Considering the fact that I originally bought my SNES expressly to play Street Fighter II at home against my friends (yeah, Super Mario World and the like were games I’d “get to”), Capcom’s fighters over the years have consumed a fair amount of my time and robbed me of a fortune in quarters. With that in mind it was a delight to crack open this collection of games I know well, some I know more peripherally, and a few that were just an utter surprise. Starting with the better-known stuff, if you’re a fan of the Darkstalkers franchise, by god this game absolutely has you covered, with literally every incarnation of it, including two releases that were only seen in Japan. Add to that the truly deep and impressive Hyper Street Fighter II Anniversary Edition, which essentially lets you dial up any fighter from any version of that classic and rock out with them, and you’re starting to feel the party. Now throw the pretty damned odd but awesome puzzler Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and you’ve even got some nice diversity building up to make it a more complete collection. Diving then into the surprises, at least for me, and it’s more of a mixed bag. Probably my least favorite of the bunch is Cyberbots, which attempted to go for more of a Rock Em Sock Em Robots style fighter, where you’ll jump into a variety of mechs to duke it out. It could absolutely be worse, but with so many other great fighting options in the collection it doesn’t really connect. Going with an amusing look and style there’s also the somewhat odd play of Super Gem Fighter: Mini Mix, which will have you collecting gems which will enable different abilities you can use to attack your opponent. It takes some getting used to, for sure, but it’s cute and catchy in a surprisingly-compelling way with its very left field approach. Then, finally, there’s the very unusual and unique Red Earth, which still has very fighting-oriented mechanics but blends that with a more RPG-like story, collecting pick-ups, building experience, and more of a challenging boss rush format. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s a pretty fascinating look at an attempt to pivot and create something new… something I can at least admire. When you take all of this and then wrap it up into one pretty consistently-presented package, complete with all sorts of game art, promo materials, and original soundtracks, it makes a noble attempt to absolutely give you your money’s worth. While ultimately how long and how consistently people remain engaged with the game’s online play will always be a fair question, the pretty rudimentary but very playable remote play is a welcome option… but I’d say that’s more icing on the cake than a critical feature. If you’re a tried and true fighting fan it’s hard to find any substantial faults with this surprisingly diverse and well-composed package, and it easily qualifies for “must-buy” status.
Justin Nation, Score:
Nindie Choice! [8.7]