Capcom Arcade Cabinet – Xbox 360
Release Date: February 20, 2013
Reviewed by Arend Hart
Review Score: 4 of 5
Over the years, we have had numerous retro-releases from the traditional arcade and home console names; Atari, Namco, Capcom Atari, Namco, intellivision, Namco, Sega, Namco, Namco, Namco, (are you sensing a trend here?). We have seen re-release after re-release from these folks, and it must be working, because once again it is time for Capcom to re-enter the retro market with Capcom Arcade Cabinet for Xbox Live Arcade.
Most folks associate Capcom with Street Fighter, Mega Man, Resident Evil, and Devil May Cry. And while those titles have surely garnered a place in console gaming history, Capcom’s gaming lineage actually goes way back to the early days of the arcades where some of us old folks will fondly remember Capcom’s first big US arcade hit Ghosts n Goblins (which was later updated on the PS2 under the name Maximo).
But Capcom delivered more than just a boxer-shorted brute in their library. In fact, they were behind more than a few high-profile arcade titles – like the WWII-based airplane shooters 1942, and its follow-up 1943: The Battle of Midway, and the highly successful isometric shooters like Commando and Gun.Smoke.
Capcom Arcade Cabinet – much like any of its numerous Namco or Sega counterparts – delivers a handful of classic Capcom titles packaged in an interface that is meant to accurately depict the look and feel of those original days in the arcade. The result is pretty much what we have come to expect from these retreads; a slick user interface opening gamers to letter-boxed ports of the original game code. Gamers looking for HD updates need not apply, but those looking for an entertaining history lesson are sure to find something to enjoy.
The game comes with an initial game pack, with four additional packs to be released throughout the year. Each subsequent pack consists of 3 games, for $9.99. Games can be purchased individually for $3.99 per title. Gamers who have purchased all 5 packs will be awarded with an as-yet unspecified bonus.
GAME PACK 1
The initial game pack (MSRP $4.99) comes packaged with three Capcom Classics – Black Tiger, Avengers (not the Marvel superheroes), and 1943: The Battle of Midway.
Black Tiger is a Hack ’n Slash Platformer in the vein of the Tecmo classic Rygar. The player takes control of a Barbarian warrior as he smashes and bashes his way through hoards of enemies, eventually facing up against a series of Dragon bosses. The gameplay is very twitch-based, and it quite enjoyable. The addition of unlimited continues and in-game saving makes reaching the final bosses achievable.
While most gamers would naturally think that Avengers referred to Marvel Comic’s classic ensemble of superheroes, it instead refers to the two-player isometric martial arts Beat-Em-Up in which characters Ryo and Ko punch, kick, and roundhouse their way to try to free six young ladies who are being held by the evil Geshita. While I tend to like the side scrolling pummelers a bit better than this birds-eye-view kind, Avengers definitely has some enjoyment to be found. Again, unlimited continues, and in-game saving are a godsend, allowing gamers to pick up where they left off, to take care of the particularly difficult boss characters.
1943: THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY
A true arcade classic, 1943 is the excellent follow-up to the equally excellent aerial shooter, 1942. While these games are neither flight simulators (although in 1985 we thought they were) nor accurate depictions of WWII air combat, they are awfully fun twitch shooters. The attack patterns are initially easy to memorize, but the complexity and difficulty quickly escalate to the point of being nearly impossible. Still, of all the titles in the original pack, 1943 is the most recognizable.
GAME PACK 2
The second game pack – titled 1985 (MSRP $9.99) features two of the most heralded titles in the Capcom collection; Ghosts n Goblins and Gun.Smoke. If that were not enough, the Metroid-like space shooter Section Z is thrown in the mix as well.
GHOSTS N GOBLINS
Sir Arthur makes his glorious debut in 1985’s Ghosts n Goblins, which is widely considered the most difficult game in the history of gaming. Yes, Ninja Gaiden fans, this little gem puts Ryu to shame. Famous for his heart-printed boxers (which appear whenever Arthur is hit and loses his armor), Arthur takes on the one and only Satan (no joke folks), who has captured his beloved Prin Prin. This excruciatingly hard gameplay is helped by unlimited continues and in-game saving which might help gamers finally see the end credits. I still have yet to see them.
Gun.Smoke is a vertical scrolling shooter similar to the 1942 series, only with a western theme and bounty hunting cowboy named Billy Bob blasting away at enemies. Some feel that this game may have been the precursor to Capcom’s later work with Red Dead Revolver (which was picked up by Rockstar just prior to release), but Gun.Smoke is a shooter through and through. Fast and fun – Gun.Smoke might not win any awards for beauty, but it sure has it in gameplay.
Hitting the arcade slightly before Metroid, the two titles are surprisingly similar. Following the tale of a space-suited ranger as he navigates his way through twenty-six corridors of bug-like alien enemies, the only thing that Section Z doesn’t have is the deep dark secret identity to the main character. Section Z is a literal blast, and surely an influence on the latter releases of MegaMan.
GAME PACK 3
Of all the games in the Arcade Cabinet collection, Side Arms is probably my favorite. Reminiscent of side scrolling classics Contra, Metroid, and dare I say Einhander – Side Arms places gamers in a jet-propulsion mecha suit and pits them up against waves of enemy attackers and some of the most bad-ass bosses ever seen. The controls are perfect, and the game is an utter blast.
A vertical scrolling shooter with a Greek Mythology theme, Legendary Wings is a bit like the spiritual successor to Phoenix. Well, not really – you aren’t flying around on ostriches trying to collect eggs, but there is that overall aesthetic to the gameplay. If there was a game Legendary Wings actually was aping, it would have to be Xevious – both games play awfully similar, but I would have to say that Legendary Wings is about 100x better looking. Still, the idea of flying around as a winged Grecian in a skirt really doesn’t float my boat.
What happens when you take equal parts futuristic dystopian Double Dragon and mix it with the medieval swordplay of Ghosts and Goblins? You get Trojan. Yes, snicker if you will – but this sword-and-sorcery meets Escape from New York is everything a true 1980’s Highlander fan will salivate over. The gameplay is a little wonky with Trojan, seeming overly stiff and limited compared to the similar Xbox Live offering of Double Dragon.
GAME PACK 4
Aside from Ghost and Goblins, Commando is probably the second-most popular Capcom game from the mid-1980’s, primarily because it released right about the time of the Arnold Schwarzenegger film of the same name. While the film and the game were not actually related to one another, they were quite similar in theme – both featuring a muscle-bound mercenary facing scores of communist enemies in a tropical jungle setting. The game is a vertical scrolling shooter with decent 3d-isometric visuals for the time, and it plays fantastic on the Xbox.
THE SPEED RUMBLER
The Speed Rumbler is the true gem of the collection, showing gamers that Capcom was far ahead of the curve with this arcade title that obviously had a major influence on the early top-down Grand Theft Auto titles. Speed Rumbler allows gamers to drive a car through a virtual city, and either run down enemies with their vehicle, or exit said vehicle and commerce in a firefight. This was my first introduction to The Speed Rumbler, and while it definitely is lacking in overall control – it is quite impressive to see what Capcom was able to achieve nearly 10 years before Rockstar introduced their game.
EXED EXES (SAVAGE BEES)
Yet another vertically scrolling shooter, Capcom could hardly go wrong with Exed Exes. US gamers will probably be more familiar with the game’s English title – Savage Bees – which pretty much sums up the premise of the game. Gamers take the roll of a fire-ball shooting bee, blasting away at an onslaught of enemy bees. The controls are basic move and fire, and everything functions as well as could be expected.
Why bees, you ask? Well, Savage Bees was released in 1985, which was smack dab in the middle of the great killer bee scare of the 1970’s and 1980’s that had the whole world preparing for swarms of rogue “Africanized” bees that were supposedly emanating from South America on a mission to wipe out the human population. I really could not make this one up folks.
Here is the complete release schedule leading up to the full all-in-one-pack coming out on May 21, 2013
|Bundle Packs/Individual titles||North American schedule||Pricing|
|Black Tiger demo||February 19 (PSN)
February 20 (XBLA)
|Game Pack 1
Titles: Black Tiger, Avengers, 1943: The Battle of Midway
|February 19 (PSN)
February 20 (XBLA)
|Game Pack 2
Titles: Ghosts n Goblins, Gun.Smoke, Section Z
|March 5 (PSN/XBLA)||$9.99|
|Avengers||March 5 (PSN)
Not available as an individual title on XBLA
|1943: The Battle of Midway||March 5 (PSN)
Not available as an individual title on XBLA
|Game Pack 3
Side Arms, Legendary Wings, Trojan
|March 19 (PSN/XBLA)||$9.99|
|Ghosts n Goblins||March 19 (PSN/XBLA)||$3.99|
|Gun.Smoke||March 19 (PSN/XBLA)||$3.99|
|Section Z||March 19 (PSN/XBLA)||$3.99|
|Game Pack 4
Titles: Commando, The Speed Rumbler, Exed Exes (Savage Bees)
|April 2 (PSN/XBLA)||$9.99|
|Side Arms||April 2 (PSN/XBLA)||$3.99|
|Legendary Wings||April 2 (PSN/XBLA)||$3.99|
|Trojan||April 2 (PSN/XBLA)||$3.99|
|Game Pack 5
Titles: 1942, SonSon, Pirate Ship Higemaru
|April 16 (PSN/XBLA)||$9.99|
|Commando||April 16 (PSN/XBLA)||$3.99|
|The Speed Rumbler||April 16 (PSN/XBLA)||$3.99|
|Exed Exes (Savage Bees)||April 16 (PSN/XBLA)||$3.99|
|1942||April 30 (PSN/XBLA)||$3.99|
|SonSon||April 30 (PSN/XBLA)||$3.99|
|Pirate Ship Higemaru||April 30 (PSN/XBLA)||$3.99|
|Bonus Pack (for those who have purchased all five game packs or all 15 individual titles
Titles: Two titles (names to be confirmed)
|TBC||Free for those who have purchased all previously released packs or individual titles|
Titles: All 17 games
|May 21 (PSN/XBLA)||$29.99|