One of the oldest staples in any arcade is the Beat ‘Em Up game. From Final Fight to The Simpsons Arcade Game many gamers, myself included, have some fond memories of the genre. Now fast forward to 2018, and Capcom releases a bundle full of their classics from the genre called the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle. The bundle features seven brawlers, some I was familiar with, others not so much. The bundle includes:
- Final Fight
- The King of Dragons
- Captain Commando
- Knights of the Round
- Warriors of Fate
- Armored Warriors
- Battle Circuit
Players have plenty of content to play through in this game, either alone or with a group — local or online. The games come wrapped in a pretty neat package with the addition of save states and digital media gallery to see art and level design sketches. Some additional features such as control customization come in handy for those who aren’t a fan of the default layout.
I started with probably the most popular title in the bundle, Final Fight. As a big Street Fighter fan, I was interested to see the origins of characters like Cody Travers, Rolento, Poison, and others. Knowing who these characters are from the Street Fighter series, it’s fun to point out and learn the roots of these characters. Final Fight fares pretty well for its age, with excellent sprite work and some great challenging bosses. The game offers a fun but brief experience that’s also a good challenge throughout. If anything, Final Fight sets an excellent standard for the rest of the bundle on what an entertaining beat ’em up should play like.
The plot for Final Fight is nothing too deep since the point of these games is rooted in the arcade entertainment. The plot has players save Mayor Haggar’s daughter Jessica from the evil gang known as Mad Gear. Though simple cutscenes, it gets the point across and introduces fun and dynamic bosses along the way.
In a similar vein to Final Fight, Captain Commando brings the beat em ‘up experience with an over the top sci-fi spin. There’s a lot of differences between the two titles, but Captain Commando brings the welcomed addition of dashes and dash attacks. Also worth mentioning are the colorful and differing playable characters as well as exciting and colorful stages.
Knights of the Round takes the genre to medieval times, pulling characters like King Arthur, Lancelot, and Perceval. The game plays it safe when it comes to level design and gameplay by mostly taking inspiration from Final Fight and Captain Commando. It doesn’t necessarily do anything to impress, but it builds off just fine from its predecessors.
Aiming for a fantasy feel, The King of Dragons offers players the choice to pick from different classes like a mage or dwarf and sets you up on a beat ’em up adventure. It came off to me as a slightly more vibrant Golden Axe, though still kept things interesting with weapon upgrades as you beat bosses and items that deal extra damage to enemies. The King of Dragons is a solid choice for fans looking to scratch that classic fantasy itch — but other than that it doesn’t pop too much on my radar to jump back and play again.
Probably the most lacking entry in the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle is Warriors of Fate. The setting for the game seemed like it would warrant a fun playthrough, but the slow gameplay and lack of personality hurt Warriors of Fate. With that said, Warriors of Fate isn’t necessarily bad; there are some fun settings in this game including interesting bosses and quirky mini-games that gives me a break from the brawling.
Originally arcade exclusives, Armored Warriors and Battle Circuit shine the most in this bundle with their unique takes on the beat ’em up genre. Both of these titles spring off of the foundation that Final Fight and Captain Commando and bring exciting and engaging gameplay. I get a real kick when pulling off acquired move skills in Battle Circuit equally as much as I enjoy mowing down mecha in Armored Warriors.
For the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle itself, there are some great quality of life features I found myself using more than I initially thought I would. The main feature I found myself loving was the addition of save states. I would want to quit Battle Circuit to play some Captain Commando with friends, and I could save and jump right back into the game later on.
The local multiplayer is also a great feature — it was easy enough to hand my friend a Joy-Con controller like some commercial, and they could just jump right into the game. And with multiplayer in mind, I highly recommend getting some friends on this collection. Challenging games like Battle Circuit offer some opportunities to do some impressive combos with partners. Who doesn’t want to kick some ass with Cody Travers and Haggar with a buddy?
Additional content includes the art gallery that features posters, sketches, and rough level designs from the games. What seemed extra fascinating was the inclusion of old instructions that were placed on the cabinets in the arcades, making Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle more immersive for beat ’em up fans.
A missed opportunity for the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle was the lack of a music gallery where you could listen to the great soundtracks. A strong component to this collection is in the retro music, and a music gallery would’ve been just an extra sweet addition to this already well-balanced bundle.
Overall, the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle is a great collection of arcade games tied together in a neat package for modern audiences. Though not every game brings something necessarily new or unique, there is definitely something in here for every beat ’em up fan. With multiplayer and save states, this bundle brings all the aspects of modern age gaming to these arcades that will keep you and your friends coming back over and over again.