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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 4

by Adam Pavlacka on Sept. 5, 2013 @ 3:00 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 fourth installment of the Capcom Arcade Cabinet offers up original editions of Commando, Savage Bees and The Speed Rumbler. 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 4 takes mere seconds. The purchase grabs a key file, and the games are immediately available.

Commando is probably the most well-known game in this bunch. Unfortunately, it's also the only real standout in the pack.

Players are dropped into the role of Super Joe, who is more or less a one-man army on a quest to free captured comrades and liberate enemy bases. The game is a vertical shooter, though the screen doesn't scroll automatically. Instead, you are free to move at your own pace. You also have the ability to shoot in any direction, though you have to be facing your target. In some ways, it feels like a twin-stick shooter, only without the second stick.

Environmental obstacles, such as trees and boulders, provide natural cover for both you and your enemies. Hiding behind one at an opportune time can save you from a hail of bullets; when an enemy is hiding behind one, you will either need to flank or use a grenade. Unlike your gun, which fires in the direction you are facing, grenades are always thrown upward, in an arc. It takes a little bit of practice to aim a grenade properly, but once you get the hang of it, the blast radius is an effective way to take out two enemies at once.

Much like Trojan from Game Pack 3, the 8-bit NES version of Commando is a better version of the game. Unlike Trojan, the differences have to do with features rather than gameplay. The original arcade version of Commando featured in the pack is plenty fun to play; it just lacks the power-ups and hidden areas that are familiar to fans of the NES version.

Savage Bees (otherwise known as Exed Exes) is a space-themed vertical shooter that has you blasting away at insect-like aliens. It is also horribly uninspiring. Boring would be a more apt description.

One of Capcom's early attempts at the genre, Savage Bees feels more like a tech demo than an actual game. Your ship moves awfully slow, and while the enemies move a bit faster, it's not by much. The game just plods along. Yes, it gets challenging, but it feels like you're playing in slow motion the entire time.

Savage Bees doesn't fare well in the AV department, either, where repetition abounds. The stages all look very similar, and the music seems to contain a single loop that repeats over and over. Even a hardcore shooter fan is going to find this one difficult to love.

If Commando feels like it was inspired by "Rambo," The Speed Rumbler feels like it was inspired by "Mad Max." From the description, it sounds like an enjoyable game, but in practice, The Speed Rumbler suffers from such poor control that it ends up being an exercise in frustration.

Played from a top-down view, most of the game is spent driving a car and shooting at enemies with a mounted gun. If you had precise control of your car, it would be pretty slick. Instead, the game feels like you're trying to maneuver on ice-slick roads, with the car always feeling slightly out of control. Forget precision shooting. You're just doing your best to avoid hitting everything in sight.

Being able to jump out of your car before it explodes is a nice touch. If you can survive on foot for a few seconds, your comrades in arms will bring you another. Chances are good, though, that you won't be interested in playing long enough to need a new car.

Just like the games in the first pack, each title in Game Pack 4 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 in order to earn a spot on the leaderboards, and a training mode, which gives you the ability to play specific levels to improve your performance. Savage Bees 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 here, 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 between games (up to 100) when creating a custom playlist.

Capcom Arcade Cabinet - Game Pack 4 is easily the weakest bundle in the entire collection. Every classic game collection seems to have its duds; Savage Bees and The Speed Rumbler are two of Capcom's. Commando is very much worth it as a solo purchase, but you probably want to pass on the other two unless you're planning on getting them as part of the all-in-one option for 2,000 MSP ($25 USD), which includes Game Packs 2-5. Snagging everything at once is a much better deal than purchasing all of the add-on games individually.

Score: 5.5/10

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