Capcom Classics Mini Mix (GBA, 2006)

Capcom Classics Mini Mix Box: Despite having 3 great games, this compilation is still a mixed bag.Capcom Classics Mini Mix Box: Despite having 3 great games, this compilation is still a mixed bag.After trading in a few games, I had some credit at the local Gamestop available. In an attempt to beef up my GBA/DS game collection, I got Capcom Classics Mini Mix for only $1! Is this fairly recent collection of retro games for the GBA worth it?

The games are good, but a few niggling presentation issues keep it from what is should be.

To be fair, the games included here are oldies but goodies and are were originally NES ports of arcade games that are heavily changed from the originals in effective ways. Strider adds some RPG elements, a plot hampered by a laughable translation, and Mega Man style stage selection to what originally was a fairly generic, but cool, side scroller. Bionic Commando is arguably the best of the bunch here with several levels, some lite RPG elements, and a plot that some how works in spite of censorship (the original villains in the Japanese versions were Nazis; for the American version, all swastikas were removed and the villains are now a generic evil army). Mighty Final Fight takes an ultra-cute kiddy approach to a remake of the first game of the series with a superfluous addition of having your characters level up.

All right, so the games are fairly solid. Sure, Strider has some loose controls, but for the most part these games are playable. It's a shame, then, that Capcom did not have an option to save your game when you want to take a break. That's right, just like in the original games, you have to write down passwords. Not allowing players to save a game and having to rely on passwords is a huge pain that knocks this compilation down a notch.

Also hurting things is the terrible job with the music in Strider. While the game's music is still full of fun tunes, now it stutters repeatedly and the game has massive slow-down. The slow-down was a problem in the original game, but not to the degree in this port. The music stuttering is really a shame and should have been fixed somehow-- music in the other games in the compilation sounds smooth.

So, is Capcom Classics Mini Mix worth picking up? Not really. The lack of a proper save system and having to write down passwords to save your progress is a real pain in the neck, making these games a bit less playable than they should be. While it's nice to have these classics on the go, the fumbled execution makes playing the originals on a NES or an emulator a better bet.

Some additional notes
After messing around with Capcom Classics Mini Mix a bit more, there are some inaccuracies in the review. The only game to have a Password feature is Strider. Also of note is how the graphics in Bionic Commando are more "zoomed out" than in the original to allow more of the playing area to be visible.

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Seb
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Konami Classic Series: Arcade Hits on the DS

I'm looking forward to Konami Classic Series: Arcade Hits on the DS, which has gotten a reasonably good review (75.0%) from Nintendo Power magazine.

Bill Loguidice
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Pooyan!

I'm looking forward to it just for Pooyan, Seb. Along with Satan's Hollow, that's one of my most favored classic arcade games. I play it all the time on my MAME arcade machine and used to play it a lot on the PS1 Konami collection... (and of course when I was younger, all the time on my C-64 - I've made a point to collect as many versions as possible since then, including for the Color Computer, Tomy Tutor and Atari 2600...)

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Mark Vergeer
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yes, the 'emulation' will be a lot better I think...

Same here, the 'emulation' will be a lot better on the DS I think. That little system truly has grown on me. I have a classic DS and a white Lite one. They get an awful lot of playtime lately.

Seb, it's nice to hear from you again! Still working and living in the same place? How are the cats?

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Seb
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Overweight Cats

"Seb, it's nice to hear from you again! Still working and living in the same place? How are the cats?"

Cats are overweight and happy, as usual. Thanks!

I'm not working at the same old place. I left about a year ago to accept an art director position at another studio.
I'm currently supervising several DS projects. It's been a lot of fun, really. The DS can be a real challenge, but I feel
we're improving all the time. I found out that i really like working on handhelds as opposed to next-gen (or PS2/XBox).
You can be more creative and sneak in a lot of fun ideas and they pretty much leave you alone. When a publisher
gambles several million dollars on a big next-gen title, they tend to play it very safe.

I'm still living in Montreal. Eidos just annonced that they're opening a new studio in town. The city is quickly becoming
quite popular with game companies. There's no shortage of people wanting to get in the industry, but finding qualified
employees is hard.

Matt Barton
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Handheld Production

That's quite interesting about the handheld sector being more open to creativity. I wasn't aware that the DS games had lower production costs, but I guess it makes sense given the memory restrictions and so forth. Engineers and artists both seem to thrive when "forced" to work under well-defined constrictions. When things aren't so clear cut, what seems to happen is a somewhat tired habit of imitating "proven" games.

What really stinks is that nowadays, we treat games like Katamari Damacy as some brilliant, incredibly original work. In the early days, it was just expected that a hit game should be different and offer gamers a new concept (or at least a significant innovation on an old one). Even into the 90s, a game like KD would have been loved, but people wouldn't be so "astounded" that a developer would churn out something really new.

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Seb
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small teams vs big teams

"I wasn't aware that the DS games had lower production costs"

The teams are much, much smaller on the DS. Your average "next-gen" title can boast more than 150 people, span several years development, and cost upward of $20 millions (i've seen worse). Nobody wants to gamble that kind of cash on an unproven/new idea. They were more creative back then because your production costs were basically a programmer and a gfx guy. It wasn't much of a financial risk.

Matt Barton
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Article Idea

I sense an article in this, Seb! What do you other guys think? I don't know much about the DS lineup, but from what I've heard here on this forum, retrogamers love them. It'd be awesome to compare how many original/innovative games we have on the GBA, DS, and PSP compared to the major consoles.

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Seb
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Punky Brewster: The Game

"I sense an article in this, Seb!"

Probably a good idea. Of course the DS has its share of clunkers. There's so many products on the shelves that if you don't rely on a popular license, your game probably won't sell (it was pretty much the same story with the GBA). Original games, no matter how good they are, never sell as much as ones based on popular movies or tv shows (as well all know). But i believe you can still make a great game no matter what subject you have to work with. That's the big challenge, i guess. I'd rather work on "Punky Brewster: The Game" for instance and be free to do pretty much what i want with it (within limits of course), than work on the latest big next-gen first person shooter and have to go through fifteen executives every time i want to change the smallest detail on some character's shirt.

Bill Loguidice
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Agreed. I think if you

Agreed. I think if you factor in all the licensed crap on the entirety of the GameBoy platform from day 1 through to today with the DS, you have a sea of hack jobs - basically poor side scrollers - with their license tacked on. Many of these games are also dumbed down for their intended audience, whether justified or not. At the same time, I also agree that handheld platforms do lend themselves to more innovation per instance than you'll find on your typical console, as the small format, smaller system requirements and naturally smaller play sessions no doubt lend themselves to. Obviously developer/publisher financial risk tolerance is a huge factor in this as well. You will absolutely find unusual games on both the DS and PSP that would never see the light of day on the typical console EXCEPTING for things like the Virtual Console and Xbox Live Arcade, which in a way are like mini-platforms (or sub-platforms) unto themselves, exhibiting many of the characteristics of the portable platforms but with far less likelihood of receiving licensed shovelware.

If indeed we did do an article on portable "innovation" in regards to the DS and PSP, it would be fascinating to contrast that with what's presently on Xbox Live Arcade and available in a similar category for the PC (like PopCap games and PlayFirst! games (link in our "Games" area). I bet there are more similarities than differences.

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Matt Barton
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Universal Soldier & Turrican

Indeed. I remember seeing an NES or SNES game based on the flop "Universal Soldier" movie, but when I looked closer, it appears to be merely a version of Turrican with an altered avatar. Still, if that's the only way NES/SNES players got exposed to Turrican, good for them, though for me the license would be a turn off.

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