Capcom Arcade Cabinet 1985 Game Pack #2 Review

Gaming

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Capcom Arcade Cabinet 1985 Game Pack #2
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade (Reviewed), Playstation Network
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Price: 800 Microsoft Points ($9.99 PSN) BUY NOW!

Overview
Moving right along as scheduled, Capcom have dropped three more classics on our doorstep for Capcom Arcade Cabinet, this time deemed 1985 Game Pack #2. We have already visited this year once before, but there are still gems left in the same twelve months that brought us Madonna’s “Like A Virgin”, Raven Symone, and the Chia Pet. This pack jams in The Speed Rumbler, Savage Bees, and Commando and throws them in that digital arcade cabinet. Is this pack worth the price? Let’s find out.

Gameplay
Unlike last time, I had already played all three of these titles before, and just like I expected, all three have held their age particularly well. Savage Bees in my opinion is the reason to pick up this add-on for Capcom’s retro gaming service, as it is a lot more than just a vertical shooter. Known to many as Exed Exes, Savage Bees tosses the player into a hornet’s nest, quite literally – as they try to take down hive after hive of overgrown insects. I would almost best compare this title to 1942 – or even TwinBee, but it has a bit more history as it was one of the first arcade titles to incorporate two player co-op. Unlike what we now know as “Bullet Hell” shooters, this game’s enemies are a bit slower on the attack, but must be maneuvered around precisely in order to survive. Of course there are plenty of power-ups, bonus stages, and other extras to toy with, and if you are looking for a retro shooter that still holds it’s age, this is the one out of the entire collection to consider.

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Next up in the second half of 1985 is a more familiar name to most, with that being Commando. This title also inspired future releases such as the much loved run and gun romp of the same genre, Ikari Warriors. Commando throws you right into the battlefield as one lone soldier that is tasked with taking out waves of enemies. To do this, you are equipped with a gun that can shoot in eight different directions, as well as grenades. Now, it may sound a bit stale by today’s standards, but there is a lot of strategy to survival within Commando. Many obstacles must be destroyed in order to progress, as this title features some of the first destructible environments that served a purpose. Each stage ends with a giant battle, and along the way, the player has the option to stop and free hostages. It’s quick, enjoyable, and mindless fun, but fun that was improved upon with all of the later clones. For a history lesson however, Commando is still hard to beat.

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The most unique of this trio comes in the form of The Speed Rumbler. Players take the role of Super Joe, who is the same protagonist from Commando. I know, that is a small element, but it was very wise for Capcom to bundle these Rumbler and Commando together for the sake of continuity. Unlike Commando, The Speed Rumbler plays much different. Players must save hostages from prisons while driving in a small car. Once the hostage is free, they jump in and you must keep them safe until the end of the stage. There is a ton of opposition along the way, however – so the player must shoot from the driver’s seat to blow up other vehicles and henchmen. Once hostages are delivered, the player gets a bonus in speed, defense, or power, and continues on. On-foot gameplay isn’t too much different from Commando in many ways, but the player must always keep in mind to jump back in the well armored vehicle in order to survive until the next stopping point. I’ll admit, the car controls are a bit awkward, but it works. Think of Speed Rumbler as an early, top-down GTA, but with less emphasis on crime. Still fun to play, but expect a learning curve.

Visuals and Audio
Visually, all three games have help up rather decently, with all three showing the barren environments that most titles from this year presented. They all still look decent enough and the detail is there, but this was pretty early into Capcom’s life – so expect some pixelated, yet nostalgic graphics for all games within Pack #2. If I had to say which one was my favorite to look at, it would probably be Commando, even though the animations of the winged enemies in Savage Bees are pretty damn impressive. Commando just has a more “in your face”, gritty backdrop, making Super Joe feel like the war hero he truly is.

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As far as the music goes, well…it’s kind of hard to say. I don’t hate the sound effects as we know what the guns and blasts from arcade classics sound like, but the melodies just seem a little rough around the edges. Savage Bees is an exception. You see, Savage Bees is meant to be a Sci-Fi shooter, and plays a very unsettling tune that sets the atmosphere for the setting perfectly. This is the arcade version and we have heard sharper remixes since, but the raw tracks used are still charming in a dark sort of way, and if Capcom were to bring any game back into relevance from this pack, Savage Bees would be my choice from the music alone.

Overall
We are starting to see the end of Capcom Arcade Cabinet’s releases, but the quality is definitely picking up as that finish line approaches. Those who want to know a forgotten icon like Super Joe, who paved the way for many current titles would do themselves a favor by snagging the second pack from 1985 up, and Savage Bees by itself still feels relevant and fresh due to it’s awesome soundtrack and simplistic yet challenging design. 1985 was indeed a good year to be throwing quarters in a Capcom machine, and this latest pack comes as one of the choice cuts to download from an already meaty collection.

7-5-capsules-out-of-10

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.

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