Capcom Arcade Cabinet 1985 Game Pack #1 Review

Gaming

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Capcom Arcade Cabinet 1985 Game Pack #1
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade (Reviewed), Playstation Network
Release Date: March 6, 2013
Price: 800 Microsoft Points ($9.99 PSN)

Overview
Not too long ago, Capcom launched Capcom Arcade Cabinet for the Xbox Live Arcade and PSN. Now if you missed our review for the first pack, this title takes arcade classics and dishes them out in groups, letting the consumer choose what they want in their own little retro vault. While 1987 was a good year for gaming and brought us the previous touched upon 1943, BLACK TIGER, and Avengers, this week dials it back a bit and throws us into 1985. You may think going further back in time is an odd way to dish out expansions for the game, but with Ghosts’n Goblins, Gun.Smoke, and Section Z on board – that is one time jump we are willing to take. How do these three still fair in the new virtual arcade? Let’s find out.

Gameplay
Sure, we have probably played Ghosts’n Goblins until our fingers ached, but there is just something special about going through the dark yet whimsical platformer again that can make a gamer of any age feel at ease. Players take the role of Sir Arthur as he sets forth through spooky landscapes to save the Princess Prin Prin from all that goes bump in the night. While nostalgic, this age old experience is still as hard as it ever was, but thankfully controls as tight as ever. Much like all of what we have seen thus far for Arcade Cabinet, Ghosts’n Goblins is a pure arcade port with all of the extra fixings (such as the gallery, bonus time modes, and practice fare), and while the landscape of the modern platforms is new, that controller breaking difficulty is still very relevant.

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Yes, Ghosts’n Goblins is a very difficult game – but in a good way as players must conserve and plan while tackling enemies as that screen scrolls. To test the player further, the final boss waits behind 6 stages that must be beaten twice on two difficulty settings to reach. Sure, it can be numbing, but the newly added save states and ability to practice this time around do a lot to assist in the experience. Gun.Smoke was another title in this pack worth a lot of praise, and it still holds it’s own as well. This top-down scrolling shooter has the player take out enemies and dodge obstacles as they make their way throughout a western setting. I will say this title isn’t my particular arcade favorite as it is certainly one of the more tame of the lot, but those who enjoy their shooters with plenty of power-ups are sure to be pleased with what’s on display.

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The game I never played until this review is none other than Section Z. Sure, it’s another side scrolling shooter in a space setting, but what sets Section Z apart is it’s form of progression. When the player finishes a route, they have a choice to take the easy route and give up the ability to gain special weapons, or they can take the hard path to get their toys – but face a lot more enemies and roadblocks. Captain Commando however is a strong little hero however, and comes with the ability to shoot forward and back. This allows for a better advantage in the long-run as back in 1985 – the idea of shooting backwards was something a lot of developers didn’t think of. It’s a bit of an archaic mechanic now, but after drumming through a lot of these recent arcade ports over the years, I found Section Z’s interesting qualities to be welcoming and enjoyable.

Visuals and Audio
As I mentioned in my previous review, none of these ports have received any type of polish when it comes to the graphics, but of course that isn’t an issue considering that this is all about reliving the arcade past. It’s still pleasureful to see Arthur’s armor fall off, those dusty streets in Gun.Smoke, and Captain Commando floating about, and fans of 8-bit will feel right at home here. Even though I touched upon it previously, I must say that the presentation of this package is still shining bright with the classic cabinet displays – as well as all of the customization options that come from playing.

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Audio wise – well, do I need to really go on about my love of chiptunes? It’s a matter of preference for most if you will fall in love with any of the soundtracks, but after revisiting the Castle of Satan in Ghosts’n Goblins, I felt a rush of happiness and nostalgia as the ominous beat blared through the speakers. I would say the same about Gun.Smoke and Section Z, but I found those tracks to be a bit lacking in comparison to Goblins – but that is partially my own bias and nostalgia playing into that opinion.

Overall
After just a few hours, I got to revisit a year of gaming that took place two years before my birth – and for the most part, I loved every second of it. I wasn’t too fond of Gun.Smoke compared to the brutal Ghosts’n Goblins or the cleverly designed Section Z, but finding your niche is what these packs are all about. With that said, those who love their trophies/achievements will be taken back by learning that ten dollars will only get them 30 extra points, but even if you are that way – you have to remember that these classics were built without the bragging rights in the past, and the six achievements included should still keep you busy for a good time – along with all of the extra content. Capcom Arcade Cabinet’s latest may be a bit pricey, but for what’s involved – you can consider your own vacation to the mid eighties as money well spent.

7-0-capsules-out-of-10

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.

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