All Together Then: Capcom Classics Collection Reloaded
Great games, great extras, awful luck.
Sony's dimunutive and sorely underrated PSP was a great device for retro gaming, with all sorts of lovely compilations finding a home there. Many of these were scaled-down versions of home console releases, andCapcom Classics Collection Reloaded falls into that bracket. It's actually the second Capcom compilation to hit PSP - following Capcom Classics Collection Remixed - but I'm going to cover Reloaded first because it's my column and I can do whatever I want (No you can't. - Ed).
What a collection this is. Nineteen games are featured and the only ones that aren't really, really brilliant are Vulgus and Exed Exes, which aren't so much brilliant as they are truly archaic. Vulgus is a welcome inclusion for its historical importance as Capcom's very first game, but Exed Exes feels like it could have been swapped out and little of value would be lost. To all Exed Exes fans now calling for my head, I apologise profusely.
It's a drop in the ocean though, because this UMD is stacked with quality. Landmark series are thoroughly represented. Terrific platform games in Ghosts N' Goblins and its two major sequels. Formative shmups in 1942, 1943 and its spruced-up re-release 1943 Kai. Groundbreaking fighting games in Street Fighter II and its revisions Champion Edition and Turbo. And that's not even getting into the many further offerings representing Capcom's diverse, fascinating output. The hard-as-nails masterpiece Commando and its incredible follow-up Mercs are joined by the brilliant Gunsmoke. More obscure titles are represented by the wonderful side-scroller Son Son and top-down barrel-'em-up Higemaru. The list goes on.
When it comes to retro compilations, though, the games aren't usually the focus of my interest. I'm familiar with them. What I want is meaningful extra content, bonus material to enhance my experience. And there's no shortage of it packed into Reloaded.
Every game has production art, a music gallery and most interestingly, cheats associated with it. For example, you can access a cheat for Ghouls N' Ghosts that will let you switch weapons by hitting Triangle. This is a fantastic and transformative addition that totally gives new life to what was already a very good game indeed. I wish all retro compilations had this sort of feature; it doesn't totally break the experience - Ghouls N' Ghosts games are hard even when tooled up – but offers a fresh take on it. There are dozens of cheats like this across all the included titles and they're awesome. The only problem is how you unlock them.
Playing a game in Reloaded will grant you "coins", based on too many factors to list. Score, time played, number of total titles played, whether or not you cleared the game, etc. You can boot up, play for a few seconds, quit and get a stack of them. They aren't hard to come by. What are they used for? You'd hope some sort of shop system to buy the bonus content at your leisure, but no. You have to play a stupid f[Language! - Ed] slot machine. Just sit there pinging in coins, spinning the reels and hoping you get a result. Simply winning isn't enough - you need to win correctly. For example, getting three BARs will unlock the Higemaru soundtrack, while three Chun-Lis nets the cheats for Knights of the Round. It's arbitrary, random, time-consuming and beyond irritating. It's really the only meaningful negative I can attribute to Capcom Classics Collection Reloaded, but it's a doozy.
A brilliant compilation with lots of awesome supplementary content, but be prepared to spend a lot of time hunched over a virtual one-armed bandit if you want to see any of it.