Capcom Fighting Collection Review (PS4)

Capcom Fighting Collection Review: The Power Of The Night

Capcom Fighting Collection

Offering the right balance of games in a collection is never easy, and perhaps the Capcom Fighting Collection hasn’t perfected it, but they’ve come closer than most collections can manage. Offering ten classic fighting games, many of which aren’t easily accessible anywhere else, the value in this package is off the chart for those of us who grew up loving Darkstalkers. For those who are less enthused by that franchise, there’s less, but there are definitely other titles here worth checking out.

Let’s start with the obvious. There are only technically ten games in this collection, thanks to the five different games in the Darkstalkers series being present. While Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, Night Warriors: Darkstalkers’ Revenge, and Vampire Savior: The Lord of Vampire are all fully unique games in the series, Vampire Hunter 2 and Vampire Savior 2 are not. Originally released in Japanese arcades back in 1997, these were alterations to Vampire Savior with slight changes in the roster, character colors, and small details like that. These are definitely cool inclusions for fans of the series, offering slightly different takes on a classic and letting you use characters otherwise not included in Vampire Savior, but fully unique games they are not.

 

Darkstalkers‘ Return

 

Capcom Fighting Collection

That still leaves an awful lot of Darkstalkers here, but that’s not a bad thing. All three of the main games in the series are wonderful. With characters inspired by horror tropes, the Darkstalkers series is filled with cool characters, awesome stages, and a tone which mixes horror with humor in a wonderful way. They’re also excellent playing fighting games. Even the first game in the series, Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, offers tight action and a well-rounded roster. It’s a blast to play even today.

Vampire Savior is the crown jewel of this collection for me though. One of my favorite fighting games of all time, its beautiful animation, fantastic roster of characters, well balanced move sets, and killer soundtrack. The new variations of it are cool too even if they’re not transformative, though I’d still love to see an ultimate version of the game which brings all of the different characters and options together instead of having to pick and choose which ones I want when I play.

 

More To Play

 

Capcom Fighting Collection

Moving beyond Darkstalkers, there are still other excellent games included. Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition is a terribly balanced but also terribly fun version of Street Fighter II that isn’t the definitive version of this classic, but is still cool to have available. In short, it mixes all five versions of Street Fighter II together into one game. All seventeen characters present in the various versions are here, including each version of the characters in multiple games. This means you have five different variants of Ryu available as just one example. You choose which of the five games you want, then which character from that game you want to play as. While these versions of the different characters were never meant to face off and aren’t well balanced, it’s an excellent playground for long time fans to mess around in. If you want to balance things out you and your opponent can always stick to the same version of the game as well, though you can’t force online foes to do the same.

I also loved my time with Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix, better known as Pocket Fighter. This fighting game brings together characters from Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, and even Red Earth, chibifies them, and then sets them to battling. With fun and absurd stories included for each character, and move sets which both resemble the characters’ actual fighting styles while adding in additional layers of humor and adorableness, I had a blast revisiting this one for the first time in probably almost twenty years. It’s not likely to see a huge revival on the tournament scene, but to mix things up in a collection of more serious fighting games it’s a wonderful inclusion.

 

Not All Winners

 

Capcom Fighting Collection

They can’t all be winners mind you, and a couple of games here aren’t favorites of mine though none of them are terrible. I’m sure Cyberbots: Fullmetal Madness has its fans, somewhere, but I’ve never met them. That isn’t to say it does nothing well. It has far more of a story than the average fighting game of its era bothered with, though I can’t say I find it overly compelling. There’s also a ton of customization with you being able to choose a character, then the mech you want them to pilot in your fight, and you can even customize the mechs. It’s a lot more control than you would have had at the time and even better, it all looks great for the era with massive, well-animated mechs and detailed backgrounds. Unfortunately I just don’t find controlling these mechs to be a lot of fun. Your abilities feel limited compared to similar games in the genre and everything feels stiff. It’s just not a lot of fun to play. Cyberbots also isn’t in much need of a rerelease, it was just included in the Capcom Arcade Stadium last year. I’d have much rather they included Capcom’s much better mech fighting game, Tech Romancer, instead.

Red Earth is another big inclusion here, and with good reason. This is the first home port the game has ever received after releasing in arcades back in 1996. Featuring only four playable characters, Red Earth blends elements like leveling up and learning new moves into a fighting game. To help keep players engaged, you could even get a password when you were done to pick up with the same level and abilities next time you came to the arcade. It’s a neat idea, but one that doesn’t translate that well to playing at home. It isn’t that this doesn’t work, but only that it doesn’t feel unique or interesting in this context. In the arcade this was a novel idea, but at home that’s just how games work. Without that novelty, Red Earth is a game with only four playable characters, huge sprites which look interesting but whose size limits their mobility, and which offers combat that is curiously lacking in impact. An interesting curiosity to mess around with, I’m glad Red Earth is now more easily accessible, but I can’t say I’ll be putting a lot of time into it.

 

A Puzzling Diversion

 

Capcom Fighting Collection

Of all the games in the Capcom Fighting Collection, my favorite may actually be the one which isn’t a fighting game at all. Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo is actually a puzzle game where you create chains of similar colored blocks and then use special crash gems to clear them out. Creating big chains and eliminating big combinations of blocks will drop junk on your opponents, blocking them from accessing their blocks and messing up their organization. While this junk will eventually turn into regular blocks, continuing to pile it on your opponent can make it hard to keep up. It’s the sort of deceptively simple puzzle gameplay which all the best games in the genre pull off and one of my favorite puzzle games ever. All the while the same chibi sprites later used in Pocket Fighter have a little fight of their own in the middle of the screen and you can even pull off special moves to really destroy your foes. With ten games to evaluate for this review I tried to balance my time, but I have to admit that I kept being pulled back to Puzzle Fighter again and again.

All of the options fans will want out of any modern collection are here. You can adjust the difficulty level on all of these games, as well as their speed, how many rounds there are in each fight, and the strength of your attacks. Choose whether the games show their boot screens and even choose between free play or using credits. Once in the games you can control the volume, the size of the display, select a wallpaper for the sides of the screen, and mess with multiple filters to get the look you like. Controls can also be customized and you of course have quick save and load options to jump in and out of a game. Every game here outside of the variants of Vampire Saviors also features both the English and Japanese versions of the game.

 

Takes It Back To The Arcade

 

Capcom Fighting Collection

Online play also is incredibly well thought out. You can jump into casual play, ranked matches, or set up a custom match with friends. You can also choose options like whether you care about playing the Japanese or English version of the game, are okay with one-button special moves being available, and want to play cross-region matches. My favorite part though is that each game doesn’t have its own online play. There’s a central online hub for the entire collection. You can choose exactly the set of games you want to play, and Capcom Fighting Collection will search out matches in only the games you’ve selected. That means if you’re okay with playing almost anything, you’ll get matches a lot faster than if you are picky about which games you want, but if you want to play only a specific game you can absolutely do that. While waiting for a match you can even jump into the single-player versions of the games to stay busy or check out the game’s museum featuring hundreds of pieces of art and music from all of these games.

Having been able to check out these games online I can also say that playing with others is a great experience. While I do want to temper expectations a bit, playing in a prerelease environment with only others who have early access to the game and with servers that aren’t packed can lead some games to perform better than they do upon release, online play in every game I tried was smooth and felt wonderful. Rollback netcode is present for the entire collection and meant that I never felt like my connection was the reason I was winning or losing.

 

Conclusion

 

Capcom Fighting Collection is a must-own for Darkstalkers fans, but even those who aren’t in love with the series should consider it. There’s enough variety in titles, interesting games which could use more exposure, beloved classics which hold up, to keep players busy for a long time. Add in excellent supplemental materials and killer online play and it stands among the best fighting game collections ever released.


Final Verdict: 4.5/5

Available on:  PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC; Publisher: Capcom; Developer: Capcom; Players: 1-9; Released: June 24th, 2022; ESRB: T for Teen 10+; $39.99

Full disclosure: This review is based on a copy of Capcom Fighting Collection provided by the publisher.

Andrew Thornton
Andrew has been writing about video games for nearly twenty years, contributing to publications such as DarkStation, Games Are Fun, and the E-mpire Ltd. network. He enjoys most genres but is always pulled back to classic RPG's, with his favorite games ever including Suikoden II, Panzer Dragoon Saga, and Phantasy Star IV. Don't worry though, he thinks new games are cool too, with more recent favorites like Hades, Rocket League, and Splatoon 2 stealing hundreds of hours of his life. When he isn't playing games he's often watching classic movies, catching a basketball game, or reading the first twenty pages of a book before getting busy and forgetting about it.

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