Following close behind in the Games That Might Make You Buy This stakes are Strider, 1941 and Black Tiger. All are still as solid as you remember, if phenomenally hard at times, and help to make the package a more robust proposition. Filling out the middle ground we have a slew of perfectly fine offerings that, taken on their own merits, are good for wasting half an hour or so but, when clumped together like this, they still reveal how heavily Capcom relied on side-scrolling shooters and fighters, tweaking the formula here and there but never really doing enough to let these titles distinguish themselves.
Eco Fighters, for instance, is a fine horizontal shooter with a clever rotating weapon system, which only makes the inclusion of the similar-but-not-quite-as-innovative Side Arms less interesting by comparison. Varth is a decent enough vertical shooter - but of negligible value when included with 1941. King of Dragons, Magic Sword, Captain Commando, Knights of the Round and Tiger Road all provide more than adequate side-scrolling button-mashing fun, with occasional RPG flourishes. Quiz & Dragons is a "see it to believe it" oddity, in which you defeat fantasy foes by answering trivia questions. If it wasn't so mired in long-forgotten American pop culture, it'd be a real hoot.
Block Block is a fairly obvious, but no less entertaining, riff on Arkanoid while the triple whammy of Three Wonders sneakily bumps up the number of games from 20 to 22, even if none of the three are particularly great. Mega Twins is cuteness personified, and a fun time waster until its sugary style starts to grate. In fact, the only games that really let the side down are Last Duel, a vertical shooter with awful collision detection and shoddy pacing; Avengers, which tries to do Commando without the guns and fails to amuse; and The Speed Rumbler, a finickety car-based action game plagued by poor control.
All games can be played in blissful border-free 60Hz mode and the game also supports progressive scan. Games can be saved at any point, unlike the PSP editions, so you don't have to plough through each game in one sitting. And bonus items such as tips, concept art and music can be unlocked by reaching specific in-game milestones, much like the 360 Achievement system. From a technical standpoint, it's a bang-up job that would seem to take into account the desires of most retro gamers.
However...the package still includes one nonsensical holdover from previous editions, offering either zero or infinite continues. It didn't make sense on the PSP and it doesn't make sense now. With no continues, most gamers won't get off the first level of these games. With infinite continues, you'll see everything without ever needing to get better at the games. It's a problem inherent in removing these titles from their 80s arcade context, since they were never designed for lengthy sit-down play, but given that there's a wealth of options in all other areas, it boggles the mind that something this vital provides only a choice between all or nothing. Even just a halfway option of, say, ten credits would allow players to make progress without feeling they were being patronised.
As for value, with its retail price already slashed by 25 per cent by most online retailers, you'll be paying less than a quid a game which is hard to argue with. It certainly compares favourably to the singular retro offerings on Wii and Xbox 360, although simply by being a compilation it inevitably skews towards quantity over quality. While I can understand the financial reasoning behind milking the Capcom back catalogue for two volumes, as a fan I'd much rather have had one all killer, no filler compilation with Street Fighter II, Ghost 'n Goblins, Commando, 1941 and Strider all in one place.
7 / 10