As great as the Street Fighter series is, pugilism fans with longer memories will tell you that it’s about ruddy time some of Capcom’s somewhat lesser-known games are getting their time in the spotlight. Arriving on Switch on 24th June, Capcom Fighting Collection showcases not just the entire Darkstalkers series, but also a succession of obscurities, including one game that’s getting its first home release ever — the spectacular Red Earth.
Given the vintage of these punch-’em-ups, we thought it prudent to offer something of a cheat sheet on the included titles, so that when you get cornered by a fan of the genre at the pub or something, you can hold your own in conversation without fear of ridicule or reprimand.
Anyway, let’s get on with it. Round 1… FIGHT!
The Darkstalkers Series
If there’s one Capcom franchise that the gaming giant is constantly being begged to revive, it’s… well, it’s Dino Crisis. But hey, Darkstalkers is pretty often requested, too, and series fans have had their hopes raised and dashed quite expertly over the years.
While this isn’t a new game, it’s still a nice compilation of every title in the series, beginning with Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, released in 1994 and impressing from the get-go with colourful, expressive, manga-esque visuals quite some distance above those of the perhaps-ageing Super Street Fighter II’ Turbo. The cast consists of yokai, Japanese monsters such as Bishamon (a ghostly samurai possessing his armour) and Felicia (a cheerfully nude cat-woman), alongside takes on Western monsters such as Victor (a lightning-powered take on Frankenstein’s Monster) and Lord Raptor (a rock star zombie, and yes, he’s as cool as that sounds). On top of its fast-paced action, the original Darkstalkers made several innovations to the one-on-one fighting genre, such as the ability to block attacks while airborne, as well as moving while crouching, adding new tactical depth to the proceedings.
The next year, the sequel Night Warriors: Darkstalkers’ Revenge hit arcades with a mighty thwack, adding the ability to stock up special moves and the option of automatic blocking. Two new characters were added in Darkstalker hunter Donovan and fan-favourite Hsien-Ko, a Chinese hopping vampire (Jiang-Shi).
Rarely ones to let a game go un-sequeled, Capcom released Vampire Savior: The Lord of Vampire in 1997, adding four more new characters to replace the departing Donovan, Huitzil and Pyron. The newcomers here were B.B Hood (Little Red Riding Hood with an Uzi), Jedah (a powerful demon and the game’s final boss), Lilith (a succubus with a close relation to veteran Darkstalker and series cover girl Morrigan) and finally Q-Bee (a, erm, bee-person who devours souls).
As well as these fresh faces, the game also introduced the ability to partially recover health if you avoid taking damage. However, as a countermeasure to this, a new “Dark Force” system lets you utilise unique special abilities for each character that are able to inflict damage that cannot be healed.
Revisions Vampire Hunter 2 and Vampire Savior 2 restored the removed Donovan, Pyron and Huitzil, though both games removed other characters in order to do so. Along with various gameplay and visual changes, Savior 2 saw the addition of two new secret characters; Shadow and Marionette, both of which require codes to be entered and merely take on the form of other characters throughout the game.
Known in Japan as War-Zard (a much cooler name, frankly), Red Earth is a bit of an oddity. Unusually for a fighting game, it only has four playable characters, who do battle against eight “boss” monsters in a single-player Quest Mode that sees you levelling up your chosen character as you play, a password system allowing you to retain your progress between game sessions.
Also setting the game apart from its contemporaries is the ability to batter coins and treasure chests out of your opponent, collecting items in order to gain experience, increase your health and gain super attacks. This gives the game a feeling closer to a belt-scroller such as Final Fight than a one-on-one combat title, though it is resolutely that. Indeed, a traditional Versus Mode is also included, though with only four characters it’s a little more limited than most. As a consolation of sorts, you’re able to perform fatalities on your defeated opponents, akin to Mortal Kombat.
Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness
Spun off from the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle’s brilliant Armored Warriors, Cyberbots sees a bunch of giant mecha absolute leathering seven shades of sh- er, scrap out of one another; interestingly, players choose from one of six pilots first, with Marvel vs. Capcom’s Jin Saotome being the most recognisable of the lot.
There’s a degree of customisation involved in your choice of robot, as each of the four main types can have its arms, legs, and weaponry formatted in one of three arrangements, each allowing for a differing approach to combat. While it’s far from Capcom’s best game, it’s still a thoroughly welcome addition considering that it hasn’t been seen on a home system since the original PlayStation – that is, if you don’t count the absurd, expensive (but gorgeous) Capcom Home Arcade. Which we don’t.
Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix
This totes adorbs super-deformed mash-up fighter brings in characters from Street Fighter II and III, as well as Darkstalkers and Red Earth. It’s absolutely packed to the gills with Capcom fan service, so dense visually that characters can and will change costume between each hit in a combo.
The big gimmick here, outside of the outlandish visuals, is the titular gems; beat these out of your opponents to level up your special moves and seize victory. Don’t forget about the two easy-to-find secret characters, Akuma and Dan.
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
An enjoyable tile-matching game not entirely unlike Sega’s Baku Baku Animal, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo lets you drop blocks all over your friends’ faces with the same cute-as-a-button art seen in the preceding game, Gem Fighter. The more gems you destroy, the more your little fighter will beat your opponent’s ass. It’s arbitrary, basically, and we mean that in a totally non-critical way.
Of course, this isn’t a fighting game at all, really, but it’s a welcome inclusion in the package and a good video game.
Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition
Last seen on PlayStation 2, this game crams in every iteration of every character from every version of Street Fighter II – that’s the original, Champion Edition, Turbo, Super, and Super Turbo. That’s an astonishing 65 variations of fighters to choose from and essentially the “ultimate” version of the game – much more fully-featured than the misnamed Ultra Street Fighter II, for example.
It’s one for the fans; much like this whole package, which Hyper Street Fighter II rounds off beautifully. As good as it is though, maybe we can get Hyper Street Fighter Alpha sometime?
So that’s the roster. Which ones are you excited to see on Switch? Let us know below which of these fighters you’re looking forward to putting through its paces.