As we mentioned in our preview, the predecessor to Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 2 was a decent package, but its outstanding game selection was spoiled by cheap presentation. Capcom's '80s and '90s Arcade prowess was second to none, and the original Capcom Classics Collection packed almost all of the company's greatest hits into one disc, leaving every other retro compilation's game line-up cowering in the corner.
However, rather than give classics like the Ghosts and Goblins and Street Fighter 2 series the deluxe treatment they deserved, Capcom (via Digital Eclipse) merely shoehorned the already-released-on-PS1 Capcom Generations series onto a single DVD, without any upgrades (leaving the last-gen problems, such as load times, intact), chucked in cheap emulations of a couple of extra games like Final Fight, and threw it out the door.
Even worse for PAL gamers, they didn't even bother to add a 60Hz mode, despite it being the native refresh rate of all the contents. So while Capcom Classics Collection Vol.2 hasn't quite got the game selection of the original release, the much improved presentation means that if you're interested in the content, it's well worth looking into.
Captain Commando fights a gang of scantily-clad women in a museum. Game makers have learned a lot about plausible premises since the '90s. Oh wait, no they haven't.
Given how many big games were in the first volume, we were wondering what would be left for a sequel, but we were forgetting the breadth of Capcom's arcade output through the '80s and '90s. There aren't as many famous names here as in the last edition, and it's pretty heavy on scrolling beat 'em ups, but there's still a lot on offer here, with the full list including 1941: Counter Attack, Avengers, Black Tiger, Block Block, Captain Commando, Eco Fighters, The King of Dragons, Knights of the Round, Last Duel, Magic Sword, Mega Twins, Quiz & Dragons, Side Arms: Hyper Dyne, Street Fighter, Strider, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, The Speed Rumbler, Three Wonders, Tiger Road and Varth.
The headliner is obviously the excellent version of Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Given the nature of such an 'archive' package, it's odd that Capcom skipped the first Super Street Fighter, which is neither in Volume 1 or 2, but Super Turbo is a much better game, so we'll live. Other highlights include Strider, Knights of the Round, Captain Commando and The King of Dragons, and a few of the really old games don't hold up very well (including Capcom's very first arcade game, Varth, and the awful original Street Fighter), but even though they're not worth playing too much, their inclusion serves the 'history' type purpose of the package. It's worth noting that to enjoy the multiplayer aspect of many of the games you will need a multitap, and as usual, Street Fighter games are near unplayable with the standard PS2 pad, so you'll need some fighting sticks or pads.
Quiz & Dragons, a dungeons and dragons-themed board game where you answer trivia questions from 1992, would also be in the "wouldn't bother playing more than once" category were it not for one clever idea. Some genius decided to include a re-mixed version of the game with all the out-of-date general knowledge replaced with questions about Capcom games! Unless you know your Street Fighter, Resident Evil and Megaman storylines backwards, it may actually be more difficult than the 1992 original, but for hardcore Capcom fans this becomes a package highlight.
Emulation-wise, Capcom Classics Collection Vol.2 is head of the class on the PS2. Digital Eclipse's spotty record has been put to rest, and they have produced by far the best-looking arcade emulation yet. The default resolution of the games is mapped to a central area with small borders surrounding the screen, and it's clear this has been done to give the graphics a correct ratio to scale to. This decision was brilliant, as the visuals are by far the sharpest of any emulated games yet seen on the console. You can still manually stretch the image to fill the screen, which brings back the 'washed out' look of all other arcade emulation on consoles, but the option is there for those who want it.
Tate mode (vertically-oriented) games are also mapped to a smaller area than they have been in the past, with the same advantage - a sharper image than in past retro packages. And not only is the image quality better, but the emulation in general. There are still some screen-tearing issues every now and then, but they're much, much less frequent than in other packages, and there's still no scanline option. But overall, the games 'pop' visually, and while they're still a little less 'arcade perfect' looking than arcade games that are well ported to the hardware rather than emulated (eg some SNK ports like King of Fighters 2000 and Metal Slug 3), the graphics here are simply the best ever seen in a retro collection package. It's a shame the games of the first package didn't get the same high quality treatment.
Presentation is the next most important part of any retro compilation, and thankfully it's very good. The first thing worth noting here is that there's a 60Hz option available, as well as progressive scan, though frustratingly you have to manually select both from an option in the main menu every time. The menus are designed to look like a Capcom fanboy's bedroom, covered in Street Fighter comics and Capcom logos, which is pleasant enough, and load times between games and sections are short. When selecting a game from the menu, you have the option to boot the game, change its settings, and view the high scores. Every button in every game is customisable (including auto-fire functions for the appropriate games), there are plenty of in-game options such as difficulty, and everything is auto-saveable. You can even save any game at any point to the memory card, which is a pretty awesome feature. Overall, the presentation is just fantastic.
As far as extras go, there's the now standard selection of unlockable art galleries and music files, as well as some cheats for the games, and they're all done pretty well. One particularly good extra is an in-depth and magnificently demonstrated tutorial on how to play Super Turbo. It's a little odd in its pacing, and you'll already need to know a lot about the game to get much from it (even the 'Beginner' part seems to assume the player can whip out a spinning pile driver at will), but it will be quite interesting to newer Street Fighter fans who want to see how much work has gone into understanding the game for tournament level players. It's not going to be helpful at all to complete newbies, and to those unfamiliar with competition level Street Fighter, it will sound like it's being narrated in Swahili (especially since it uses the completely non-helpful American names for the regular moves), but it's probably the best extra ever seen in a retro compilation for true old-schoolers.
This is the type of package that would be great for a party of retro Capcom freaks. Between Super Turbo, Quiz & Dragons: Capcom Quiz and a bunch of fun brawlers, ye bearded arcade nerds of olde could while away an evening quite happily with just this disc in the drive. If that concept appeals to you, or you have fond memories of any of the listed titles, then pick up Capcom Classics Collection Vol.2 without hesitation. But bear in mind that, even at the budget price point, this package is not for everyone.