If there is one thing I remember about beat’em up arcade games, it is how quickly I found myself going through quarters or tokens attempting to possibly complete them. I loved such titles, but never really had an opportunity to complete any of them until Galloping Ghost Arcade opened in 2010 and my friends and I were able to take advantage of the free-play opportunities. Capcom Beat’em Up Bundle is a collection for people who love these sorts of cooperative action games, but do not have access to the sort of arcade that lets you go in, pay an entrance fee, and enjoy all of these games at your leisure. Even better, this compilation has options that make every game more accessible.
To start, Capcom Beat’em Up Bundle is a robust collection. People get seven games, all of which can be played offline or online with other people. The earliest title is Final Fight, which originally debuted in arcades in 1989, and the most recent inclusion is 1997’s Battle Circuit. Final Fight, The King of Dragons, Captain Commando, Knights of the Round, Warriors of Fate, Armored Warriors, and Battle Circuit are all available, each allowing up to three or four people to play, depending on the game. What is especially interesting is this collection marks the first time some of these titles have been available on consoles. While Warriors of Fate showed up in arcades in Japan and North America, it only appeared on the PlayStation and Sega Saturn in Japan. Armored Warriors only ever showed up in arcades in Japan, North America, and Europe, while Battle Circuit arcade cabinets were only found in Japan and Europe. Right from the start, the game is making an array of titles more easily available for a wider audience.
Each of the games in the Capcom Beat’em Up Bundle lets people choose between the Japanese and English versions of the games. In some cases, this can mean minor differences, like different character names or titles. (Captain Commando’s Baby Head is Hoover in Japan, as an example.) But in the case of other games, there are more major changes. For example, Warriors of Fate is Tenchi wo Kurau II in Japan. The English story is entirely fictional, but its Japanese story is inspired by Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The fights take place in stages inspired by actual battles, like Battle of Bowang Slope, and the five possible playable characters are Zhang Fei (Portor), Guan Yu (Kassar), Zhao Yun (Subutai), Kadan (Huang Zhong), and Wei Yan (Abaka).
Every Capcom Beat’em Up Bundle title also lets you alter the difficulty, so you can make the games more manageable or challenging. Every game has different criteria to adjust, with some having more options than others. Final Fight has two difficulty levels, with one ranging from one to eight stars and the other going from one to four slashes. These are color coded, with blue being friendly and red being difficult. You can also change the life bonus options, determining how or when you earn extra lives or how many lives you begin with. Games like The King of Dragons are a little simpler, only allowing you to choose between two or three player mode, determining one to five stars of difficulty and your life bonus. Something like Armored Warriors would let you determine how many lives and continues you are offered. You could make things easier, if someone unaccustomed to the games is joining for the first time and wants to wade in. If you know what you are doing, you could remove the life bonuses, limit your lives, cut down on how many people can participate, and jack up the difficulty to really test yourself.
The controller customization options come in quite handy as well. Many of the games in Capcom Beat’em Up Bundle are relatively simple. You tend to have an attack button and a jump button in most games, with your positioning, combos, and current state of movement determining what sorts of attacks you end up using. What is great about the customization is you can assign Attack+Jump, which usually triggers some sort of special, to a specific button. You can also tie Attack (Turbo) to another button, to improve your odds. There is an option to go with a more pure or traditional experience, or you can take advantage of having these extra buttons on hand.
Capcom Beat’em Up Collection does a lot to make the seven games within it more accessible for potential players. To begin with, it actually makes it possible for a lot of people to play these games, perhaps for the first time, on a console. You can choose which version to play through. Difficulty levels and player counts can be adjusted, with varying factors affecting the experience. You also can remap the buttons to your liking. Capcom Beat’em Up does a lot to make sure people will be happy.
Capcom Beat’em Up Bundle is available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, ad Xbox One. The PC version has been delayed.