With Capcom’s most famous fighting game very much back in the public headspace at the minute thanks to Street Fighter 6, the publisher has taken this opportunity to draw some much-deserved attention to a handful of the lesser known, but still utterly wonderful, games in its back catalogue.
The Capcom Fighting Collection is a truly excellent compilation, perfect for genre veterans looking for a little dose of nostalgia and for new players looking to get a sense of where it all started. Join us as we explore the Capcom Fighting Collection and all the reasons to love this bundle of classic arcade action.
The two best words in the fighting game dictionary. When playing a game online, rollback netcode essentially ‘predicts’ the next possible moves from both players, and then ‘rolls back’ to the correct state based on the button inputs sent to the server.
There’s a brilliant, easy to understand primer on the Playstation blog (opens in new tab) that breaks down what it is doing and why it is essential in a fighting game, and how other genres get away with more common delay-based netcode. Every title in the Capcom Fighting Collection has full online support with rollback netcode, ensuring that these classic games can be enjoyed to the highest standard online as well as in-person through local play.
All the Darkstalkers titles are here
The series that tops the list whenever Capcom asks which of their classic fighting game franchises they should bring back. We may not have that here, but what we do have is every single mainline Darkstalkers/Vampire Savior game present in Capcom Fighting Collection, with additional training modes, in-game move lists, data displays, and full online play.
They’re a fascinating set of games, sitting somewhere between Street Fighter’s more grounded approach and the Marvel vs Capcom series’ wilder action, with a brilliant, unique set of characters – Guitar-playing zombie rockstar Lord Raptor channels Iron Maiden mascot Eddie the Ed; Demitri is your prototypical ‘shoto’ character, with moves similar to that of Ryu only with a vampire edge; while BB Hood is a comedically heavily armed Little Red Riding Hood. They’re all packed with imagination, are beautifully animated and, most importantly, are all fun to use.
Red Earth returns
Red Earth, or, going by its much better Japanese title War-Zard, has never received a home port in any way, being a legitimate arcade exclusive ever since its original release back in 1996. It is a really unique entry in the Capcom fighting game catalogue in that there are only four selectable characters, fatality moves, the single player mode has some progression and RPG elements, and the game largely has you pitted against huge ‘boss’ characters.
As a CPS-3 board title (the same board as the Street Fighter 3 titles and one game based on JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure!) it predictably looks amazing, with large, detailed sprite art and incredible animation. It’s great to finally have this game available officially outside of finding a working arcade cabinet, and is an excellent addition to the collection – especially for big Capcom fans looking to play a bit of (almost) forgotten history.
Cyberbots finally reaches the west
Although this did get a home console port for the Saturn and PSOne, Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness never saw a Western release, so this is yet another ‘first time’ of sorts for many players. Another really unique fighter, you pick your pilot from a roster of nine and then choose their mech to do battle in, each with their own playstyle and approach.
Everything feels heavy and satisfying, with the detailed sprite art capturing the impact of these giant robots knocking panels off each other. There’s not much like this one – taking the previous game, Armored Warriors, and turning it into a 1v1 fighting game from a scrolling beat ’em up, while retaining a lot of the movement and actions certainly gives it a very distinct flavour. Worth noting: you can play as an unlockable mech Akuma. Mechakuma? Definitely one for completionists.
Fighter in my pocket
There’s two games from the Pocket Fighter series on the Capcom Fighting Collection, and one of them isn’t even a fighting game. Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix (or the much shorter ‘Pocket Fighter’, as it was known in Japan) is a fun, simplistic four button fighting game that features a mix of Capcom fighting game characters, full of cute references to other series’ (Felicia transforming into Mega Man to shoot fireballs from the Mega Buster, for instance) and is built around this core mechanic of knocking gems out of your opponent’s possession by hitting them and picking them up to power up your attacks.
The other entry is Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo, which is one of the very best competitive puzzle games ever made. Puyo Puyo meets Columns by the way of a classic 1v1 fighting game, you look to create huge combos of gems and dump rubbish blocks upon your opponent. Another roster of Street Fighter and Darkstalkers characters is selectable, each with their own unique special move to help swing the match in their favour. Having this one playable online is one of this collection’s highlights.
A celebration of Street Fighter 2
You can’t do a Capcom fighting game collection without a version of Street Fighter 2, so how about one that contains almost all of them? Hyper Street Fighter 2 was released to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the series back in 2003 and allows you to select any version of any character from the Street Fighter 2 games. Fancy pitting Super Turbo Guile up against his vanilla Street Fighter 2 version? Here you can make those super specific Street Fighter 2 dream matches a reality.
It’s a great one for the collection because the sheer amount of variety is going to appeal to people looking for a casual bit of nostalgic Street Fighter 2 have plenty to play with, while the hardcore Super Turbo players can stick to characters from that mode and play their mates using the rollback netcode and lobbies, as well as access the training mode.
Capcom Fighting Collection is a collector’s item
Capcom has really gone to town with this collection to make it more than just a bunch of games on a disc. As well as adding online lobbies, training modes and rollback netcode to every game, there’s also both the Western and Japanese versions of the titles available, an art gallery packed with not only the obvious key art but brand-new pieces and scans from the original developmental docs.
The devs behind Capcom Fighting Collection even got the Capcom house band, CAPJAMS, to provide some new remixed music for the menus. These retro collections can be a cynical cash grab at times but the care and love for their classic games shines through in this excellent set.
Capcom Fighting Collection is available now on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. If you’re a fan of any of the best fighting games ever made, you’ll want to give it a go.