Give this collection a fighting chance
Capcom tends to tread a lot of the same ground these days. Whether it’s “getting back to their roots” with Street Fighter’s modern versions or returning to the past with a lot of upgraded collections, Capcom sure has a way of reminding you that, yes, they made Street Fighter and a bunch of other fighting games. The question is do we care? Yes and no, if this current collection is to be judged.
I will admit that, despite being a strict Mortal Kombat old head, I am inclined to speak up about my favorite genre in fighting games and how it relates to Capcom. This collection, filled to the brim with nothing but Capcom fighters, aims to show that Capcom had some hits and memorable properties. Fighting Collection features 10 entries: Vampire/Darkstalkers 1–3, Vampire Hunter 2, Vampire Savior 2, Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness, WarZard/Red Earth, Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition, Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix/Pocket Fighter and Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, with the North American or Japanese versions available for play. In all cases, these are arcade rom versions gathered together in one spot and you can freely switch between them on free play. Collection-wise, this is a top-tier package for those who love fighting games made by Capcom. Mainstream money maker that’s still around today? That’s Hyper Street Fighter II. Obscure weird fighter that no one even knows that Capcom made it? Take your pick from Cyberbots and WarZard. Cutesy, chibi fighter that unabashedly mocks its maker? Puzzle Fighter and Pocket Fighter have that on lock. Defunct series that should still be a thing, but Capcom doesn’t pay attention? All of the Vampire you can possibly shake a stick at satisfies that requirement. There is literally something for everyone here. But the question is, do you want it, especially now that you know what’s available here? As earlier, yes and no.
While the presentation is top-notch, the actual assortment of the games involved is a mixed bag. Gentle readers, I just compiled and created an entire issue devoted to Vampire (Editor’s note: That’d be Issue 46. Go download it now if you haven’t.) and its inner workings and the history behind the series. Knowing that, please explain to me why I have Vampire burnout and why I had it before I did that issue because of this collection. Capcom does this song and dance every single time Vampire is whispered somewhere by some unsuspecting gamer who loves the series and wants to see it once more have its day in the sun. I wrote an entire column in that previous issue discussing the need for a Vampire revival — a new game, not an old rehash — and how we were never going to get that because Capcom does the series dirty constantly.
Well, wouldn’t you know it, Capcom pulled a skunk out of their hat by including all of the Vampire games here. It’s like they said, “Well, you asked for more Vampire. Here, be satisfied that we released all of them finally in North America and shut up.” You know, I’m slightly happy but I’m more offended than anything else. Because, as you should have read by now gentle reader, Capcom is never going to give us a new Vampire game without there being some weirdness attached. And because this collection sold “OK,” — not great, just OK — you know we aren’t getting a new game. Because it didn’t set the world on fire in sales doesn’t mean the demand isn’t there. But I digress. Everything else in this collection has been released in some way, shape or form in either region, so it wasn’t necessary for their inclusion, either.
What I would have preferred to see are Rival Schools, Project Justice, Star Gladiator and Plasma Sword. These are defunct Capcom series that they also like to act like they didn’t create. Rival Schools and Project Justice are especially egregious because while they’ve been ported to PlayStation Network, we haven’t gotten a full, unaltered port of either game. A modern translation of the board game and simulation mode in both games is not that hard, but I digress again because we know we are never getting it. It’s a shame because this collection as pulled together in 2022 could have used some better curation.
While I love Capcom fighting games, I’m OK about this collection. It’s nice to have these in a modern package for modern consoles but I’m not enthused about the behind-the-scenes foolishness that could have been avoided with better curating on Capcom’s part. There are some heavy hitters that could have been included immediately that would have made it a better package, and the extras included could have been better also. However, it’s not a terrible package and is infinitely useful and valuable to the fighting game population so it’s not a total wash. Capcom could collect better, though.