The Capcom Beat’em Up Bundle is nostalgic stroll through some of the most endearing and vital entries in the genre. The bundle features seven classic beat’em up arcade ports: Final Fight, King of Dragons, Captain Commando, Knights of the Round, Warriors of Fate, Battle Circuit, and Armored Warriors. The last two entries in the list have never been released in the west, and are the most intriguing part of the package.
Some stalwart Capcom favorites like Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, Alien vs. Predator, or the Dungeons and Dragons series are notably absent. However, both D&D Tower of Doom and Shadows Over Mystara were released a few years ago on Steam in a fantastic collectors bundle with extra challenges and a wonderful interface. Unfortunately, this new Beat’em Up Bundle is a step backwards in the overall presentation. The menus are utilitarian and extremely mundane and there are very few extras, challenges, or special features. This is a bit disappointing, and makes the overall package less appealing to casual fans of the genre.
However, if you are as big of a fan of the genre as I am, having these classics in an easily accessible and portable (I bought the Switch version), is a godsend. The games are an absolute killer list. Final Fight is next to Double Dragon and Renegade as a fundamental pillar of the genre. Knights of the Round is great solid game with loads of characters on the screen and decent graphics and animations. Captain Commando is notable for the great character design work (mummies with knives are the best). Warriors of Fate boasts an impressive number of on-screen characters, ridiculous violence, and a Romance of the Three Kingdoms setting. King of Dragons, sadly, has aged terribly. KoD was probably one of my most favorite arcade games, but playing it now shows how utterly simplistic and shallow it is - plus, it is just not fun.
The two “new” games are definitely worth the price of bundle and great additions. Armored Warriors is a mech beat’em up game where you can change out parts and weapons of your character on the fly. Your moveset will change depending on whether you have legs, tank threads, hover engine, etc. The game is rich with detail and fun, though it can be extremely chaotic. Battle Circuit is a great gem of a game and a precursor to those great Dungeons and Dragons games. There is a robust upgrade system (for the genre) with purchasable moves that unlock. Even the default movesets of the characters is deep and varied. There is even a character that heals others. Battle Circuit quickly became my favorite game in the bundle and I only lament how it took all this time for me to play it.
The Capcom Beat’em Up Bundle is something that connoisseurs of the genre will appreciate. There isn’t much here for people that aren’t already fans of the genre and games. But if you are like me, this is a must own.