When it comes to bringing back the classics this gen, Capcom are certainly leading the charge. They’ve regularly pulled forward an impressive collection of titles from their expansive portfolio these past few years. The latest to land is the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle, a band of old-school brawlers coming back for another round. Surprisingly, this bundle was only announced last week. Nevertheless, is it a bundle that’s worthy of your time and attention? If you enjoy the genre, there’s definitely some value to be found here.
First and foremost, for those of you unaware, the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle includes seven side-scrolling arcade classics; Final Fight, Captain Commando, The King of Dragons, Knights of the Round, Warriors of Fate, and a first for consoles, Armored Warriors and Battle Circuit. Each of these seven games support drop-in and drop-out multiplayer for both online and offline play. Sadly, this is where the main issue with this bundle comes into focus. When playing online with more than two players, the framerate dramatically fluctuates.
I didn’t witness any performance issues throughout local play, despite the occasional stutter, but in online, it’s pretty unforgivable. Several times I would join someone’s game regardless of the title, and it would run smoothly until a third player joined in on the fun. The framerate drops that much, it’s like watching a slideshow. There doesn’t appear to be a workaround for this and the only fix seems to be to back out to the title screen and dive in again. Hopefully the developer can issue a fix in the near future to get rid of the problem.
With that to the side, there’s not much else to scoff at. Each of these classics play and behave as they always have. There’s even the ability to play the Japanese versions of these games, which feature altering storylines. When you’re not hands on in some old-school brawling, there’s a vast gallery of artwork and development documents for each title to browse through, including pieces that were previously exclusive to fan club members at the time. Safe to say that for its asking price, you’re getting more than your money’s worth here.
Despite its issues, the online system is as straightforward as needs be, with a variation of filters in place to help you find the game and settings that you need. The same can indeed be said about hosting or setting up a lobby. The aim of each game largely remains identical to one another. You’ll select a character and battle through the game’s enemy riddled stages one by one, until you either reach the level’s end or a towering boss fight. There’s usually weapons, treasure/cash, and health pick-ups along the way to aid you on your path.
These games are short by design, and a rough play-through wont usually exceed two hours per-whack before the credits roll. However, the much loved concept consists of running each game several times over to improve your score. That was the main crux of play back in the day, and something I did often myself. These games span just shy of ten years worth of releases, meaning that some are undoubtedly better detailed, more in-depth and lengthier than others. Still, my personal favorite sits with the exceptional fist-heavy Final Fight.
There’s also quite a bit of distinction between the theme of each game. Whereas Final Fight is more inline with Streets of Rage, The King of Dragons channels more of a fantasy-esque vibe – complete with a light XP system to boot. Fancy something futuristic? Armored Warriors brings giant mech battles to the proverbial table. As aforementioned, there’s a theme for everyone here, lending the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle a good degree of diversity. When playing offline, each game runs smoothly and handles equally as such.
I wont dive into the specifics of each game, given that they’re years old and have more exposure than you can imagine, but I will say that they’re a joy to behold. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with each game, as well as the different mechanics and design choices that they bring. Neat options allow you to cater the difficulty of each title, as well as fine-tune certain factors of play. Mercifully, for a band of games that are massively challenging, this is a welcoming addition that will remove quite a chunk of frustration the arcade counter-parts were known for.
This collection offers a nice selection of distinctly themed classic beat’em ups, including two console debut titles: Armored Warriors and Battle Circuit. It’s a shame that when playing online with more than two players the game’s framerate dramatically spikes, but with that to the side, there’s little to scoff at. When all is said and done, the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle is a must have for fans of the genre.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.