Support Andy, click to buy via us...
It is debatable whether these big game bundles are good value. With the advent of so many other routes to market for these classic games (Virtual Console, Live Arcade and Playstation Network) it looks like their appeal may be drawing to a close.
For now however, there are a few reasons why these packs are so commercially successful. Firstly, they provide access to some exactly games that were often designed by teams at the top of their game. The investment in those original iconic machines shines through, and we can enjoy again the top notch level design, artwork and playability. Secondly, they bring us the closest to time travel we are likely to see this side of the next millennium. The experience of hearing those old sounds and seeing the massive sprite action is one of being transported back to the day you last played it. You can remember where you were and what you were doing. Finally, they provide a bundle of games that if brought separately would cost four or five times as much.
That said, the games included in this collection are largely similar to the Capcom Classic Remixed pack recently released on the PSP. Over a dozen of the games in this pack had already seen the light of day in the PSP collection. Thankfully the loading times have been greatly improved since Remixed. It seems to take a maximum of ten seconds to get the whole game loaded, with no subsequent disk access until you quit out and select another title.
The experience of hearing those old sounds and seeing the massive sprite action is one of being transported back to the day you last played it.
Graphically and sonically, the game does a great job of emulating those old printed circuit boards. Both the definition and smoothness of the originals is reproduced without a hitch. Additionally, the menus and memorabilia provided for each game is exactly. This includes a comprehensive game history, sound bonuses and unlock-able art work.
The default controls enable you to jump in and play any of the games without too many problems. They can then be customised once you have figured out your ideal button set-up. This is never going to match the original machine's bespoke commercial joysticks and buttons, but it gets as close as you could hope.
The biggest downside of this bundle is exactly that, it's a bundle. You don't get to pick and choose as you can if you had brought them separately via one of the virtual console style conduits. Therefore, the value of this title depends on your own personal playing history, and how you rate each of the games included. For me, to be able to play the arcade version of Side Arms again is quite a big pull, whereas this may not be a consideration for someone else. Stand out titles for me in this collection included 1941, Captain Commando, Magic Sword, Black Tiger, Strider, Side Arms and Street Fighter 2.
I had the most fun with the multiplayer games in the collection. Another chance to throw down on Street Fighter 2 can't be sneezed at, while the Final Fight inspired Knights of the Round also managed to consume many happy hours. It was a shame that there was no online or system link multiplayer. But hey, I guess they need to keep some reasons back to get us to buy these again on the next generation consoles!
Overall, this is a none too shabby collection. The decision to buy will depend on your desire to have a true arcade version of the games and how sentimentally attached you are to each title.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: