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Capcom Arcade Cabinet

Platform(s): PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: M2
Release Date: March 20, 2013 (US), March 19, 2013 (EU)


XBLA Review - 'Capcom Arcade Cabinet' Game Pack 5

by Adam Pavlacka on May 15, 2013 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

Capcom Arcade Cabinet is a collection of 15 classic 8-bit titles transforming your console into your very own customizable, HD '80s arcade.

The fifth installment of the Capcom Arcade Cabinet offers up original editions of 1942, Pirate Ship Higemaru and SonSon. Assuming you have purchased the base pack (Game Pack 1), you can add these three titles to your collection for 800 MSP ($10 USD).

Since all of the game data is already included in the first pack, downloading Game Pack 5 takes mere seconds. The purchase grabs a key file, and the games are immediately available.

It's interesting that Capcom choose to lead its final game pack with 1942, as the sequel (1943: The Battle of Midway) was one of the games in the base pack. Although the concept of the two games is similar, the gameplay in 1942 is noticeably more simplistic than that of its successor.

Much like 1943, the goal in 1942 is to defeat the Japanese armada singlehandedly. All you have is your trusty P-38 Lighting and an itchy trigger finger. Controls are basic, with the game offering up movement, shooting and loops. Loops can be used to dodge enemy fire at the last second, though the number of loops is limited.

Since 1942 doesn't use a life bar, you simply have a bank of lives. If your plane is hit, you crash and lose a life. Lose all your lives, and the game ends. Upgrades include quad fire as well as wingmen.

As the first game in the series, not to mention a shoot-'em-up that arguably influenced a generation of games that followed, 1942 is a landmark title in gaming history. While it is fun to play, having it in the same collection as 1943 means that 1942 is going to get eclipsed by its successor. Aside from achievement hunting, very few players will opt to fire up 1942 when there is a better game sitting right next to it.

Pirate Ship Higemaru is the stand-out title in the fifth game pack, holding its own as an enjoyable experience even against today's high-budget blockbusters. A puzzle game by design, Pirate Ship Higemaru has you trying to eliminate hostile pirates on the deck of a pirate ship.

The deck is littered with barrels, which serve as both walls and weapons. You can grab a barrel at any time and roll it down the deck. Each barrel moves in a straight line, knocking out any enemies it hits. With good timing, it is possible to take out multiple opponents in a single shot. Certain barrels also contain fish, which can be collected for bonus points.

Though the gameplay is simple, Pirate Ship Higemaru is strangely addicting, easily sucking up chunks of time. Almost every session with this one lasts longer than planned due to those famous last words, "One more try." It may not be as well-known as some of Capcom's other classics, but Pirate Ship Higemaru is certainly near the top when it comes to quality. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the final game in the pack.

As Capcom's first American arcade release, SonSon is notable, but it doesn't really stand the test of time. Loosely based on the Chinese fable of the Monkey King, SonSon is a side-scrolling platform shooting game that offers little depth. You run, you jump, and you shoot. Strategy is minimal, and the AI is basic.

It's also occasionally somewhat cheap, as we respawned on top of an enemy after dying more than once. Unlike most games, which have a few seconds of invincibility after a death, you are immediately vulnerable. The net result is that an unlucky respawn can mean instant death with no recourse.

SonSon's one high point is that offers two-player co-op, but it's not enough to make the game anything more than a momentary diversion. Some games age well, and others are merely a relic of their time. SonSon falls into the latter category.

Just like the games in the first pack, each title in Game Pack 5 features a number of configurable video options, allowing you to adjust the aspect ratio, apply smoothing or emulate CRT scan lines. You also have the option to rotate the screen. Both the original Japanese ROM image and the international ROM image are selectable for each title, so you can choose which version to play. Individual game settings, such as difficulty and number of lives, are also available if you want to tweak the setup.

Casual mode turns down the difficulty and increases the player's power level, making each game a breeze. The hardcore won't use it, but it means non-gamers (and young kids) can get some enjoyment out of the collection.

Other gaming options include a score attack mode, where you compete under specific settings to earn a spot on the leaderboards, and a training mode, which gives you the ability to play specific levels to improve your performance. SonSon also offers online co-op play via Xbox Live, in addition to local co-op.

Playing through each game multiple times unlocks artwork in the gallery mode. This can be a new background for the overlay or various pieces of advertising and concept art. Replays can also be viewed, with additional options, such as input display and frame-by-frame playback. Individual screenshots can be uploaded to Facebook, but there is no option to share video.

Finally, there is the sound player, which serves as a jukebox for each game. Think of it as including the entire game soundtrack, with each loop available as a separate track. There is a default playlist for each game that includes all tracks; you also have the ability to create your own playlist. You can mix-and-match tracks (up to 100) between games when creating a custom playlist.

Of the games in Capcom Arcade Cabinet - Game Pack 5, the only real standout is Pirate Ship Higemaru. If you are only interested in a few titles, then it's probably worth considering Pirate Ship Higemaru as a stand-alone purchase. As a three-game pack, however, Game Pack 5 isn't that exciting unless you're a hardcore retro gamer. And if you are, you probably also want the other titles in the collection, so you're better off waiting to buy. Capcom has announced an all-in-one purchase option for 2,000 MSP ($25 USD) will be available on May 21. That's a much better deal than purchasing all of the add-on game packs individually.

Score: 6.5/10

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