” while others are achieved when completing each game entirely. There are also individual game achievements you can explore when beating each game with every playable character. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t unlock any bonus material but is simply there as a challenge.
Additional material can be seen in the museum and contains various pieces of concept art and soundtracks from each game. There are some truly beautiful pieces of art for most of these titles, and it’s a great inclusion. The Capcom Fighting Collection titles have some amazing tunes as well, so it’s great to have them isolated so that they can be appreciated on their own merit.
Those who have waited for a proper rerelease for several of the fighting gems featured in Capcom Fighting Collection can rest assured knowing the collection delivers. What could be a decent Darkstalkers compilation is made even better by the inclusion of titles so rare that those that have played them probably haven’t in over twenty-five years. With the inclusion of adjustable settings and a museum that highlights the art and music of each title, it becomes an immensely solid collection. Even the pickiest of fighting gamers would be hard-pressed not to find several titles in this collection they can easily sink their teeth into for hours.
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