Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle Review
Extra Features: Local co-op (2-4), Online Coop Play (2-4)
Beat'em up games were some of the easiest games to get involved in while in the arcades during the late 80's and 90's. They were always such fun games for quick plays and gave me a sense of accomplishment every time I could beat the daylights out of at least a few enemies before my chosen fighter fell victim to the mob all around me. Besides Tecmo Japan's Double Dragon, some of the most memorable beat'em ups were from Capcom. Capcom Beat'em Up Bundle brings me back to those days with its collection of seven beat'em ups.
Capcom Beat'em Up Bundle includes arcade versions of Final Fight, The King of Dragons, Captain Commando, Knights of the Round, Warriors of Fate, Armored Warriors, and Battle Circuit. All games are playable with local or online play. Captain Commando and Battle Circuit allow for up to four players at a time while all the rest of the games allow for up to three players at a time. Players can choose between English and Japanese versions of all games. All games have adjustable difficulties (from one to eight stars) and they all offer life bonus adjustment (new life for every X amount of points, etc).
For this collection, Final Fight is a game that we have the seen the most rereleases of. Final Fight is the original beat'em up game from Capcom and the one that inspired Street Fighter II. The mayor's daughter has been kidnapped by a gang called the Mad Gear and it's up to Haggar, Cody, and Guy to rescue her. It's simply amazing how well Final Fight still holds up today. With its fluid and tight controls, Final Fight has the feel of a fighting game only with super simple special moves and attacks. The game never loses its appeal no matter how many times I play it. The simply awesome soundtrack is still there as well.
Captain Commando is probably the weakest link in this collection for me. The game has some great character designs for its four playable fighters and it's really cool how it is four player, but the game just feels very average compared to all the other beat'em ups. All fighters feel so weak and boring when it comes to gameplay. All of them feel underpowered to where the game simply isn't that fun when played in single player. If it wasn't for Captain Commando's presence in the first two Marvel vs Capcom games, I wouldn't have any interest in him or his game.
The King of Dragons is the most unique game in the bundle. You take control of one of several classes of characters and level up your character as you defeat enemies, collect pickups and advance through stages. All characters attack with a single attack instead of a combination of attacks when the attack button is pressed. The game has an addictive feel to it thanks to the fact that you're constantly upgrading your character and becoming more powerful as you progress through its stages. It also has some fantastic boss battle, such as the Hydra, Ogre, and big baddie red dragon.
Knights of the Round is a weapon-based beat'em up where you choose between Arthur, Percival or Lancelot and seek to defeat the evil king Garibaldi. The game retells the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Knights of the Round has a leveling system similar to The King of Dragons where your chosen fighter will upgrade and become more powerful as you progress. Fighters start to change appearance by equipping more armor or having bigger weapons as they level up as well. The game has a parry system where you can parry an attack and then strike the stunned enemy for a more powerful blow. Unfortunately, the parry system is very hard to take advantage of thanks to the precise timing used in performing the parry. Knights of the Round can get quite hard since you can't throw enemies whenever they get stunned - you are limited to only weapon attacks.
This is my first time playing Warriors of Fate, Armored Warriors, and Battle Circuit. Warriors of Fate was a very pleasant surprise. The game allows you to choose from a good variety of fighters that attack with projectile weapons, melee weapons or their bare hands. All characters in Warriors of Fate have a unique feel to them and it's a lot of fun to experiment with all of them. Just like in Knights of the Round, the game has a horse power-up to where you can get on a horse and become more agile and strike faster.
Armored Warriors feels a lot like Capcom's Alien vs Predator beat'em up. You choose one pilot that controls a mech. All mechs have their own gun weapon that can be used along with their melee attack. While defeating other mechs, you can pick up their arms, gun arms and legs in order to switch them with your own and gain new abilities. It's quite interesting to equip spider mech legs to boost overall agility and equip a grapple arm to snatch enemies from long range then beat them against the ground.
Battle Circuit is immediately noticeable with all the color variety in the game. The game reminds me of Captain Commando only with an even greater amount of craziness in its cast design and overall look. You can choose from a cat girl or even a mutant plant among other fighters. Collecting coins will allow you to buy bonus moves and level up your character in between stages. Battle Circuit is the latest released beat'em up and it's easy to tell with its overall smoother animation - you can tell it was developed around the time of the Street Fighter Alpha games since it has a similar look and animation style. Battle Circuit can get just as hard as Captain Commando and is best played with a partner or else you're going to have a tough time. The final boss of the game is the most annoying boss I have faced in a Capcom beat'em up.
Some games stand out more than others, but they are all great in their own way. Final Fight has been recycled beyond recycled, but the game simply DESERVES to be in the collection. Not releasing it with a beat'em collection is like not releasing Street Fighter II with a Street Fighter collection - it's the most influential game in the Capcom beat'em up genre. The only problems that I have with this collection is that there are no screen filters or ways to manipulate the screen. The only way to play each game is with side borders and with a crisp look where you can make out all the jagged pixels on fighters and enemies. The side borders can be changed to a few other styles or simply be made black, but you can't get rid of the borders.
When it comes to online play, the game allows you to start a single player game and have others join or you can make a lobby and wait for other players to join before starting the game. The online play seemed very stable when I played a few of the games online. The only problem I had with online play is that online was basically a barren wasteland with only a few rare online players sadly. The game also has a collection of advertisements and early development artwork pieces for each game in its gallery menu. Capcom Beat'em Up Bundle is definitely a collection to pick up if you're into the niche genre of beat'em up. It's so awesome to finally have the ability to play these games online with other players and relive the arcade days. Now, if only we could find some way for Capcom to pick back up the rights to Alien vs Predator and maybe... Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, hmmm...
+ Wide range of beat'em ups
+ Value price
+ Online co-op play for all games!
- No screen filter options
- No way to get rid of side borders
Final Rating: 85% - Near total nirvana for fans of the beat'em up genre.