| paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Action_Variety; loc=NA] |
|Capcom pulls off a real coup, with a collection of twenty arcade games, most of which are actually really good, and which are emulated flawlessly, as near as I can tell.|
The UI is the same somewhat obtrusive "notebook" style that their console "Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 1" had; it's kind of ugly, but I wouldn't mind it at all except that a few things take more button presses than they should, and that the main menu is sluggish.
After loading a game, which takes a little longer than you would like, you have to press a button to get off the load screen, which seems needless. Then, to start the game, you can't just hit buttons for "insert coin" and "player 1/2"; instead you press X, and up pops the notebook-style menu, and then you select "Start Game" or options or whatever. This is mainly annoying after finishing a game and wanting to restart, because for some reason the menu won't pop up for several seconds after your last game ended.
On the main menu, a little video of the highlighted game queues up if you pause on a game title for a few seconds. This is easy to do inadvertently, and then you have to wait for a few more seconds while the game is frozen loading the video from the UMD. This is pretty annoying, and although the videos make for a nice way to preview each game, this should have been handled in some way that would have prevented it from freezing up the main menu.
The games all save high scores and settings. Some of them keep a cumulative score through continues, which is annoying since you can screw up your high score list simply by continuing, but you can combat this somewhat by setting a custom configuration of the game with continues turned off; CCCR saves separate high score lists per game for each different difficulty configuration, and one custom configuration, which is pretty slick.
There are multiple video options for all the games, allowing you to view the game in tiny but pixel-perfect form, or stretched in several ways to take advantage size of the PSP's screen, although I don't use this since it blurs the graphics a little, as such options always do. All the games that played on a vertical screen in the arcade let you play them on the PSP rotated sideways, if you want, which is super.
Each game has unlockable "bonus" material, such as gameplay tips, art, and music. This type of unlockable I don't really mind, since I don't care much about it; thankfully, they didn't lock any of the actual games themselves. Good.
All of the games that supported multiplayer in the arcade support it here with WiFi LAN play; unfortunately, the games have crappy framerate in multiplayer. My guess is that this is because they're running the ROM through an emulated multiplayer network protocol, since programming a real network engine supporting network latency and prediction would have required heavy modification of the ROMs themselves. So they have to run lock-step frame by frame between two PSPs, and the tiny amount of latency involved inevitably results in slowdown while the information passes back and forth. It's sad, but I really can't recommend these for multiplayer; the slowdown just makes the games sluggish and frustrating. Capcom is coming out with a console version of this collection that presumably won't have this problem.
Since most of these games used 8-way joysticks in the arcade, you may find some of them difficult to play on the stock PSP d-pad, which had trouble doing anything aside from the four cardinal directions. A modification, such as the Kit D-Pad (see entry 1028), will make them much more enjoyable.
|Download added: 01_1941.jpg (14337 bytes)|
"Some big bombers fly by in 1941."
Capcom has put games from their 194x series in other collections, for instance in CCCV1, but I don't think they'd done a real version of 1941 before, and it's certainly more in line with modern shooters, having huge, detailed sprites, and complex stages. I'm not all that fond of it all the same; the sound is aggravating, the enemy swarms a bit too fond of flanking you, and some of the stages a little too cramped. If you hit a wall, you bounce off it, spinning around, which is better than dying, I suppose, but it's kind of annoying.
|Download added: 02_avengers.jpg (9967 bytes)|
"About to take out some chumps with a furious roundhouse in Avengers."
This game sucks. You move around gang-laden streets in top-down view, punching and kicking, or mashing both together to do a roundhouse, and this sounds okay, but somehow all your attacks have a real hard time connecting, and the enemies just come up and grab you, holding you still and somehow doing damage at the same time. Very annoying.
|Download added: 03_bionic_commando.jpg (9748 bytes)|
"The arcade Bionic Commando looked pretty, but the controls and stages stunk."
The arcade version, not the NES version, just like Capcom already included in CCCV1, and it still stinks.
|Download added: 04_black_tiger.jpg (9407 bytes)|
"Black Tiger can throw knives and a morning star at the same time. Fear him."
This game always looked gorgeous in the arcade, with rich, dark fantasy settings, and I even played it a good deal, by my own standards, though now I realize that I never really got anywhere at it. The controls, like many an old platformer, are pretty stiff and unforgiving; and what's up with treasure chests that are randomly trapped and just hurt you? Bleh. Still, I really like the graphic style, and the various weapons you can purchase in shops; I really ought to continue all the way through this some day just to see the whole thing.
|Download added: 05_block_block.jpg (14619 bytes)|
"A powerup drops in Block Block."
You know I like me then ball and paddle games; it's just too bad that the control here is way too touchy, with the slightest twitch sending your paddle all the way across the board. It's very hard to stay under the ball, much less finesse your aim. I have a feeling that this was probably controlled by a spinner or something in the arcade; they did a poor job of adapting it to the PSP's controls; they should at least have had a sensitivity option. Shame.
| paleface 00:19:05 05/29/06 [relations updated] |
|Download added: 06_captain_commando.jpg (15424 bytes)|
"Captain Commando drops a napalm rocket on the first boss."
The PS1 port of this classic isometric beat-em-up is very hard to find, and quite expensive, so this version is very much appreciated. Unfortunately, with the laggy multiplayer, it loses its usual co-op appeal. Single-player is still pretty fun for a while, though.
| paleface 00:21:44 05/29/06 [relations updated] |
|Download added: 07_final_fight.jpg (17897 bytes)|
"The first boss sends his lackeys after you in Final Fight."
It's good to have a true arcade-perfect port of this other classic beat-em-up; now I finally realize how very altered the GBA's Final Fight One (see entry 78) was, although they did a fine job bringing it to that portable, considering the hardware involved. Again, fun in short doses, but loses out with the laggy co-op play.
|Forgot to mention one thing that's pretty annoying in this compilation: when the continue countdown is onscreen after you lose a game, pressing any button will continue; there's no way to speed through the countdown and end the game. Dumb! Playing in a no-continue configuration alleviates this problem somewhat, but still, it was a stupid way to set things up.|
|Download added: 08_forgotten_worlds.jpg (13808 bytes)|
"Showing off some 360-degree aiming in Forgotten Worlds"
I wasn't sure how well Forgotten Worlds' spin control aiming would work on the PSP, and indeed I'm not fond of the default configuration, but you can set it so that the four face buttons spin and shoot, and this works surprisingly well, since there's some intelligent smoothing between the four button directions. Nice job on the controls here. Forgotten Worlds was also included in CCCV1.
|Download added: 09_last_duel.jpg (8718 bytes)|
"Racing and shooting in Last Duel (sorry for the blur)."
I don't think I've played this game before, and it's pretty darn cool: a vertical shooter in which you drive along treacherous futuristic lanes in a heavily armed car equipped with a jumping mechanism of some kind that lets you spring over traps and enemies. Lots of obstacles and weapon powerups, and a good sense of speed. Me likey.
|Download added: 10_legendary_wings.jpg (14364 bytes)|
"About to get swallowed in Legendary Wings."
This was a game I saw in the arcade a lot as a kid, and I never really got into it. The bomb/shoot thing always annoys me, as do the very tiny, elusive enemies in this vertical shooter. What's even worse, though, is when you run into a part of the level that "swallows" you down into a side-scrolling stage with really stiff layout and controls, and ugly graphics. Ugh.
|Download added: 11_magic_sword.jpg (17220 bytes)|
"Fighting an boss with the aid of the barbarian sidekick."
I think I played this one a few times in the arcade back in the day. A side-scrolling beat-em-up in a medieval fantasy setting, it's got nice graphics, and lots of action. You get keys from chests that you can use to free prisoners from cells; the prisoners will usually team with you to provide addtional firepower, but you can only have one at a time, unfortunately. The boss patterns are pretty repetitive, and once you get over the eye-candy of all the shots flying everywhere when you have an assistant, the game feels a little flat and uninspired somehow, but this is another one that I really should see through to the end at least once.
|Download added: 12_mega_twins.jpg (20080 bytes)|
"Navigating some vines at the beginning of Mega Twins."
Known as "Chiki Chiki Boys" in Japan, it's great to see this sword-swinging, super-deformed platformer in all its arcade glory after the very rare and somewhat cut-down (but still fun) PC Engine version (see entry 798). Again, though, misses out with the laggy co-op.
|Download added: 13_quiz_and_dragons.jpg (28024 bytes)|
"The four playable characters in Quiz & Dragons."
Quiz & Dragons
This game rules. It's a trivia question game in a fantasy board-game setting; pick your hero, role a die to see how many squares you advance toward the stage boss, then "fight" the opponent located in the square you land on by answering their series of multiple choice trivia questions. For each wrong answer you lose a chunk of health. Rich graphics and sounds, and the game is just a very nice one to kick back with, since it doesn't require constant input. I'm not good at trivia as a rule, and many of the questions here, pertaining to early 90's pop culture, are about stuff I never knew about, but even guessing is kind of fun. Each character has a special advantage; I like the female warrior, who can sometimes use her "magic" to reduce the number of possible answers, making it much easier to guess the right one. Oh, and the faster you answer, the more points you get. There seem to be a lot of questions, and the thing is just darn addictive.
|Download added: 14_section_z.jpg (16336 bytes)|
"Small-scale shooting in Section Z."
A sorta fun little horizontal shooter, except that the hitbox is very big, the enemy bullets are hard to see, your firepower is pretty weak, the intricate, trap-laden stages are ruthless, and enemies love to swamp you from behind without warning. There's a button to turn around so you can shoot behind you, but I'm not really very good at managing this while also trying to dodge and aim. The spaced-out restart points that force you to play back through the same sequences after you die aren't very pleasing, either. More frustrating than fun.
| paleface 00:53:01 05/29/06 [relations updated] |
|Download added: 15_side_arms.jpg (12528 bytes)|
"Zapping stuff in Side Arms."
I saw this horizontal robot-shooter constantly in the arcades back in the day, and always admired its rich colors and fast action. Trying to play it now, though, I find that it has a really annoying difficulty curve: cake through the first stage, but if you die and lose your powerup that lets you shoot in all directions after that, you are screwed, as the game sends fast enemies at you from all sides in narrow corridors, and I find none of the weapons I can toggle through adequate for fending them all off. I literally die every few seconds without the multi-directional powerup past the middle of stage 2. It's pretty, though.
|Download added: 16_the_speed_rumbler.jpg (13015 bytes)|
"Double teamed while trying to rescue a prisoner in The Speed Rumbler."
The Speed Rumbler
This game rules. It was my brother's favorite game at the old bowling alley arcade we frequented, and although I wasn't as obsessed with it as he was (mostly because it was hard, and thus expensive), I could at least admire it for being quite a unique game. You drive around a little car in a top-down view, through vast post-apocalyptic towns and wastelands, confronted on all sides by hordes of heavily armed punks. All the tricked-out armored vehicles are a hoot, and the fast multi-directional driving action is knuckle-whitening. I really like the adorable detailed little sprites, too. You can jump out of your vehicle (jump out if it's on fire!) and run around on foot until they bring you another car. Some arcade-accurate sprite flicker and slowdown in spots, but dang, this is a kick-ass game.
| paleface 01:03:07 05/29/06 [relations updated] |
|Download added: 17_street_fighter.jpg (18419 bytes)|
"It started a big trend, but the first Street Fighter hasn't aged well."
Faster and more colorful than the PC Engine port, but still a sucky, sucky excuse for a fighting game by today's standards. Moves way too fast, really, and all I can do is kind of mash the buttons until the AI dispatches me. But I've already described all that when I covered the PCE version. Anyway, this game really isn't the game without the original arcade version's big pressure-sensitive rubber buttons pads.
|Download added: 18_strider.jpg (11765 bytes)|
"Slicing and dicing with style in Strider."
This platformer was fast and gorgeous in the arcades, with a unique futuristic art style, and crazy stages that had you using every available surface for navigation. And oh, the brilliant lighting flash of your electro sabre's deadly crescent sweep!
Nice to have a perfect port of it, but man, is it hard! Continued all the way through to enjoy the beauty of it, but that last boss is not really very fun to try to take out. Grr! Kind of puts me off wanting to try it again.
| paleface 01:11:48 05/29/06 [relations updated] |
|Download added: 19_three_wonders.jpg (17595 bytes)|
"Squishing a bad little dragon in Three Wonders' "Don't Pull.""
Three beautiful little 2D action games in one, this version is at least as sumptuous as the PS1 version (see entry 302). Note that the Japanese "Roosters" was dubbed "Midnight Wanderers" for the States. I love "Don't Pull" more and more each time I play it, and I've started to gain a new appreciation for "Chariot."
|Download added: 20_varth.jpg (15095 bytes)|
"Facing off against Varth's first boss."
Never played this vertical shooter before, and man, I was missing out. Extremely fast, with lots of stylish graphic detail, and tons of firepower. You can block incoming shots with adjustable shield options. Due to the speed, it's a little tough to follow in the small portable screen, even when played vertically, but wow is it impressive to see in action. I'd like to get better (much) at this one.