The brawler, beat em' up or whatever you want to call it is a largely forgotten art - the Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle might just help you remember how good they can be. Released on consoles recently, this pack of seven arcade ports - complete with bonus features and online co-op - contains some real gems, and made its PC debut today. Including the likes of Final Fight and even cult favourites Armored Warriors and Battle Circuit (which hadn't seen western home release until now), it's an impressive little collection. Below, an endearingly dorky live-action trailer.
The bundle includes Final Fight, Captain Commando, The King Of Dragons, Knights Of The Round, Warriors Of Fate, Armored Warriors and Battle Circuit, giving players a good cross-section of Capcom's reign as 90s arcade champs. While Captain Commando and The King Of Dragons may feel a little old-school compared to their peers, they're an important part of history and are still creative and fun enough to hold up well. While arcade games may have the reputation for gobbling coins, Capcom's beat 'em ups are usually fair, and beatable on one coin with some practice.
The stars of the show here are two later games, Armored Warriors and Battle Circuit, both with sci-fi themes. In the former, you and optional buddies stomp around in huge robots, smashing enemies into clouds of flaming scrap metal. While cathartic, it has surprising depth to its combat. Battle Circuit is nearly too creative, making it sometimes hard to track what's going on thanks to its bizarre cast, but it supports full four-player co-op and has a lengthy move-list for each character. It's a very satisfying game for combo fiends - juggling a boss half to death never gets old.
There are some notable Capcom brawlers not included in this pack, though. Capcom's excellent Aliens Vs Predator arcade game is sadly lost to the ravages of licensing, but the remarkably technical Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara pack is available separately on Steam and Humble. With branching paths, light RPG elements and four player co-op, they're an excellent counterpart to the more mainstream bundle. The genre is seeing a bit of a resurgence too - check out Fight 'N Rage (which I reviewed here) for one of the best I've played.