Xbox One, Switch, PS4, Steam (Xbox One version reviewed)
This review is available in both written and video format. Naturally, the video shows the game in action while I read the review as a voiceover. If you watch the video, then, you don’t need to read the written review that follows since it’s the same ‘script’.
I’ve been an enormous fan of the beat ’em up genre for decades now, though it’s not as prolific as it was back in the days of ’90s arcade gaming.
Capcom was arguably the company most responsible for the growth of the beat ’em up in those days, with 1989’s groundbreaking Final Fight the main driving force.
It was such an important and much-loved game that if you owned an arcade and you didn’t have Final Fight, you didn’t really own an arcade at all: you just had a bunch of shiny light-up boxes in a big room.
Naturally, Final Fight is very much present and accounted for in this fantastic compilation of seven Capcom beat ’em ups spanning from 1989-1997.
Joining it are The King Of Dragons, Captain Commando, Knights Of The Round, Warriors Of Fate, Armored Warriors and Battle Circuit (those last two appearing on console for the first time ever).
If many of these games are unfamiliar to you, in a way that’s part of the reason this package is so important: they’re all brilliant examples of a genre that’s sorely underrepresented these days, and discovering (or rediscovering) them all is a real treat.
Each game brings something unique to the table – whether it’s The King Of Dragons’ leveling system or Armored Warriors’s hefty robot heroes – and each is emulated practically flawlessly with a wealth of filters and options, including the ability to play the US or Japanese versions of each game.
Capcom has shown before that it knows how to respect its legacy titles, as previously seen with the likes of the Disney Afternoon Collection, Mega Man Legacy Collections and Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection. This bundle, with its oodles of behind-the-scenes artwork, sketches and illustrations, is no different.
The only major drawback is that some of its more iconic beat ‘em ups didn’t make the cut, but that’s mainly down to licencing issues. For example, the fantastic Cadillacs & Dinosaurs – one of my personal favourites – isn’t in here, presumably because it was based on a comic.
The online play is pretty lousy too, with frequent lagging and stuttering (though it could be argued that these games are far more enjoyable when played locally with a friend next to you).
These quibbles aside, anyone with at least a passing interest in the history of the beat ’em up genre should really check this one out. Final Fight is a timeless classic and while the others are less well known, they’re all strong enough games that you may find a new favourite in there.
Besides, there aren’t many games that let you kick the shit out of an Elvis impersonator while riding a pink ostrich, and you should probably take those opportunities when they arise.
Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle is available now as a digital download on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and Steam.
In order that I could write this review, I received a free copy of the game from Capcom. The content of my review and the opinions therein were in no way positively influenced by this.
If you enjoyed this and other reviews and want to help me write them more frequently, please consider donating to my Patreon account.
Don’t want to commit to a regular payment? I’ve now got a PayPal ‘tips’ jar: if you like what you read feel free to chuck yer man Scullion a couple of quid here or there and help stock up my Irn Bru fund so I can continue working away like a bastard.
Alternatively, if you’re a UK reader and can’t afford to support me on Patreon, please do your normal Amazon UK shopping via this link. Tired Old Hack is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.co.uk and affiliated sites.